I once did some work for a private investigator. This was the fellow who did the polygraph examinations for new-hires at a truckstop where I worked. He was quite an interesting character. He knew all the dirty secrets of everybody. Including me. He didn't share everything about everybody. But he did relate things about people that would, in his opinion, help us make a decision on hiring. It was, of course, in his best interest that we make good decisions on hiring. He was good at what he did. Or so it seemed to us a the time. And now, as far as I'm concerned. But he had some stories about the folks we hired. Unfortunately, I can't tell a lot of them. Well, I guess I could. But I shouldn't. But I might.
Anyway, we weren't the only company for which he did business. He did security work for many other businesses. And, while I was not an electronics wiz, I certainly had an interest in electronics. And the private detective ... I need to give him a name for the purpose of telling this, so I'll call him "Dick." That is not his name. But it will do for now. Anyway, "Dick" did work for others. Oh, and he thought I was okay. So I helped install security cameras in some businesses.
One was a restaurant that had been broken into several times. The owners were tired of getting ripped off. On a fairly regular basis, food was taken from the freezer. So we set up a camera in the storage room of the restaurant, and pointed at the freezer. The camera had a long, flexible neck and the lens at the end of it was about the diameter of a pencil. This was about 20 years ago, so most people hadn't seen such things. Anyway, we lifted a ceiling tile and placed the camera, ran cables to an office, and hooked up a VCR.
It was the next night that they struck. So, we went out to the restaurant and watched the tape. Although the video was black and white, you could make things out very clearly. And they recognized one of the thieves as an employee. He walked into the frame and broke off the lock, and his fellow thieves started carrying boxes out. They must have done it before, because they cleaned it out in what seemed like a minute. Anyway, with the video, they had what they needed and the guy was arrested. I don't know if he rolled on his buddies, but he was busted.
We set up cameras in other businesses, too. Including the truckstop. Some of the cameras were the regular-sized ones you'll see today. Others were smaller, like the one I told you about, and couldn't easily be seen. We took turns watching the tapes, to see what was going on, hoping to find which drivers -- or which company's drivers -- were stealing stuff from our travel store. The office manager called me back one day to watch one with him. We saw someone stealing stuff. An employee. This one surprised me. I didn't think he'd steal from us. But there he was, putting stuff in his pocket. And when we checked when we could pinpoint when stuff was gone, he happened to have been working. Like I said, it really bothered me that it was him that was stealing from us. So I called him in and we watched the tape. He was real nervous, but denied it was him on the tape. There he was, face as plain as could be, wearing a trucktop uniform with his name on the shirt, and he denied it was him. I hope he went in to politics. He'd have been good at it. Oh, we had to fire him.
Not every job I did for "Dick" was setting up a camera. One job I remember was setting up a tape recorder. A businessman thought his wife might be cheating on him. So, he hired a private dick. Let me stop right here and let any 12-year-olds reading this know that "dick" is old slang for detective; I'm not sure what you were thinking. Anyway, "Dick" was hired to investigate. And, since he knew my experience with recording telephone conversations, he got me to help. I met the businessman and found out what he wanted. So, I added a phone extension and hooked up the equipment. All stuff you could get from Radio Shack. And that's where I got it. Anyhow, the phone recording device was set up, and I gave him instructions on how to activate it, how to disable it, and how to play it back. If I remember correctly, his suspicions about his wife running around were correct. But, I believe he was surprised at who she was running around with. Don't know what all happened, but the businessman did let me know he was quite satisfied with the work. I bet the wife was pissed, though. And, if she's reading this ... uh, it wasn't me.
All of this type of work was actually quite interesting, and, I'm sure, quite legal. It had to have been legal. Right. Sure. Yeah. Hmmm. Anyway, by far the most interesting work I did for "Dick" was: going to the movies. Yes, "Dick" paid me to go to the movies.
I'll tell you all about that another day.