SOURCE: Sherlock Investigations, Inc.

July 21, 2005 13:32 ET

Real Private Eyes Unlike Those on TV

NEW YORK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- July 21, 2005 -- When navigating the website of Sherlock Investigations ( in New York City one gets a sense of a glamour-filled, exciting profession. That's why TV production companies from around the world call the investigative firm on a regular basis.

"Our site is meant to convey the message that we enjoy what we do, and to celebrate our team spirit when helping clients," says Skipp Porteous, the company's president. Television production companies see it differently though, and want to exploit this small business tucked away in a little office suite on Broadway in New York's Upper West Side.

"When producers contact us, we have to tell them that we don't carry guns, and seldom even leave the office," says Porteous. The investigators do occasionally go to the streets to conduct surveillance, but the presence of a camera crew would be unwelcome.

Today's private eye relies on technology. Computers have replaced gumshoes as their primary gear. The Internet, online databases, and the telephone let their fingers do the walking.

The cases Sherlock Investigations take include locating people, to eBay fraud, counterfeit merchandise investigations, stalking, email tracing, and infidelity cases. In a recent case, an Ohio man purchased a Harley on eBay for $8,000. When he didn't receive his bike, he contacted Sherlock Investigations. They tracked down the seller, who has scammed other unwary buyers. Meanwhile, the would-be buyer filed a complaint in his home state, resulting in an arrest warrant. Sherlock told the NYPD the perp's whereabouts, leading to an arrest. The fraudster is now awaiting extradition.

Sherlock is taking more and more criminal cases as identification theft and Internet fraud proliferates. One of their clients manufactures well-known designer purses. Knock-offs of these purses are manufactured by the thousands in China, and sold over the Internet. Sherlock Investigations buys the bags online, and then tracks down the seller. The sellers often go to great lengths to hide their identities. Sherlock has identified and located the sellers in all their counterfeit merchandise cases.

Another recent case involved a man who purchased $30,000 worth of diamonds on credit from a dealer on 47th Street. He quickly disappeared. Sherlock Investigations found him in Southern California and served him with a civil subpoena.

"While we're not like private eyes on TV, it's still exciting," Porteous says.

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