FBI uses Tatt-C, Vimeo and T-Shirt to track a arsonist during BLM protest


FBI tracks Lore-Elisabeth Blumenthal through her T-shirt, tattoo and Vimeo clips; claims she set a car on fire during a BlackLivesMatter protest

America saw a wave of protests hit every nook and cranny after the custodial murder of George Floyd. One such protest was held by Black Lives Matter group in Phillidelphia. The BLM protestors were marching and suddenly all hell broke loose. Cars were set on fire, shops looted and gutted. Some arsonists burned down two Philadelphia Police patrol cars. After the arson and looting subdued, the FBI started hunting down the arsonists to book them for arson, vandalism, looting, and rioting.

One such case is 33-year-old Lore-Elisabeth Blumenthal who the FBI alleges set a police patrol car on fire. Blumenthal has been arrested. According to an affidavit filed by FBI special agent Joseph Carpenter, he saw a video of the arson happening in Philadelphia. The video showed a white female in a blue T-shirt and jeans, wearing a brown/green backpack, grey gloves, a multi-colored mask, and black boots. She entered from the top of the frame, grabbed a piece of the barricade that was fire, and torched a patrol car.

How did FBI zero in on Blumenthal? Her tattoo, tees, and the above video. While the affidavit doesn’t name it, the FBI uses a tool called Tatt-C.

What is Tatt-C?

Tatt-C is a massive tattoo database developed by the FBI and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Its full name is Tattoo Recognition Challenge and it has thousands of tattoos linked to the person who wears them. The Tatt-C tool also has another database that records various tattoo signatures from their artists. This helps the FBI and the law enforcement agencies, nab criminals if a tattoo is identified just like fingerprints.

As said above, the FBI agent, Carpenter’s affidavit doesn’t mention Tatt-C but in all probability, it was used to track down Blumenthal. The affidavit states that Blumenthal was found setting the car on fire through a Vimeo video taken by an onlooker. This particular Vimeo video helped the FBI narrow down the suspects using different Instagram posts about the protests. One of the Instagram posts showed the woman moving away from the sedan after it was set on fire. The image shows her carrying the same backpack as the videos.

Finally, the FBI zeroed in on the T-Shirt that Blumenthal was wearing during the arson. The FBI found it was sold on the Etsy marketplace for homemade and other items.

FBI has asked for maximum punishment for Blumenthal for burning down the patrol car. If Blumenthal is found guilty, the maximum punishment laid down in Philadelphia law is 80 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $500,000. But this punishment has not been awarded so far.


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