Charges dropped against ‘fake’ private eye; residents want answers

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GLENDALE, Colo. -- Some residents turned to the FOX31 Denver Problem Solvers to help get answers after the FBI asked local police to drop charges against a fake private investigator accused of harassing the residents.

“I want to know what his connections are," Douglas Stiff said. "Why is the FBI involved in helping people come to my door and harass me?”

The citizens said the phony private investigator showed up at their doors, intimidating and threatening them over public comments they made about a proposed development.

Then, the FBI got involved. Not to help local police but to make sure the suspect was set free.

Stiff said he has every right to express his opinion in the local newspaper. And he couldn’t believe it when a man identifying himself as Charles Johnson, a private investigator from Tennessee, showed up at his door saying he was investigating Stiff because of what he said.

"He wouldn’t disclose who he worked for and he wouldn’t say why he was interested,” Stiff said.

Stiff’s opinions have been quoted in the Glendale Cherry Creek Chronicle. The newspaper did a series of articles about a Persian rug store owner’s proposal to build a massive apartment complex at Colorado Boulevard and East Virginia Avenue.

Several other citizens have been quoted speaking out against the idea. And like Stiff, they complained to police when Johnson knocked on their door.

One told police he felt “threatened, annoyed and uncomfortable” when Johnson showed up at his work and that Johnson got “very aggressive and confrontational.”

According to police reports, when officers contacted Johnson, he had three separate IDs from three states. He listed an address that turned out to be a post office box in Nashville, Tenn.

Glendale police arrested him for failure to have a Colorado private investigator’s license, a misdemeanor.

"It’s bizarre. At this point I want to know what’s going on," Stiff said.

Johnson would not say who he was working for, but the FBI told local law enforcement to drop the criminal case.

The Problem Solvers obtained a letter from the special agent in charge of the Denver FBI office that asked the Arapahoe County District Attorney’s Office to dismiss the case “for reasons that cannot be disclosed.”

Johnson’s victims said that’s not right.

“It’s concerning that there are people running around operating illegally, coming to my front door and when they’re arrested, that can get a get out of jail card from the FBI,” Stiff said.

The Problem Solvers asked the FBI about Johnson and why it wanted the charges dropped.  A spokeswoman said the FBI had no comment.

There’s another twist.

The Problem Solvers learned that besides making sure the phony private investigator was set free, the FBI contacted some of the victims asking them why they complained to police and about their public statements. The FBI had no comment on that.