ST. LOUIS – It is a crime that does not seem to go away. Thieves are smashing through storefront windows and taking what they want. A St. Louis area startup business believes it has a way to fight back.

Scott Bader is the founder of DensityUSA. He also owns Spencer Commercial Cleaning. The cleaning business responded to Walgreens being wiped out by looters in 2020.

“As I left there, I got to thinking that there’s got to be a better way,” Bader said.

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He researched ways to combat smash and grabs and found an idea in Europe. The security fogging systems were used to blast fog into a room whenever intruders entered.

“When the fogger goes off, you can’t see what you’re trying to steal,” Bader said.

He said that without seeing the targeted items, there is no reason for a burglar to stick around.

Bader said that in one area of the United Kingdom, once one jewelry shop implemented the device, every other jeweler on the street followed suit.

He shared surveillance video of the system working during a burglary attempt in Europe. Intruders enter the business but run out as soon as they see fog entering the building. Bader said security fogging systems have been used successfully to send burglars away for more than a decade in other countries.

“They usually go right back out where they came in,” Bader said.

He said fog is more likely to send a determined burglar out the door rather than an alarm system requiring a police response. Bader called the security fogging system a more active deterrent.

He recently launched the business and is the exclusive distributor of the DensityUSA product. Bader said he has yet to find a business owner who thinks the idea is a bad one.

“Nobody’s ever said that,” he said. “Most of the response is that this is a fantastic idea.”

Mike Egel is the president of DensityUSA. He demonstrated the device for FOX 2. Within a matter of seconds, the fog began filling the room. He said the device can be set to unleash the thermally generated fog for different lengths of time, depending on the size of the area being protected.

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“There’s no residue,” Egel said. “There’s nothing to wipe off.”

He said the fog is safe and will not harm the burglar nor damage the company’s products. The system can also be controlled remotely through an app.

“You can control each individual unit, so if you have one unit or a thousand units, you can manage that through our web app,” Egel said.

To find more information about the product, click here.

According to the National Retail Federation, retail shrink, when taken as a percentage of total retail sales in 2021, accounted for $94.5 billion in losses, up from $90.8 billion in 2020.

A spokesperson for the agency said, “Organized retail crime (ORC), a critical component of that shrink, is a growing challenge both for retailers and the industry at large.”

You can read more about the nearly $100 billion problem here.