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Shane Ashton
Criminal Investigations
Salina Police Department

I attended the Reid interview and interrogation class in Kansas City, MO, 11/30 - 12/2/04.

I have used the technique in all my interviews since. Here is a good one.

Our patrol was send to a local residence for a medical call on an elderly man who lives alone and is in poor health. The call for the ambulance came from a couple who lived next door and helped the subject with his day to day activities. While at the hospital, the elderly man asked his sister to retrieve $4000.00 he had hidden in his residence. His sister went to the residence but was unable to locate the money. Patrol interviewed the neighbor couple. During their interview the couple stated that they were aware of the $4000.00 and that the elderly man asked them to hide the money in a bathroom cabinet. The male neighbor stated that he did hide the money in the bathroom cabinet and has not seen the money since. The couple denied stealing the money or knowing how it came up missing.

The couple was asked to come to the Salina Police Department for interviews, which they did voluntarily. They were interviewed separately. The following is an excerpt from the male neighbor's interview.

Q: Do you what the issue is that we are going to discuss today?
A: Yea, regarding the missing money

Q: If you had anything to do with the money coming up missing you should tell me now.
A: No, I don't know anything about how the money came up missing. (stared at me without ever looking away).

Q: Do you know who did take the money?
A: With that neighborhood, who knows.

Q: Is there anyone you would suspect of taking the money?
A: No, there used to be a Mexican guy named Bob who walked around the neighborhood drunk.

Q: Is there anyone that could vouch for you and say you didn't take the money?
A: People could vouch for my character.

Q: Alibi
A: The subject explained what happened the night the medics arrived to transport the victim. He then began explaining all that he and his girlfriend have done in the past to help the victim out due to his medical condition. He also stated that he and the victim were like best friends, and that he would never do anything to hurt the victim.

Q: How do you feel about being interviewed concerning this investigation?
A: I think it's bull-shit (re-adjusts himself in the chair, crossed legs, crossed arms in front of him)

Q: Did you tell any of your family or friends about this investigation?
A: I think my girlfriend told her mother we had to go to the PD for an interview.

Q: Do you feel the money was actually stolen?
A: Maybe he moved it and forgot about it, or maybe his sister took it (coughs, clears throat, stretched an arm over his head)

Q: If the victim specifically provided your name as a suspect, why do you think he would do that?
A: I would never do anything to screw him over.

Q: Who would have had the best opportunity to have taken the money?
A: I have no idea because Police and Medics were at the house the whole time we were there (wipes hands down pant legs)

Q: Why do you feel someone would've taken the money?
A: Because they are ignorant (wipes hands again, re-adjusts position in chair)

Q: Did you ever think of taking the money or doing something like that?
A: I wouldn't even consider it - when it comes to money, that's too risky

Q: Why wouldn't you doe something like this?
A: I'm not going to screw him over - Why would you steal from a 74 yr old man?

Q: What do you thing should happen to the person who did steal the money?
A: Whatever the law sees fit - I'm not a judge.

Q: What if you were the judge, what do you think should happen to the person?
A: Go to jail, I guess.

Q: Do you think the person who did this would deserve a 2nd chance?
A: Depends, are they habitual, or was it a 1st time stupid ass mistake.

Q: Would you be willing to submit to a polygraph about the missing $4000.00? A: I really don't like them, I have heard they are not scientifically accurate. I suppose I would take one but don't agree with them.

Q: If asked specifically if you took the money what would your answer be?
A: No.

Q: How do you think the test results would show for you?
A: Hopefully it will come up that I was telling the truth 100 percent.

Q: Once the investigation is completed, how do you think it will show for you?
A: (Stutter) Hopefully, I'm pretty sure, you'll be done with me.

I allowed the subject to sit in our lobby while I interviewed his girlfriend. Girlfriend's interview was very good, and at the time I didn't believe she had any information about the stolen money. I then had her sit in the lobby and I brought the male subject back into my office.

INTERROGATION I advised the subject that the investigation clearly showed he did indeed take the money. He just sat there, dropped his head and did not offer any denial. I restated the accusation and the subject almost began crying and denied having any knowledge or involvement in the theft of the missing money.

I presented my theme in a sympathetic manner. I explained to him that I thought he was a good guy and would never intentionally hurt anyone. I suggested that he would never plan something like this and that it probably happened on the impulse when he was asked to move the money. ( I knew the subject and his girlfriend were planning to get married and as a result had incurred several bills.)

The subject continued to deny involvement. I told him I thought he was sorry about what happened and the only way to repair a damaged friendship is with the truth. I then reminded him that he was not the only one he should be thinking about. His girlfriend's knowledge of the incident would involve her as well and that he should think about her for a moment. He said she knew nothing about it. Throughout my theme development the subject avoided eye contact and made several weak denials. After repeating my themes a few more times the subject admitted stealing the money and provided a full confession. He stated that he stole the money when the elderly man asked him to hide the money in his bathroom. This was several days prior to the medics call.

The subject wrote out a written statement explaining how sorry he was and what a big mistake he made. He stated that he needed the money to pay some court fines and take care of other bills since he was currently without a job. The case never went to trial because the subject pled to the charge. The interrogation portion took around 15-20 minutes.

I had to exercise patience during the interview because half way through the interview I knew he took the money. However, I was glad I finished the interview before I accused him of stealing the money because I learned several important pieces of information from him in the interview that I was able to use in my theme development in the interrogation.