Detective, Part 6

By Gerry Fischer

One of the bigger cases handled by one agency for which I worked was a tobacco theft ring operating in central Kentucky. If you are lucky enough to get an undercover job, usually you’re paid two salaries. One by the company being stolen from, and one by the agency. Large co-operative farms were being robbed of tobacco hanging in barns over several counties. The farmers suspected who was stealing, but it took a man on the inside who actually worked for the farmer, but also for the agency, to discover the perpetrator and gather evidence. A detective who knew tobacco was hired by the farmers and worked for months, recovering over $50,000.00 in stolen tobacco, in 1970 money. There were convictions.

  I was not involved with this case, but there was a questioned document case that was hinged on microscopic evidence. A contract was produced with an after the fact clause typed in between the original last line of the contract and the signature. It amounted to only four typed lines, but would have caused the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars. There was one area, where a typed word and the signature crossed. Under a microscope, this 1/8th inch area, was compared to the same pen, ink, and typewriter ribbon used to type and sign the contract. It was found when the signature crossed over the previously typed clause, it pulled minute particles left on the paper by the typewriter ribbon into the script. The signature over which the clause was typed, did not have the particle drag, proving the clause was typed over the previously signed document, and it was fraudulent. That case was so important, it caused the client to award a very generous bonus to the agency. Detectives quickly learn when people are lying or telling half-truths. If people avert their eyes, look down at their feet, tense up, tightening their jaws or clenching their fists while answering, they are lying. Teachers, police, private detectives, attorneys, and others know this. I had a disgruntled parent tell me she could always tell when her teenaged son was lying, anytime his lips were moving.

  I can’t prove I’ve been shot at, but I have been shot toward. Bullets passing your head “ring like bees.” In my life, I have been shot at, threatened with a knife, and forced to fight. I was younger once. I pointed a shotgun at someone a good many times, a rifle once and a pistol several times, always in self-defense. It’s scary. The only time I dropped a hammer on a man was 2:30 a.m., several years ago when my dog awakened me growling. I retrieved my weapon, and through a window, saw a man breaking into my truck. I eased open the front door, watching to see if he had an accomplice. I fired, hitting the ground near his feet, to the left of him while he was trying to open the truck bed cover. It was not because I was worried about hurting him, but, rather if I hit or missed him, I would have put a bullet into my truck, and I didn’t want to do that. I thought after I fired, I would be nervous, but I wasn’t. Steve Straney told me I probably would have been, if I hit him. Maybe. Anyway, he ran like lightening. I called for him to comeback, but he wouldn’t. Come to think of it, I need to check with Greg to see if I’m covered for that.

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