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Case Study: Attic Spy Goes Underground

When Lynn Redding heard clicking noises on her telephone, she thought of her ex-boyfriend, who claimed to be a retired spy. Redding, 37, hired Hawk Professional Investigations to search her Lawrenceville house for electronic surveillance equipment.

They did not find bugs, but discovered a hiding spot in the attic stocked with duct tape and chloroform, a chemical that knocks people out, along with towels, snacks and bottled water. There were also two telephone lines that police believe were used to listen to Redding’s conversations.

In a brief telephone interview last week, the ex-boyfriend told police he was installing extra phone lines in Redding’s house as a favor. The chloroform? That was to kill butterflies. Police don’t believe him.

“I conclude he was planning to kidnap her and kill her or her 9-year-old son,” said Gwinnett County police investigator Byron Lee.

Lee is trying to jail the ex-boyfriend who is charged with burglary, clandestine surveillance and interception of private communications. Catching him won’t be easy. Lee doesn’t know his real name.

Most of the time, the suspect called himself Mike Jackson and said he was 65, a retired Air Force colonel who killed enemies in the Middle East, Lee said. Other times, he called himself Robert Mitchum or Sigmund Rosenfeld.

“If he is a former spy or counterespionage guy, he’s probably smart enough to cover his tracks,” said Lee, who worked Naval intelligence before he became a policeman. Lee figures the only way he will find the man’s true identity is through fingerprints. Lab technicians plan to dust the items from the attic for prints. If the man left prints and served in the military, Lee can get information from the FBI.

The man was the money behind Point Environmental Services, a Loganville engineering and surveying company. Mike Jackson is listed as the business license applicant. The company’s chief executive officer, Richard Smith, said Jackson provided money to meet payroll when the company started in 1993.

Smith said he believed Jackson was a retired Air Force colonel, but really knew more about Jackson’s money. He said the man was a millionaire.

“I’ve seen him loan several companies hundreds of thousands of dollars. They still owe him the money,” Smith said.

Smith introduced Redding to Jackson. She thought she had found a really good boyfriend.

He was rich, strong, smart and mysterious. When others bragged they could do 100 pushups, he would do 200.

But after dating two years, she realized he had a major flaw: he didn’t like her 9-year-old son. So she dumped him. He sent her gifts and letters. Redding stacked them in the garage. Some she didn’t open.

After finding the hiding spot, Redding moved out. “I think it was definitely going to go bad,” Redding said.

As reported in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, September 30, 1999.
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The details of this case study have been modified to protect confidentiality including identities, locations and any other recognizable information. Case studies and any description of matters are not intended as legal advice and should not be used in that way.
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