Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cell Phone Bugs

If you think that your cell phone is bugged, it's probably not. However, for a mere $59, you can now buy software on the Internet to bug someone else's cellphone. If fact, there are over 400 programs available to bug cellphones.

There are certain signs to tell that a cellphone is bugged, or has spyware. Does your battery last half the time it used to when you first got the phone? When the battery is being used to make or receive a call, it tends to get warm. Is your cellphone warm when you are not using it? If so, it may be bugged.

The Technical Division of Sherlock Investigations has developed a method to tell whether a cellphone is sending out messages when you are not even using it. If it is transmitting, it is a sure sign that it is bugged. If you turn it off, it's possible that it isn't really off. Eavesdroppers can listen in on the conversations in the room or car where the cellphone is.

One lady who contacted Sherlock Investigations was sure that her cell phone was bugged. I asked her where she usually talked on it. In her car, she said. Her soon-to-be-ex knew too much about her plans and life that I knew something fishy was going on.

After two hours of searching, I found the listening device cleverly hidden in her car. Whenever she talked on her cell phone in her car, her husband could hear her side of the conversation. I removed the device and she gave it to her lawyer.

The chances of your cell phone being bugged is slim. We can check it out, though, to be really sure.
Contact us at

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

K-9 Detective

A couple of years ago notices were posted on all the doors leading to the stairwells in the 29 story building where I live. It seems that someone was letting their dog urinate on the landing of a particular floor. The management suspected a dog owner, so instead of going to the dog owners on that floor, they implicated all of us dog owners.

I know all the dog owners in my building and didn't believe that any of them would let their canines pee in the stairwell. So, I called the superintendant of the building and asked for him to call me if an incident ocurred again.

About two weeks later he called. A porter had discovered a puddle of pee on a stairway landing. I immediately put a leash on my dog Sparky, a Llhasa Apso, and headed to the elevator. We met the super on the designated floor and he showed me the puddle.

My theory was that Sparky would be very interested in dog urine, because when I walked him three times a day he sniffed every tree, bush, and everything that didn't move. He could identify every dog in the neighborhood by the urine he smelled. However, if it were human urine in the stairwell, Sparky would have no interest.

I walked him by the puddle and he paid no attention. He just wanted to go down the stairs. Then I actually walked him through it. He still paid no attention. If it were a dogs', he would've sensed it as soon as he walked through the door and become very interested.My conclusion, I told the super, was that a person, a human being, peed in the stairwell. Understanding my reasoning, he agreed with my premise.

Soon, Sparky proved to be a good detective, as a woman with Alzheimer's disease was found to be the culprit.

Sparky suffered a massive stroke on Saturday, November 10, 2007. He was 15 years and 7 months old. He's missed.

Monday, November 05, 2007

D.B. Cooper, New York Magazine

This week's New York magazine has another column dedicated to the mystery of D.B. Cooper. An FBI spokesman said that our suspect, Kenneth Christiansen, was dismissed as a suspect because he did not meet "the threshold of the basic physical description" of the hijacker.

New York says, "Really?" Geoffrey Gray, the author, responded, "One of the FBI's primary witnesses to the crime, stewardess Florence Schaffner, told New York that of all the suspects the FBI has ever shown her thoughout the years, the suspect that look the most like D.B. Cooper is Ken Christiansen. Why would the FBI discount the observations of their own witness?"

What is the FBI's basic description of the hijacker? Here it is: Race: White. Sex: Male. Age: Mid-40s. Height: 5'10'' to 6'. Weight: 170 to 180. Build: Average to well built."

We have a Washington state driver's license that belonged to Kenneth Christiansen. He was 45 years of age in 1971, and according to the driver's license weighed 170 pounds, and was 5'8" in bare feet, which could easily make him 5'10" in shoes. He was white, probably with a suntan, and as a trained paratrooper, well built. And his photo looks astonishing like the FBI composite drawing.

Since Sherlock Investigations revealed the name of Kenneth Christiansen, the FBI has not only reactivated the case, but also gone to the media. They believe that the hijacker plunged to his death after bailing out of the Northwest 727 in 1971. So, any theories of a man surviving the jump are automatically rejected by them.

To this day, they haven't called Sherlock Investigations, or Lyle Christiansen, Kenneth's brother who turned him in. However, several months ago they asked for DNA samples, which we supplied. We're still waiting.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

FBI and D.B. Cooper

Since New York Magazine broke the name of our suspect, Kenneth P. Christiansen, in the infamous D.B. Cooper saga, the FBI reactivated the 36 year-old case. However, they say that our suspect, Christiansen, is not D.B. Cooper.

The FBI is convinced that "Cooper" failed to open his parachute when he jumped, so they automatically eliminate anyone who was alive after November 24, 1971. They have no evidence of the parachutist's death, since no body, or red and yellow parachute has ever been found.

Our suspect, Kenneth Christiansen, was trained by the Army to jump with 90 pounds of equipment strapped to his body. Twenty-one pounds of cash would have been easy for him. Also, many skydivers acknowledge that an experienced paratrooper or skydiver would know what to expect on a jump like that, and could easily survive it.

They do suspect that Cooper was from the Seattle area. Christiansen lived in Bonnie Lake, Washington, a Seattle suburb.

They say, though, that Cooper apparently didn't know that much about flying planes. So? How many flight attendants and mechanics do? Christiansen worked as both for Northwest Airlines. At least he knew enough to instruct the pilot to fly the plane lower and slower than usual.

When Lyle Christiansen first suspected his brother and went to the FBI he didn't give them any evidence. He even tried to hide his brother's name from them, and his story was just one among many hundreds that they received. To this day, they've obtained NO evidence directly from Christiansen. At Sherlock Investigations we've gathered lots of evidence, including DNA and Christiansen's thumbprint.

Most importantly, the FBI maintains that Cooper was 6 feet tall and weighed 175 to 180 pounds, had brown eyes, and a tan or swarthy complexion. Kenneth Christiansen was 5'10 in shoes, and according to his driver's license, 170 pounds. (Many people lie on their driver's license applications, so he could have been a few pounds heavier.) He also had hazel eyes. Many people confuse brown eyes with hazel eyes. Christiansen also loved the sun, and spent as much time in tropical places and beaches as he could.

At their request, we provided the FBI with DNA from Kenneth Christiansen and his brother. Only when the FBI conclusively eliminates him based on that evidence will it prove that Christiansen wasn't Cooper. Meanwhile, he is the leading suspect, and to reject him as a suspect because the FBI didn't bother to obtain a copy of his driver's license is negligent.

The truth is, the FBI hasn't a clue who D.B. Cooper was, so they like to say that he died when he parachuted from that plane.

We'll wait for the DNA results.

Friday, October 19, 2007

DB Cooper in New York Magazine

After months of investigating the identity of the notorious DB Cooper, Sherlock Investigations reveals the culprit's identity in a major article in New York magazine (Oct. 29, 2007 issue), on the news stands on October 22, 2007.

In the piece, you'll learn about how we came across his identity, and why we think this man is the infamous DB Cooper. This case has baffled the FBI for almost 36 years. Now, the true story of DB Cooper comes to light.

Click here to view article:

Thursday, October 18, 2007

DB Cooper Identified!

For months now, Sherlock Investigations has been working on the notorious DB Cooper case. DB Cooper, in case you don't know, hijacked a Northwest Orient plane in 1971 and extorted $200,000 from the airline, saying that he had a bomb in his briefcase. He also demanded four parachutes along with the money. After the plane was airborne, he did the unheard of...he bailed out, with the cash strapped to himself.

Years later, some $5800 in cash was found along the Columbia River in Washington, but his yellow and red parachute, and more importantly, DB Cooper, were never found.

The man buying the ticket for that flight used the name Dan Cooper. After the heist, the media interviewed a man named D.B. Cooper. Somehow the name stuck, and DB Cooper became sort of a folk hero.

For almost 36 years now (the hijacking took place on Thanksgiving Eve, November 24, 1971) the FBI has been trying to solve the case. They've interviewed thousands of people and have had many leads, but have come up empty-handed.

Professional and amateur sleuths have followed the case for years. Several people have come forward and said that they're DB Cooper. Others have said that their deceased loved-one was DB Cooper.

Sherlock Investigations has been investigating a man who fits the profile more than any other suspect, and we believe that our suspect was the real DB Cooper.

Very soon, a major weekly magazine will feature our suspect, and how we found him. The article includes photos. Watch your newstand!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

People Search

The Internet is a great way to locate someone. Often, just entering someone's name in Google will come up with an address, phone number, and sometimes even an email address. Then there are specialized sites like, and a number of others.

When the going gets rough, people often click on the various ads found on Google and Yahoo. Most of these companies have access to databases such as the "headers" provided by the three major credit reporting companies. The headers contain basic information such as name, address, date-of-birth, Social Security Number, and often a phone number. Sometimes they include a place of employment.

When running a name through one of these companies that advertise on the Internet, you usually have to give your credit card information to see the results of your search. Many times, you'll get a long list of names, and you'll be left to figure out which one, if any, are the person that you're looking for.

Some companies offer Free People Locators. This will work if the person that you're looking for is in "plain sight" and not hiding from you or anyone else.

People contact Sherlock Investigations after they've tried all of the above. We specialize in finding hard-to-find people. Sure, we have access to all the databases that the other companies have. Too often, though, the person we're looking for is not on a database, or if they are, the data is old. People move a lot, and it takes months for the paper trail to catch up.

Sherlock Investigations offers hands-on service, and we work closely with our clients until we find the person you're looking for. You don't get this kind of service from most of the companies advertising on the Internet.

Some people, for any number of reasons, just don't want to be found. That's where Sherlock Investigations comes in. Based in New York City, we've gone in person as far as Tucson, Arizona to locate someone. In that case, we found her living under a bridge.

Free People Locator services may work fine for some people, but not hard-to-find people. Our rates may be higher than those of some agencies, but how many offer a guarantee? Not many, believe me. Our guarantee is that we will keep a case open and active until we locate the person you've hired us to find. We locate heirs, witnesses, deadbeat dads, runaway teens, fugitives, debtors, lost siblings, parents, and children.

If you're still looking for a free people locator, remember, you get what you pay for.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Ask the Private Investigator

The phone rings all day long and the email keeps coming in to Sherlock Investigations. Most of these callers and emailers ask questions about the nature of investigations, our rates, or just ask us to take their case.

But, if you have questions of a general nature, you can ask them on this blog. We monitor the blog constantly, and will post an answer to your question asap.

Just click on Comment, and then wait for our answer.

You can also make Comments about the subjects we write about, and also Comment on other people's Comments.

So, whether you have a serious question, or just want to join the fun, leave a note on Comments.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Phishing PayPal

We recently received an email from "PayPal." Only it was not from PayPal.

Of course we didn't recognize the $93.12 charge, and had we not been aware of these kinds of scams we would have clicked on the "Cancel this payment." To do so, though, we would have been asked to share passwords or personal or company financial information that would have led to identity theft, and likely caused great financial loss.

A couple of things about this email made us suspicious. The first one is the sender's email address. Even though it says "PalPal" before the email address, the email address of is not a genuine PayPal email address. Their email is always

Also, genuine PayPal email will not have typographical errors. Note that European is "european," all lower case.

Just to make sure, we went to our PayPal account and clicked on History. There never was a transaction made for the amount of $93.12.

There are also other problems with the email. See if you can spot them.

We forwarded this email to PayPal at and received the response copied below. PayPal acknowledged that the email we received was not genuine, and is known as "phishing."

Be aware that phishing comes in many forms. Examine unknown emails carefully.

Never open attachments if you're not sure who sent the email. Even then, you have to be careful. If you open an attachment, and apparently nothing happens, you may have just placed spyware on your hard drive.

This is the bogus email that we received:


We recorded a payment request from "Internet Safe-Shopping - -" to enable the charge of $ 93.12 on your account.

Because the order was made from a european internet address, we put an Exception Payment on transaction id #PayPal-T2254 motivated by our Geographical Tracking System.


If you made this transaction or if you just authorize this payment, please ignore or remove this email message. The transaction will be shown on your monthly statement as "Internet Safe-Shopping".

If you didn't make this payment and would like to decline the $ 93.12 billing to your card, please follow the link below to cancel the payment:

Cancel this payment (transaction id #PayPal-T2254) [link removed by Sherlock]

NOTE: Because email is not a secure form of communication, please do not reply to this email.

Copyright 1995-2007 PayPal Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Our response from the real PayPay:

RE: Q510 - Thank you for your email to PayPal

Thanks for taking an active role by reporting suspicious-looking emails.The email you forwarded to us is a phishing email, and our security team is working to disable it.

What is a phishing email?

Phishing emails attempt to steal your identity and will often ask you to reveal your password or other personal or financial information. PayPal will never ask for your password over the phone or in an email and will always address you by your first and last name. Take our Fight Phishing Challenge at to learn 5 things you should know about phishing. You'll also see what we're doing to help fight fraud every day.

You've made a difference. Every email counts. By forwarding a suspicious-looking email to, you've helped keep yourself and others safe from identity theft. Thanks,

The PayPal Team

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Scam-proof Passwords

One night last year I swept an accountant's office in midtown Manhattan. By "swept," I mean TSCM, or an electronic surveillance countermeasures job, or, in other words, bug sweep.

I found a video camera hidden in a plant. It was easy to find because most plants don't have a wire leading to them. In this case, the owner placed the camera as part of his security system.

I was part of a team. The other part were Israeli computer geeks. They had a disk that they shoved into the computers in the office and, literally, in two seconds, uncovered all the passwords in each computer.

Most hackers and identity thieves don't have such sophisticated software. They don't need it. Many people use their pet's name, their first name, nicknames, "password", "123456," "qwerty," "abc123," "letmein," "monkey," their birthdate, or part of their Social Security Number, as their password. Hackers and identity thieves know this.

Obviously, any password stored on a computer is obtainable. However, the best passwords...ones that people cannot guess...are random passwords. Examples are: 4kC?l0*, or 4ilJH%, or #Ikn*M. These were created randomly by hitting different keys blindly.

Of course, if you have passwords like this, and I recommend it, you have to write them down, because you'll never remember them. Just don't tape them to your computer.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Junior McFadden

Once again we ask our reader's assistance in locating someone. Several times recently Sherlock Investigations has received tips that led to the person that we were looking for. So, amateur sleuths, go to it!

The photos below were taken in Japan in 1973. The subject was in the U.S. Army, Camp Fuji in Japan.

He was born in Missouri, and 18 or 19 years old at the time, which means he was born in 1954 or 1955.

At one time that we know of, he went t0 Yamashita Park and Camp Honmoku, both in Japan.

His friends called him "Junior," and the handwriting on the pictures may read "Junior McFadden," but that is open to interpretation.

The jeep pictured has a sign reading, perhaps, "FDO."

"Junior McFadden," if still living, is not in any kind of trouble. We just have a client who would like to find him and has given permission for us to post this search on our blog.

If you think you know the identity of this person, please email us at or call us at 1-888-354-2174. All responses will be strictly confidential.

Whitey Bulger Update

In locating hard-to-find people for many years now, I've learned that it's easy to widen your scope. Instead of just trying to find the person that you're looking for, try to find someone who knows where that person is. Almost no one completely disappears. There are usually a number of people who know where that person is.

I recently posted on this blog a request to help me find two flight attendents who dealt with D.B. Cooper when he skyjacked a Northwest Airlines plane in 1971, then bailed out with the ransom money, never to be seen again. As a result of that posting, we've located both women through informants who read the blog and got in touch with me. Even though both women had changed their names, people knew them, and where they were.

I first posted this "sighting" of Whitey Bulger on Monday, August 28, 2006, more than a year ago. He still has not been located, and the FBI never got back to me about my "tip." As a government agency, I think the FBI is cumbersome and too often careless.

It's my hope that someone will come forward with some valid information on Whitey Bulger. I know, all sorts of kooks may come out of the ether and contact me. That's a chance I'm willing to take. I know that people know where Whitey Bulger is, and may have reason to turn him in.

James "Whitey" Bulger has been on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List since 2000. They're offering a $1 million reward for information leading to his arrest. A Boston mob figure, Bulger worked for years as an FBI informant. Now he's wanted in connection with several murders. He's considered armed (a knife) and dangerous. Photos of the white-haired Bulger are on the FBI's web site.

To this day, I believe that I spotted him on Saturday, September, 2003. Here's my story: At approximately 1:25 p.m. I arrived with a friend at The Zipper theater at 336 W. 37th Street in New York to see a show called "Berkshire Village Idiot," a one-man comedy about Western Massachusetts. After picking up our tickets at the box office, we sat in the waiting area for about 15 minutes until they opened the theater. Then we were ushered to our seats, which were second row center. The show began about 10-12 minutes later.

About 2:30 p.m., a half hour into the show, I noticed a distinguished-looking man sitting about 10 yards away from me, diagonally on the right. He was sitting at the far end of the front row. There were four people sitting to his left.The physical appearance of the man caused me to do a double take. My first thought was that he looked like Whitey Bulger. His white hair was closely cropped on the sides. He appeared to have no hair on top. He was dressed in black slacks, a black short-sleeved shirt, and thick-soled black sandals, with no socks. While he appeared very trim, his arms were somewhat muscular. He looked to be in his late 60s to early 70s. On the floor to his right was a medium-sized black, nylon backpack.

Dismissing my "sighting" as someone who looked coincidentally like Bulger, I let it go, but I occasionally glanced over at him. One time, our eyes met, and momentarily locked. After that, I avoided letting him see me look at him. For the next few minutes he acted figidty. Although the show has some funny lines, I never observed him laughing, or even smiling to the extent of revealing his teeth. In one scene, the lights were extinguished and the theater was almost completely dark. When the lights came back on, I noticed that the man had disappeared. His black bag was also gone. It was about 2:45 p.m.I sat for a few minutes wondering what to do. It made sense to me that Bulger, being from Massachusetts, would find a show about Massachusetts of interest.

My adrenaline began to rise. The seat in front of me, which was the front row, was empty. I quickly climbed over it and hurried out of the theater. I spoke to an usher who was seated on a folding chair outside. I asked her if she had seen a man leave, and I described him. She said that she had, and mentioned that he had left in a hurry, and didn't look at her, or say anything. I also spoke to the person in the ticket office. He had also noticed the man leave in an apparent rush. I went outside and looked up and down 37th Street, but didn't see the man, and found no one else who had noticed him.

Then, I called a contact at the FBI. My friend took my verbal report and suggested that someone would get back to me. I imagined that the FBI would first question me, and then go down to the theater and fingerprint the area where the man sat. If Bulger's fingerprints were found, then the sighting was real, and they would know at least that he was in New York.I never heard from the FBI about this. Either they knew that Bulger was in some other location, or they're just slack in looking for him.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Internet Scams

People contact Sherlock Investigations every week who have been robbed by someone they met online. To make matters worse, the recipients die off before their generous benefactors even realize that they've been had.

We've all heard of the Nigerian scams (Still, it's amazing how many people still fall for them.). They contact you by email claiming to be the wife, husband, son, or daughter of someone who had control of a lot of money. They want you to help them retrieve the money. If you help them, they'll give you, say, a 20% commission.

The other day we had a guy who fell for this. He contacted us because he wanted to know if a certain person was the head of The Bank of Africa. He was already in over his head when he emailed us. He had called a number in Africa and spoke to a "lawyer." The lawyer assured him that he could help him negotiate the red tape to retrieve his money. His only fee would be $850, in advance.

The idiot sent $850 to Africa by Western Union. A week later, the lawyer said that he needed another $5500. That's when the idiot contacted us.

I told him that he'd be had, and not to go to Ghana to try to find the guy and get his money back. People have been murdered while trying to do this.

There are many, many scams on the Internet. Some people list themselves on dating sites or other social places. After weeks or months sending back and forth engaging email or instant messages, they win your heart. Then they ask you if you'd help them out. One potential client sent a guy $6000 for knee surgery.

When our would-be client started to get suspicious, he got an email from someone saying that the guy who had knee surgery died of a blood clot. Without a doubt, it was the same guy who received the money. Time to move on, he thought.

This week alone we received pleas for help concerning three different people who "died" during the course of an Internet relationship. One woman was told, "It was all your fault."

Young men often fall victim to scams because they engage in online chat with young females who are charming and beautiful. Of course, the photos they send are not usually themselves. One person was sending out photos of an Italian porn star. We tracked him down and found a fat kid living with his mother. We even got a surveillance photo of him.

In one case, which was unusual, a guy had been having a relationship with a girl from the Phillipines. He hired Sherlock to check her out. She actually turned out to be who said she was, and he went to the Phillipines and proposed.

A lot of people are greedy, and think that they can get something for nothing. It ain't gonna happen folks. The bottom line: Don't give money to someone you don't really know. Maybe you shouldn't even give money to someone who you do know. You can be the judge of that.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Was Brooke Astor's Office Bugged?

Last fall I received a call for technical surveillance countermeasures at an office on Park Avenue. The office belonged to Brooke Astor, who died on August 13, 2007 at the age of 105.

Of course, Mrs. Astor, 104 at the time, wasn't there when I went to her office. In fact, it looked like she hadn't stepped foot in there for many years. The almost-quaint office had all sorts of Astor memorabilia, photos on the walls of exotic places, and several dusty books that Brooke Astor had written.

I got the call to sweep the office right after Astor's grandson, Philip Marshall, sued his father, Anthony Marshall, for neglecting to care for his mother while allegedly trying to help himself to some of her wealth.

The court put JPMorgan Chase in charge of Brooke Astor's financial affairs. It was through JPMorgan Chase that I was brought in to sweep the office for listening devices or phone taps. That office, apparently, handled some of her financial affairs.

Before Anthony Marshall became a Broadway producer, he was employed by the CIA. I have no idea whether he had the knowledge to bug an office or tap a phone, or whether the financial overseers at JPMorgan Chase were even worried about him. When I do these jobs, I just do my job and don't ask many questions.

The office was clean; I found nothing unusual. Just another routine job.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Criminal Investigations

Some states do have repositories, which are supposed to contain the records of convictions from every county in that state. The truth of the matter is that very few state repositories are accurate or up to date. Why? Because the information on convictions comes, typically, from the court clerk's office. In some states, law enforcement agencies have to specifically request that conviction records be sent to the state repositories. Even at that, only the more serious felony convictions are submitted. Less serious offenses like fraud and battery are seldom, if ever, reported. Even when a request is made, busy clerks may or may not get around to sending the information in a timely manner.

Beyond the state repositories, there is no requirement for any court to report conviction information to any state or federal agency. There is the NCIC (National Crime Information Center) in Washington, which collects information on arrests and convictions. But access to their files is limited essentially to law enforcement agencies and a few other institutions, such as banks, which, by law, have been given access to the information. The average employer does not have access to NCIC information, nor do any agencies that claim they can do nationwide court checks.

No central, up-to-date location exists that provides the average employer with conviction records. A nationwide court check can be done, but it is nationwide only in a very localized sense. Anybody can contact a county clerk in any county, one at a time, to check a candidate's criminal history. But that raises a myriad of other questions. How many counties do you check? How many years do you want to cover? Which court systems -- circuit, county or municipal -- do you want to check? What about neighboring counties? A candidate could be a saint in his county of residence and have a conviction record a mile long in the next county over, but you'd never know it unless you check there also. Do you just conduct the check in the current county of residence, or do you check all the contiguous counties, or all former counties of residence? The list of questions goes on and on.

Why do a criminal court check at all? There are only two legitimate reasons: 1) because the nature of the position for which the candidate is being considered requires it or 2) because there is some doubt or suspicion about the candidate's background. There is a third reason why many companies insist on doing a court check. They believe that by doing so they can demonstrate that some measure of care was exercised in the employment process that will protect them from possible claims of negligent hiring. Conducting a court check, in other words, is a cheap way for them to cover the company's backside in case a charge of negligent hiring is brought against them.

Companies interested in more than "backside covering" should be doing reference checks to evaluate past job performance as it relates to the requirements of the position to be filled. They should be talking to work-related references who are familiar with the candidate's job performance over time. What, afterall, can a court check tell a prospective employer about a candidate's management style or ability to work effectively with others?
A court check falls into that same marginally useful category of cursory checks, such as verifying employment dates or job titles. Just confirming that a candidate really worked at the XYZ Company for three years obviously says nothing about the quality of the job that was done or much of anything else.

Beware of anybody who claims to do nationwide court checks. What they're offering to do is call the candidate's current county of residence and talk to somebody in one local courthouse. And as author and critic John Ruskin once said, "There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse or sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man's lawful prey."

First published by Used by permission. Promoted on Fox

Sherlock Investigation's Sherry Hart appeared on Fox's "The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet" on Monday, July 30th, to discuss locating people on

Billed as "Myspace Reunions: Finding loved ones online," the program was clearly formulated to promote, a Murdoch company. Amid much laughter, the hosts, Mike and Juliet, said, " is owned by our company Newscorp." Indeed, and Fox TV are owned by Newscorp, Rupert Murdoch's conglomerate.

The program featured a father-daughter, who were reunited after being separated years ago, and a brother-sister who were split up when they were kids. All had found each other through Most of the segment was spent on the lifeless brother and sister, who looked like zombies. Mike tried valiantly to add some life to their testimonies.

Sherry was introduced as "an expert on online investigations." The hosts asked Sherry, "Is and these other sites putting you out of business?"

"People are pretty savvy these days," Sherry said, "about trying to find people on their own before they hire an investigator." She added that the process is so time-consuming and laborious that people often turn to a private investigator.

She warned about the fake entries on, and that you have to be careful about what you believe when you read on She also mentioned the pedophiles in the news on, to which Mike interjected, "But they've really cleaned up their act!"

Sherry also warned that after you go to "you'd better run your Ad-aware and keep your Norton up to date," because of the junk that infects your computer. She said that going to is "like walking barefoot in a Port Authority rest room."

Normally, Fox puts the segments from The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet on their website later that day. In this case, they failed to add this segment. Hmmm, wonder why?

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

D.B. Cooper Update

You may have ended up here by googling D.B. Cooper. If not, google the name to learn more about this famous case. Now, we believe that this 36 year-old case is about to be broken by Sherlock Investigations.

D.B. Cooper is a name erroneously attached to a man who hijacked a Northwest 727 in 1971. He said that he had a bomb in a cheap plastic suitcase he carried. The man bought his plane ticket under the name Dan Cooper. The media later interviewed a D.B. Cooper. The name stuck forever to the case.

"Cooper" had the plane land, unload the 36 passengers, and picked up $200,000 in $20 bills, plus four parachutes. Soon after taking off again, he bailed out, never to be seen again. Even the yellow and red parachute was never found.

Many articles, some books, and even a movie, starring Treat Williams and Robert Duvall, have been inspired by the D.B. Cooper case.

Working on a lead we received, we've been on the case for several months. All the evidence we have fits the clues gleaned from the various articles and FBI press releases. We have photos, a fingerprint, and DNA evidence.

We believe that "D.B. Cooper" worked for Northwest Airlines (Northwest Orient at the time), was an experienced parachutist, lived in a Seattle suburb, grew up in the midwest, and was single. He even bought a house for cash two years after the famous hijacking.

Stayed tuned for more!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

D.B. Cooper

On November 24, Thanksgiving eve, 1971, a unknown man hijacked a Northwest Orient Boeing 727 in Portland, Oregon, said he had a bomb in his briefcase, and demanded $200,000 in cash and four parachutes. He had the plane land, unload the 36 passengers, and picked up the cash and parachutes.

A little while after taking off with only the crew members, he lowered the backstairs and bailed out with the money. He's never been found since, dead or alive. However, some $5800 in cash was found along the Columbia River some years later.

The purpose of this telling is not to reiterate the story, but to announce that we think we know who D.B. Cooper was, and to solicite some help. Anyone who googles D.B. Cooper will find many accounts of the episode.

Our suspect was 45 years old at the time of the hijacking, an employee of Northwest Orient, and an experienced parachutist. He was a bourbon drinker, and a heavy smoker, as was Cooper, who ordered a bourbon on the plane and chain-smoked.

Our suspect lived in the Seattle area, but was originally from the Midwest. Although he retired from Northwest, he never had a bank account. Two years after the hijacking he purchased a house in the Seattle area, for cash, in $20 bills.

We have photographs of our suspect, one in a Northwest Orient flight attendant's uniform, and a mugshot that closely matches the FBI's composite drawing. We also have a thumbprint from his Army discharge papers (where he learned parachuting) and some DNA evidence.

There were two stewardesses on D.B. Cooper's (a fictitious name given to the hijacker by the media). They were Florence Schaffner and Tina Mucklow. We understand that Ms. Mucklow became a nun and is now sequestered in a convent.

First Officer Bob Rataczak, and the flight engineer H.E. Anderson also got a look at Cooper, as well as at least two passengers, Richard Simmons and his wife Barbara Simmons. The pilot is deceased.

If you're following this case, and know the whereabouts of any of the individuals listed above, we'd love to hear from you. Better still, if you're any of the people we listed, call today. We'd like to send these people copies of the photos we have and see if they recognize our suspect as being the man known as D.B. Cooper.

The FBI is also interested in this, but we're not ready to give up the information we have.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Gotham Private Eye Experience

Private investigator wannabes regularly contact Sherlock Investigations for employment or interships. We encourage people not to bother sending resumes because we don't read them. Instead, email us a letter explaining what you can do. If your letter excites us you might just get a job with us. Others have.

Still, the need is great for those who've always wanted to be a private eye and wondered what the experience is really like. As a result, we recently launched Gotham Private Eye Experience, a two-day, intensive, hands-on workshop in New York City.

A week ago we had our first student. After spending two days in the Big Apple working with us she exclaimed, "I had the experience of my life!"

In the workshop we reveal many of Sherlock's secrets. We explain how we locate people, conduct background investigations, run a surveillance operation, and teach people how to locate electronic eavesdropping devices...bugs, wiretaps, hidden video cameras, and much more.

Participants receive a copy of The Idiot's Guide to Private Investigations, required reading for Sherlock's investigators, and lunches at two of New York's Upper West Side Cafes.

So, come to New York City for the experience of your life.

Visit our sister-site to learn more!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Private Investigators: who uses them, men or women?

Generally, in domestic cases, women call Sherlock Investigations more than men. Lately, though, more men have been calling. Perhaps it has something to do with Spring's arrival. Women seem to cheat on their spouses or boyfriends as much as men do.

Women seem to have greater intuition than men. If a woman thinks a guy is cheating on her, the chances are great that she's right. Men don't seem to have that sense as much as women.

Same-sex couples also call us about their significant others. Women cheat on women and men cheat on men, just like straight people. We recently had a case where our client was a husband, who was suspicious that his wife having an affair with a woman. She was.

Our business clients are about equal as far as men and women go. This is true whether you're talking about attorneys or corporate types. The real exception are those involved with hedge funds. We regularly perform electronic sweeps for hedge fund companies in New York City. It's always a man who calls.

Our surveillance teams are usually women. This is effective because most people never suspect that women are following them. It's proven to be disarming in a lot of cases. Women seem to be able to get away with things that a man can't.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Cell Phone Bugs

Cell phone bugs, and/or roving cell phone bugs are hot in the world of bug detection. People contact us every day about the possibility of their cell phone being bugged. Sure, some of these people are just paranoid, but with the NSA spying on American citizens, and computer hackers setting their sites on cell phones, who isn't paranoid these days?

Can a cell phone be bugged? In short, yes. Actually, any transmission that is sent through the air can be intercepted. While not going into the technicalities of cell phone bugs, I will say this: If you don't want the world to know about something you say, don't say it on the telephone. And I mean landline, cordless phone, or cell phone. However, it's always good to have your phone inspected.

That's why Sherlock Investigations is offering to check cell phones for bugs. The way it works is you overnight your cell phone to us. We'll check it out electronically and physically, and send it back to you by Federal Express, along with our inspection report. Sure, you'll be without your cell phone for two days, but when you get it back, you'll know whether it's safe to use or not. You can't go wrong. For pricing, and our mailing address, contact us at, or 212-579-4302. It's better to be safe than sorry.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Andy Barker, P.I.

I tried to tape NBC's new show Andy Barker P.I. last week. With my trusty old VHS recorder on Channel 4, I pressed Record, and then switched to Channel 7 to watch Grey's Anatomy.

A couple days later, we rewound the tape to watch Andy Barker P.I. and found Grey's Anatomy on the tape. I thought that once I hit Record, I could then switch to another channel and watch that channel and still record on the first channel. Guess not.

Even though private investigating is what I do for a living, watching P.I. shows is sometimes interesting, especially P.I.'s with a good sense of humor. Most TV and movie P.I.s seem to get involved in criminal matters. In reality, criminal cases seldom come through our door, unless you count various kinds of Internet fraud and identity theft.

Missing the first episode is like being late for a movie. I hate to watch a movie if I missed the beginning. Maybe when the series is available on DVD I'll order Andy Barker P.I. from Netflix.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

How to Hire a Private Investigator

Most people who contact Sherlock Investigations have never before talked to a private investigator. This isn't unusual at all. After all, in the course of most people's life-times they'll never need a private investigator.

However, when you do need a private eye, you need to explain your situation as concisely as possible. Keep in mind: what, why, when, where, and how.

If you contact an investigator, state your problem and list all the facts. For example, if you're trying to locate someone, don't just say you have limited information. Say that you have a first and last name, and last known address, but that's all. If you have a SSN and DOB, say so. State precisely what information you do have.

We actually have people contact us who are looking for someone but don't even know their name! Near miracles can sometimes be done. We have located people with just a first name, but if the name is common, it can be real difficult.

If you're having marital problems and think you need surveillance done on your spouse, tell us briefly about the situation. Sometimes surveillance isn't the best option. If you have an attorney, it's best to consult with your attorney before contacting us.

The main thing that you want to avoid is sending a long, drawn-out email elaborating what you've been through for the last two years. Again, be concise, and state facts.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Free People Locator

The Internet is a great way to locate someone. Often, just entering someone's name in Google will come up with an address, phone number, and sometimes even an email address. Then there are specialized sites like, and a number of others.

When the going gets rough, people often click on the various ads found on Google and Yahoo. Most of these companies have access to databases such as the "headers" provided by the three major credit reporting companies. The headers contain basic information such as name, address, date-of-birth, Social Security Number, and often a phone number. Sometimes they include a place of employment.

When running a name through one of these companies that advertise on the Internet, you usually have to give your credit card information to see the results of your search. Many times, you'll get a long list of names, and you'll be left to figure out which one, if any, are the person that you're looking for.

Some companies offer Free People Locators. This will work if the person that you're looking for is in "plain sight" and not hiding from you or anyone else.

People contact Sherlock Investigations after they've tried all of the above. We specialize in finding hard-to-find people. Sure, we have access to all the databases that the other companies have. Too often, though, the person we're looking for is not on a database, or if they are, the data is old. People move a lot, and it takes months for the paper trail to catch up.

Sherlock Investigations offers hands-on service, and we work closely with our clients until we find the person you're looking for. You don't get this kind of service from most of the companies advertising on the Internet.

Some people, for any number of reasons, just don't want to be found. That's where Sherlock Investigations comes in. Based in New York City, we've gone in person as far as Tucson, Arizona to locate someone. In that case, we found her living under a bridge.

Free People Locator services may work fine for some people, but not hard-to-find people. Our rates may be higher than those of some agencies, but how many offer a guarantee? Not many, believe me. Our guarantee is that we will keep a case open and active until we locate the person you've hired us to find. We locate heirs, witnesses, deadbeat dads, runaway teens, fugitives, debtors, lost siblings, parents, and children.

If you're still looking for a free people locator, remember, you get what you pay for.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Online Dating Warning

Pity the newspapers that run "Personals." Online dating is really hot. Unlike ads in newspapers, you can communicate instantly with a person who piques your curiosity online. But beware!

Dating sites, like,, and, etc., post almost anything you'd want to know about someone. Of course, the members write their profiles themselves, and nothing is checked out. I know that there are a couple of sites that purport to do a background check on their members, but believe me, the background check is very sketchy and incomplete. No one can afford to do a background check for $30.

When responding to an "ad" online, prepare to be surprised. Women often lie about their age, especially if they're over 50. Some subtract as many as 10 years from their real age. And the photos they put up are often several years old, and some are even of other people. They also may cheat a bit, even quite a bit, in the weight category.

Men lie too. Men are more apt to lie about their marital status than anything. A close runner-up are lies about their weight and height. Some men join dating sites just looking for sex, and sometimes money.

Men, be aware that scammers from other countries are likely to contact you. (In many cases, they're men posing as women.) They'll try to get you to become infatuated with them, even sending phoney pictures. When they've got you hooked, they ask you to send them some money so that they can come over here. You send the money and they'll keep it and stay put.

If you meet someone online, they'll probably just give you their cellphone number. This is fine for starters. After a while, though, they should be willing to give out their home number, espeically if you've had a few dates. Be very, very suspicious of people who you've dated, but won't give you their home phone number or home address. What are they trying to hide? Believe me, it's something.

Keep track of all the information a person tells you. Good liars have to have superb memories just to keep track of all their lies. Most are bound to trip up sooner or later.

If you feel that someone is right for you, but you still remain suspicious, contact Sherlock Investigations. We can find out a person's true age, address, workplace, and marital situation, and more.

Having said all that, I endorse online dating as a great way to meet people. Just be very careful.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Wire Transfer Scams

Who wouldn't want $5000 for doing almost nothing? Say you get an email from someone in the United Kingdom. He says that he has three $5000 U.S. Postal Money Orders and can't cash them in the U.K., and he desperately needs the money.

He makes you an offer that's hard to refuse. He says that he'll mail you the money orders and asks you to deposit them in your bank. So far, so good. After you make the deposit, he asks you to wire $10,000 back to him. You get to keep $5,000 for this little gesture of good will.

Don't do it! Within a few days the bank will learn that these money orders are counterfeit. Meanwhile, the bank will have already sent the money to your contact in the U.K. Not only will your $5,000 earnings be no good, you'll owe the bank $10,000 for the money they transferred to the scammer.

Does this actually happen? Yes, every day.

This scam works in many different ways. Maybe you sold a $500 item on eBay and you receive a $3,000 check in the mail. The buyer asks you to send back $2,500. Don't do it! You'll soon discover that the $3,000 check is no good. And you've been scammed of $2,500.

If you receive a suspicious check or money order in the mail, contact your local Postal Inspectors. Check for more information.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Private Investigators

Because of TV and movies, a lot of people have misconceptions about what private eyes do. Most of us don't carry guns, and most of us don't even investigate criminal matters.

At Sherlock Investigations, our areas of expertise lie in several areas. While we do investigate crimes, especially Internet fraud, counterfeit merchandise sales, and the location of fugitives, we specialize in wiretap and bug detection, surveillance in the New York-metro area, background investigations, and the location of people for any number of reasons.

Much of our day is spent at the computer. Our access to non-public data bases enables us to find information that the suckers who buy NetDetective hope to find. Still, there is much information not found on data bases. Often, we are called upon to locate a person's place of employment. While social security searches sometimes come up with this information, it is usually out-dated. Then, we have to find it the old-fashioned way, sometimes even following somebody to work.

Several times a week we're asked to obtain a person's cell phone records. The only way to do this is to call a cell phone carrier and pretend that you're the person that you need the cell phone records for. Plain and simple, this is identity theft, and we don't do it.

There are a couple of other areas that we won't touch: obtaining medical records and how much people have in their bank accounts. Also, we do not place wiretaps, although we're often asked to. We locate them, but don't install them.

A lot of our requests from clients are unusual, but we welcome unusual requests, as long as they're legal.