7:29 a.m. Yesterday afternoon I got a call from Cuz's husband, Dirk. He was out on surveillance in a rural part of Idaho and he had a couple of questions seeing as this was only his second case. (Yeah. I got him a job with my company. Nepotism is alive and well in my world.)
Anyway, he was being visited by several of his Subject's neighbors who dropped by with friendly inquiries into why he was hanging around their little corner of the universe. Fortunately, Dirk was prepared for this after reading my many posts on rural surveillance. He took it in stride and managed to secure a very good surveillance location on the property of a guy that didn't particularly care of the Subject.
Anyway, Dirk and I chat for a while and say our goodbyes. Later that afternoon he calls me again. He says he put his 12 hours in and is heading home. "Well, that's good," I say. "How'd things go?" He's quiet for a moment. "Well...that's why I'm calling. I'm being tailed." I raise an eyebrow. "Yeah," he says, "It's the Subject's wife. She's been following me for the past 50 miles. Do you think maybe she's on to me?" Oh, dear.
I advise Dirk to call the cops and tell them what's up. (After all, he saw Subject's wife load a gun into her truck earlier that day.) "People with guns and trucks in rural Idaho are not to be triffled with," I tell him. Before Dirk hangs up he says that in case he gets his ass capped, he loves me and I've been a great cousin-in-law. Aack! Now I am worried. I am pretty sure Cuz would be mad if I manage to get her husband killed or maimed or otherwise injured.
I get another call about 45 minutes later. It's Dirk again. He's alive. Phew! But he's been pulled over by the cops. Apparently, Subject's wife called complaining that some strange man has been hanging around her house for two days and now she's following him on the interstate.
Now Dirk's got some 'splainin' to do. He tells the cops what he was up to, but they are still suspicious. They question him. Dirk ends up having to show them part of the video he took to reassure them he isn't some perv taking pictures of middle-aged farmers in their underwear.
In the end, the cops believe him, but tell him that he needs to be less obvious. He tells me he is tempted to come back with, "No s#@t, Sherlock," but thinks better of it seeing as he just narrowly avoided getting his butt hauled into the clink.
I know Dirk is upset he got picked up, so I tell him about the first time it happened to me. It was my first travel case, way up in northern Wisconsin on (you guessed it) a rural farm. Believe me, those cases are the hardest. I'd rather work in the inner city any day. The problem is that when there is only one house on miles of dirt country road, it's virtually impossible to find a place to set up that isn't obvious and yet still allows you to get decent video. The best that you can hope for is a tree to hide behind which is, as you can imagine, not very good cover.
I set up down the road a bit from the residence. I am only there for an hour or two when I see Subject come out of the house and head toward my truck. I take a short video of him, hop in the front and drive off slowly, reasoning that he might just be taking a walk and isn't necessarily coming to talk to me. I call Joe, my then supervisor, and tell him what happened. He says I should break off for the day and set up tomorrow in the parking lot of a doctor's office that is on the corner of the nearest intersection.
So, the next morning I drive by the residence and note no activity. I set up in the parking lot, just like Joe told me and am reviewing my video from the previous day. I am so engrossed in watching the video footage that I don't notice when Subject's car drives slowly into the parking lot. I only realize he's there when he parks up so close to my driver's side door that I can't get out. This is probably not a very good thing.
I watch as a very large man resembling a lumberjack exits the opposite side of the car. Nope, nope. Definitely not a good thing. He walks around the front of my truck and I can see he is seething. He narrows his eyes and raises his arm to perform a "come hither" gesture with his forefinger. So, let me get this straight, I think to myself, you want me to leave my car so that there is nothing between me and your 300 lb, flannel-clad self but air? I have a better idea. I back out of the parking spot I'm in and get the hell out of there.
He watches me as I turn out of the lot and head toward the highway. I call Joe and tell him what happened. "So, what are you going to say in your report?" Joe asks. "Well," I say, "I'm going to say that I became concerned the Subject might be suspicious of my intentions so I broke off surveillance so as to preserve the integrity of the investigation." Joe laughs, "That's my girl."