Pittsburgh, PA – Police are now investigating what appears to be an organized criminal theft ring that is spanning across the east coast. So far police believe that these thieves have hit retail stores in Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina and Maryland. Last week a group of five men entered a Louis Vuitton store, making off with several high end purses. A few months ago, a group of men believed to be the same people, robbed a Best Buy of some expensive GPS units and high end calculators.
Bob Kressen, a Private Investigator was quoted, “Because they’re going state to state, it’s hard to ID them… Even though they get video on them, which is good to have video on somebody… unless they really band together, and work with the various vendors around the country. It’s gets very hard to ID somebody.”
Bob Kressen continued to state that measures need to be made to catch these criminals and to be made an example of. “You find the people and catch them and set some examples. They’ve got to set examples and prosecute.” Mr. Kressen continues to suggest placing GPS trackers or other traps on products that could be stolen to hopefully catch the bandits.
While I agree with Bob that something needs to be done, I do not think his suggestions would do much good. There has been no set pattern for the type of stores, the specific merchandise or even a general location of where the thieves may hit next. It’s because of this, catching the criminals will be that much more difficult. So until police get a better lead on these criminals, retailers should be careful and make sure all their employee’s are up to date with their companies shrink deterrent policies.
OAKLAND, California – The former commander of the Central Costa County Narcotics Enforcement Team, Norman Wielsch, announced he will be filing a plea deal on guilty charges related to the distributing of stolen narcotics. Wielsch used his resources as a police officer, along with the assistance of a Private Investigator named Christopher Butler to help sell stolen drugs taken from Police Evidence.
Wielsch will be pleading guilty to 5 drug and corruption charges, stemming from charges originally filled against him a year ago.Wielsch was originally arrested by FBI agents under the pretense of stealing drugs, operating a brothel and conducting phony sting operations.
Christopher Butler is also serving an 8 year prison sentence for similar charges. Mr. Butler also admitted to shady Private Investigation Practices including setting up “Dirty DUI’s” for wives in divorce cases. Mr. Butler would hire attractive women to convince husbands into cheating and driving drunk. Mr. Butler would then organize an arrest to further sabotage the husbands of his clients to benefit their case.
Under the Plea Agreement, Wielsch will be looking at up to 17 years behind bars but will not find out a verdict until he is sentenced in February.
11/28/2012 – It seems that more often then not when Private Investigators end up in the news it’s usually bad rather then good. We hear so many stories about people being defrauded or ripped off by inexperienced or unethical investigators, it’s nice to hear a positive story once in awhile.
In Allegan County, Michigan a Father lost the last images he had of his 22 year old son who died shorty after returning home from a tour in Afghanistan. The pictures were left on a digital camera which was stolen during a burglary at Joe Courtney’s Home. Mr. Courtney approached a local Private Investigator, who after hearing his story, decided to take on the case for free.
Mr. Cook, the investigator who took on the case was quoted “Once they explained that it was regarding his son who passed away a month earlier, it pulled at our heart, and we as a group decided we wanted to try to get these memories back.”
It’s been a difficult process and so far Mr. Cook and his team have not been able to recover anything, but they are not giving up. It warms my heart to hear stories like this that demonstrate the companion some people have. It’s also examples like this that really brings meaning to the work we do as Private Investigators; to be able to help provide closure and truth for our clients.
To make that difference for our clients, I think, is what Private Investigations is all about – for better or for worse.
Source: Investigator helps for Free
November 23rd, 2012 – Two men were arrested in Ghana for allegedly defrauding a mining engineer who hired these men to investigate a blackmail case. The complainant told the prosecutor that he began to receive threatening messages on his cell phone to both him and his family. Fear of what to do, he confided to his coworkers about what was happening to him. He was then approached by a co-worker who told the complainant her boyfriend was a Private investigator and could help.
The complainant was then introduced to the two men, Benjamin Hammond Jr and Benjamin Cudjoe, who took an initial amount of money from the Complainant to investigate the matter. The men then presided to tell the complainant that they had found the blackmailer but would require additional money to bribe the blackmailer to stop.
After the two men continued to demand money from the complainant, the complainant contacted the police who then arrested Hammond and Cudjoe. After their arrest, both men were determined to be unregistered private investigators. Hammond and Cudjoe will appear in court to stand trial December 6th, 2012.
Although innocent until proven guilty, the scenario that unfolded and the convenience of the incidents that followed seem too neatly planned to be coincidental. I think these con men used the image of a private investigator coupled with the scare tactics used to induce fear for the safety of the complainants family ,in order to take advantage of the man and steal his hard earned money.
Although this case is in Africa, these cons happen all the time. It’s important to know who you’re hiring and that the private investigator on your case is licensed with the proper credentials. Don’t let yourself get scammed.
Source: Man Gets Blackmailed for Fraud