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The art fraud database helped in the return of stolen items to Brazil, he added.

Mr. Garcia also said Interpol´s database of stolen passport information is of great value.

“With respect to stolen passports, you have Interpol providing something others don’t, which is a database for stolen passports from all over the world, and you can see how that plays out,” he said.

Interpol helped orchestrate the 2007 arrest of pedophile Christopher Paul Neil, also known as “Vico,” when scientists were able to “unscramble” his image and use what Mr. Noble called “‘CSI’-style techniques” to identify the location of images showing Neil sexually abusing children in Asia.

“We came up with a system, using technology, that allows police from any country to send images to Interpol, in an encrypted fashion, and, upon receipt, those images can be compared with over 500,000 unique images that we have in our database to determine whether the victims had already been identified or not been identified, to determine whether the assailants had been identified or not, and to determine the location of the abuse that was photographed,” he said.

Those forensic investigations can not only identify the location of the crime but also allow local police to circulate photos of the victims in the hope of identifying and finding them, he added.

Mr. Noble also said the Interpol databases — of photos and fingerprints, as well as DNA — are being used to fight terrorism. The May 16, 2003, suicide bombings in Casablanca, Morocco, killed 33 people as well as the 12 bombers. Some suspects got away, however, though they left fingerprint evidence behind.

“A year later, an arrest is made in Iraq,” Mr. Noble recalled. “Name doesn’t match our records, the photo doesn’t match with our database, but fingerprints match and connect the guy to the Casablanca bombing. Now, the Iraqi cops know the guy is a tried-and-true terrorist. And they have real proof, that terrorists had come from outside of region, even as far off as Morocco.”