Listen: Adventures of the Injured Stripper
The woman had been involved in a serious auto accident on Interstate 80 near Park City, Utah. Although she was injured, there was some question as to how permanent and debilitating her injuries were. According to the woman’s attorney they were severe, life threatening, permanent, she’d be lucky to ever work again, blah blah blah. I had heard this song before. The insurance company was skeptical. They ordered an activity check; a quick, simple surveillance to determine the extent of her injuries and her level of activity. Unfortunately I had some initial difficulty trying to locate her. She had recently moved without leaving a forwarding address. It would be some time before her new address would show up in my proprietary database. Time to use some old-fashion shoe leather. I stopped by her last known address and spoke with the manager. It was a beautiful apartment complex in a secluded, wooded area of Holladay, Utah. The manager wouldn’t provide many details. As a general rule, the nicer the apartment complex, the less willing they are to provide information. The converse is also true. However since she had skipped out on her lease and hadn’t left a forwarding address the manager agreed to talk to me. He said “why don’t you try the club?”
“The club?” I wasn’t sure what he was talking about. The rotary club? The Kiwanis? The health club?
“The strip club” he replied. “She’s a stripper at that club in Salt Lake. But, you knew that right?”
I didn’t know anything about it. But I employed a common trick investigators use: I pretended to already be in possession of the facts. “Oh, yeah, I knew she was a dancer.” I said. “She works at that club over on…uh…” I feigned a sudden loss of memory over the exact details. As if on queue, he chimed right in…
“…on 700 West” he said. Works every time. As it turned out it would’ve been easier to get information from the NSA. The strip club was very protective of their employee’s privacy. The wouldn’t provide any of the ladies’ names or addresses. They wouldn’t identify the ladies by their stripper names. They wouldn’t even confirm employment. But I was eventually able to talk to a customer who, based on my description of the subject, confirmed that she did, indeed, work there. He even knew her schedule (talk about creepy.) He said her stripper sobriquet was “Tiny Bell” and we were in business. The club closed at 2:00 AM and she walked out to her Cadillac Escalade shortly thereafter. I followed her to her new apartment; this time in Park City near Interstate 80. Over the course of the next several days I conducted surveillance, but other than going to work she wasn’t very active. The only recourse was to conduct covert surveillance of Tiny Bell inside the strip club. This was handled by my one of my associates, although I later viewed the video evidence. Surveillance is conducted to determine whether or not a subject’s activities are within the scope of their alleged injuries. This, coupled with a medical evaluation, can provide evidence as to whether or not the injuries are permanent and debilitating. Suffice it to say, Tiny Bell was in good shape. In fact, she was performing activities that were not only well outside the scope of her alleged injuries – they were also outside the scope of what most normal people can perform (other than the U.S. Women’s Olympic Gymnastics Team.) And no, that is not hyperbole.
The case ended up going to trial, however the judge deemed our undercover video “too obscene” to show the jury (but not before he requested a copy for “legal reasons.”) Tiny Bell had been legitimately injured so she did receive a few hundred thousand dollars for medical bills and pain and suffering. But because we were able to show that she was in no way permanently incapacitated, her monetary award was well below the million dollars that her attorney had asked for. This will all be in my upcoming book about my private investigation career called “Folks, I can’t make this stuff up.”
Until next time,
This is Scott Fulmer, the Utah Gumshoe, reminding you that the game…is afoot!
About The Utah Gumshoe Podcast
The Utah Gumshoe Podcast follows the real-life exploits, riveting case stories, investigative tips and insightful advice of Scott Fulmer, The Utah Gumshoe. Scott is a 20 year veteran Utah private investigator, surveillance expert and President/CEO of intellUTAH, a private investigation firm based in Salt Lake City.
He has written numerous articles on investigative and surveillance techniques that have appeared in PInow.com and other industry journals. He is a decorated combat veteran of the Persian Gulf War where he served with the famous 2nd Armored Division (Hell on Wheels). Whether you're a novice or an experienced investigator this is the podcast for you.
Articles from Scott Fulmer