It was late on a Friday when the call came. Lawyers from a big city agency had a hot case, a tort claim that was going to trial soon. It was the kind of case we handled hundreds of times a year. And at first, this one didn’t seem much different than most: Personal injury case. Subject claimed he had received extensive injuries and immobility in a fall, allegedly caused by the negligence of our Client. The lawyer wanted an activity check and surveillance on the subject. No problem. Piece of cake.
But this one had a twist.
We had the basics—you know, name, address, description. We conducted a pre-intelligence information check, as we always do, to find more information that could us an edge, maybe get the job done just a little more efficiently, or faster. Clients like that. So do we. But we didn’t get much more to go on.
We scheduled a crack investigative team led by Joe G. to the address to perform surveillance. Joe’s an ex-PD detective, and he’s run more surveillance operations in the heart of the city than you can count. But this time they came up short—it doesn’t matter how much you know if the subject won’t show.
So we regrouped. Doris suggested we take another pass at a social media search with a fresh pair of eyes—hers, to be exact. She’s one of our research analysts, and a good one. Maybe there was a fine detail we had overlooked in the initial pre-intelligence check that would help lead us to the subject. Good idea.
Doris was drawn to a photo on one of the social media websites that showed the subject was wearing a T-shirt with a distinctive logo. The logo seemed to be for some sort of store. Doris tracked it to a local bodega/mini-mart within walking distance of the subject’s residence. And she confirmed that, sure enough, the claimant worked there. Boom.
With this information, Joe G. renewed the surveillance with a covert camera. He entered the bodega and, as if on cue, the subject appeared walking from the back of store carrying supplies, apparently uninjured and without pain. He placed the heavy items on the floor with ease and asked for Joe’s order. These observations—plus the claimant’s pain-free movements while making the ham-and-cheese sandwich that Joe had ordered, without skipping a beat—were recorded on the covert camera.
Based on this powerful video, our Client received a favorable judgment.
We felt good. We all knew it was Doris’s ability to avoid cognitive biases and focus on other details that cracked the case. It’s a great example of what our team means when we remind each other to “find the needles,” and why we use “The Bodega Surveillance” in our training of new personnel.