Every PI gets burned at some point in time. I knew this would happen but I didn't know how. Each day is different in this line of work.
The day didn't start out well to begin with. I was in a neighborhood I didn't know at all. I didn't fit into it, my car didn't match the area nor did my persona. Still, I had a job to do and how hard could it be right? Wrong. This was my first experience with a professional insurance claimant.
So I set up my position with a direct view of the claimants house. I called in my position to local law enforcement as required by the client. Then I sat, and I waited. By all first appearances the house was empty. No lights were on, no activity observed. So far, so good.
I had been in position, literally hiding in my car, for about an hour. Out walked an unknown man from a residence around the corner from me. He walked to the front of my car, stood there for a few seconds then crossed his arms in front of his chest and just stood there. He couldn't see me at all, there was literally no visibility into my car at that point.
After a few minutes I noticed him take out his cell phone and start talking. He stood there like that another minute or two before walking back to his home. He was mildly scary and intimidating but there was nothing I could do about it. Now that he was gone, I continued on with my sitting in the car.
The sun started to set and out came my claimant. She first got into one car, then got out of it and got into another with a friend and then took off in it. I followed and they turned here and there and then on a side road, turned around quickly, looked at me and smiled and waived. And that was it. All the drama of the day and they had known I was there all along.
I later learned the same person had burned several colleagues in the previous couple of weeks. They were monitoring police scanners and the investigators were getting burned shortly after calling in their presence. Go figure!