My short bio: My name is Ricky Gurley and I'm a licensed Private Investigator in Missouri and owner of Risk Management Research and Investments LLC. (RMRI, LLC) I began working in the private sector fugitive recovery industry in 1989, before shifting to private investigation work in 2001. I am friends with Kevin Mitnick and challenged the state’s overreaching laws regarding PI work in the Missouri Supreme Court: (

My Proof: My website is Pictures Here: Facebook Page for RMRI, LLC. Post To AMA: Twitter Page Post To AMA:

Edit 1: Well Reddit it's been fun, but after 14 hours I need to go to bed. I have to be up early for a meeting with an attorney in the morning, but i did enjoy all the questions. Feel free to ask more and ill answer them as soon as i can tomorrow.

Edit 2: I am back for a little while. I met with my attorney client this morning, all of my business is handled for the morning, and I am back in this wonderful community ready to answer more questions. Although, I have checked in and answered a few questions since last night.

Edit 3: I, like everyone else; need sleep. But I'd like to keep this AMA open throughout the weekend. At first I thought I would probably not like this but my business partner convinced me to give it a try. I am kind of a quiet, low-keyed, behind the scenes, fairly private person; except if you are a close friend, then I am pretty open and comedic. But you people have been so nice, kind, and respectful that I feel like all of you are my friends. If the mods will allow it, I'll try to stay here until Monday, or at the very least I'll check in, since I'll be doing a lot of report writing and such paperwork on cases, anyway. Thank you all for this wonderful AMA!

Edit 4: For those of you that have enjoyed this AMA, please remember that I am always available for question on my website at "Ask The PI": ALWAYS fee free to stop by and drop me a line with any questions you may have!

Comments: 225 • Responses: 89  • Date: 

Davedeaux17 karma

Oh yeah, if you're so good, what's my first name?

RMRI_LLC32 karma

I am just going to take a wild guess and say Dave? LOL.

Cantinabandacoustic17 karma

What sorts of jobs do you typically take on as a private investigator? I've heard that they're hired by everyone from spouses who suspect their partners of cheating to corporations looking to out employees suspected of theft. Is that fairly accurate?

RMRI_LLC11 karma

We do surveillance work, criminal defense investigations, civil litigation investigations, serve subpoenas (we usually get calls to serve subpoenas that other process servers can't get served due to not being to locate the subject or the subject trying to avoid; we call them "11th hour serves"), we work digital forensics cases for attorneys, we do high end asset recovery, witness interviews, consult to attorneys on specialty types of cases, we do email tracing, internet profiling, and background investigations, and we do skiptracing work, to name a few of the services we offer. We also conduct financial investigations, and have a wide array of financial information available to us for doing so. Those are just a few of the services we offer.

RMRI, LLC. does work for various clients, we get some work from attorneys, some work from corporations, we also work for private consumers. We occasionally do work for one of the most prestigious hotels in Columbia, MO. Some banks use us for high end asset locates. So, there is a good deal of variance in our clients.

PoppaDR3W13 karma

How does one become a Private Investigator? I always thought it'd be incredibly interesting. How do you acquire resources for investigations? Do you get access to police data bases?

RMRI_LLC5 karma

This is a good question. Each state is different in regards to the requirements to obtain a private investigator's license. This might be a good guide to get you started with the various state requirements:

Private investigation work is all about access. So, you have to build up assets like in any other operation that relies on intelligence to conduct tasks. Some of those assets are people, some are databases, some are equipment. Leading into your next question, we don't get access to police databases, but we do have access to some proprietary databases. I have about twenty five years of experience with database usage. I have seen database companies come and go, and I have seen the evolution of personal information databases. It is important to understand the databases that you use, where they get their information from, and when they get their information (how fresh the information is). Many private investigators don't take the time to understand this, and wind up doing a lot more work than they have to because of this. I am not saying that they don't do good work, most do, what I am saying is a better understanding of the databases that a private investigator uses can make his or her job a lot easier.

PoppaDR3W3 karma

Awesome, thanks for the information!

Can you give an example of a database? I work for a police department as a civilian so I have a wide array of access, but I would not want to abuse that since I can, in fact, get in trouble. I only use it when needed for my work.

Also, how has social media molded the landscape for private investigators? I assume access to information is a bit easier.

RMRI_LLC3 karma

Here are some databases to research:

Locate Plus: Skip Max: Accurint:

Those are just a few, a good sampling for you.

Social Media is "the next big database". Already there are tools for making relationship connections on social media, connecting assets to property, gathering evidence in criminal and civil cases for use in court, and locating people in social media. When someone develops something that can continuously scrape the data in multiple social networks and index it in a comprehensive manner to be retrieved with multiple queries, they will have invented the ultimate database. But that is not a real big worry, because we have to understand that all of that data that is out there on the social networks is freely given up by the people participating in the social networking circles.

JoeMomma968 karma

Yea, hi I am a teenager and my acne isn't terrible but it is getting bad. I have tried various creams to no avail. What brand do you recommend, also, are acne scars permanent?

RMRI_LLC9 karma

It has been a long time since I had acne. Clearasil seemed to work if I recall correctly.

But don't worry, it's not permanent, I had bad acne too when I was a young man, and look how handsome I am now!

Horse_trunk8 karma

In movies, no one ever notices a PI just sitting in a car outside their house. Do you do that?

RMRI_LLC11 karma

Well we try not to be right directly in front of the house. LOL. Yes, we do residential surveillance, and it is difficult to do without being spotted. So, the answer to your question is, private investigation work is not like it appears to be in the movies.

r3solv6 karma

You've never tried the pull over, and fiddle with your GPS for 15 minutes trick? Look lost. Annoyed. Can call someone on the phone and talk and even look at the house and the address all you want and if anyone gives you trouble its like "I am trying to get to 24 oak street and your 24 oak st and my friend isnt here and says hes here outside waiting for me to pick up and its oakwood st...I got it..thanks..."

RMRI_LLC8 karma

That is a good "on the fly" pretext r3, and yes I have had to use similar "on the fly" pretexts. Sometimes it is unavoidable, but I try to already have a well thought out pretext before I even leave the office to do any kind of field work.

NerfYasuoPlz7 karma

What was the strangest case you've had and solved?

RMRI_LLC18 karma

I had a case once where a lady hired me to follow her husband and keep him under surveillance. She told me that she was sure that he was having an affair on her. She also alleged that he was trying to poison her with arsenic by putting small doses in her coffee in the morning.

We did EVERYTHING to catch her husband doing what she saaid he was doing, even put up a covert camera system with motion activation linked to DVR that had a terabyte hard drive in it and let it run for a month. Never caught the husband doing anything that she claimed he was. She paid us real good money for the surveillance and setting up the camera system.

About six months later, one of the attorneys that she had not paid, and who removed himself from the case told me that the husband was not having an affair, she was and she was hiring us to keep tabs on her husband while she was having an affair with her boyfriend... That was just strange to me..

Oh, and we did solve the case. The husband was not having an affair, she was. We verified this.

cxm1207306 karma

Do you care about that thought or is all money green? Serious question.

RMRI_LLC10 karma

This will sound a little odd. But if this lady wants to pay me to watch her husband, and it is legal to do; then I watch her husband. I don't speculate or second guess as to what my client's motives are, I just want to make sure that what I am doing is legal and ethical by my standards.

If the question is, would I have taken the job knowing that she was using me to watch her husband so she could cheat on him, I'd say that I would not be comfortable with doing that.

cxm1207306 karma

That answers it perfectly. I've always wanted to be a private investigator but most states require you to actually have X amount of years under another licensed private investigator. It'd be taking a HUGE paycut to get into the field. You don't have to respond but what do you pay your entry level guys trying to get into the field?

RMRI_LLC5 karma

It depends, even at entry level certain people bring certain assets or skills to the company. No lower than $15.00/Hr. for anyone, and if the new hire has a good background in a similar profession, that brings a good skill set to my company (Detective, Intelligence Operative), they could start out at $25.00/Hr. and work up.

FullyWoodenUsername7 karma

Hello and Thanks for this AMA.

What's the biggest misconception about your job? And also, how wrong are the TV Shows & Holywood about your field?

RMRI_LLC10 karma

Well, television would make one think that we are out in the field dodging bullets, getting in high speed car chases, and fighting "bad guys". If you were to actually film what we do, most of your video would show us sitting at a desk in front of a computer researching information. There is some field work, but even that is usually run of the mill, and very civil when we make contact with other people. When we are working in a covert manner (surveillance, pretext interviews), the subject of the investigation should not know what we are doing, what our purpose is, and in surveillance cases the subject should not even know we are there. In summary, private investigation work is a lot more notched up on the boredom scale.

ServantofProcess6 karma

Criminal defense attorney here. What sort of stuff could you do for a guy like me that I might not realize?

RMRI_LLC4 karma

Witness Interviews, of course you realize that this is a service that we offer to criminal defense attorneys, but often times it seems that the importance of this service is underestimated.

I'll tell you one thing that I have found that attorneys don't think of, but are just ecstatic when we utilize this service to get evidence that they often use to get their cases dismissed with. Crafting and serving Litigation Hold Letters or Notice To Preserve Evidence Forms. We craft the language in such a way that the letter warns the person that accepts it that this is a serious matter, and that they may have to keep up with the evidence we are requesting that they preserve for a year or maybe longer. Typically they turn the evidence over to us, and ask for a receipt. I have gotten video footage from establishments before Law Enforcement did, in one case resulting in my client receiving a fairly significant monetary settlement from the city. I also have an on-going case where I just got some video footage that revealed some things that the police are not aware of, that I d believe may exonerate my client on some very serious charges. This has worked well for us and our clients for a while now.

Diddly_Pop6 karma

What is the most cliche thing you've done in your line of work? Like at what point did you say to yourself "Wow I only ever really see people do this in movies!"

RMRI_LLC16 karma

I have played the theme song to Mission Impossible while working a case! LOL. Is that cliche enough for you?

mroland185 karma

for asset recovery, whats the most valuable asset you've acquired for a client?

RMRI_LLC6 karma

It depends.. Is a person an asset? How about a bail jumper? I suppose they are a liability, if not recovered, but an asset if recovered. I have recovered a yacht, a very pricey BMW, but I have also recovered a couple for a Bail Bonds Company that was on the hook for $260,000.00. So, take your pick.

mroland183 karma

wow haha what a crazy life you live sir, thanks for sharing!

RMRI_LLC7 karma

It is my pleasure to assist in the community learning about the private investigations business. Thank YOU for listening.

YoursForTheWalk5 karma

Have you ever felt in fear for your life or the well-being of your loved ones as a result of your job?

RMRI_LLC9 karma

Not in the private investigation business, but you have to remember that I come form a background of private sector fugitive recovery, so I have had guns pointed at me, gotten in tussles to get handcuffs on a subject, had to chase people down, and all of the rest of the excitement that comes with tracking people down and apprehending them.

The private investigation business is far more "tame". Actually, if you are a private investigator and you get into a confrontation in the private investigation business, you probably did something wrong. Of course it is a good idea to know how to handle yourself, just in case. But for the most part, the private investigation business is all about being a good communicator. And I am also a very confident and capable person, or at least I like to think I am..

dmitrikonnikov5 karma

Have you ever decided that a request for work is unethical?If so, why?

RMRI_LLC7 karma

Yes. I have had people try to pay me to gain access to other people's E-Mail accounts without the owner's authorization. I have had people try to hire me to watch their ex-wife that had a restraining order against them. These are things that we just won't do.

meneldal23 karma

But in this case isn't this just plain illegal?

RMRI_LLC8 karma

Very few things are just "plain illegal". For every crime there is usually a defense, for every statute there is usually an exemption. So, what is legal and what is illegal can become very complicated. I could give tons of examples, but I am probably better off saying this; in the instances that I mentioned, I was not comfortable taking the job, I was aware that if discovered there would surely be charges. And I am just not comfortable with doing anything that I'd be ashamed of telling a Judge that I did.

strenif4 karma

What kind of cases do you wish you'd get more of?

RMRI_LLC3 karma

I like Digital Forensics Cases, they pay well and they are really interesting cases to work. I'd love to see about one of those a week come in.

Cyanidediamond34 karma

Whats the craziest job you've ever had?

RMRI_LLC11 karma

Crazy? Well, I tracked a Red Notice Interpol Fugitive for over a year, I was instrumental in her apprehension in Spain. I tracked, located, and retrieved two fugitives out of Mexico at the same time ( i did all of the work to get them extradited, and from Mexico that can be a crazy task).

Oh, I have a bunch of stories, but most of them come from recovery operations, not private investigation work. I did a lot of private sector fugitive recovery for the bail industry before I got into private investigation work.

agentdarko3 karma

What was her deal? What was she wanted for?

RMRI_LLC7 karma

Shelley Fogwell, she was an international fraudster, who was involved in an International fraud along with her father that took investors upwards of $600 Million.

You can read more about the ordeal here:

mroland184 karma

who is your favorite private investigator from the movies?

RMRI_LLC9 karma

Sorry for the delayed response, I had to step out for a minute and serve some papers. I do apologize for that, but it had to be done today, promised a client.

Daryl Zero!

mroland181 karma

looks like ive got a new movie to watch! thanks again for all the great responses

RMRI_LLC6 karma

Here is the link to the trailer:

The movie is called "The Zero Effect". The main character is Bill Pullman as Daryl Zero. It is "90's ish", but I liked it. It is part comedy, and part mystery.

lzbreath_tx1 karma

One of my fave quotes: "When you go looking for anything at all your chances of finding it are very good. Because of all the things in the world you're sure to find some of them."

RMRI_LLC2 karma

Daryl Zero! My favorite fictional private investigator! I mentioned him a few times earlier in this AMA. Always happy to chat with a fellow Daryl Zero Fan!

lzbreath_tx3 karma

Every time I watch that movie I find a new little shot or twist and love it even more.

RMRI_LLC2 karma

I have watched it at least 30 times.

Not sure how that reflects on me? LOL.

Dr_Jerkface3 karma

Since you know how a lot of people get caught, have you ever considered a life of crime?

RMRI_LLC7 karma

I led a life of crime, for a bit! LOL. In the early nineties I was irresponsible, did not have good judgment, did some things that I should not have done, but I was never a "bad" person, I was more of a "mischievous" person. I have never been a person to hurt anyone unnecessarily or do anything that would cause a person pain for no reason.

I "straightened up". I think sometimes "straightening up" can be more accurately referred to as maturing. I am not ashamed of my little stint in the crime world, it taught me some things, it made me who I am today, and it has even contributed to some of my successes. I don't judge anyone by their past, I make my decisions on who I want as friends based on how a person treats me. There are some things that are unforgivable, but for the most part people are redeemable.

There are people out there with no criminal past at all, that are absolute sociopaths and psychopaths, some even try to hide their jealous and nefarious actions behind words like "integrity" and "honor", but are far worse people than the people with a "past".

HollyHobbLe3 karma

Have you ever been asked to look into anything paranormal even though that's not your specialty? What's the oddest, scariest, horrid case you have ever worked on that made you rethink your career choice?

RMRI_LLC5 karma

RMRI, LLC. does not do paranormal investigations, or what I can only term as "conspiracy theory" investigations. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that weird and unexplained things do not happen, I am sure they do.

RMRI, LLC. strives to offer practical investigative work that will benefit our clients. Criminal Defense Investigations (we have saved innocent people from going to prison and having their good names ruined), Surveillance (we have saved companies from a continuous loss due to employee theft), Digital Forensics (we have saved people from losing their life savings, and again innocent people from going to prison), Recovery Operations (we have rescued two different children in two separate kidnapping cases, and have located and retrieved countless assets for various companies). These are the cases we like to work. Cases where clients clearly benefit from our skills.

RadiantSun3 karma

What's the best way to find out if I have a PI on me? What would be the best way to get rid of one?

RMRI_LLC8 karma

Counter-Surveillance, be aware of your environment. Be aware of who is behind you when driving, how long they are behind you, and use some counter-surveillance techniques if you think you re being followed, U-Turns are good, pull into a parking lot and just sit there for 15 minutes, go around the block two or three times and see if the same vehicle is staying behind you. Know your neighborhood, you'll know what is out of place if you watch carefully.

I once had an old associate of mine that lived in a different state than I did, that I had a falling out with 15 years ago, use an attorney and a corporation to buy a house across the street from me. My neighbor told me about it, and me being the curious type started researching it. In less than a day I knew he had purchased the house and confronted him about it, after that I never saw him over at the house again.

So, leading into your next question, if you have a private investigator watching you, walk right up and confront them about it. Then they will know they are "burned" and probably pull off, it is pretty useless to try to gather information on a subject that knows you are there...

RadiantSun5 karma

Sick AMA dude. Here's my favourite Hall & Oates song for you:

RMRI_LLC4 karma

I clicked the link, I am listening to it now as I respond to you. It is a great song (I am 48 years old, so I like 80s pop), it falls in right behind the Mission Impossible Theme Song.

forava73 karma

If you could be a PI from any movie or tv show, which one would you be and why?

RMRI_LLC3 karma

I'd be Daryl Zero:

The greatest private detective that ever lived. LOL.

TestSubject453 karma

Would you reccomend someone get into the Private Investigation field?

RMRI_LLC4 karma

It depends. Certain personalities are better at some jobs than others. I certainly would not discourage anyone from following a desired career path.

You have to understand that the private investigation business is a business, like any other business. You work hard and sacrifice for the first three to five years, and if you make the right decisions and you work hard, you manage to carve out a living from it after you get past that initial three to five years.

chimpos3 karma

Do you have any ratings on yelp?

RMRI_LLC4 karma

No, but I have been meaning to send out some requests to some happy and satisfied customers for them to put up some ratings for me on Yelp, there just does not seem to be enough hours in the day sometimes.

milkcustard3 karma

How much does your average PI make?

RMRI_LLC3 karma

Between $50,000.00 and $80,000.00 a year. That is average. Some make less, some make more. It also depends on what the private investigator specializes in.

digger_ex_pat2 karma

Would you work for $200 a day plus expences?

RMRI_LLC5 karma

I wish I could. I like helping people, I really do like helping people solve problems. The sad fact is that I have to pay my staff, and I incur expenses other than case expenses, so there is no way I could do that. My flat rate for a day is $1,250. I charge between $150.00 to $200.00 per hr., depending on the case. There are some companies that I give discount rates to because they are either regular repeat business or they refer clients to me.

I am always available to talk to about a case, and often times I have been able to help people resolve their issues just with a free consultation.

JayTeeLaramie2 karma

You missed the Rockford Files reference :)

RMRI_LLC1 karma

That is true, and I knew I had heard that fee rate somewhere before. I grew up on The Rockford Files, and still watch it to this day.

But my fees have been a bit more modernized for so long, yes I did completely miss it..

JayTeeLaramie2 karma

I like your AMA, very cool. Got an oddball question for you. It's way late in my time zone, so here goes. Was driving my car with ...

...maybe, just a guess.

What does this sound like?

RMRI_LLC1 karma

Several scenarios come to mind, one "conspiracy theorist", one maybe a bit paranoid but typical, one pretty common.

First one - "Conspiracy Theorist": A possible attempt on your wife's parent's lives, or maybe your wife's life.

Second one - "Paranoid" but typical: A police surveillance, and the gas meter damage was just coincidental.

Third one - Pretty Common: Could be private investigators following you, for a multitude of things; workers comp. surveillance, suspected fraud activity (not saying you or your wife did anything, just saying someone may have had a suspicion), or any number of things, and the gas meter was just coincidental.

Those are the three scenarios that come to mind from the information you provided. But again, that is just speculation, it does not mean much.


Are you currently watching me right now? How well does it pay to be a private investigator?

RMRI_LLC7 karma

Well in a manner of speaking, I am watching you right now... I just watched you post to Reddit! LOL.

Typically, the yearly income for a private investigator is said to be at about $75,000.00/Year. One year, RMRI, LLC. made $294,000.00. That was a while back, though. I make a decent living. I also have a lot overhead too. RMRI, LLC. brings in over $100,000.00 per year. This is the second month and RMRI, LLC. has already bought in over $17,000.00 for the new year. But don't let that fool you. I am not living in a mansion or driving a brand new Mercedes Benz (actually I do drive a Mercedes Benz, but it is a 1989 model, I simply like my car). I invest in equipment, licensing, insurance, office space, and I also pay my sub-contractors. At the end of the day, I can say this; I make a living at it. LOL!

Here is a good link for you to get more information from:

Caruthers2 karma

I've lost count of how many PIs have tried to contact me over the last 10 years in search of my dad's ex-wife (who he divorced well before I was born, so I know the woman's name and that is it). I've been mystified at how they've even got my number a few times. Certified mail, door knocks, phone calls. It's batshit crazy, really, and it seems to pop up every 6 months or so, after I forget about it entirely.

All I know is that something about an estate is mentioned sometimes, but no one ever wants to give away any information besides trying to locate this woman.

What, in your estimation, is prompting this insanity, based on the kind of jobs you've typically seen that might mirror the tactics here?

RMRI_LLC2 karma

It sounds like an estate case. More than likely (but this is just speculation), one of HER relatives passed away, and she is a next of kin that may be listed to receive some property from the relative that died. So, the investigators are trying to locate her to give her notice that she may be listed to receive some property from the death of a relative. The courts will sometimes assign an investigator to try to locate the next of kin, or the attorney presiding over the estate may hire an investigator to try to locate the next of kin. I locate people for a living, but I don't get involved in the intricacies of the case, as long as I know it is legal, and I am not assisting a stalker or worse; I'll do the locate.

That is just a guess, though. Without any specific details it is really hard to find out much.

chiliroxmysox2 karma

Have you ever regretted taking a job?

RMRI_LLC5 karma

Yes, but not because of the job; because of the client.

I have had clients that were just unusually annoying to deal with. We maintain our professionalism, stay polite, and once we take a case it takes something extraordinary to get us to drop the case. But we have walked away saying "this client is more of a headache than the case is worth"....

cousinbebop2 karma

Have you ever been asked to investigate anyone you personally know?

RMRI_LLC2 karma

Well I know a lot of people.... Now if you are talking about close friends, yes I have been asked but I find that to be a conflict and I would not take such a case.

Distant associates? I can't recall being asked to investigate a distant associate.

Everyone else is "fair game". LOL.

djprecio2 karma

Have you ever been caught on a 'stakeout' if so what did you do?

I like to imagine all PI work like how it is depicted in the show "Bored to Death"

RMRI_LLC6 karma

I was working a surveillance a while back, in a very tight knit neighborhood where many Law Enforcement Officers lived. I was doing surveillance on a law Enforcement Officer that was having an affair on his wife with a city dispatcher. So, as you can imagine the people in the neighborhood were very watchful. One of the people in the neighborhood pulled up and asked me what I was doing, and I notices a sign advertising lots for sale, so I told him that my wife and I were thinking about moving and I wanted to take some pictures of the neighborhood. He took me all around the neighborhood and I got tons of pictures without anyone knowing what I was doing. It was another good "on the fly" pretext.

F117Landers2 karma

With the clients that hire you to follow someone around/dig through their life, what kind of ratio do you normally see for the person actually doing what they are suspected of doing?

RMRI_LLC4 karma

An excellent question! It is about 75/25. The client is usually right about 75% of the time, 25% they are just off base, they have just basically misinterpreted evidence.

Try to understand that the client has usually done a good amount of research, and has debated on hiring me for a little bit of time before I actually get the case. So, the client has plenty of time to develop a good idea of what they perceive to be happening. Most of the time, the client is at least very close to right.

permanentlystoned2 karma

Do you work with other PI's?

I'm in the UK and I was wondering if there much difference between what they can do here and what you can do over on your side of the pond?

I suppose my question there is, Do you know much about other countries PI setups?

RMRI_LLC2 karma

I have a very select few private investigators that I work with. The private investigation business is highly competitive, some would even call it "cut throat", so I try to make sure that I really know the private investigators I work with.

I have worked with a few private investigators in the past that have tried to steal business from me, one even as much as admitted in an email that she was jealous of my business, and afterward she tried all kinds of sneaky things to try to hurt my business, even tried to testify against me in a case that was absolutely none of her business and I don't even know how she even found out about it. It all ended well for me, and not so well for the other person, but the point is, in this business you have to be real careful about who you do business with. This particular lady was someone that I got back into the private investigation business (she said she used to be a private investigator, but I could never find any proof of that statement), I gave her some cases, introduced her to some attorneys, even paid her to help me on some of my cases, a $2,000.00 check one time. She just has a backstabbing personality, and I was not the only one she tried that with. So, I am very careful with the people I do business with in this industry. One must remember, no good deed goes unpunished, I suppose. LOL.

I have associates that have their private investigation businesses in other countries. It seems to me that here in the USA private investigators have access to a lot more information, than private investigators in other countries. Of course I am only repeating what I have heard and seen posted in some of the closed groups that I belong to.

CartoonWarp2 karma

Has someone ever caught you snooping around them? What happened next?

RMRI_LLC2 karma

Yes, I have been caught "snooping" on a person. But I have always managed to use a pretext to divert the person's suspicions. I have never had anyone find out what I was doing on an investigation, if I did not want them to know.

I tell many new investigators and my students (I give a class on basic private investigations) this: "You will get caught in the field, if you do this long enough, inevitably you will get caught. That does not mean that you are not good at what you do, what will determine how good you are as a private investigators is how well you handle getting caught. How well you recover the case. A good private investigator can get caught or discovered, and still recovery his or her case and get the information and/or evidence that they need to for their client.

CartoonWarp2 karma

Hmm, what kind of Pre-text?

"I was just looking at your ass- that's why I was following you, Ma'am."

RMRI_LLC5 karma

Not bad, not bad at all... It would certainly divert the subject's attention away from believing that you are OFFICIALLY investigating her. But I'd prefer one that would not get me slapped!

theshicksinator2 karma

How accurate is Jessica Jones's depiction of private investigations?

RMRI_LLC3 karma

I don't know, because I have not watched Jessica Jones yet. But if it is action packed, and she is fighting bad guys at every turn, dodging bullets regularly, and is in at least one high speed car chase per episode, not very..

theshicksinator2 karma

Well of course that happens given the nature of the villain, but in between there's alot of normal-ish investigation. I highly recommend it, it's excellent.

RMRI_LLC1 karma

It is on my Netflix list of shows to watch, it just moved up on your recommendation.

theshicksinator2 karma

You should watch Daredevil first, because it is in the same city, and takes place beforehand.

RMRI_LLC2 karma

I did watch Daredevil. LOVED it! I promise to watch Jessica Jones, soon.

theshicksinator1 karma

Season 2 comes on March 18'th!

RMRI_LLC1 karma

I will have digested the first season by then, I hope.

espritguy2 karma

What is the most challenging part of being a PI?

RMRI_LLC3 karma

Being patient. Being a good private investigator takes a good blend of some very particular ingredients, patience, self-control, the ability to think outside of the box, resourcefulness, great communication skills, intelligence, and a fearless ability to stand up and say what needs to be said and do what needs to be done when necessary. But patience, that is the one thing that is hard to practice in this business sometimes.

CaptSmellyAss2 karma

Do you call yourself a "private dick"? Follow up: why not?

RMRI_LLC4 karma

No, but some people call me just a "Dick". LOL.

I think private investigator more accurately illustrates what we do. So, I prefer the title Private Investigator.

theflamesweregolfin2 karma

How big is your company?

RMRI_LLC3 karma

I use sub-contractors a lot, and I have a support staff. I am a small business, and the number of people that I use varies. Usually I have between 4 and 12 people working for me at any given time. I have it set up where I can pull people in based on case load. I usually have an average of 15 cases open at any given time. Right now I have 19 open cases, with 4 getting close to being closed.

theflamesweregolfin2 karma

Wow that seems like a lot to manage

RMRI_LLC1 karma

It certainly can be, but I have good people helping me out that are very competent at what they do, that I can trust to work hard, smart, and honest. That makes things a little easier on me.

theflamesweregolfin2 karma

How do you have it so you can call people in as the caseload gets heavy? Do they just wait?

RMRI_LLC1 karma

Yes. One person that I use is retired. A few others have full time jobs and assist me when I need it, most of the people that help me, help me on an as needed basis.

richardhero2 karma

Are you licensed to carry a firearm on the job? (If so, Please tell me there is an accompanying trench coat and fedora)

RMRI_LLC5 karma

Nahh.. I am confident that I can operate without one. Without the right training, carrying a firearm can be more of a hazard than a savior. I have seen how firefights end. I have seen people that carry every day, end up dead because they did not understand that there is more to carrying a firearm than just having it on you. And even with the best of shooters, there is still no guarantee that you will go home at the end of the day when you engage in a firefight. The best method for staying safe is knowing how to communicate, and knowing how to deescalate.

But, if pressed and I have no other choice in the field, and I am within 15 feet of you and you have a firearm, we both have an equal chance.....

TheSandbagger2 karma

Do you ever decline jobs for moral/ethical reasons? If so, can you explain what specific job crossed the line and what made you decline?

Thanks for your time.

RMRI_LLC3 karma

Yes. I have had several people offer to pay me good money to get into someone else's email account. I had one guy just come right out and ask if I could "hack" one of his associate's email accounts.

I have had people ask me to GPS a car that there was no legal purpose to GPS.

These are things that do cross the line. These are things that I don't want to be utilized to do.

GoldenJoel2 karma

What's your favorite detective movie?

RMRI_LLC5 karma

The Zero Effect!

But I also liked Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

Traincakes2 karma

What was the strangest case you were ever on?

RMRI_LLC2 karma

I answered this a little earlier, but I am happy to answer again. A lady hired me to follow her husband, she stated that he was having an affair on her, and he was trying to kill her by poisoning her with arsenic in small doses. We followed her husband almost every day for about a month. We put a motion detection video camera on the coffee pot that she swore her husband was pouring her coffee from and dosing her coffee with arsenic. Never saw the husband do anything.

We later found out that the client was having us watch her husband, so she could engage in an affair with her boyfriend. That was strange.

James_Elidos2 karma

What would you say is the most interesting thing you've done in your career?

RMRI_LLC2 karma

baganga2 karma

is it anything like in the movies or series.

or just boring stalking work?

and what took you to taking that line of work?

RMRI_LLC2 karma

It's boring stalking work! LOL. Just being funny.

It is not like you see on television. There is some field work involved, but even that is kind of mundane. Mostly there is a lot of research, a lot of planning, a lot of organizing. Field work goes off without much excitement when it is planned correctly.

I worked in the private sector fugitive recovery arena for a long time. This was kind of a natural progression.

defendors862 karma

Do you wear a fedora, aviators, and a long overcoat?

RMRI_LLC2 karma

No, none of that. But in the summer I do wear Khaki Shorts, a Tee Shirt and Flip Flops! I think that could be the trending style, because I have seen other private investigators wearing the same thing.

I could be a "trend setter", because many of the local private investigators try to do the things RMRI, LLC. does if they find out what kind of new services we are offering, or what kind of equipment we use, or they try to solicit our clients, only after they find our they are our clients. Digital Forensics, RMRI, LLC. was the first company to offer the service in the local area, we are still the only company that can actually do them in house (we don't need to sub-contract them), next thing you know every private investigator in the local area is offering them as a service.

It is a little irritating to see your competition following you, but it is also the sincerest form of flattery, I suppose...

Rand0mhero802 karma

How easy has apps like Facebook made your job?

RMRI_LLC2 karma

The social networks have made the private investigator's job a little easier, but probably not as easy as one would think. You still have to sort and sift through volumes of data, you sill have to turn the data that you find into something that makes sense, and that can be understood in court, if necessary.

So, while social networks have given us another avenue to look fr information, it also increases the work load a little too.

Rand0mhero802 karma

Thanks for the answer. I figured since everyone "checks in" to places and just give away their location, it would make finding them tons easier and also help to put together the individuals daily routine.

RMRI_LLC1 karma

Foursquare is an excellent app for finding out where certain people routinely dine, drink, do recreational activities, and even shop. It can be used exactly as you noted in your last comment.

jadedgater2 karma

Hey, I've got a few questions, sorry: 1.What the longest you've ever worked on a case? 2. Have you ever talked to Kevin Mitnick about when he was a hacker? Or worked with him? What's he like? and 3.Unrelated but how do you say Missouri, I always pronounce it kinda like 'Misery' lol

RMRI_LLC1 karma

Good questions! I'll try to answer them in order.

(1) I have had a few cases that went over a year before they were closed. I have had a recovery case that went over two years. So, I'd say about two years.

(2) Kevin Mitnick. I have had a few conversations with Kevin. I have known Kevin for several years. He is a really nice person, a genuine good guy. I really do believe that all of the "hacking" for lack of a better term that he did, was never meant to "harm" anyone, I do believe that he was exploring, learning, and gaining knowledge in the most effective way possible, by injecting an element of risk into his quest for knowledge, and lets not forget that for some us, risk makes things fun, or at least interesting. I have never worked any cases with Kevin but I have referred some people to him that have had some unique "technical problems". What I will say about Kevin is this, he is just an honest, down to earth, very approachable, decent and trustworthy guy.

(3) I pronounce Missouri like you do, "Misery". But remember that there is an alternate pronunciation, "MissourA" where it is pronounced by replacing the "ee" with an "a". LOL.

propr902 karma

typically, what type of cars to PI's drive around in? I'd imagine something like a crown vic or a charger would be an obvious red flag for someone you're conducting surveillance on.

RMRI_LLC2 karma

In the early nineties there were a few books out that private investigators and recovery agents used to purchase, read, and update. One of them was by an investigative reporter. I can not remember the name of the book or the author, I want to say the author's name was "Lee Papin", but I think that is wrong. Anyway, one of the recommendations that was found in those books was a non-descriptive sedan, and that the most common, inconspicuous color was a Beige color. So, a Beige K-Car was what was thought of as the most unnoticeable car back in those days, by the professionals "in the business".

I drive an older modeled Mercedes Benz, Gray in color (I just love that car!). There is no real "typical P.I. car", I have seen private investigators drive everything from old beaters to nice, shiny new BMWs.

Besides, I don't want to make you paranoid about certain cars that you might spot out on the roads.... LOL.

propr901 karma

Well maybe I'm more paranoid now knowing that it could be anyone haha. Thank you for your answer.

RMRI_LLC2 karma

I did a little more research, the author was "Lee Lapin", NOT "Lee Papin".

Here is a link to his series of books, and I think the first volume was where he wrote a little about inconspicuous vehicles:

ProgFrank2 karma

How complicated can your work get if you have to leave your state or even country. I saw mentions of work in other countries, but I believe this was in the context of a different employment situation.

If I was to call you from Canada to get you to investigate something. Or vice-versa if you have to investigate someone out of country?

How does this affect your work?

Edit: Grammar.

RMRI_LLC1 karma

It depends. It's kind of funny that things are so "gray" nowadays, that I start off most of my answers with "It Depends"..

So, lets go through this. If I have to be physically where the subject of my investigation is, I may have to jump through a few hoops, but that also depends on what I am doing; so if I am physically where the subject is and conducting an activity that is defined by my professional licensing board as an investigative activity, without getting some sort of a reciprocation agreement, I could get into trouble.

I can run a background check on a person in another jurisdiction, as long as I stay in my jurisdiction. I can locate another person wherever they are at, as long as I stay in the state of Missouri. There are also many more investigative services that I can conduct without leaving the state, on a subject that may be in another jurisdiction.

There are some cases where some state may have a reciprocation agreement in place, and I might be able to work in that state under that reciprocation agreement.

There are some cases where I might be allowed to work under the license of another person in another state.

Worst case scenario, I just refer the prospective client to a trusted contact in the state or country that they need their investigation conducted in.

ProgFrank1 karma

Thanks for the answer. That's very interesting that you could work under someone else's license. I could never imagine that working in this part of Canada. They are so anal about diplomas, certificates, training courses and so such an issue!

Thanks again.

RMRI_LLC1 karma

There are a few hoops to jump through to work under another private investigator's license. You have to get approval from both jurisdictions. You also have to be able to meet the requirements to have a private investigator's license in both jurisdictions.

These days, I don't think there is much that is "red tape free"....

SuaveMF2 karma

A few questions please:

  1. How do you conduct surveillance on a residence in cul-de-sacs or tight-knit neighborhoods where a strange vehicle (or someone on foot) would stick out like a sore thumb?

  2. If you're doing long surveillance in a vehicle what happens if you have to make stool or urinate? Do yo just go in your clothes like the NASCAR drivers do?

  3. As a criminal defense and family law attorney I sometimes have to hire you kind of shysters to serve someone (usually a divorce complaint). Sometimes the process server and I have to get really creative to serve someone. What's the craziest scheme you've had to come up with to get someone out of hiding to serve them?

  4. Have you ever crossed some "blurry lines" to get photos or video of someone (ex. trespassing onto someone's property)?

  5. Have you made use of drones?

  6. What do you think of the Moody Blues?

  7. If you had to watch whatchoo eat, which would be harder to control, salt or carbs?

  8. Saddest moment in your career?

  9. Angriest moment in your career?

  10. Biggest jerk yet you had to investigate?


RMRI_LLC2 karma

Oh God, these are GREAT questions! I love these types of straightforward questions. I will try to answer them in order.

  1. Every situation is different. Sometimes you can rely on the equipment to take care of some of problem, good, strong zoom lenses can keep you out of the cul-de-sac. Sometimes you have to be more inventive, I have set up a "traffic counter booth" in a tight knit neighborhood, with a lawn chair, while wearing an orange mesh vest, with a sign that read "traffic counter", while holding a clipboard, and sitting, and pretending to check off a box on the keyboard every time a car passed me! Yeah, it seems a little out of place, but not so much that you can't play it ff when someone from the neighborhood asks, if you are good at pretexting, you can get that person believing you are actually a traffic counter, and guess what? They tell all of their neighbors and do some of the convincing for you!

  2. I know one private investigator that rides around with a porta-potty in her van, she is kind of a joke to some of the private investigators that I do work with; but I have to hand it to her, that takes real dedication to be driving around in a "rolling outhouse". There are also bottle that males use to urinate in. I have even heard of people using Depends! I use a pretext cover typically, and work with a partner. I try set up a pretext like I mentioned in the first answer, so that my partner and I can switch off on surveillance if one has to go to the restroom. The buddy system works well for me.

  3. Shyster? I love it. You have got to be one of those attorneys that I deal with regularly, that believes that I should charge $5.99 to serve a papers while you make $250.00/Hr. to file a petition. Well, I understand it, I mean you did go to college and law school, so I guess we private investigators are somewhat beneath you! LOL. Sorry, just being funny, but had to address the "Shyster" comment. I usually don't have to get too creative on a serve. I call the person up (most of the time I can find a phone number for them), and I tell the that I am trying to serve them at their convenience as a courtesy, I can make myself available to them at any time and any place, and if they try to avoid, I give then my standard speech: "Look, I am trying to be nice and do this at your convenience, but if you want to turn this into a game, I am fine with that because I like games. But, this is a game that you will lose, and you will more than likely lose it with some embarrassment, because once you avoid everything is fair game, your employment, you could be giving a speech at the white house, and I might show up there to serve you, and it will be loud, and everyone around you will know what it is about. So, go ahead and be an ass, but I'll just bet you that you can't be a bigger ass than me." That usually gives them something to think about. And I have had a few hang up, and then call back and tell me when and where they would like to be served. I don't think I have ever "missed" on serving a subpoena.

  4. "Blurry Lines"! No. I will not risk evidence being "kicked" in any court. I have gotten creative, but I have never crossed the line. Creative? I did once stay within 30 feet of the center line of the road, within a wood-line that belonged to the subject I was videotaping, but that 30 feet was public easement, I believe that provided for a good argument for the attorney I was working for and I did clear that with the attorney prior to doing it.

  5. Drones. No, never used a drone. Thought about it, but with the limited range that they have now, and the limited amount of airtime, they just seem to be more of a toy, than a serious piece of equipment.

  6. Moody Blues! I don't know who they are. You must be REAL old? Just a joke, I like the music from the Moody Blues. I am a Gemini! I am now listening to Gemini Dream as I respond to you. LOL.

  7. Salt or Carbs? OMG! Salt! I am from North Carolina, so while I may have expanded my horizons past your typical "trailer park redneck", I still love salty food! No offense intended, there are some really great people in North Carolina, but we North Carolinians do have our fair share of trailer parks!

  8. Saddest moment? I have had a few. Sometimes this work can crush you, I am sure that you can relate. I did a background check on a person once for a client. My client wound up killing the person that I did the background check on, less than a mile from my house. It affected me for a little while. I had to testify at the murder trial. I think that was the clincher!

  9. Angry? On the job I don't really get angry, which is interesting because I am an angry person. I have had attorneys try to piss me off in cross-examination, and as long as I know that they are trying to piss me off, I seem to go in the opposite direction and stay calm and cool. I had an employee that had worked with my company for less than 5 months, and she thought she knew more about the private investigation business than I did while I had been running a private investigation business for 14 years. That was annoying and angering, but she never knew that it bothered me.

  10. I have had to investigate some real "jerks". It had to be a guy that beat his wife regularly, he battered that poor lady, kept her dependent on him, and as an example of how much of a jerk he is, he would hit her to induce a seizure (she was epileptic), so he could have sex with her while she was having a seizure. YES! I made sure that he went to prison!

Thank you for those great questions. It was a pleasure communicating with you!

mroland181 karma

how does the massive amounts of personal data, pictures, gps location and everything else people share willingly online help you close a case successfully?

I have to imagine combing through a facebook or twitter could help a lot with something like a cheating case

RMRI_LLC4 karma

These social network sites are a veritable cornucopia of valuable information. Sometimes they help us to locate witnesses, sometimes they help us to gather evidence in criminal defense cases, we have even used the background in pictures posted in Facebook to locate a subject or an asset.

TylerMcFluffBut1 karma

What is the strangest thing you've seen while on the job?

RMRI_LLC3 karma

A good question! And one that is not that easy to answer. I don't think that there is much that is "strange' to me anymore.. LOL.

Domestic Surveillance where I caught two people were having sex, both cheating on their spouse.

Obtained video tape of a house keeper at a hotel stealing money out of a alleged drug dealer's room.

I worked a divorce case where during a deposition that I was in the wife accused the husband of having sexual relations with their pet dog.

I can probably come up with more strangeness if I had a little time to think about it.

llosa1 karma

How did you 'learn' to be a PI? Was it all just job experience from your private sector gig?

What are your best tips for amateur PIs?

RMRI_LLC3 karma

I started out in the Bail Bonds Profession doing fugitive recovery work. Fugitive recovery work requires some of the same skills as private investigation work, with more of an element of danger, and commission pay instead of hourly pay. I'd usually get 10% to 25% of the bond when I apprehended my jumper. I traveled all over the USA, and the travel was fun. As I got older the travel was less appealing, I got a family, and the element of danger was something that I could do without, not to mention I like getting paid by the hour. So, private investigation work was a natural progression and a logical choice for me.

In the private investigation business you have to wear many hats. You have to be a good private investigator and a good businessman. Be fair and be honest. Don't get greedy. So you might forsake $1,000.00 today by being honest and doing the right thing, and make $10,000.00 tomorrow for being honest and doing the right thing. Be as honest as you can, but be aware that there is a time and a place for dishonesty in this profession. Don't engage the competition, no matter what they do. Stick to your game plan, and don't give your competition any thought at all. Be confident in your abilities, and your ability to set the right course for yourself. Go to schools, go to seminars, and make sure you are learning something new every day. Don't tout integrity, be integrity, that means that it is easy to do the right thing when things are going your way and it is to your advantage to do the right thing, try doing the right thing when it might cause you to lose money, or it may be disadvantageous to you, THAT IS TRUE INTEGRITY! That's what makes not only a good private investigator but also a good person.

When you are just starting out, find someone to mentor you, and always be thankful to your mentor for your successes.

llosa2 karma

Wow, thank you. Are there many self-trained PIs out there, or is it necessary to learn from an existing PI?

RMRI_LLC2 karma

I am quite sure from what I have seen that there are a few private investigators out there that learned from watching several episodes of Magnum P.I. and Simon and Simon. LOL.

I would recommend finding a mentor. Finding another private investigator that will take you under their wing and show you the ropes, it will save you a lot of money, time, and annoyance.

I was fortunate enough to have an attorney friend that would let me ask endless questions about the law, evidence, how things really work in the court room, and such. I gained a lot of knowledge from her. to this day I still buy her lunch and ask questions about new things that come up in the legal profession.

dirtymoney1 karma

I am in missouri. What requirements does it take to become a PI?

RMRI_LLC2 karma

I'll refer you to the Missouri Board of Private Investigators and Fire Examiners site for your own perusal:

The requirement do change every once in a while, so you are better off asking that question to those guys.. LOL.

dirtymoney1 karma

Well, if they are anything like the Kansas city board of police commissioners ... I don't expect much.

Note: Missouri board of police commissioners got sued years ago because they were unlawfully collecting license fees from security guards who worked in Kansas city. And when confronted about it... they said... go across the street and sue us!

And they lost. I think there was a PI union involved as well. I had a friend back then who worked security and he told me the yearly license fees were ridiculous. He got a good portion of them back after the lawsuit.


RMRI_LLC2 karma

If you do a little Google Research, you will find that I had some problems with my P.I. Board initially. It is really hard for me to respect the first actual board members. Thank God, they have a lady that is in charge that is just a complete professional, who is fair and is a good example of what more state workers should be. She does an excellent job of running a few boards there at the Missouri Department of Professional Licensing. Big shout out to Pam Groose. She is a good lady and a total professional. She helped me get my business going again as fast as it possibly could be done after the P.I. Board and I got past a few "bumps".

BWMV751 karma

Is there any movie, book or TV show that inspires you to do what you do? Do you have any favorites in general?

RMRI_LLC2 karma

Not really. But there is a game that inspires me to do what I do. Chess! I like the challenge of figuring out how to "outsmart my opponent". I love Chess, and often times private investigation work is much like Chess.

I LOVE the television series "Person of Interest", though..

drew1053011 karma

Did you ever read any of the Hardy Boys series? I always wanted to be a detective as a kid because of those books.

RMRI_LLC2 karma

I did not read the books, bit I did follow the television series that starred Parker Stevenson and Shaun Cassidy. I was just a kid when that show was on television, but I do remember liking the show.

sockmonkeyadam1 karma

My son Shaun...he's missing and I think the institute is involved can you help?

RMRI_LLC3 karma

We are very concerned about the institute.... But there is some good news, your son just may very well be a genius!

ALpha_chino181 karma

If you are not a private investigator, what will be your line of work?

RMRI_LLC3 karma

I am getting old, I am almost 50. So, I think I'd just settle for Wal-Mart Door Greeter or Hardee's Biscuit Maker. Something that won't be so mentally stressful. Maybe Towel Boy at one of the Professional Football Team's Cheer Leader's Locker Rooms?

FourArmz1 karma

If you get a chance to, do you use terrible one liners?

RMRI_LLC2 karma

ABSOLUTELY! What REAL private investigator doesn't? LOL.

FourArmz1 karma

Awesome! Personally I wouldn't be able to pass up the opportunity.

RMRI_LLC2 karma

Here is one I like to use on private investigators that really don't have the aptitude to be private investigators, they do stupid things, or miss really obvious things on their case: "You couldn't smell a fart in a phone booth".

Is that kind of what you are talking about?

-Q24-1 karma

What do you think of Nick Valentine?

RMRI_LLC1 karma

Well let me be honest.. I did not know who he was until you mentioned his name and I looked him up. Thanks for expanding my horizons.

I do like some of his one liners.....

carlosking001 karma

Do you charge extra to do a Film Noir esque monologue whilst investigating? How many times a day do you get one of those dames who exude sex and danger coming into your office?

RMRI_LLC3 karma

It never happens! Kind of disappointing too, because that is why I got into this business. LOL. Just being humorous.

But really, it never happens.

[deleted]1 karma


RMRI_LLC2 karma

Nahhh... The mullet never really appealed to me, even in the 80s and 90s when they were popular. I like a short and neat haircut.

MjrMjr1 karma

Do you have a mustache?

RMRI_LLC2 karma

I have a full beard and mustache right now, but that often changes. Sometimes I am clean shaven, sometimes I sport a beard and mustache, but I never wear just a mustache!

MjrMjr1 karma

Have you ever had just a mustache plus a soul patch?

RMRI_LLC2 karma

No, no... No soul patch for me.. It just looks a little weird to me personally, almost "devilish"... LOL.

But to each their own... I refuse to judge a person based on their facial hair!

YourBlogSucksToo1 karma

What would cause you to refuse an engagement?

RMRI_LLC6 karma

Clients who wish to engage me for illegal purposes. We do not cross that line.

Now try to understand that there are a lot of private investigators accusing other private investigators of illegal activities. private investigators are not attorneys, and prosecutors. Typically most private investigators hold no bar license. So, an accusation from a non-attorney does not equate to a case of anyone breaking the law.

18_throwaway111 karma

What are the most common/easy to avoid mistakes for people who are trying to hide from the law?

Asking for a friend...

RMRI_LLC5 karma

First mistake, acting like a Jackass! My point? Don't call attention to yourself. No fighting, loud noises in public, getting drunk and being obnoxious.

When talking to the police, stay calm, don't act nervous, don't be fidgety, and act like you have nothing to hide.

I don't mind helping out a friend of a friend, but the best way to avoid this altogether is simply to not get in any trouble to begin with.