Dye Pack

dye pack

A dye pack is a radio-controlled incendiary device used by some banks to preemptively foil a bank robbery by causing stolen cash to be permanently marked with red dye shortly after a robbery. In most cases, a dye pack is placed in a hollowed-out space within a stack of banknotes, usually $10 or $20 bills. This stack of bills looks and feels similar to a real one, with new technology allowing for the manufacturing of flexible dye packs which are difficult to detect by handling the stack.

When the marked stack of bills is not used, it is stored next to a magnetic plate near a bank cashier, in standby or safe mode, ready to be handed over to a potential robber by a bank employee. When it is removed from the magnetic plate, the pack is armed, and once it leaves the building and passes through the door frame, a radio transmitter located at the door will trigger a timer (typically 10 seconds), after which the dye pack will explode and release an aerosol (sometimes tear gas, but usually of Disperse Red 9, a dye used in smoke grenades) intended to permanently stain and destroy the stolen money and mark the robber’s body with a bright red color. The chemical reaction causing the explosion of the pack and the release of the dye creates high temperatures of about 400 degrees Fahrenheit which further discourages a criminal from touching the pack or removing it from the bag or getaway vehicle.


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