Another detective and I went to locate a potential witness in a crime. We ended up in this secluded alley that had only one way in and out. Think city alley in a tight knit row home community. I noticed several people sitting in chairs partially in the road. They were enjoying coffee and at least one was munching on pancakes and eggs. My partner went to the door of this residence to try to locate our witness. I stayed a few feet back surveying the home to see if I could note movement. You see, many witnesses to crimes really don’t want to speak to the Police and this apparently was no different. There was no answer at the door. The people in the road hanging out were just staring at us. They acknowledged we were there but that was about it.
I approached an older man who was sitting down, drinking coffee. I greeted him and asked if he ever saw a cop do magic. He said he did not and agreed to let me share a trick with him. Fortunately for me, other people were paying attention too, so I had a small audience. I showed them the Poker Test, as it’s my favorite opener by far. Everyone was laughing, and seemed to really enjoy this effect. There was a younger woman there who asked to see another trick. I did a card transposition effect, switching the card in her hand with the card in another person’s hands. This trick earned a louder response. Since I like showing magic in sets of three effects, I decided to pull my detective business card to leave with the group. This way, if they saw our witness, they could give him a message to call me for an interview. This effect always floors people as they just don’t see it coming.
I gave the older gentleman the card and after he calmed down from laughing, he thanked me. The best part was he took my business card, went to the back of the home where we were just knocking on the front door (getting no answer) and disappeared. A few minutes later, he came back out to the front with our witness. The witness didn’t answer the door for fear of why we wanted to speak to him. I showed the witness a quick Triumph card trick, explained why we wanted to speak to him, and he agreed to be interviewed.
Magic creates amazing opportunities for people to connect. It allowed me to connect and build a rapport with a group of strangers, who owed us nothing, but put us in contact with our witness. Rapport when investigating major crimes is paramount and can sometimes take hours to develop using traditional methods. I’ve experience this firsthand countless times. Rapport leads to comfort, and comfort leads to more information. Magic is a great way to expedite this process. Not only did we find our witness, but we also made some new friends in that alley that morning. It was a great way to start the day and move our investigation forward.