Four of our San Diego-based private investigators are attending Comic-Con International this weekend, but they are not on official duty. We have learned over the years not to take people’s money to conduct surveillance jobs at this venue. It is simply a nightmare. Here’s why.
A spouse from Denver, Colorado calls our office and wants us to follow her husband, who is attending the event for all 4 days. We politely inform her that there will be over 130,000 people attending the convention. We then inquire as to whether the husband will be dressed in costume. She informs us he will be dressed as a Stormtrooper.
Right. Him and two hundred other people.
It is near impossible to conduct surveillance on subjects in a very crowded area when there are multiple people all dressed exactly the same. There are many events going on in small rooms and large ballrooms. The chance of “hitting the ball out of the park” for client is very slim, so we just decline the opportunity to waste their money and our time. There are better ways of doing this (which I discuss later in this post).
Comic-Con started over 40 years ago in the basement a local hotel with one hundred attendees. It has now grown past comic books to be a festival of all things pop culture: including movies, TV, science fiction, fantasy literature and video games. The people are a cross-section of the world – and include everyone from doctors and lawyers to current students and children. We have always found the event to be a great time, and the participants are very respectful to each other, the facilities and the City of San Diego.
If you are thinking about having a private investigator conduct a marital surveillance on your spouse, don’t do it at Comic-Con. I will share with you some advice and tips learned over the past forty years, after thousands of surveillance jobs.
First, find a PI that is duly licensed in your State. Make sure he/she is in good standing with the licensing agency that monitors private investigative activity in your State. Make sure your PI has an office where you can go and consult with him/her. Having an office doesn’t make one a good PI but it sure gives one confidence that if the wheels come off the surveillance you have somewhere to return. Meeting PI’s in a restaurant or coffee shop and handing over cash is not the way to conduct business. Do that, and I guarantee it will be the last time you see that PI.
You should determine at the consultation (which should be conducted at no charge) three things at the end of the day:
- What is the investigative plan?
- How long will it take?
- What will it cost?
The plan should include how many investigators are needed, one versus two. Most surveillances, if set up properly, can be completed within four to eight hours. When I say “set up properly”, I mean to orchestrate efforts in order to maximize the best chance of catching the mate.
For example, depending on your current lifestyle, you may tell your spouse that on Friday night you and your girlfriends are taking the kids out to an amusement park. This means your husband will have to find dinner on his own, but plants the seed that he doesn’t have to be home at 5pm like normal. There are many such scenarios that any competent PI can suggest to you.
We charge $150/hour, $0.95/mile and we work in four-hour minimums. All our surveillances are supervised and completed by former agents of the FBI, DEA, IRS or Secret Service. You can always call us for a free consultation.