More and more of our personal information is now readily available online, a vulnerability that has been a boon for the investigations business, says a September 28, 2020, story in the New Yorker by Patrick Radden Keefe. As discreet subcontractors, detectives may be largely invisible in our contemporary landscape, but they have become “indispensable,” Keefe says, quoting Tyler Maroney, cofounder of the private investigations firm Quest Research & Investigations, who also worked at Kroll Associates and the Mintz Group. “We are everywhere.” In an epic piece, Keefe argues that PIs have been touted as an antidote to corruption and a force for transparency. But they’ve also become another weapon in the hands of corporate interests. Read all about it by clicking here.
That’s just one of the stories about our industry that have appeared on the web in recent days. Here are a few more:
San Francisco's Swashbuckling, Anti-authority PIs . . . .
Alta has a great story about PIs in San Francisco. On September 29, Phil Bronstein writes that for nearly 50 years, a tight-knit group of San Francisco private eyes—intellectual, swashbuckling, anti-authority lefties—practiced their craft in the pursuit of truth and, hopefully, justice. In a gritty piece of writing, Bronstein goes onto profile local PIs including David “Fechh” Fechheimer, who passed away last year, Sandra Sutherland, Tim Schmolder, Josiah “Tink” Thompson, Jack Palladino, Pierre Merkl and Zach Fechheimer. Get the whole story by clicking right here.
How To Know Your Partner Is Cheating . . .
No collection of private eye-related yarns would be complete without something on infidelity. John Quinn, from online publication, Best Life, on September 28, does the subject justice with a piece titled “The Biggest Tell-Tale Sign Your Partner Is Cheating.” Quinn goes on to quote experts saying to take notice if your spouse changes up their usual pattern: longer hours at work, unusual business trips, a new commitment to the gym, radically altered personal style. Now that’s got you thinking, hasn’t it! Scare your pants off – on maybe back on – by reading the story right here.
Earlier this year, Pam Zubeck, a senior reporter for the Colorado Springs Independent, broke a story revealing Teller County Sheriff Jason Mikesell was operating a lucrative private investigation and security business, iXero LLC, separate from his duties as a local law enforcer. Zubeck wrote that Sheriff Mikesell employed officers, from both the Colorado Springs Police Department and the El Paso County Sheriff's Office, to work as private investigators in their spare time. A number of those officers were disciplined by their law enforcement agencies for using public resources, such as phones, computers and cameras, while working for iXero. El Paso Sheriff Bill Elder subsequently banned his officers from moonlighting for Sheriff Mikesell. Sheriff Mikesell says the discipline handed down to the officers is their problem and there’s nothing wrong with running a side hustle. However, many questions about potential conflicts of interest and Sheriff Mikesell’s priorities remain unanswered. Simon Crittle put these six questions to Sheriff Mikesell and is waiting for a reply.
1. You occupy a position that demands a high degree of public trust. But at the same time you operate a side business that has employed law enforcement officers who have been disciplined for using law enforcement resources while they worked for you. Are you concerned that public trust in your official duties might have been compromised? Beside giving your word, how can you restore the public’s trust and assure local people you are discharging your duties as Sheriff of Teller County in the proper manner?
2. It has been reported that you let Teller County commissioners know about your side business dealings. It has also been reported that you claim to have been given clearance to run your business by the Teller County attorney. (He disputes this.) Did any of those interactions involve you providing written assurance or documentation about your business dealings? Did you comply with any formal mechanism – either at the county or state level – that involved you disclosing details about your business? If so, what did you do in that regard? If not, do you think it would be prudent to disclose documents and/or more details about your business to the public?
3. Can you assure the public you don’t use county resources to run your business? Do you use your county-issued car, phone, computer, office or anything else to do work for iXero. Do you carry two phones? One for each job? Do you take iXero-related phone calls when you’re in uniform? Do you use a personal car to, say, go and meet a iXero client or drive to the airport for a iXero-related trip? Do you have a separate email account for iXero-related work? Do you read and write iXero email on county computers or phones?
4. Because you occupy a public office and, at the same time, work privately for clients, it is possible you could find yourself in a conflicted or compromised position? Who are your clients? Do any of your clients live or work in Teller County? If so, what would you do if you discovered a local client was suspected of a crime? Would you or your deputies question or arrest them? Would you recuse yourself or distance yourself from any criminal investigation? How can a sheriff of a county distance themselves from a criminal investigation in their jurisdiction? If your clients all reside or work outside of Teller County, what would you do if you discovered they were suspected of, or committed a crime, elsewhere? Would you alert authorities in that jurisdiction? Where does your first loyalty reside? With your clients or with the judicial process?
5. Even if no actual conflict of interest exists, are you concerned about the potential for a future conflict or the perception that a conflict might occur? How can you mitigate potential or perceived conflicts?
6. Being a sheriff requires a lot of hard work. Sheriff Elder, of El Paso, told Pam Zubeck he was “never not the sheriff” when asked if he thought it was ok to run a side business. How do you manage to balance working as the sheriff of Teller County and, at the same time, run a business that reportedly turns over hundreds of thousands of dollars each year? Does your job as sheriff ever suffer because you are busy working on your business venture? Are you concerned there might be a perception your attention isn’t always on the job of being sheriff? How can you assure the public you have their best interests at heart and are carrying out your law enforcement job as expected?
Colorado’s private eye association is holding an online conference next month.
The Professional Private Investigator Association of Colorado (PPIAC) says the Rocky Mountain Investigator Conference promises education, vendors, networking and a “virtual cocktail hour” when it takes place on Zoom on October 2 and 3.
The conference costs $99 for PPIAC members and $129 for guests.
Edward Ajaeb, of Nighthawk Strategies, who will talk about online and social media investigations.
John Hodo, of All Things Investigative, who will say why being a great investigator doesn’t guarantee success.
Matt Spairer, of Satellite Investigators, who will give up 10 tips of how to take great accident site photos.
Lt. Sam McGhee, of Aurora Police Department, who will explain how to prepare for active shooters in the workplace.
Jennifer Brown, of J. Brown Legal Investigators, who will talk about new innovations regarding genealogy have helped investigators.
James Nanos and Nicole Cusanelli, of PI Magazine and PI Gear, will demonstrate the latest gear to make investigations more effective.
JP Moore, assistant regulation counsel for the Colorado Supreme Court, will talk about ethics and go through complaints about private eyes.
To sign up for the conference go to, https://ppiac.org
A Colorado private investigator has tracked down the man who shot him nearly 50 years ago.
Daril Cinquanta was working as a Denver police officer in 1971 when he noticed a suspicious car on Mariposa Way. As he confronted the driver the man pulled a gun.
“So, I hit him in the temple,” Cinquanta told CBS4. “I knocked his glasses and hat off, and reached across his body for his gun, but I couldn’t restrain him, so he shot me.”
As Cinquanta crawled back to his car the man fled. Cinquanta later learned the man was one Luis Archuleta, also known as Lawrence Pusateri, who had just escaped from prison in California.
“The reason he was in Denver, he was an escapee from Soledad prison in California, and he had come here to hide.”
Archuleta was later arrested, sentenced for the shooting, and imprisoned in Colorado. However, he escaped three years later after faking an illness and being sent to a state hospital.
“It was an escape from a Hollywood script,” Cinquanta said. “Took a hostage, a getaway car, an accomplice with guns.”
Cinquanta has been chasing him ever since.
“I can’t even tell you how many people I talked to,” Cinquanta said. “I visited the homes of criminals, people who were involved in this case.”
Then on June 24, this year, Cinquanta says a source called him to tell him Archuleta was hiding in New Mexico.
“It sounded too good to be true, so I went to work and I verified and corroborated all of his information,” Cinquanta explained.
Archuleta, now 77 years old, was using an alias. But Cinquanta used his investigative skills to verify it was the shooter he’s been looking for.
He then contacted local police and the FBI, who sent in SWAT to capture him.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Cinquanta said. “I’ve been chasing the guy all of this time, and dead end after dead end after dead end.”
Archuleta is now back Colorado, serving time at the Denver Reception and Diagnostic Center, and will be eligible for parole in 2024.
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