Private Investigators In Virginia

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U-VA Students Snatch Guy–Use Victim’s Cell to Demand Ransom–Doh!

Posted by Bill on November 27, 2007

The Washington Post, Washington Post, reported today that an unusual kidnapping occurred not far from my location.  Two University of Virginia students snatched a man off a street corner in the Tysons Corner area in McLean, VA, took him to a Falls Church, VA motel, tied him up, put him in the bathroom and, then, demanded a $500,000 ransom.  Now, the two “Einsteins,” second year engineering students at U-VA, used the victim’s cell phone to call in the ransom!  Well, surprise, surprise, the police and the FBI were able to pinpoint the motel’s location after AT&T provided an approximate location in Falls Church as the origin of the calls. 

The Fairfax Police and the FBI staked out the motel and spotted two men going in and out of a room there. When an officer and an FBI agent knocked on the door, they were allowed into the room and found the victim bound and gagged with duct tape in the bathtub.  See whole story here: Article  

Now it is clear to me that the two U-VA students have not been reading the newspapers lately or watching CSI-Miami or the Crime Channel Discovery Channel.  Had the two “Einsteins” read a recent article in the Washington Post, Article they would know that “Federal officials are routinely asking courts to order cellphone companies to furnish real-time tracking data so they can pinpoint the whereabouts of drug traffickers, fugitives and other criminal suspects, according to judges and industry lawyers.”  There, there, those U-VA students should have known better than use the victim’s cell phone to call in the ransom.  Shame on our educational system.

Constitutional Issues? 

Cell Phone Tracking 

So, a real constitutional question has arisen as to whether the government has to have a court authorized search warrant to do the cell phone tracking.  According to the story above, some judges are issuing warrants and others refuse to do so.   Oh, I better save this topic for another post.

IRS Collect Internet Personal Data 

An additional future post may be about the proposal in the president’s 2008 budget that would require Internet businesses like eBay and to collect personal data on their customers and share it with the Internal Revenue Service. 

The move is part of an effort by the U.S. Treasury Department to track down unreported small business income generated by the sale of personal property on such sites. Under the proposal, online “brokers” would be required to file income statements for all customers who use their sites to conduct 100 or more separate transactions that generate US$5,000 or more per year.  Oh brother, help me, see IRS.  I will take this up another time.

Until then, keep “askin” questions,

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA


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