Tag: Private Detective

“Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, joined by Ozark Police Chief Marlos Walker and Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office representatives, announced the arrests of two individuals for their role in an apparent multi-state debit card skimming scheme that bilked unsuspecting victims in Alabama and surrounding states of thousands of dollars.

On Dec. 21, Reiner Perez Rives, 34, and Eunises Llorca Meneses, 30, both of the Orlando, Florida area, were apprehended by deputies of the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office and investigators of the Attorney General’s Office.

Rives and Meneses face charges from the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office for trafficking in stolen identities, identity theft and an illegally obtained or an illegally possessed credit card.

Rives also awaits 15 counts of identity theft to be served by the Ozark Police Department. Additional charges may be filed in both jurisdictions and in surrounding states pending further review of recovered evidence and the identification of other victims.

On Dec. 13, the Ozark Police Department contacted investigators of the Alabama Attorney General’s Office seeking assistance in solving approximately eight identity theft cases that had occurred within two days.

Investigators traced five of the thefts to a local gas station where a skimming device wrapped in electrical tape was bundled with wires inside a gas pump. The two suspects were later identified after one of the victim’s debit cards was traced to an unauthorized purchase at a Bristol, Virginia, gas station.

A surveillance video of the suspect’s license plate revealed a rental car linked to Rives. Attorney General investigators, working with the Ozark Police Department, tracked Rives and Meneses to Texas.

The suspects were apprehended as they traveled back through Alabama by the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office which was alerted by the Attorney General’s Office.

The Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office and agents of the Attorney General’s Office seized from the suspects $6,490 in cash, 39 stolen debit card numbers with PINs and an additional 315 gift cards with an undetermined amount of personal information. Rives and Meneses are currently being held in the Baldwin County jail.”

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“To crack Minnesota’s biggest cold case — the 1989 abduction of 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling — authorities went back to the early days of the investigation.

They turned a renewed spotlight last year on a man who was questioned soon after Jacob’s disappearance but was never charged. That ultimately led to Saturday’s announcement that Jacob’s remains finally had been found.

“On these kinds of cases it’s really a tribute to law enforcement that they simply never give up. … This is what persistence will reveal,” Michael Campion, former superintendent of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and former commissioner of the state Department of Public Safety, said Sunday.

The case has not lain dormant for those 27 years, said Tom Heffelfinger, former U.S. attorney for Minnesota. To the contrary, he said, it’s been a top priority for local and federal law enforcement the entire time.”

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Everybody lies. We lie to protect people from painful truths and to preserve the family name. We lie about affairs, flirtations, and addictions. Sometimes, we even lie to ourselves.

In this episode, we’ll hear two stories about family secrets—and the blurry line between deception and delusion: An alcoholic conceals his addiction from everyone, including himself. And Ann Walling recalls her old-school Southern family, the rites and hierarchies they observed, and the painful histories they could never bring themselves to face.

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A special plain-clothed overtime police detail was able to catch numerous shoplifters this summer at Aurora Farms Premium Outlets, Police Chief Brian Byard said Oct. 1.

Overall, officers worked 176 overtime hours and recovered more than $10,000 in stolen merchandise, starting June 5 after the city received a $12,000 grant from Ohio Criminal Justice Services.

“Our goal was to combat organized retail theft rings by arresting shoplifters, reduce the number of shoplifting incidents and educate retail associates,” Byard said. “Over the course of the three months, the enforcement action resulted in numerous arrests for theft and receiving stolen property, and the seizure of thousands of dollars in counterfeit currency.”

In June, officers worked 62 overtime hours, resulting in 14 arrests, five of which were repeat offenders involved in organized retail theft.

In July, officers worked 29 overtime hours, which resulted in four arrests. In August, officers compiled 85 overtime hours with two arrests.

Byard said those targeted were “professional shoplifters” carrying booster bags and the tools necessary to remove security sensors.

“They’re often the repeat offenders well known to mall security,” he said, adding within the first hour of the detail, Aurora police arrested two people for shoplifting after they attempted to flee on foot.

“The increase in hours and the decrease in arrests are a good indicator that word had spread among those who target shopping malls around Northeast Ohio” because the suspects had less of a presence over the summer, he said.

“We are happy to see that some of the habitual offenders have been caught and prosecuted accordingly,” Byard said. “We hope to receive additional grant funding in the future for other details around the city.”

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Adam Hunter was left struggling to breathe after being repeatedly kicked in the head and stamped on in the city centre.

A judge has praised the prompt action of a security guard who may have saved the life of a student who was the victim of a horrific drunken gang attack in Birmingham.

He awarded Michael Miller £50 from public funds for his quick action in helping Adam Hunter.

Mr Hunter, who had been out celebrating after finishing his second year exams, was left struggling to breathe after being repeatedly kicked in the head and stamped on.

Fahim Choudhury, of Crowther Road, Erdington, Hassan Javeed, of Fox Hollies Road, and Amir Ahmed, of Rymond Road, Hodge Hill, all 21, who had previously admitted wounding Mr Hunter with intent, were all jailed for three and a half years.

Judge Stuart Rafferty QC said: “You were all drunk on a night out, like Mr Hunter, celebrating the completion of your exams, at least two of you.”

The judge said there had been an altercation and that the victim had been struck a “powerful” blow knocking him to the ground.

“If he was not unconscious by the time he hit the ground he was well on the way.

“He was quite defenceless and posed no threat to any of you.

“He was repeatedly kicked and stamped on. You left him lying in a pool of his own blood. If that security guard had not been trained, it he had not acted promptly and placed him in the recovery position it may be the case he would have died.”

Birmingham Crown Court heard that the attackers were later captured on CCTV in a group hug and congratulating themselves.

Patrick Sullivan, prosecuting, said the attack occurred around 4am on June 7 this year between Five Ways and Broadway as Mr Hunter, a keen rugby player, was walking home.

Rashad Mohammed, for Ahmed, a law student, had acted on the spur of the moment while Devon Small, for Choudhury said he had initially acted as a peace maker.

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Job Integrity and Inherent Risks

After many years in this profession I repeatedly hear the same sad stories. Young officer takes new assignment and ends up in deep trouble and probably fired, if not indicted. There are several perilous assignments around the department that if not taken seriously can be the road to ruin. Why do these stories continue I have asked; maybe nobody warned them or they thought that a compromise in the system would not be detected by the bosses? Matters not; it can and will happen and do not let this happen to you.

Probably the most prevalent one is the Evidence and Property Room Assignments. First of all money, jewelry and drugs seems to be the reoccurring theme here. I have heard the ‘property manager taking some money and with great intentions bringing it back before it got discovered’ tale. How about ‘substituting the silver certificates with regular currency’? After all they both are legal tender. Nope, vintage currency is far more valuable. Do not even consider taking the jewelry or the bling watches for the night on the town. There are vast temptations within the realm of the property/evidence room. Frequent audits and integrity audits are not against you but rather there to protect you and the system. A few compromises of the system can have adverse effects on the integrity of trials and the morale of the department. We don’t steal; we do it right every time. If you are a chief or sheriff, your selection of this staff member can be one of the most critical selections so choose well.

Gun Permits (purchases or conceal carry permits) now are becoming scrutinized more than in the past. Whether it is a gun purchase, transfer, or concealed carry permitting, there are vast pitfalls here; a friend of a friend or a family member slips through because somebody turned their head. Without debating the firearms issues or rights, know the laws that you are mandated to enforce and follow them. If one firearm gets into a thug’s hands we are all possibly a victim. If someone is trying to circumvent the process there is a resounding reason why. Find it out to protect your career and officer safety.

Wreckers and taxi permits have one common factor here: money. A wrecker driver offers you $50 per recommendation for each tow he gets. A taxi company offers you tip or bonus for always hailing their hacks over the other taxi companies. Seems simple for cash is unreported income; who could possibly know? Well, the second that the wrecker and taxi company gets called on the carpet for unscrupulous business practices guess whose name will come out of their mouths? Taking tips for ‘recommendations’ will haunt you; I’ve seen this happen too much. That $20 tip will get you unemployed.

Special events are an entirely different world. Having seen cops working the backdoor getting friends in to meet the band, to backstage goodies and passes will come up and bite you. If you are working an event, sporting or concert, you have got to be the professional police officer and not a fan. The second you become a fan you are compromised. Granted you can make some extra by selling backstage privileges but when you are caught you could get discipline and lose all of your extra work income. The secret is to do your job as a professional and not get caught up in the excitement of the event or the star.

Parking permits and parking tickets have created more trips to the commander’s office and more calls to the chief’s office than anything. I have seen more complaints over a $15 parking ticket than I have over felony charges. Everyone does it they say; the meter was broken and so forth. Please do not get wound up with the ‘courtesy cards’ and voiding tickets. If you need to void one, take it to a supervisor and get a clean blush on it.

Are there other pitfalls within the profession? Yes, I have not covered off-duty work and some more special assignments; these will be at a later date. What is worrisome is that these stories of cops making an assignment or task a financial endeavor will continue to plague our profession. First of all, we are all human. The full vetting of all applicants to these special positions is required. The audits and compliance checks are there for our own good. It is not what you do when you know you are being watched, but it is what you do when you think nobody is watching that defines your level of integrity. We are the guardians of our profession and the only ones who keep the tarnish off the shield.

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You’ve seen all of the signs, and now you’re looking for confirmation. When you’ve reached this point, to obtain the peace of mind you require you’re left with the decision as to whether you’ll engage the use of a professional service or alternatively invest in some modern day technology. To help you in your decision process, we’ve outlined the most common resources available to you – and the legalities you will face should you choose it.

Private Investigators:

“Honeytrap” investigators: For those who have been cheated on before or have concerns their partner may stray, they may turn to the services of these types of investigators. Better known as a ‘honeytrap’, these types of investigators will start a conversation with your partner in a social setting (either in person or online) with the intention of seeing how far they can take it (ie exchanging of phone numbers, request for intimacy etc) . A full report is then provided to you, sometimes with the inclusion of footage/recordings.

Legality: Although LEGAL, most investigators frown upon this type of entrapment situation. As the ‘honeytrap’ investigator used for these are based on your partners “ideal” (ie looks, interests, clothing sense), the argument is this type of scenario is creating a fantasy situation which may never actually occur in reality and does not actually prove whether your partner is currently being unfaithful.

Surveillance Investigators: The tried and true method of catching a cheating spouse out. If you’re looking for peace of mind as to what your spouse is doing during those ‘unexplained’ hours away from you, or alternatively what they are ‘really’ getting up to when they say they are going out with their friends – conducting surveillance remains the number 1 option for piece of mind. Using a licensed private investigator removes the emotion out of watching your partner and reviewing the investigators footage of your partners night out allows you to see exactly the type of interactions and body language your partner is displaying towards other individuals.

Legality: Surveillance undertaken by licensed, professional private investigators is LEGAL. Through training and experience surveillance investigators know the law (ie your States relevant surveillance and devices Act) and produce their findings by way of a detailed report and footage which are both admissible in Court. If you engage an unlicensed investigator or take matters into your own hands you could very well run the risk of being caught out, or having footage presented to you which has been obtained both unethically and in breach of State laws.

Online Investigators: Do you truly know your partner if you have no idea what they are doing online? Where once being secretive with your mobile phone was an immediate cause for concern of cheating, in this day age it is all about your online activity. As more and more people learn how to log on and interact with other people online, so does the old lingering thoughts of “I wonder what my high school sweetheart is doing these days?”, or “I wonder if I Google my secret desires what will come up / who will share my thoughts?”. Engaging an online investigator can uncover significant behaviours that are otherwise suppressed by your spouse in their everyday life and may just teach you something new about who your partner really is.

Legality: Online investigations conducted by licensed private investigators are LEGAL. Using the skills, experience and resources these types of investigators are able to provide a detailed report on their findings based on information which has been legally obtained. Don’t be fooled by databases online which offer similar type of services for a fraction of the cost – like most things these days, you certainly get what you pay for.

Modern Technology:

Forensic Recovery: Does your partner never leave their phone out of their sight? Do they delete text messages as soon they receive them? Is their call history always blank? Certainly one of the biggest red flags for suspicious spouses is the sudden change in their partners phone habits. With the introduction of a wide range of mobile forensic software those deleted messages may still be able to be recovered. Certainly the hardest part of using this technology is getting access to the phone itself – particularly when they don’t leave the phone out of their sight!

Legality: Lets be clear on this – if you don’t have the permission of your spouse to undertake this, then it is ILLEGAL. Even if you do have permission from your spouse there is certainly no guarantee of recovering everything off the phone leaving you with the same unanswered questions and wondering why you didn’t leave it to the professionals in the first place.

Spyware: With applications such as Stealthgenie and Spectorsoft on the market, once downloaded on a phone or computer, every single keystroke, website, text message and phone call are recorded and sent to your own inbox for your viewing pleasure. Originally created with the intention of tracking your child’s or an employees online activity, suspicious spouses everywhere have seen the benefit of utilising these to discreetly check on their partners activity without their knowledge.

Legality: ILLEGAL. Even if you own the computer/phone your spouse may be using – it’s safe to say if you’re using spyware for confirming infidelity then you will not have the permission of your spouse to record their activity.

GPS applications: With GPS technology becoming smaller and more affordable this has resulted in many suspicious spouses utilising this type of equipment to confirm their partners movements. Certainly with the invention of smart phones having built in GPS systems, iphone applications such as “Findmyphone” have spouses desperate for the truth ‘accidentally’ leaving their phone in their partners’ cars in the hopes of tracking where they go.

Legality: While tracking an individual without their knowledge (or a Court Order!) is ILLEGAL, most individuals who have tried the cheaper applications will tell you the GPS location is typically unreliable and you may end up breaking up your relationship based on incorrect information. Furthermore these pieces of equipment may tell you where your spouse my be but they certainly won’t identify who they are there with, and more importantly what they are doing. Only a surveillance investigator can obtain this information for you. **Editors note: Please check the laws of your State as the legalities of GPS tracking may differ in your location.

Hidden cameras: Once reserved for the likes of James Bond, these days a quick search online for ‘purchase hidden camera’ returns over 26,600,000 results! The fast pace of technology has allowed video and recording devices to become smaller, more affordable and the quality even better. With battery life lasting even longer, these days you can hide a hidden camera in almost anything – clocks, watches, pens, power plugs, teddy bears, smoke detectors – the list is endless! For those who are concerned about who may be visiting their spouse when you’re not home, this type of equipment has allowed many to become their own DIY spy.

Legality: ILLEGAL (in the majority of circumstances) for this type of use. For example, it is illegal in most states to record an individual without their express consent and it goes without saying that everyone should expect a reasonable sense of privacy particular in rooms such as the bedroom. Setting up hidden cameras / recording devices at your partners house will most likely end up in you seeing the footage played back via a Courtroom setting.

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How to Snap Top Secret Photos Without Anyone Noticing

Ever needed to snap a picture in a quiet building without anyone noticing? Or maybe you need to document misbehavior without getting caught? Taking snapshots on the sly isn’t easy, but a few tricks can help you capture a moment without another soul noticing.

A true spy’s main goal with snapping photos is to document a situation without ever being noticed. For the average person, this comes in handy in all sorts of circumstances, including visits to the museum, snapping photos of a chalkboard in class, concerts, the guy in the robot costume on the train, or even just when you want to capture a true “in the moment” photo and not a staged shot. With that in mind, here are a few things we can learn from how spies take pictures.

Silence Your Shutter Sounds and Disable Flash

First things first. If you want to start taking pictures on the sly, you need to disable any sounds and flash your camera might make. For smartphones, this is usually done by flipping the volume mute button, and disabling the flash in the camera app itself.

For other cameras, you’ll need to dig into your settings menu to disable the shutter sound effect and the automatic flash. If you can’t find that menu, you might try snagging your camera’s manual from Manuals Online so you can find and disable the settings.

The goal here is simple: don’t draw attention to the fact you’re taking a picture. Keep it silent and don’t let the flash go off under any circumstance.

Hide Your Camera Inside Something Else

As any good purveyor of spy movies knows, hiding a camera inside of something else is a classic trick. You can stick a camera in a bow tie, contact lenses, and of course, watches. The point is, if nobody knows you even have a camera, they won’t think you’re taking pictures.

Throughout history, cameras have been stuck inside all sorts of things, from pockets, to books, and even hidden behind newspapers. Here are a few ideas to make your own:

USB Powered Spy Shirt: Instructables user Tetranitrate shows off how to use a laptop, laptop bag, and a USB camera to convert your button-up shirt into the perfect spy camera. The whole system threads through the shirt itself, and then attaches to the computer inside the bag. It’s bulky, but it’s cheap and easy to do.

Spy Glasses: Google’s Project Glass are still a little ways off for public consumption, but if you want to build your own it’s possible. In fact, Instructables user Kipkay’s build mounts a cheap camera right into any pair of sunglasses so you can record everything that happens everywhere you go.

Hide a camera in a book: The hidden camera in a book is an old trick, but this particular build takes it a step further—it’s an iPad hidden in a book with a small slot for the camera. It’s a little ridiculous, but considering you can always play it off as a “funky case” if you’re caught, it might come in handy.

On the flipside, if you’re worried about something spying on you in your house, all you need to find a pinhole camera is a flashlight. Theoretically, you can stuff a camera in any everyday object and call it a day, so use your imagination.

Conceal the Fact You’re Taking Pictures on Your Smartphone

Of course, most people use their smartphones for pictures the majority of the time, and thankfully, it’s pretty easy to disguise what you’re doing on a phone.

First and foremost, when you’re snapping hidden photos with your camera, make sure you’re holding it like you’re using it to do anything but take a picture. Position the camera like you’re texting, playing a game, or whatever else might natural in the situation you’re in. Personally, I prefer the texting position, even though it’s often difficult to get a good shot.

Second, if you want to conceal what you’re doing from anyone behind you, it’s important to hide your screen. On a jailbroken iPhone this is easy with SlyCam since it allows you to take pictures from the Notification Center without anyone behind you seeing the camera screen.

For non-jailbroken iPhone users, we like Real Spy Camera. Not only does the app icon call the app “Easy Calc,” you can also shoot video, and use either your front facing or rear facing camera. However, the best feature is the fact you can set up a fake background as well, which means you can actually make your screen look like you’re text messaging.

On Android, we like Mobile Hidden Camera. Its app icon is a notebook, so nobody will suspect a thing, but it’s also filled with features like video recording, burst-mode, customizable screens, and the incredibly handy feature to block incoming notifications so you don’t accidently draw attention to yourself. Photo by Cory Doctorow.

Know Your Rights of When You Can Pictures and Use This Information Wisely

Public photography is tricky business, and it’s good to know your rights. You can’t just walk around taking pictures of everything under the sun—people do have a right to privacy in some circumstances. So, learn up on the rules before you go snapping photos on the sly.

And this should go without saying, but be responsible. Unless you’re documenting an important event, don’t snap pictures of people who have a reasonable right to privacy, don’t be the obnoxious person at the museum snapping pictures of everything, and respect any safety rules you might come across.

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A 74-year-old Miami man who was trying to avoid paying nearly $100 to get into Epcot, was arrested after he impersonated a Federal officer.

Emerito Pujol flashed a fake badge at an Epcot employee as he passed through the turnstiles at the park around noon on Saturday. The employee challenged him and asked to see the badge again. He claimed he was an undercover officer who was looking for someone, according to an arrest report.

When a security guard approached him, Pujol again claimed he was “in service” and was “guarding someone important,” the report states.

Pujol finally admitted he was pretending to be a federal officer when a deputy asked him to produce the badge.

The badge Pujol flashed had the words “American Federation of Police” and “honorary member.” He then admitted that he was just waiting for his family and was not an officer.

Pujol was arrested and charged with unlawful use of a police badge, falsely impersonating an officer and petty theft. He has since bonded out of the Orange County Jail.

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The prospect of sinking $200,000 into law school and changing your mind about being a lawyer might be terrifying.

But you can still use your degree.

Law graduates go on to plenty of lucrative and interesting non-lawyer jobs.

Some of these positions—like Congress—might be a longshot, but you’ll be surprised at what you can do with your law degree.

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