Friday, March 4, 2011

Case of "Camping at Mt. Madonna on the 4th of July"

Subject male, age 22, 5'10, 170lbs, black hair, brown eyes, injured low back and neck in 08, pallets fell on him at work. Claiming that he can't walk or stand more than 5 minutes, lift more than 20lbs, bend at the waist or get on the ground, and drive. Walks with a cane. Claiming 80% disabled for life.

Insurance Company is ready to settle this case in August for lump sum of $300,000.00. They need to know if he is still injured as he claims.

Day 1
5:oo am Arrived at the subjects residence and set up surveillance, found a location where I can observe the front door and all vehicles present at the residence. Residence is set on a steep hill in a upper middle class area of South San Jose, back of the residence faces HWY 101. There are two ways the subject can exit the neighborhood, both are viewable from one location. Subjects Honda Fit CA plate 6****** is parked in the driveway. No lights are on inside of the residence, no activity to report.

If there is no activity from the subject by the four hour mark which is 9:00 am, I have to make contact, need to make sure the subject is home.

9:00 am There has been no activity from the subject. Exiting my surveillance van, I am wearing my covert sunglasses equip with hidden color video camera, HD DVR with 8 gig with audio.

Before approaching the front door, I turned on the camera. Since this is the first contact and I don't know what he looks like, I need video of the subject.

I knocked on the front door, subjects mother answered the door. I asked for the subject, she replied saying that he was still asleep. She said just a moment than walked out of my view. Moments later, the subject appeared at the front door. Subject walked normally as he approached the front door from the back of his living room. He supported himself as he stood and wasn't using a cane or any form of artificial support devices. As I was speaking to the subject I was making sure I was moving my head up and down to get a full body shot of the subject on video. I said goodbye and walked down the street in the opposite direction of my surveillance vehicle. I do this because 8 out of 10 times I am watched as I walk to see where I go and what vehicle I get into.

Obtained video of the subject walking in a normal manner without the aid of any device, and a ID shot.

9:25 am I arrived back at my surveillance vehicle after walking around the block. Setup surveillance, subjects vehicle was still parked in the driveway.

1:00 pm Discontinued surveillance due to inactivity.

Day 2
July 4th
6:00 am I arrived and set up surveillance, no lights were on and no activity to report. Subjects vehicle was parked in the driveway.

8:30 am A vehicle, large truck with shell pulled up in front of the subject residence and parked blocking the driveway. A male adult exited and opened the back end of his vehicle. Male started to pull out 2 large ice chests and carried them into the residence and out of view. Inside of the vehicle I can see tents, a pull-up canopy, camping stove and other camping equipment.

I usually carry with me at all times, a tent, sleeping bag, fishing pole, golf club, extra clothing, just in case I follow a subject out of town, happens all the time.

8:45 am The garage door opens.

8:50 am Two males and a female are seen inside of the garage, the female is the subjects mother. They start to carry what appears to be camping items into the truck.

9:00 am The subject walks out of the garage carrying a large ice chest, busted! He is walking without the aid of any devices, and in a normal manner. The chest appears to be heavy, over the 20lb limit the subject said he could carry. Subject is arching his back and his arms seemed to be straining as he carry's the ice chest over to the truck and places it into the back of the truck. After placing the ice chest into the back of the truck, the subject didn't grab his back or rub his neck, and didn't appear to be in any pain. Subject walked back into the garage and out of view.

9:02 am Subject walks out a bike and lifts it into the back end of the truck, interesting! He then walks back into the garage and out of view.

9:15 am The male driver of the truck exits the garage and walks over to his vehicle, enters and drives off alone.

9:30 am A mini van pulled up to the residence. Male adult exited the vehicle and walked into the garage and out of view.

9:35 am Male driver, female (mother), female in her 80's, male in his 20's exit the garage and enter the mini van. Subject exits the garage, stops and turns toward the garage door. Raising his arms above his head, subject pulls down the garage door in one swift motion. He then enters the mini van and sits in the back left seat. The vehicle departs and I am in pursuit.

9:40 am The vehicle drives to a local gas station on Monterey Road to get gas, subject stays inside of the vehicle.

9:46 am Vehicle exits gas station.

9:49 am Vehicle enters onto HWY 101 southbound.

10:11 am Vehicle exits onto 152 west and drive up into the mountains.

10:50 am Vehicle arrives at the Pacific coast at a state beach between Castroville and Watsonville. There is a line to get into the parking lot of the state beach, I was four vehicles back. Subjects vehicle entered and parked, I could see where they parked when a park ranger carried out a sign that said, lot full. Subject and the other members of the van exit and walk toward the ocean. The state beach is full to its max and I needed to find a place to park fast. I ditched my vehicle alongside of the road and ran toward the beach. At this time I have lost visual contact of the subject. Wearing my covert sunglasses, I ran toward the beach to regain visual contact. There were hundreds of people on the beach. As I was running through the parking lot I saw the truck that was at the subjects residence earlier that day. I observed a group of people just entering the sand wen I spotted the subject in that group, close one.

During a surveillance when the subject becomes active, you can NEVER lose visual contact.

The weather is cold and overcast. The group turned around and walked back toward the two vehicles, moments later they enter there vehicles. At this time I am running again back to my vehicle, as I reach my vehicle, the vehicle the subject is in, exits the parking lot. I am in pursuit.

11:30 am Subjects vehicle is heading toward the mountains on HWY 152 east.

11:48 am Subjects vehicle drives to a state camping grounds on Mt. Madonna. There is a long line to reach the ranger booth. I parked along side the road and exited my vehicle and walk toward the ranger booth. I have to be very careful at this point, yesterday I was at the subjects front door talking to him. I can't be seen walking by his vehicle, so I entered into the woods until I was past the ranger station. I approached the station and listened to the ranger talk to a couple in a vehicle entering into the camp grounds. They had reservations and over heard the ranger stating that the park was full. I didn't have a reservation and knew I had to sneak in. I took a map of the camping areas, there were 4 large areas. I walked into the grounds and entered back into the woods and returned back to my vehicle. As I sat in my vehicle I noticed that vehicles were driving past the ranger station without stopping, they had a white piece of paper in there upper left dash, they waived to the ranger as they went though, the ranger looked up but was too busy talking to people to really notice. I put a white piece of paper into my left dash, the worst that could happen is I get kicked out, right. I started up my vehicle, driving slow, as I approached the ranger station, I waived to the ranger, he waived back and entered into the camping grounds, that was so cool!!!!

Now I don't know where the subject is going to set up camp or at what area. I parked my vehicle in a shady area and waited for the subject to pass. If the subject drove past my vehicle, he could be in area 1 or 2, if he turns right 3 or 4.

20 minutes later the subjects vehicle turned right toward 3 and 4 camping areas. Subjects vehicle drove into area 3. The map shows 60 camping sites for area 3, I parked my vehicle in the guest area just outside area 3 and entered into the woods on foot to find the subject. This is thick with brush and trees, and the hills, there is no flat ground. Area 3 is located on a downward sloop.

Subject is observed in campsite 1*thru 1*. The group the subject is with have three campsites. Subjects is up against the woods, the other two are directly across the road. I set surveillance 200 feet back into the woods and observe the subject. I left my vehicle without any surveillance equipment, so I walked back to my vehicle. I only wanted to make one trip so I carried everything in one load, tent, folding chair, sleeping bag, tri-pod and video camera, digital recorder, laptop, wireless video mini camera size of a dime. The area I am in has really good cover and I can't be seen from the subject camp site.

I set up my surveillance post and get a lay of the land. I can see all three camp sites from my vantage point, I am up on a hill looking down at the subject. I set up my video camera on a tri-pod and start filming subject unloading the truck and setting up his tent. Subject is bending at the waist, kneeling on the ground, sitting on the ground. Subject unloads a bike that he was seen loading into the truck back at his residence. After subject is completed setting up his camp, he joins the remainder of the group. At this time, the group consists of two vehicles, the mini van the subject drove up in and a truck. There is a large tent, pull up canopy and 2 small tents up at this time in three camp sites.

1:30 pm Food is being prepared and the subject is eating. I just remembered that I didn't have any food with me, except for some snacks I keep in my van for Lexxi my granddaughter. Since they are eating and the subject had already set up camp, I need to obtain food. I set up my tent and placed my surveillance gear inside my sleeping bag, hopefully no one will go inside my tent, if they did, all they will see is a sleeping bag. I drive out of the state park camping grounds, driving by the ranger at the station, I wave to him as I drive by. lol

I drive into Gilroy and buy enough food for three days.

2:30 pm As I approached the state park camping grounds, I was worried that I wouldn't get back in. Upon arrival there was a long line to enter the park, once again I drove very slowly with a white piece of paper in the upper left corner of my dash, waived to the ranger dude, he waived back and I drove though. Arrived back to my surveillance post to find nothing had been disturbed, was worried. With enough food for three days, don't know how long the subject will be camping for. While eating my lunch I observed the subject walking between camps really not doing anything.

3:15 pm Two vehicle arrive, a black small truck and a mini van. Three people exited the truck and 7 exit the van. Subject is seen helping to unload the truck, 2 more bikes are unloaded.

3:22 pm Subject walks over to his camp, gets onto his bike and rides across the road to the other camp where the small truck is. I am very excited at this point, I fold up my tri-pod and camera and look for a better and closer vantage point of the subject riding his bike. My surveillance post view is limited to the camp sites, not the road.

I find a suitable spot just down from the camp sites along side the road in the brush. Video is obtained of the subject riding his bike, doing wheelies, jumping, and a few tricks who he shows off too the other members of the camp. Remember he's claiming 80% disabled, cant walk or stand, ect... After getting twenty minutes of video, subject gets off his bike, I return back to my post.

It looks like the main camp is not the subjects, but where the pull-up canopy is, this is where they ate and are gathered. Behind this camp site are woods for about 50 feet to the next camp. Some how I need to get closer to the main group for better video. I want to place a wireless black and white video camera in a tree, so I can get a different angle to the subject, there is a dead spot in that camp where I can't see whats going on. I will have to wait for everyone to leave for this to happen.

4:02 pm The group including the subject go on a nature hike and leave the camp sites empty. I now have my chance to insert my wireless camera inside there main camp, this is so 007. I climbed a tree, not far up, eight feet, into a V of a limb, aiming the lens toward the table and cooking areas and the dead spot, I will be able to see all angles now. The range is 600 feet without walls so I am well inside my range to my surveillance post. I exited into the woods, didn't want to take a chance of anyone seeing me walk though there camp, and up to my post. The receiver, the other component of the wireless camera, I tuned it in and had a good signal. I could now see what the subject was doing from that angle from my computer screen.

5:00 pm The group with the subject return to there camp. I turn on my computer and it is working like a charm. I can see everything inside of the main camp. The subject is sitting down at a table with six others, they are playing cards.

6:30 pm The subject is eating dinner with the rest of his group.

7:15 pm The subject walks toward my wireless camera, my heart stops. He continues walking into the woods. He is now out of my view, I spring into action running down the hill in the woods with my video camera in hand to find the subject. Minutes went by with no visual on the subject when he was seen gathering wood. Video continued on the subject as he bent at the waist to pick up branches and small logs. He carried them back to camp, then returned to gather more wood. The subject bent at the waist and tried to pick up a large log. Too big to carry he dragged the log into camp which got a reaction for the camp. Subject then is seen with an axe in his hand and starts to cut up the log. With back swings over his left shoulder and downward to the log, he chopped, this video was awesome. He continued at this for almost forty minutes.

8:30 pm Subject is sitting at a table playing cards.

9:30 pm It is starting to get dark, my wireless camera is 2 lux and able to get video up to a point.

10:00 pm I decided it was time to relocate my surveillance due to the darkness, I can't see anything any longer and video from my camera wasn't available. I walked to the road and observed the subject sitting at a table in the main camp still playing cards, it seems this is the main attraction. Between the two camp sites are bushes, five feet thick. I positioned myself in the middle of these bushes, not very comfortable, but I can see and hear the subject, from this time on I used my digital voice recorder to track his movements.

There is a large fire now and the subject is seen picking up logs and placing them into the fire. It is getting cold and I left my jacket in my van, time to man up.

I was concerned about the battery life on my laptop, it was recording the images from the wireless camera, didn't know if it was still recording or not.

12:00 midnight, subject is still playing cards. Most of the camp has gone to sleep except for three, the subject being one of them. The fire was getting low, the subject stood up from the table, and walked over to the fire. Now the subject has been sitting in one position for over an hour. When the subject stood up, he didn't stretch, grab his back, rub his neck for discomfort. He placed the last two logs onto the the fire and sat back down at the table.

It is very cold sitting in a bush and I am freezing at this point.

1:30 am I am frozen, hoping that this night will end. The fire is almost out, seeing that hot fire thirty feet away and freezing was hard to handle. Finally the subject and the other two stand up and walk out of camp. I am so cold I can barely move at this point, the subject crosses the road toward his tent and enters.

I have to wait for everyone to leave in order to exit my surveillance position. I exit and walk up the hill into the woods to my tent. At this point I am very cold, inside my tent and sleeping bag was cold. I decided to take all my surveillance equipment, leaving my tent and walk toward my van, turned on the engine for heat and slept in my van, wise choice.

End of day 2, eight hours of video was taken of the subject as he loaded and unloaded a vehicle, carried a ice chest, rode a bike, chopped wood, set up his tent, bent at the waist and sat at a table for long period of time. Good day.

Day 3
6:00 am I exit my van and walk to my surveillance post carrying all my equipment. No one was up at any of the camp sites. I prepared my breakfast and set up the equipment. It is cold out, I am so glad I made the proper choice in sleeping in my van.

8:45 am People are starting to move in the camp sites, no activity from the subject.

9:00 am Breakfast is being served.

9:05 am Subject exits from his tent and walks over to where breakfast is being served. Subject is walking in a normal manner without the aid of any artificial support devices. He sits down at a table and starts to eat.

9:18 am Subject stands up and walks out of camp and back to his tent. He enters the tent, moments later exits wearing different clothes, blue jeans, white and yellow shirt.

9:23 am Subject gets on his bike and rides across the road to the main camp area. Subject is met with two other males with there bikes. They ride out of the camp and down the road, rats I wasn't prepared for that. I take the video camera off the tri-pod and run though the woods to catch up to the subject. They are riding in the direction of my van. By the time I reach my van they are out of sight. I enter my vehicle, look at the map of the state park camp grounds and it shows a bike trail. I drive off in that direction hoping to catch up to them. I drive to a place where I think they entered but couldn't see them. On the map shows a overlook into the mountain valley and I can drive to it, the bike trail passes right next to it.

9:50 am I arrive at the overlook and watch for the subject. The path is active with bikers, but I know what the subject is wearing. Moments later I locate the subject coming toward me on the bike trail. I get my camera set up on the tri-pod inside the back of my van and starting filming the subject riding his bike past me. The map of the state park shows the complete bike path, there is one other point where I may be able to see the subject.

10:10 am There is no certainty that I will find the subject again. If he passes through here I will be ready.

10:35 am The subject is spotted on the bike path coming toward me off in a distance. Moments later subject comes into view and video is recorder of him riding his bike. There is a fantastic view of the valley toward the Pacific Ocean. The subject stopped and got off his bike with the other two, then got back on and continued down the path and out of view.

I didn't see any other places on the map that I could drive to, so I drove back to the camp area and waited for him to return.

11:25 am The subject arrives back to camp and rides his bike over to where the truck is. He picks up the bike and places it into the back of the truck. Subject then walks over to his tent and enters, moments later he exits. Subject is now breaking down his tent. The other camps are in the same process of breaking down camp.

Subject is seen on the ground on his knee's folding up his tent and rolling up his sleeping bag. He then walks across the road and places his tent, sleeping bag and a bag into the back of the truck. Subject then helps others in loading the truck up with items. Subject walks over to the ice chest and picks it up, seems lighter than yesterday, due to his body language.

11:55 am The camp is now packed up, subject gets into the mini van he came in and the vans departs with all the other vehicles.

12:30 pm Subjects vehicle that he is in entered onto Hwy 101 north towards San Jose.

1:15 pm Subjects vehicle exits freeway and seems to be heading in the direction of his residence. I decided that I have obtained enough evidence against him that I shouldn't risk being detected following him back to his residence for more video.

My job was to observe the subject, place him under surveillance and to determine if his injuries are as the subject claims they are.

My conclusion
This is a case of insurance fraud and should be handed over to the District Attorneys for possible criminal charges and jail time if convicted.