The holiday season is once again upon us and for many the opinion is that this is the most wonderful time of the year; however, the results of the season benefit us all in terms of the economic contribution coupled with the foreshadowing of the fiscal year ahead. Fortunately for us in the world of investigations it becomes a land of opportunity due to the fact that even the homebodies make an appearance for their seasonal errands, especially with the black Friday pandemonium which Canada seems to be progressively adopting.
It was this time last year we conducted surveillance on an insurance claim; an individual who’s list of restrictions were as long as a well behaved child’s Christmas list, along with this list the subject had a note stating he couldn’t operate a vehicle in any capacity for any purpose. This particular individual was somewhat of a recluse and resided in a 12th floor apartment which made him an especially difficult assignment; however, we continued to keep track of his location by periodically stopping by his residence to ensure his name remained on the controlled access list to the building. The one major advantage we had was the fact that he was a very tech savvy individual; which of course meant that he frequently utilized social media as an outlet Twitter being one of the services and as you may have guessed we were one of his 26 followers.
We got our break when he announced via tweet a door crasher item for the first few customers of a big box electronics retailer in a Black Friday sale; this particular item was a 50 inch plasma which we knew to be approximately 70lbs. We also knew most of the other details through the same game changing tweet; the main detail being that the store would have a 6am opening and the lucky recipients of the “door crashing deal” would have to be among the first ones in. Although this individual clearly hadn’t displayed the same passion or drive in his workplace we had to assume he would do all he could to be in that line.
We began conducting surveillance at 4pm in his building parking lot to ensure we wouldn’t miss his departure; the one crucial detail we were unclear on was the store location he would be attending. It was approximately 11pm when we witnessed our subject get into his vehicle with no laboured movements I might add; and yes as you guessed it he was driving (restriction breach number 1). We arrived at the retailer and observed that a small line had begun to congregate as they all clearly had the same goal in mind. Initially we didn’t count more than 14 (including the investigator) at this time, so we had to assume either the other 12 followers hadn’t yet read his tweet or his influence was less than inspiring in its nature. The investigator remained in line with the rest of the crowd for the duration of the night which proved to be more of a jovial camping atmosphere as the temperatures were abnormally pleasant. During this duration the subject was observed moving about frequently with no issues as the evidence was continuously captured with the covert camera held by our undercover “occupy the door crasher line” investigator (restriction breach 2).
The clock now hit the 6am mark and the doors were about to open; the lineup had now reached to about 50 people as the excitement/ aggression grew as though they needed to retreat from the impending sunrise. As the doors flew open we witnessed our subject (along with many others) hit the runway to deal town as they took off running with a compassion and speed Mr. Bolt himself would be envious of (restriction breach 3,4,5,and 6 – one for each fast moving limb). The aggression and sense of urgency that had now possessed this new found bargain haven certainly wouldn’t allow for any courtesy, respect, or more importantly ergonomically correct lifting. Our 180lb subject hoisted up the 70lb unit in a fashion comparable to a mother with newly conjured super strength lifting a car off of her child (restriction breach number 7 and 8 – one for each bicep).
Now you’re probably wondering if our investigator took advantage of any of the deals while he was there.
Even though I’m sure he wanted to, his hands were already full…………of evidence.