Its amazing just how much a little client communication can benefit investigations. We have all seen the benefits of the early morning update, the day after surveillance, where the client can get an understanding of what is going on with their file. Not only do they get a better understanding of the state of their file, but also they can give additional information and clarify things the investigator is seeing, based on billing or direct contact / conversations they may have had with their claimant. Sometimes however, there are situations where that client communication happens as the surveillance is unfolding, and the outcomes can sometimes be remarkable.
Just recently, we had a request for surveillance to cover a meeting between our client and their claimant. Over the course of the last couple of years we have done multiple rounds of surveillance on this individual. We have observed them driving vehicles they claimed no longer to own, living at places they claimed not to, and observed places they list as a primary residence, having eviction notices and boarded up doors / windows. On this particular day, we observed the individual driving and running errands throughout the morning, but in heavy Downtown Detroit traffic we would end up losing visual with their vehicle.
As always, we conducted a canvass of locations we believed they might be going to, but we were never successful in placing them prior to this meeting. We arrived at the location, and after a scan of the parking lot were able to determine than none of the known vehicles to the subject or known family members were present. Through direct contact with our client and their office, we were given notice that the subject stated they were driven to the meeting by their significant other, who had picked them up from their primary residence, as they were unable to drive themselves. After being provided the name of the significant other, we located that persons address (which just so happened to match where we saw out subject leave from that morning…).
Our investigator then looked back through their footage from earlier in the day, identifying a vehicle that was associated with the address that we were unaware of before. A canvass of the meeting spot then identified that vehicle, as well as the driver. Had the client communication not been a top priority, I cannot guarantee we would have located the subject following the meeting. Nor would we necessarily have obtained the footage of them following the meeting, and returning back to the address that she most definitely does not live at…..