Cracking cases for L.A.'s Iranian community

Written By kolimtiga on Senin, 31 Maret 2014 | 12.56

An Iranian man parks his car in a guest spot behind his apartment. He heads inside the building and comes back out about an hour later to walk the dog.

Across the street, parked in a rental car, private investigator Sam Nassrouie tucks away his surveillance gear — a camera pen and a hidden tape recorder that looks like an MP3 player — and retrieves his cellphone.

"Your husband doesn't seem to be cheating on you," Nassrouie reassures his client, an Iranian woman, over the phone. "I followed him — he went straight home from work and only left to walk your dog."

The client, confused, tells the PI: "But … we don't have a dog."

Moments later, Nassrouie hears loud profanities in Farsi coming from the apartment building. His client had figured it out: Her husband was cheating on her — with their neighbor. Nassrouie had spotted him walking the neighbor's dog.

With jobs as varied as solving infidelity cases and conducting background checks, Nassrouie, 62, has spent 15 years as the go-to private investigator for L.A.'s Iranian community.

From Tehran to L.A.

As a child, Nassrouie said his parents would call him fozool, or overly curious. Even at Persian parties, called mehmoonies, Nassrouie said he was always "snooping."

"I always saw things people didn't notice," he said. "I would ask, 'Why is this here?'"

He also tuned into the radio show "Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar," about the adventures of a freelance insurance investigator.

"In Iran, the idea of a private investigator didn't really exist," he said. "But I was drawn to it because it seemed challenging and rewarding."

After graduating from high school in Tehran, Nassrouie hoped to become a pilot or a homicide detective.

Instead, he served several years in the Iranian military before moving to New York to live with his brother.

He eventually moved to Los Angeles in the 1980s, working at an auto repossessing company while taking criminology classes.

While taking classes, he sought real-life experience, and spent hours shadowing other investigators until he got his own license to practice in 1999.

Job lacks glamour

Nassrouie said he loves being an investigator, but it's nothing like what people see on-screen.

There are no trench coats or dark sunglasses. And unlike James Bond, who chases suspects while driving flashy sports cars, Nassrouie picks vehicles to "blend in."

Sometimes he ditches wheels and walks. Other times, he hops on a motorcycle and follows subjects 40 or 50 miles to their final destination.

And stakeouts?

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