Trash Pulls – A Surprising Effective Way to Gather Evidence
One method which is rarely spoken about but is quite effective during private investigations are trash pulls. It is absolutely amazing what people will throw away. In some of our previous investigations, we have found mushrooms (later certified by a lab as Psilocybin), syringes, methamphetamine residual found in the corners of plastic bags, lots of discarded prescription bottles, documents detailing litigation plans, 100’s of empty alcohol containers, and the list goes on. This takes dumpster diving to a whole new level!
Trash Pulls Have Won Cases
Additionally, trash pulls can give us an incredible amount of insight into the other party’s lifestyle and persons living in the household. We often will find schedules, addresses, pay stubs, etc. All of which give us leads, especially in difficult child custody cases.
Best of all, the practice of pulling trash for investigative purposes is legitimate as well as legal. Once the trash is thrown away and placed at the curb, the owner has essentially thrown away all ownership to the property – it becomes public property there for the taking. The Austin Police Department detectives will pull trash as part of their investigations. Our private investigators will typically go very early in the morning to retrieve a person’s trash and may many times replace it with our own trash – it’s a way for us to be sneaky and keeps the subject from realizing that someone other than the City of Austin took their trash. At apartment complexes, If we happen to see a subject take trash to the dumpster during the course of our surveillance, we will do our best to retrieve it.
Afterward, we will take the trash back to the office and spread it over a tarp. We take pictures and video of the process so it will stand up in court. We will list and take pictures of all the important items. If there are numerous beer cans or liquor bottles, we will count them and take a picture of them all piled up. If we find possible illicit substances, we have a lab in Colorado that can analyze the item and will report their findings that is admissible in court. If we find torn up pieces of paper or notes, we will do our best to tape them back together to retrieve what was written. All the items of importance are saved if needed for court. If we find drugs, it can prompt the police to get involved and in some cases, they will follow up with their own trash pull.
For those of you who are interested in having a trash pull done, please feel free to call and we can quickly determine if a trash pull is right for you. We have found time and time again that trash pulls can provide us with a vast amount of evidence. We are often pleasantly surprised at what we find.