When I first had the realization about wanting to become a private investigator, I had no idea how to go about it. I knew that the field I was currently in was not something that I was going to be happy with for my life career but what could I do. I called around but everyone said that you needed experience to get into the private investigation industry but how do you get experience in it unless you start working for one. Other than having been a police officer.
Finally one night I was watching a movie while relaxing at home, "The Last Boy Scout." Bruce Willis was a run down private investigator taking on any case he could get just to make ends meet. You would think that wouldn't be something to strive to want but the coolness of the job sold me. After seeing the movie, I was more than motivated to get into the industry at any cost.
The next day, I began putting together a resume. I used my limited security experience, being the Manager of a retail store in Connecticut as well as being in charge of security for three additional stores, to justify my credibility. (I loved getting shoplifters arrested and catching them in the act. I was the original secret shopper before that was even created.) Once my resume was complete, I opened the yellow pages, (we didn't have internet back then) and mailed and faxed my resume to every private investigation agency in Connecticut.
Months went by with continued faxes, mailers and calls to the agencies fighting and arguing with them to take me on and give me a chance. Most laughed at me, others threatened to have restraining orders placed against me until finally, eight months later, an older gentleman told me that he was so sick of hearing from me that he would give me a chance. It was the opportunity I was looking for. Without discussing a salary or any terms, I agreed to start working for him and gave my two weeks to my current bosses. They were not happy.
Two weeks later, I arrived at the private investigator's house. His name was Ed Day. He has since passed so I feel alright in using his name. His company was Hartford Security Investigators. When I arrived at his house I saw it to be a small run down Cape styled home. It was located in the South end of Hartford. A nice peaceful neighborhood. When I approached the front door, I immediately caught a whiff of a pipe that must have been used for many many years. I rang the bell in great anticipation of his acceptance.
When he opened the door, a large cloud of smoke exited through the open crack. I was instantly hit in the face with the cheap pipe smoke that he had surrounded himself in. Once it cleared, I saw a very large man, 6'5 at least, standing in front of me. He stood there with his odd shaped glasses and bright white, uncombed hair. He looked down at me and said to me, "So... you want to be a PI huh??" I'll never forget that. I said yes, entered and began my career.
It was difficult working out of his home. He was not the cleanest person. What he lacked in personal hygiene and cleanliness, he made up for in personality. Every time I went to work at his place, I would leave with cat hair all over me. It was something of an acquired atmosphere I guess. I was so happy to have gotten into the field, I guess looked past all that. But I do remember saying to myself, "This is just like the movie... Both Ed and Bruce are a mess. Do I really want this?" I pondered to myself and because the idea of the future adventures ahead, I decided yes.
About a month into my working with Ed, I learned a lot. Every day we worked ten to twelve hours and I was learning how to conduct surveillance, locate missing people, interview witnesses for criminal defense cases and best of all, catching cheaters left and right. Everything was going great except for the pay. I hadn't been paid a dime since I started and money was starting to get tight. Ed told me that being an apprentice is what I wanted and he was willing to give me a shot but the pay would be low if any. I sucked it up and kept going, hoping at least something would come in for me financially. Then it did. The case that changed my outlook for the field of Private Investigations forever....
A man who was currently being held at the Institute for Living in Hartford, CT called Ed's office. He stated that he was a wealthy oil man from Virginia and had many oil wells and a large corporation out of Texas and wanted to hire Ed and his services. Ed tried to get more information out of the man but couldn't. The man wanted a face to face meeting with Ed at the Institute of Living. Ed took the case, set the appointment for the next day and took me along with him.
When we arrived, we were buzzed in. We went to an upper locked down wing of the complex where we were asked not to bring anything into the padded room where we were meeting our client. We left all behind and entered. The man was surprisingly funny looking. He was fairly short, had brown hair that was long but combed over to the left, not unlike Donald Trump's style, a full beard and was wearing clothes in total that could buy me a new car. He had on a Burberry shirt, pants and Gucci Sneakers. It definitely appeared he at least afford the bill.
When we sat down the client sprung his request on us. He stated that he owned a private helicopter and that he wanted us to coordinate with his pilot and to plan a strategy to break him out of the institute. He said that he had recently had an epiphany and was giving large amounts of his fortune away to charities and his family was going nuts about it. He said that in order to try to stop him from giving away his money, (thinking that it was partly theirs), they had him committed as insane and held at the institution. He wanted out and wanted out bad.
Right away Ed told the man that if he actually thought we would break him out of prison, his family was most likely correct. The man was not happy. The man then said that if we couldn't break him out then could we go to his mansion in Virginia, get a few things for him and return them to him by the next morning. It was an unusual request but one Ed could work with. Ed first attempted to vet the client by asking him to provide a $3,000.00 retainer, up front, and to verify how we would get to his "mansion." The man wrote a check on the spot and provided all of the necessary information, including the address to his mansion, the location and aircraft numbers for his private jet and a list of things he wanted retrieved. We walked out and the first thing we did was attempt to cash his check. It cleared. I couldn't believe it.
Next, Ed made a few calls and determined that not only did the client own the mansion in Virginia, he also owned the private jet and it was currently parked at the private terminal at Bradley International Airport. The pilot got on the phone and was instructed to fuel the jet and take us to Virginia in one hour. We both couldn't believe it. I was in heaven... This was the coolest thing that had happened to me in my entire 22 years of life, at that point...
One hour later, we were on a private Lear Jet and taking off from the private runway at Bradley, on route for some mansion in the middle of Virginia... The jet was fully loaded with cocktails and we made the best of the flight down....
A few hours later, we landed at a private air strip in a town in Virginia I had never heard of. When we exited from the jet, a bit on the snookered side, there was a black livery town car waiting outside. We got in and were taken on a thirty minute ride through some of the most expensive neighborhoods I have ever seen, in real life or on television. It was mansion after mansion as far as the eye could see.
When we arrived at the client's house we exited and used a key provided by him, along with a security code, to enter. Once we were inside, it was like we had started playing the scavenger hunt game, searching everywhere for the requested items. They ranged from car keys, to legal documents in his safe, to a black telephone number book that was hidden in a wall, to other items that he believed he needed to find a way out of the institution. Once we found all of the items, which took us almost five hours, we packed it all up in a suitcase we found in the house and left. The town car took us back to the airport and we returned to Connecticut in the same lear jet.
Once we landed, we returned that next morning to our client and provided him the items he requested. A couple were taken away when we entered by the staff but most made it through. Our client was very happy to have gotten his items and we had completed our investigation.
Although this particular case was not an investigation, per say, it was such an overwhelmingly cool experience that it solidified me in my quest to be a Private Detective. Since then, as you can see from this blog, there have been many crazy adventures. One more interesting than the next. In the end, I believe choosing to be a private investigator was the best life choice I have ever made.
Ranno Investigative Services - Blog - Connecticut Private Investigators