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John E. Reid & Associates, Inc. proudly congratulates one of our graduates for doing an outstanding job using the "Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation" to resolve the Featured Case.

Detective Michael McDaniel
Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office, Shreveport, Louisiana

Career Profile / Reid Training
A resident of a local apa Graduate of Louisiana State University in Shreveport with a B.A. in General Studies with a concentration in History. A Caddo Parish Deputy Sheriff for over fourteen years and a criminal detective for the past year and a half.

I attended the Basic and Advanced Reid courses in April of 2002, at the Bossier City Police Department Training Center in Bossier City, Louisiana.

Case Facts
A resident of a local apartment complex drove his car to his apartment at about 1:30 p.m. and went inside. While walking to his apartment, he had noticed that a lawn crew was mowing and weed eating nearby. After being inside his apartment for about 15 minutes, he realized that he had left his wallet in his unlocked car. He walked back out to his car and found that his wallet was gone. It was Friday afternoon and the victim had $779 cash in his wallet for a trip he was about to take.

The victim looked around the complex and found some papers from his wallet in a nearby dumpster, but his wallet was nowhere to be found. The victim spoke with the apartment manager and was able to get the phone number for the owner of the lawn company that mowed the complex. The victim spoke to the owner and the owner told him that one of his crew had found a wallet lying in the apartment parking lot. The victim threatened prosecution and the owner said he would try to get to the bottom of the situation.

The local police were notified and the responding officer called the lawn company owner on the telephone. The owner confronted his employee in the officer's hearing. The employee fled while his employer was attempting to stop him.

Some time later, the lawn company owner made contact with his employee by phone and the employee told him the missing wallet had been thrown into some tall grass behind the apartments. The owner called the victim and the victim located his wallet, however, his driver's license and $779 cash were gone. When I received the case, I spoke to the lawn company owner and the owner told me that his employee admitted to finding an empty wallet and he denied taking any money. The owner said he was not going to work the employee until he learned the outcome of the investigation.

I went to the suspect's apartment and was greeted by the suspect's grandmother. His grandmother told me that he was not home, but after explaining to her that I did not currently have charges on her grandson and I needed to get his side of the story, she called him out. Grandmother and grandson met me at my office and I interviewed and interrogated the suspect there. The suspect was a 20 year-old male with no criminal record.

Behavior Analysis Questions:
Q: "If you had anything to do with taking the wallet or the money that was in the wallet, you should go ahead and tell me now.
A: See, the wallet wasn't took. The wallet was found. I found the wallet. It was empty except for an I.D. - and a few papers.

Q: Do you have any idea who could have taken the money?
A: No, 'cause when I went over there, everybody was on the other side.
Q: Do you suspect any of them might have stolen that -
A: I really can't say, but he said it was seven hundred dollars in there. And it wasn't nothing in there when I got it.

Q: If there would have been some money in there, would you - would you have taken it out?
A: Yeah.

Q: Anybody you know that could vouch for, that could say you know they didn't take the wallet?
A: Not really.

Q: How do you feel about being interviewed under these circumstances?
A: I don't mind.

Q: You think this car burglary and a theft, you think that they actually occurred or you think the guy just lost his wallet and is trying to get some money out of it?
A: I think he lost - he just lost his wallet.

Q: Who do you think would have had the best opportunity to take the money from the wallet?
A: I really can't say.

Q: Why do you think somebody would take the money out?
A: I don't know. No idea.

Q: Did you ever think about doing something like this and maybe you didn't follow through with it?
A: No, I kept a job.
Q: Well, I'm talking about finding a wallet with some money in it and taking the money.
A: Yeah.
Q: Does that happen often?
A: Thoughts like that? No, 'cause I have money. I have a job.

Q: Why wouldn't you do something like this?
A: I'm not saying I wouldn't. If I didn't have a job, if I wasn't working, I probably would, if the opportunity came along like that.

Q: What do you think ought to happen to the person who - who stole that money?
A: I really can't say.

Q: Do you think the person who took this money deserves a second chance for Any reason?
A: It depends on who the person is.
Q: What circumstances would - would the person deserve a second chance?
A: Not a long record, not a history of taking things.

Q: Once the full investigation is complete, what do you think the results of that will be?
A: I don't know, got to wait and see.

Bait Question:
Q: Occasionally polygraphs come up. Do you know what a polygraph is - a lie detector test? Would you be willing to take a polygraph?
A: Yeah.
Q: What do you think the results of the polygraph would be?
A: They'll be positive.
Q: Positive in what way?
A: That I had nothing to do with it. I found the wallet. That's it.

Deceptive Behaviors during interview:

The suspect was tense throughout the interview. He often displayed extreme eye contact and occasionally blinked his eyes in an odd way (twitch?). He over justified his actions and seemed to feel that the old phrase, 'Finders keepers, losers weepers' was a law rather than a cliche. He carefully guarded many answers by replying, "I couldn't say," leading me to believe that he couldn't say because if he did he would get into trouble.

Themes and Alternatives

During the initial interview, the suspect mentioned that he often attended church and he told me that he did have Christian values. The initial theme was the presentation of two hypothetical thieves, one that was repentant and the other defiant. The follow-up to the initial theme was that both the thieves would stand before God one day and God "...resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble."

The alternate theme was the 'crime of opportunity' theme, that the suspect gave in to temptation rather than making an evil, well organized plan. The emphasis on the alternate theme was that the suspect was basically a good-person who had a lapse in judgement.

The theme that finally broke the suspect was the use of the money that was stolen. I established early in the interview that the suspect was an 'occasional' marijuana user and as such saw nothing wrong with smoking pot. I presented two alternatives to the use of the stolen money: one being that the money was used to buy cocaine and LSD and the second alternative was that the money was used to pay bills. He finally paused and asked me, "What's going to happen to me?" His question was the breaking point of the interrogation.

Summary of Admissions
The suspect did not admit to a car burglary, but did admit to finding a wallet with over $700 inside. He told me that there were (4) $100 bills and a 'bunch' of $20 bills in the wallet. He would not elaborate on where the money went, only that it was gone and that he gave part of it to his sister to pay bills.

The suspect's rationalization of the crime was that he found lost property and he was entitled to keep it and use it as he wished. Unfortunately, the laws of Louisiana clearly state that, "...the taking of anything of value, without the owner's consent," constitutes theft.

Length of Interrogation
Approximately 20 minutes

This case has not yet gone to court.

The suspect lost his job and was arrested and jailed for the felony theft.


YOU; "If you had anything to do with taking the should tell me that now" The suspect gave a specific denial to this question. He denied taking the wallet but did not deny stealing the money.

KNOWLEDGE; The suspect tries to distract the interviewer from his deceptive denial by offering a manipulation statement, "No, cause when I went over there, everybody was on the other side". This is a common tactic of the deceptive. Rather than just say "No" and leave it at that, the deceptive person often tries to distract the interviewer from the lie by adding unnecessary information. In this example, what the suspect says seems unrelated to the quesiton.

SUSPICION/VOUCH FOR; Innocent subjects usually have an attitude of cooperation. They want to help the investigator resolve the case. Deceptive suspects, on the other hand, are uncooperative and unhelpful. They want the investigation to stay broad and do not want to narrow the scope of the investigation. These two questions can reveal the type of attitude the suspect has. We see that this suspect is unhelpful. He refuses to not only name a suspicion, but also refuses to vouch for anyone.

CREDIBILTY; Here the suspect refuses to acknowledge that the money was stolen. He suggest that the person probably lost the wallet. This is a common tactic of the guilty suspects. They are trying to convince the investigator that there is nothing for them to investigate. They refuse to acknowledge the credibility of the issue. MOTIVE; "Why do you think somebody would take the money out?" The suspect refuses to discuss motive. He responds by saying "I don't know. No idea". Guilty suspects view this question as a dangerous one. They are afraid of saying something that might reveal their true motive so they are generally vague and non-committal. Innocent subjects are not afraid to openly discuss motive. It's something they have been asking themselves since they learned of the crime. Why would someone do something like this?

THINK; The subject denies thinking about doing something like this but when asked the OBJECTION question; "why wouldn't you....." the suspect says "I'm not saying I wouldn't." He says that he probably would do something like this if he didn't have a job. An innocent person will typically deny thinking about committing the crime in question and when asked why not, they usually refer to their level of honesty and integrity as the reasons they wouldn't.

PUNISHMENT; Here the subject refused to say what should happen to the person who stole the money. This is very typical of the guilty person. They don't want to suggest any strong punishment because they know they are talking about themselves and they do not want to give the investigator any ideas. An innocent person, on the other hand, is not afraid to give a strong punishment. They know what the person did was wrong and should be fired and prosecuted for what they did.

SECOND CHANCE; In this response, the suspect tells us how to interrogate him. He thinks that if a person didn't have a long record or a history of taking things, that this should be taken into consideration. An effective theme would be to develop the concept that this was a spur of the moment decision as opposed to something he planned out. You could also suggest that this was the first time he did something like this. He saw the opportunity and gave into the temptation. These are some of the ideas that Detective McDaniel did use in his interrogation of the suspect.

INVESTIGATION RESULTS; Once again the suspect gave a classic deceptive response to this question. "I don't know, got to wait and see." This illustrates his lack of confidence. An innocent person is confident that they will be exonerated and will express that confidence when answering this question. An innocent person is more apt to say "It will show I didn't steal any money."

This is a good case example of some classic deceptive responses to the Reid Behavioral Analysis Interview Questions. Detective McDaniel did an excellent job selecting the proper questions, and using the responses to formulate an effective theme for the interrogation.