The Utah Gumshoe: Case of the Impatient Mover
- December 05, 2014
- by Scott Fulmer
Listen: Case of the Impatient Mover
Tonya Reiman is a body language expert who has appeared occasionally on the O’Reilly Factor. O’Reilly would show her videos of politicians and others in the news and she would analyze their body language. Although some folks disregard the value of non-verbal communication I believe it has merit. In fact, a couple of studies conducted by Dr. Albert Mehrabian, a professor of Psychology at UCLA, found that communication can be boiled down to what he calls the 7%-38%-55% rule. 7% of our communication is verbal (what we actually say). 38% is based on the tone of our voice. Anyone that’s raised a teenager understands that. And the final 55% is based on our actual body language when speaking. After twenty years in the business of watching people I think a lot can be learned from watching body language. Which brings me to the case of Frank Throckmorton, the impatient mover.
I watched him watch the movers. He continually stopped them and gave them instructions as they packed his belongings in the large moving truck. He couldn’t help himself. He was the poster child for “If you want something done right do it yourself.” I focused the camera on him. I knew that despite his alleged bad back he would start picking up boxes. He couldn’t help himself. And then he made his move.”
After a stunningly mediocre career, Frank retired from his job in the transportation industry for a large public utility. Shortly after announcing his upcoming retirement, Frank decided to follow through with one of the more common red flags associated with workers comp fraud. He allegedly injured his back during his last week at work. Right before he was set to retire. So the adjuster called me and I set out for Franks palatial residence in the thriving metropolis of Panguitch, Utah.
I pulled into Frank’s neighborhood and set up my surveillance. As I sat nestled in my vehicle waiting for some activity a large moving truck slowly drove down the road. Okay, where’s this thing going, I thought. The driver applied the brakes and came to a complete stop near Frank’s house; the brakes squeaking and letting loose that familiar pop as the compressed air escaped. The driver climbed down from the cab. He was accompanied by another worker who had been sitting in the passenger seat. And then they began walking…to Frank’s front door.
Frank was moving (I learned later that he moved to St. George, Utah.) So I pulled my camera up and got ready to document Frank’s activity. The movers exited his house and walked to the back of the truck where they raised the back door and lowered the ramp. For the next 20 minutes they began carrying furniture and boxes out of the house and on to the truck. It was all routine for them. Just another move. Somewhere during that time Frank appeared. He seemed nervous and agitated. He fidgeted with his hands. He gave verbal instructions every time a mover walked out of his house with an item. If I had been one of the movers my first thought would’ve been - this is going to be a long move.
He had hired professional movers but I could tell by Frank’s body language he would’ve rather done it all himself. They just weren’t doing it right. I watched him watch the movers. He continually stopped them and gave them instructions as they packed his belongings in the large moving truck. He couldn’t help himself. He was the poster child for “If you want something done right do it yourself.” I focused the camera on him. I knew that despite his alleged bad back he would start picking up boxes. He couldn’t help himself. And then he made his move.
Frank began carrying boxes out to his car. Many of the boxes Frank carried were labeled “Fragile.” Despite his alleged back injury he just couldn’t sit there and do nothing. I had saw it coming because I watched his body language. I spent the next 45 minutes gathering video of Frank engaging in activities outside the scope of his alleged back injury.
If you’re interested in learning more about non-verbal communication you can find Tonya Reiman’s website at www.TonyaReiman.com. Additionally, Wicklander-Zulawski offers courses in interviewing and interrogation where they delve into truthful and untruthful behavior. You can find them at www.W-Z.com. And finally, you can find Dr. Mehrabian’s website at www.kaaj.com/psych/.
You’ll be able to gather more video and achieve more results when you learn to recognize non-verbal communication.
Until next time,
this is Scott Fulmer, the Utah Gumshoe reminding you 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.