All too often, we receive phone calls from people just like you that have an issue come up and need help. The first place you should always go is to the Police. However, due to budget cuts and not enough help, the Police are often unable to help with what they consider to be “non-critical” situations or “minor issues.” When this happens, we know that it’s not “minor” to you, or you would not be going to them for help, right?
We understand that in a perfect world, there would be enough Police Officers to respond to every call and every situation. After all, most of the men and women in blue entered this field because they truly wanted to make a difference and keep citizens safe. But in the current environment, that is just not possible in most cases. That is where we come in. We have the resources and manpower to handle these cases and help you to get the evidence and/or answers that you are trying to get yourself. We have over 30 years of experience in the investigative field, all at your disposal when you hire us or any Private Investigator worth their weight.
While I typically give several examples of cases we have worked on to help you to see how vitally important it is to hire an experienced PI, instead, I am going to focus on one case, in particular, that is very close to home and in telling the story, will lead you on the process that helped our family find the answers when the Police were not able to take the time to help. Please pay close attention to the details so that if you are even in a similar situation, you know what to do to help your case.
It was back in early Spring. I was walking along with my 95-year-old mother, trying to find her an outfit for her big birthday party that weekend. As we were making our way back from the cashier’s station, my mother was holding the strap on her pocketbook over her shoulder as she always did to make sure someone did not try to snatch it with one hand and was holding on to me with the other. We were only about 100 feet from the register to the door leading to the car that was in a handicapped spot waiting for us, but she was already tired. So we walked along slowly. I helped her into the car and drove her home to East Meadow, planning to return to pick up my adult children, who were off shopping in the mall.
As I was pulling back into the parking lot at Roosevelt Field Mall, she called to say that she forgot her wallet at the register. I went directly into the store and found the salesperson that waited on us was no longer there. So I immediately went in search of a manager. Once I located one, I explained that my mother left her wallet when she made a purchase at the counter (pointing to said counter), and I needed to know who had it. She went inside, and no wallet had been left. The salesperson was on a break, but she checked the camera, and my mother put the wallet in her bag, zipped it up, and left. I asked her to please check the cameras from the register to the back door (pointing to the said door) and find out what happened. She returned back behind the “employees only” doors while I texted my children to tell them what was going on.
The manager returned and said that a pickpocket had gone up behind us and taken her wallet. She described the woman to me and showed me where the crime was committed. She also said that all the managers in the mall were told that there was a pickpocket ring that was hitting the mall big time, which was thought to be coming from Franklin Square, NY. I asked her to please at least give me a picture of the person (since she said that it was company policy not to release any video unless it was asked for by the Police), and she said she would see what she could do. So while I waited for her to return with a picture, I called 911 and asked for someone to come and help me with this situation and locate this crook.
The manager showed me a photo that she had taken on her phone, and I quickly took a picture with mine. Of course, the crook had a mask on, so there was no clear shot of her face, but she had on a patterned mask and a unique handbag. I then asked the manager for the number for mall security which I called and explained to them what happened, that I had a photo of the person, and that I needed to track her on the cameras to find out where she went in order to retrieve the wallet. The mall security was not helpful at all and kept repeating that they would not do anything for me – that they needed to be asked by a Police Officer. (Thus, the reason that I called 911, knowing that they would not cooperate with a “private citizen”) and almost on cue, the Police Officers arrived, and I put them on the phone with the obnoxious mall cop after briefly explaining the situation and showing them the photo of the pickpocket. They walked with my children (who had just joined the party) and me to the lower level where the mall security was housed. Of course, as expected, they would not allow me to go in. But they did show the Officers the cameras and explained that the current cameras were crap and that they were in the process of replacing them. They completely missed the exit of the thief. While I was waiting to find out they had nothing to help me with, my brother called to say that someone had just tried to make a purchase at Macy’s for $1000 and the credit card company shut it down (thankfully). Shout out to the credit card company for having a program that detects when any purchase that is not typical shows up and follows up to confirm. We headed to Macy’s to speak with their people, and they also did not have any video to help us. So we headed home to file a police report. Since I was not the one that was the direct victim, the officers at the mall (who had tried to help for over an hour at that point) could not take the statement from me – it had to be my mother.
When we returned to my mom’s house, we spoke with the Police Officer that had already arrived and showed him the photos as well as explained all the avenues we had taken to find the person. He was appreciative of our efforts and, after taking the report, said a detective would be in touch.
A few days later, the detective called me, and I went over the details once again. He appreciated the information, as they had been trying to locate this ring of pickpockets with no luck or leads, and this was a good lead. However, since I did not have a clear face shot due to the mask, and this was not considered to be a “high priority” case, he would not be able to do more for us, but he gave me his number in case anything else came up.
Flash forward a few weeks. My mother was moved in with my sister in Glen Cove at this point (which was planned), and we were all relieved about it in case the crook decided to go visit the address on all her identification from the stolen wallet. My brother calls out of the blue to tell me that they received a strange letter from someone named “Marty” that was addressed to my mom’s old address and forwarded to her at the new address. Some of my mom’s ID had been sent back, such as her license, medicare card, etc., but of course, no credit cards or cash was returned. The note was from someone named Marty, that lived in Franklin Square. He claimed to be a Vietnam Veteran that happened to find the wallet in the garbage at the mall and was hoping she would send him some money as a thank-you for doing a good deed since he was destitute and living on social security. I told her to do nothing and that I would take it from there.
I immediately reached out to the detective to tell him what had transpired. Once again, he said that while he wished he could help, there was just not enough manpower to look into a case like this, but if we found anything further, to let him know. Now I was ready to do my own investigating. This is the point where you would hire a PI to take over the case. I was motivated and tried to go through the proper steps FIRST. But now I was given the green light to work the case.
I did a deep dive into what little information I had from the note. I had a first name, a return address to “send money to,” and that he claimed to be a Vietnam Vet. I ran that information through my private databases and discovered “Marty’s” full name and DOB, which, when run through the system, confirmed that he was not a Veteran, let alone a Vietnam Vet (which I found to be a scummy thing to do, as I hold any Veteran in the highest regard, especially one that served in Vietnam). Now I was even more determined to find him as my gut told me he was involved somehow from the beginning. Now I was even more convinced. As I continued to search through my databases, I discovered that Marty was also convicted of several counts of grand larceny. I was convinced he would lead me to the pickpocket.
So every free chance we had, Adam and I would stake out Marty’s residence. We watched his car for any changes and eventually started to notice a pattern of when the car had changed spots. It always happened on Wednesdays and Fridays – my mom’s incident happened on a Wednesday. So now we got there early on Wednesday and waited for Marty to show up. Sure enough, he appeared at about 10 am and drove off to pick up a few young women and then drove – you guessed it – directly to Roosevelt Field Mall.
We followed behind until he dropped them off, and then I jumped out while my husband followed Marty. I kept my distance and observed the girls. One had a purse that looked identical to the one that the pickpocket had in the photo from the store manager. I followed her and observed. I watched as she hit the first victim. I had it all on video. I took a couple of still shots and sent them to my husband. The money shot (literally). I followed her to Nordstrom’s, where she went directly to the jewelry counter and purchased a set of diamond earrings. Then she headed to the Apple store and purchased a new iPhone. The next stop was Pandora, where she attempted to purchase an expensive bracelet. That is where the card was declined. Undeterred, she continued to try a few other stores with other cards in the newly acquired wallet until she could no longer get anything. Then she put the wallet into one of the bags and went outside where Marty was waiting, and my husband was about five car lengths away, also getting video as Marty popped the trunk and she, put the bags in the back, and returned to the mall. Adam already had video of the other two girls making “deposits” into the trunk while Marty sat in the driver’s seat, smoking a cigar.
But we needed the “face shot” to seal this case shut. It came when all the girls finally returned to the car, and they departed the area. We followed them to a Wendy’s, where they went in for lunch. Perfect! Sure enough, the four sat down to eat lunch (I’m sure it was purchased on a stolen card as well), and the masks came off. We now had clear face shots of all four of them.
When they left, we made sure to document the addresses where each girl was dropped off after they stopped off at several pawn shops along the way. We documented the addresses and took some covert footage through the window of Marty and his friends selling the items they had just stolen. We now had a slam dunk case to present to the detective. I emailed everything we had to him, along with the report that had the address and photo of each person involved. He then gave the information to the department that handles the “crime rings” specifically, and they ran with it.
So now we are on standby for the court hearings. Most of them admitted guilt for a lesser sentence – except Marty – he is going down with the ship apparently, claiming he had no idea what the girls were doing. Although, they all gave statements that he had recruited them and “coerced them” into a life of crime. So the moral of that story, I suppose, is to choose who you work with carefully or they will make you the scapegoat.
The point of this long-winded story is that while the Police would genuinely like to help out the victims of every crime that is committed, it is just not possible. That’s not to say that these crimes are not worth solving, just that the Police are often overwhelmed and understaffed. That is when you need to call us. We can take the information that you have and run with it to see where it takes us and hopefully solve the case for you. While not every case like this is a guaranteed slam dunk, at least it’s the best chance to get answers when the Police are not able to help. So if you are ever unfortunate enough to find yourself or someone close to you to be a victim of a crime and the Police are unable to help, you still have someone to turn to for help. Hire an experienced Private Investigator to find the answers (and in some cases, crack a much larger case) for you. With any luck, we can help you to have a happy ending to your story just like ours.
Investigreat, LLC is a recognized full service Private Investigation Agency that is fully licensed, insured and bonded, handling cases all over Connecticut as well as Queens NY, Brooklyn NY, Bronx NY, New York City, Staten Island and Long Island NY. Terri, along with her husband Adam, have been working cases for Legal Teams, Insurance Companies, Private Businesses, Municipalities, School Systems and general investigation services for the public since 1992.
Investigreat, LLC | Private Investigators serving Connecticut, Long Island City, Jamaica NY, Brooklyn NY and Queens NY | Office Numbers: 860-899-1710 or 718-412-1845 | Text: 718-309-1269