Private investigators can be called upon by insurance companies to conduct an investigation of one of their client’s claims due to a residential or business burglary. Usually the claim has raised some red flags with the insurance company and they want an investigator to look at it.
First, interview the insurance company representative to find out their concerns in the case. Many times a claimant has taken out a policy shortly before the burglary. Find out the date the policy was requested, the date it was issued, and the date of the burglary. Has the claimant made any prior burglary claims? Check and see if the claimant or his/her significant other has any recent bankruptcies, tax liens or judgments filed against them.
Obtain a copy of the burglary report and review it. Pay close attention to the point of entry that was made and the object used (Bodily force, pry tool, brick etc.). Interview the police officer(s) who were at the scene and took the report. Ask them if they had any concerns regarding what they saw at the crime scene. Most police officers and detectives have been to hundreds of burglary crime scenes. Those that appear to be suspicious usually jump out at them. If any photographs were taken, ask to view them. Pay close attention to what the photographs show at the point of entry and the amount of ransacking.
Lastly, interview the claimant in person and conduct a crime scene investigation. Did the claimant have any photographs or sales receipts of the items claimed taken in the burglary. Is it physically possible that the burglary occurred the way it was claimed? Could a suspect(s) physically have done what is in the report?
Burglars usually know the places to look in a residence for jewelry, money, guns, electronic equipment etc. They may do some ransacking, but it’s usually not extensive because they want to get in and get out quickly before being discovered. They usually don’t take large, bulky items and oftentimes use a pillow case to stash their loot in.
Most people have little experience with burglary crime scenes. Their big mistake is that they usually over produce it. Excessive ransacking is always a red flag. I vividly recall on investigation where the claimant had dumped multiple drawers in each room throughout the house. He had even moved dining room furniture and left it by a door. Large paintings had also been moved to appear that they were being staged to go out the door. On another case, the point of entry was claimed to be a window smash. The problem was that the majority of the broken glass shards were on the lawn outside of the house rather than on the floor underneath the window. It was apparent that the window had been broken by someone standing inside the house.