LARRY KANE: Fingerprints


Larry Kane was named as a Zodiac suspect by police officer Harvey Hines.


Escalon police officer Harvey Hines, in uniform and in an early television interview.

For years, Hines conducted his own investigation and then presented his findings to law enforcement agencies. An FBI report dated January 14, 1991, stated that the Vallejo police department had requested that the bureau “expeditiously compare” a suspect’s fingerprints with fingerprints in the Zodiac case.


The name of the suspect was redacted in the reports released by the FBI, but the description of the suspect matched Larry Kane on three points. The report stated that the suspect was born in 1924, was Jewish, and has a history of sex offenses which ceased by 1969. The report also referred to the claim by Hines that the Zodiac’s 13-symbol cipher contains the name “Kane.” This part of the report was not redacted and the name “Kane” is visible on the released page. The facts demonstrate that the suspect named in the redacted portions must be Larry Kane.


An FBI report dated January 23 states that the FBI’s Sacramento office had requested photographs of all suspected Zodiac fingerprints. Sacramento agents also requested that the Bureau’s latent fingerprint section submit all suspected Zodiac fingerprints to the Automated Fingerprints System (AFIS), the Automated Latent Systems Model, and the National Unidentified Latent File. This report also states that the request came from the Vallejo police department.


Another page in the FBI files contained a report about Zodiac suspect Arthur Leigh Allen from the Bureau’s latent fingerprint section, dated February 27, 1992. The report states that 38 fingerprints in the Zodiac cases did not match Allen’s fingerprints. On March 29, 1991, the FBI reported the results of the fingerprint comparisons. Again, the name of one suspect was redacted in the pages released by the FBI.

Zodiac fingerprints FBI Allen Kane

“This report confirms and supplements information furnished telephonically on 1/16/91 and 3/1/91. Thirty-seven latent fingerprints previously reported in this case are not fingerprints of [NAME REDACTED] FBI [Reference number REDACTED]. Thirty-eight latent fingerprints in this case not the fingerprints of ARTHUR LEIGH ALLEN, FBI #367213L2. The remaining latent fingerprints, from the tip and side areas of the fingers, and the latent impressions were compared with the available fingerprints of [NAME REDACTED] and ALLEN, but no identification was effected. No palm prints are contained in our files for these individuals. Clearly and completely recorded major case prints of [NAME REDACTED] and ALLEN are needed for conclusive comparisons. An automated fingerprint search was conducted in our Identification Division file, but no identification was effected. Photographs of the previously reported latent prints in this case are enclosed.”

This report also read: “REFERENCE: Teletypes 1/14/91, 1/23/91 and 2/27/91.”


The reports matching those three dates concerned suspect Larry Kane, the request for the search by the FBI’s latent fingerprint section, and suspect Arthur Leigh Allen. The redacted name is a short name, and the latent section refers to the date of the report concerning Kane on January 14, 1991. The report dated 3/29/91 refers to two suspects, Arthur Leigh Allen and —the most logical conclusion— Larry Kane. This report states that the fingerprints of both suspects do not match the fingerprints in the Zodiac cases. The report states that 37 prints did not match Kane and 38 did not match Allen. The report further states that palm prints and “clearly and completely recorded major case prints of [NAME REDACTED] and ALLEN are needed for conclusive comparisons.”

Both Allen and Kane had been arrested and their prints were available for comparison. “Major case prints” referred to prints of all areas of all fingers, including the sides, and palm prints. The FBI latent section had access to prints necessary to compare the prints of both Allen and Kane to the fingerprints found on the cab at the crime scene in San Francisco. Investigators believed that these prints belonged to the Zodiac and these prints were used to eliminate suspects over the years. The FBI report demonstrates that Allen’s prints and Kane’s prints did not match the prints in the San Francisco case or the prints found on the Zodiac letters, as those prints came from the tips and other parts of the fingers normally included in standard fingerprinting by police departments. This FBI report would undoubtedly state if any of the 38 fingerprints in the Zodiac cases matched Kane. The absence of any report of a positive fingerprint match indicates that Kane’s prints did not match any of the Zodiac prints. FBI agents may have been unable to conclusively exclude Kane regarding one of the 38 prints which did not match Allen, or, the fingerprints on file with the FBI, obtained during Kane’s arrest, may have been insufficient in some areas of the fingers, such as the sides or the lower joints. In that situation, major case prints would provide the necessary areas of Kane’s fingers for a comparison to the fingerprints in the Zodiac files from those areas of the fingers.

The available evidence and official documents indicated that the FBI had compared Larry Kane’s fingerprints to suspected Zodiac prints in 1991 and determined that Kane’s prints did not match any of the suspected Zodiac fingerprints in any of the suspected Zodiac cases.