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Private Investigators: Locate Your Stolen & Missing Goods

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You might not want to hear it, but in Canada, property and goods go missing all the time. Just take a look at these stats regarding packages stolen from porches: In 2019 FedEx ran a survey and discovered that out of 1,500 Canadians surveyed, one in four had a package stolen. In Alberta alone, that stat was the highest at one in three—and that’s just for stolen deliveries! It doesn’t cover retail and/or commercial stolen or missing goods. So, if you’ve fallen prey to a thief keen on stealing your goods, what can you do? We’re here to tell you that we’re on your side. Hiring a private investigator to locate your stolen and missing goods is one of your best shots at getting your property back. Keep reading to find out why!

Private Investigator Services: Locates

Locates is the term private investigators use to describe a particular service. The term ‘locates’ refers to the act of finding missing or stolen goods. A private investigator will help you to find a wide variety of goods, which can include anything from stolen warehouse products to missing office equipment. For example, our team of private investigators has helped to locate expensive machinery from a thief who disappeared after making only a partial payment.

The truth is, goods and property go missing all the time. It is a private investigator’s job to help clients locate their missing goods and identify the culprit. During a locate case, a good private investigator will gather legal evidence that their client can use in court. Helping to track down stolen goods ensures that a private investigator’s client gets their money or property back.

An Example of a Local Locate Investigation:

In late July, investigators located a man living in the Wasaga beach area with a suspicious vehicle. After locating his property, investigators found a goldmine of missing and stolen goods including:

  • A 2006 Honda CRF80F dirt bike
  • A Chevrolet pickup truck (2002)
  • A Kia Forte (2019)
  • A number of sailboards

The stolen goods also included a large number of consumer goods and hand tools. So, the individual responsible not only stole goods from private property, but he also stole from various retail stores within the area. 

Investigators arrested the individual and charged him with several related offences including, 

  • Theft of a motor vehicle (over $5000)
  • Seven counts of possession of property obtained by crime (under $5000)
  • Breaking and entering 
  • Three counts of possession (over $5000)

It’s not clear what the man intended to do with the stolen goods. However, after locating all that stolen property, investigators can help to return the goods to their rightful owners. 

Locates: Not Just for Stolen or Missing Goods

Here’s something you might not know: locates don’t just apply to stolen or missing goods. Locates also apply to finding people. It’s true! A private investigator will often get a request to locate a missing person. For example, let’s say that you’re adopted and you want to find your birth parents. Hiring a good private investigator will get you the answers you’re looking for—and fast. After all, licenced private investigators have access to databases and know the right research techniques to run successful background checks. So, if you’re looking for that long lost relative, or an ex-boyfriend who skipped town, hiring a private investigator will help locate them.

Locates & Other Methods of Private Investigation

In order to locate missing or stolen goods, a private investigator will also employ several other types of private investigation services including:


In some cases, a private investigator will set up surveillance to help locate your stolen and missing goods. One of the reasons why a private investigator will run surveillance is because sometimes people steal goods over a period of time. For example, let’s say that you run a successful restaurant. However, you notice that a lot of your food product goes missing every month. As part of the investigation, a private investigator or team of private investigators will set up surveillance. This means they will observe the restaurant from a discreet distance (at all hours) to try and catch the guilty party. Through this method of observation, a private investigation team can then track and trace the stolen food. 

The tricky part to setting up surveillance to locate stolen goods is that there is a risk the thief will catch on. If a thief suspects they will get caught, they will modify their behaviour. This becomes a problem because a private investigator wants to catch the thief. Therefore, a private investigator must develop a solid surveillance plan as part of the investigation. 

Asset Searches:

Sometimes, a private investigator will use asset search techniques to locate missing items. For example, a private investigator will often do an asset search in a divorce case. The reason for this is because one or both of the parties involved have hidden money, property or other valuable items. Hiding assets during a divorce case is illegal. This is why a private investigator will use investigative techniques to determine what, if anything, an individual is hiding. Should a private investigator locate hidden assets, they can provide this information to the divorce lawyer. 


A private investigator will interview people to try and determine who took the missing property and goods. If the private investigator already knows ‘who done it’, he or she will conduct interviews to try and get an idea as to where the thief took the goods. Conducting interviews requires a lot of skill and patience. With a little patience and the right communication techniques, a good private investigator can get a lot of information through interviews. 

Working with a Private Investigator

Trying to locate missing or stolen goods isn’t easy. It requires a lot of legwork and training in investigative techniques. This is why it’s a good idea to contact the local police to report your property as missing or stolen. However, you should also know that in some situations, the police will just not have the time to focus on your case. This is why so many people prefer to hire a private investigator. Hiring and working with a private investigator to locate and recover missing assets ensures that the trail doesn’t go cold. A private investigator will focus on your case. He or she will dedicate the time required to locate your stolen goods and bring the culprit to justice. 

Do you need help locating stolen or missing goods? Maybe you’re looking for a long lost relative! Whatever your needs, one of our highly trained private investigators can help. Contact us today for more information.

Call: (888) 950-4113 Email:

About the Author

Whitney Joy Smith

Founder of The Smith Investigation Agency in 2014, Whitney Joy Smith’s extensive background as a private investigator is matched only by her passion for the role. A graduate of several respected institutions, including Northwest Florida State College and George Brown College, her early years in life were spent between Canada and the United States. This education, along with her formative years as a private investigator in various agencies, informed much of her knowledge of private investigative laws, regulations, and operating standards in both countries.

The recipient of numerous industry awards and accolades, including the Consumers Choice Award, Best in Ottawa, and many others, Whitney takes pride in working closely with her ever-growing agency to raise the bar, maintain compliance, and meet the investigative needs of clients. Whitney is active in various membership and supporting roles, including the CPIRC, CBN, CAPI, Canadian Women’s Chamber of Commerce, and many others. Her experience-driven, thought-provoking articles have been featured in everything from Readers Digest to Business News Daily, and she strives to continually redefine standards for those in the private investigative and security fields. Learn more about Whitney and the team at The Smith Investigation Agency today.

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