For George Gobel, investigation is intriguing.
“If I can solve a case, the high that I get from it is so rewarding,” he explained.
So he started G&G Investigation. As Shelbyville’s only licensed private investigator (PI), Gobel works to find evidence that helps solve missing person cases, homicides, runaways, theft, fraud and many other items.
“We do a thing called process service, and process service is if an attorney or individual would call us for paperwork,” he said. “Like an eviction, if it was a landlord, they would have the paperwork from the courts, to have us go serve and find those individuals to give us that paperwork to them.”
He’s spent 17 years in the criminal justice field, two of those with Community Corrections, and four years on his own as a PI.
“With community corrections, what I did there was monitor people on house arrests, home visits and drug arrests,” he said.
“My full background stems from private security work and community corrections, so I thought after working with community corrections, I would branch out on my own and do the private detective work,” he said.
To become a licensed PI, one has to meet a certain amount of accredited hours, which is 4,000 hours.
“That’s why I was doing all the security work before, accumulating those hours,” he said. “Those last two years with Community Corrections qualified me for the PI license.”
He’s just moved into his first office Jan. 1.
“This is the first office that I’ve opened,” he said. “I’ve been working for the last four years out of the back of my home, which was my office. So this is a new adventure at this location.”
The space at 37 E. Washington Street Suite #2 used to be a hair salon, and you can still catch the occasional whiff of hairspray, but now Gobel shares it with Runnebohm Realty.
“I share this location with Runnebohm Realty,” he said. “They’re never here, so it’s basically my office, but they do step in every now and then and make some copies or meet a client here at the table.”
Gobel has a couple of people that help him in the field, but for the most part he’s the only one in the office. He moved to the new location to increase visibility.
“The demand for PI is not what it used to be,” he said. “I do get a lot of business through the courts as far as working with attorneys, and I get some work from the public defender’s office, and there’s a few individuals I work for still who were past clients, but as far as somebody coming in off the street on an everyday basis, it doesn’t happen.”
“Which is another reason why I branched out though, because I thought once I got noticed, maybe it would bring demand back,” he continued. “A lot of people, believe it or not, don’t know what an investigator is or what we do.”
Some of Gobel’s biggest cases include homicides. His biggest clients are attorneys.
“It would be to investigate, as far as locating someone’s whereabouts and process service,” he said.
Gobel goes about finding someone’s whereabouts using social media and phone number apps.
“I have several different Facebook accounts, under false names, and I do a lot of investigation with that,” he said, laughing.
He gave a stalking case as an example.
“I’ve had a stalking case I started last year that is still ongoing,” he said. “A gentleman was in a relationship and it went sour, and she was still not willing to give it up, so she was stalking him.”
“I contacted her by phone and let her know there’s cameras at his home, and I did get her on video and I turned that over to our attorney, and our attorney sent her a letter,” he said. “She wasn’t intimidated by an attorney or the courts, so after she re-made contact with the client, I called her back again and told her what would be the next process if she continued. And so far we haven’t heard from her.”
Gobel said he’s had three stalking cases in the four years he’s been a PI.
“I think it’s a comfort zone for my clients knowing that we’re here 24/7,” Gobel said. “He can pick up the phone and say, ‘Hey, George, this is what’s going on, can you send someone out to check the area?’”
There are limits to what Gobel can do with investigations. He can’t impersonate law enforcement officers, and he can’t enter properties or crime scenes without permission.
“I am only allowed to do so much when the case is open,” he said. “I can’t step on law enforcement’s toes, and I can’t step in and take over an investigation. I have to wait for law enforcement to ask for my help or the case to be closed.”
In addition to the high from solving a case, Gobel enjoys helping people through his job. His goals with the new storefront are to increase his visibility to expand his client base.
“If I can locate a loved one, if I can help with an unsolved homicide, if I can find the person who needs help, that’s what it means to me,” he said. “It’s all heart-driven, I guess.”
Anyone interested in employing Gobel can reach out to G&G Investigations at 317-395-6625.