THE INTERMOUNTAIN PI | EP. 5 | JULY 9, 2019 | PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR’S USE OF OBSERVATION ON SURVEILLANCE
I think it all began with her neighbor, Phyllis. She was this tall older lady in her late 60’s. Her husband had passed on a few years ago so she spent a good deal of time out in her yard.
Unfortunately, this gave her a superb vantage point with which to observe the comings and goings of her various neighbors. As a matter of fact, she would often snitch on them for minor violations of the city code. As it turned out, it was Phyllis’ snooping that put an end to the hubris and unbridled greed of Rosie and Cherry Jordan; the only mother and teenage daughter insurance fraud team I’ve ever come across.
To begin with, Rose and Cherry had been hit by a utility truck from Dallas County down in Texas. They were legitimately injured. But like many folks, they began to milk their case. In other words, they began to exaggerate their injuries and drag out their recovery time in the hopes of getting as much money in a settlement as possible. By the way, you can read the full story in chapter 5 of my book, Confessions of a Private Eye.
Anyway, a few years before the accident Rosie had said something that angered Phyllis. It was so long ago that Phyllis couldn’t even remember the exact details. But Phyllis had held a grudge. So when Rosie was talking to Phyllis about the accident and mentioned that she was going to take this utility company for every penny they had, Phyllis decided to drop a dime on her. In short, Phyllis called the utility company. The utility company called the insurance company. And the insurance company called me.
“…Phyllis called the utility company. The utility company called the insurance company. And the insurance company called me.”
I began surveillance and discovered right away that despite the car accident both Rosie and her daughter Cherry appeared to be in good health. However, it was my private investigator’s use of observation on surveillance that wrapped up this case in a nice beautiful red bow. I happened to notice a decal on the rear window of Rosie’s vehicle. It was one of those stickers with a volleyball on it and Cherry’s name and, if I remember correctly, something about the Lady Colts Varsity team. Regardless, it was that decal that led to the unraveling of the case and some pretty amazing video.
I’m Utah private investigator Scott Fulmer. This week I’m talking about a private investigators use of observation on surveillance.
Anyway, I made made a few phone calls and in short order discovered that Cherry played on the Lady Colts Varsity Volleyball team at Arlington High School. Furthermore, I learned they would be playing the Grand Prairie High School Gophers the following Friday. Long story short, I was there in the bleachers that Friday. I spent the entire evening pointing my video camera from the floor to the opposite bleachers. From Cherry spiking the volleyball with a blood curdling scream, to Rosie in the opposite bleachers doing a victory dance every time her daughter scored.
In the end, due to the video evidence I obtained, Rosie and Cherry didn’t receive the huge financial windfall they were expecting. They were forced to resolve their claim and received a significantly smaller monetary settlement; one that was more in line with their injuries instead of their exaggerated claims. All because I of my private investigator’s use of observation on surveillance. And a window decal.
You can do the same thing. Set up your static surveillance so that you’re in a position to see the subject’s vehicle and residence. Here’s a few things you can look for. First,
Is your subject driving Uber or Door Dash? Window stickers can tell you how many children the subject has, where they go to school and what extra curricular activities they’re involved in. All potential surveillance opportunities. Second,
Check for a college parking pass hanging from the rear view mirror. Moreover, check the license plate and rear view mirror for a handicapped driver. Now you know where your subject will park, regardless of where they go. What about parking stickers or placards for jobs or high-end apartments or condominiums. I can’t tell you how many people leave their employee ID lanyard hanging from their rear view mirror. Third,
LAWN MAINTENANCE (OR THE LACK THEREOF)
Is everyone’s lawn mowed and manicured, except for your subject’s? If so, expect them take care of it soon. And speaking of law maintenance,
BAGS OF FERTILIZER OR PEAT MOSS
Mounds of dirt and bags of Peat Moss may be a clue your subject is going to be involved a home improvement project soon. Boxes of tile or stacks of railroad ties may be another clue. We’re talking about a private investigator’s use of observation on surveillance. Additionally,
TENTS OR CAMPING EQUIPMENT
A lot of folks air out their tents or lay out camping equipment before they head out on a trip. It’s something to look for. Also,
MAIL AND PACKAGE DELIVERY
You should be ready when the US mail or UPS or Fedex packages are delivered. Also, keep you eyes open for home health nurses, carpools, neighbors, exercise companions and daycare drop offs. You never know when your subject may appear. Finally,
GARBAGE AND RECYCLABLE PICKUP
Are you there on the right day for garbage or recyclable pickup? Has everyone placed their cans at the curb except your subject? There are million opportunities around you while you’re on surveillance. The truth is, you’d be surprised how much you can learn just by keeping your eyes open.
Until next time, this is Utah Private Investigator Scott Fulmer reminding you the game…is afoot!
CELEBRATED UTAH PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR SCOTT FULMER HOSTS THE INTERMOUNTAIN PI PODCAST. HE IS THE PRINCIPAL AT INTERMOUNTAIN PI, A RESPECTED PRIVATE INVESTIGATION FIRM BASED IN SALT LAKE CITY. INTERMOUNTAIN PI PROVIDES ACTIONABLE INTELLIGENCE TO PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS AND DECISION MAKERS THROUGH UTAH, COLORADO, IDAHO AND WYOMING.
IN A CAREER SPANNING ALMOST THREE DECADES, SCOTT HAS WORKED AS A PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR FOR STATE AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, AND IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR. HE GREW UP IN SAN ANTONIO, THE OLDEST OF NINE CHILDREN AND THE ONLY BOY. HIS LOVE OF MYSTERIES BEGAN AT AN EARLY AGE WHEN HE DISCOVERED THE STORIES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES IN HIS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL LIBRARY. AFTER SERVING A VOLUNTARY RELIGIOUS MISSION, SCOTT JOINED THE U.S. ARMY. HE SERVED WITH DISTINCTION IN THE FAMOUS 2ND ARMORED DIVISION (HELL ON WHEELS) AND IS A DECORATED COMBAT VETERAN OF THE 1990-91 PERSIAN GULF WAR. AFTER LEAVING THE SERVICE, SCOTT ATTENDED THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT SAN ANTONIO EARNING A DEGREE IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND SECURITY MANAGEMENT.
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