Private Detective

Private Detective


10 Years Experience

Anaheim, CA

Male, 40

Been a private eye for 10 years. The job's not for everyone. If you love odd hours sipping coffee in a dark parking lot waiting for something to happen you should definitely jump at this job immediately. I get hired by spouses, employers, insurance companies, and you name it as well. Oh...and I field a lot of very interesting phone calls that even the most seasoned defense attorneys would raise an eyebrow at.

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80 Questions


Last Answer on March 01, 2015

Best Rated

What's your biggest "miss"? Maybe something you still can't believe you didn't pick up on at the time, or you let slip through your fingers?

Asked by shot22 almost 9 years ago

The fact that affordable high quality micro undercover cameras really weren't available until pretty recently, like 2008-ish. There would have been a lot more candid moments caught on that's my biggest "miss". I remember starting out in the industry with this big 8mm video camera called the Sony High-8. Most typical PIs had the standard "beeper" camera attachment, which was a beeper with a hidden cam wired to a fanny pack, it was absolutely huge! You'd have to be really creative with that thing to not have people become suspicious. Now days, we have "throw away cams" like the CamstickPro which are basically cheap micro-SD cams that fit in your pocket for under $40 bucks.

What are the most common reasons you'll get hired? Cheating spouses? Corporate espionage? Lost relatives?

Asked by Schmitty almost 9 years ago

You nailed it, all 3 actually! Very good. In that order too. You must have gone to detective school. Cheating is the most common (and requires the most 'hand-holding' in terms of client relations). The second is definitely bug sweeps, at least for this private eye, mostly business clients. They want their office swept to find out if anyone planted anything. In all actuality, the most I've ever found is a hidden voice recorder that is set on a "voice-activation" feature. Usually it's an employee that know he/she will be fired and they plant it in the bosses office or conference room to record their exit interview and or firing. The ex-employee will bait the employer/boss into saying something discriminating and the ex-employee will then send it to their employment attorney, basically trying to blackmail the employer into settling a potential lawsuit. Dirty stuff, huh! Lost relatives are kinda hit and miss for the most part, a lot of these relatives really don't want to be "found", there was usually a falling-out or something involving money that didn't really go as planned. Or the person hiring me wants to get that relative to sign over authority on a will, usually 90% of the time it's greed based, they need the relative to sign some kind of document that will benefit the client. Sad to say, but it's true. The other 10% are totally legit and the family member is just worried about them and wants to help or re-connect.

Favorite coffee for late night shifts? (And you ever do energy drinks or Adderall instead?)

Asked by ama almost 9 years ago

7 Eleven Hazelnut seems to be my fave these days. Also a fan of Winchell's coffee, plus you get to smell donuts every time you walk in (added bonus). I must admit, energy drinks can be kinda fun. I only have an energy drink if I'm headed out of town for a case. Palm Springs or San Fransisco, something like that.

Does the law recognize a PI-client confidentiality, or could you ever be called to testify in court or have your docs subpoenaed?

Asked by Derek almost 9 years ago

It depends on the state. Here in California we have The Private Investigator's Act which makes it a requirement for the PI to keep the client's case confidential. Yes, a PI can be called to testify in any legal matter (civil or criminal). The "pi/client" privilege is similar to a "doctor/patient" privilege. Which means you may have to reveal certain case details if the court feels those details are in the interest of justice. It will never trump the "attorney/client" privilege. An attorney NEVER has to reveal anything about his client. Attorneys have the highest client privilege in the American legal system.

Do you ever wrestle with the question of whether you're one of the "good guys"? A cop is always supposed to be on the side of morality and justice, right? So who's side are YOU on, or is the answer just "whoever's paying me at the moment"?

Asked by elliotballer1 almost 9 years ago

Good question! I've definitely thought about this from time to time. In my honest opinion, it really is a personal and ethical decision for the individual PI to make for himself/herself. It's always been a "gray" occupation with little oversight or guidance. I will say this, I have declined cases because of ethical issues. I had this one guy try and hire me to take photos of a person running for city council. The guy wanted to make posters out of my photos and slander the neighbor with an advertising campaign against him. I smiled and said to him, "this one isn't for me". I ended up seeing the posters a week later, so I guess another PI took the gig.

What's the craziest story you can share from the PD trenches?

Asked by Gail almost 9 years ago

I got invited to an after hours party after a wedding that I attended as an undercover workers comp investigator. This group of people from the groom's side thought I was the bride's cousin from out of town. It was all a big mix up because of a grandparent who kept telling people I was her cousin and that I was single and needed to be fixed up with a girl. It was hilarious, I just rolled w/ it. I never lied about my reason being there, because no one ever asked. I just smiled and blended in. It was a great story to tell the other surveillance guys I worked w/ at the time.

I just read the PD in the Wolf of Wall Street, Bo Dietl, was actually the real-life PD for Jordan Belfort, and playing himself in the movie. Was he a known guy in PD circles before the movie? And how realistic was the movie's portrayal do you think?

Asked by PD almost 9 years ago

I think this guy was a bit before my time, I've never heard of him. I've never seen the movie either. Try snooping around on some PI forums, some of them are open to the public to ask Q&A.