Shurtape and the FBI - history
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Shuford Mills Boosts FBI Analysis Effort
 
Hickory Daily Record December 26, 1989    Story by Troy Houser
 
The FBI is better equipped to solve several types of crime thanks to the cooperation of Shuford Mills Tape Division in Hickory.
Hugh Snodgrass, technical director of the Hickory-based Tape Division, recently traveled to Quantico, Virginia where he worked with the FBI’s Materials Investigation Group on the properties of several types of duct tape manufactured by Shuford and often used in the commission of crime. 
Snodgrass said the tape is often used by criminals:
-          To make explosive devices. Such as using it to bind sticks of dynamite or other explosives together
-          To bind the hands and legs of victims, and to gag victims
-          To bind bales and packages of drugs and other contraband
“We like to call if (duct tape) fun tape because you can use it for everything – no home would be without it,” Snodgrass said, “but unfortunately it is too often used by criminals”  and has become known in law enforcement as “crime tape.”  Shuford Mills Tape Division manufactures duct tape at its plants in Catawba, Caldwell and Alexander Counties.  The plant in Hudson (Caldwell) makes the fabric backing. The polyethylene film part of the backing is made by the plastics division in Hickory (Catawba).  The adhesive is made at the plant in Stony Point, (Alexander) where the manufacturing process is completed.
Snodgrass said the FBI was interested in all properties of duct tape, but was most interested in two major areas.
-          Can a piece of duct tape found at the scene of a crime be matched with a piece of duct tape found in a suspect’s possession?
-          And, can a process of elimination narrow down the regional source of duct tape, its manufacturer and distributer, and ultimately the purchaser?
Snodgrass said Shuford Mills Tape Division probably manufactures 40 percent to 45 percent of the 250 million square yards or 41 million cases of duct tape produced annually in the United States. 
Shuford manufactures about a half-dozen grades of the tape, with each grade having unique properties that are identifiable by lab analyses.
He said the other manufacturers also produce tape that is identifiable in the lab.
However, manufacturers often change their formulas - which alter the chemical properties of the product.
The manufacturers would need to inform the FBI of formula changes so the new information could be incorporated with existing analyses.
“This is the kind of information the FBI was looking for,” Snodgrass said.
He said the Materials Investigation Group with whom he met was made up of about 12 people.  They analyze items such as duct tape and other types of tape used in crimes, paints, coming from vehicles used in the commission of crimes,  and glass found on the scenes of crimes, broken in the commission of crimes, and found in the clothing or on the persons of suspects and victims.
Snodgrass said the Materials Investigation Group is based in Washington, but met with him in Quantico because the FBI Academy there has an extensive state-of-the-art laboratory.
He said the FBI is compiling information such as that provided by Shuford Mills to be placed in a computer data bank for use in future FBI investigations. 
Shuford Mills Tape Division was invited by the FBI to make the presentation after Shuford Mills supplied two witnesses at a criminal trial in Delaware in November.  One of the witnesses, a Shuford regional sales manager from New Jersy, was approached by the FBI in an effort to gain more technical information.  The sales manager “volunteered”  Snodgrass to present the information.
Snodgrass said Shuford executives believe it is the company’s duty to assist law enforcement in any way possible.
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