This American Life: The Incredible Case of the P.I. Moms

Thu, 09/29/2011 - 10:00pm

What do you get when you take a P.I. firm, add in a bunch of soccer moms, official sponsorship from Glock, a lying boss, and delusions of grandeur?

In This American Life: The Incredible Case of the P.I. Moms, airing Thursday, September 29 at 9 p.m. on  AM 1370/FM-HD 91.5-2., Ira explains how a man named Chris Butler created a private detective agency where the investigators were good-looking soccer moms. Their publicist invited a reporter named Pete Crooks from Diablo magazine to do a ride-along with the PI Moms on a case. Pete thinks it'll be a simple, fun assignment. Turns out he was wrong.

Act One. A Pretty Dame Walks In.

Joshuah Bearman tells the story of Pete's ridealong with the PI Moms, and how strange things started to happen. As he dug deeper into their operations, he learned about cases like the Candyman, where everything gets oddly and unnecessarily complicated. And he learns about the involvement of Norm Wielsch, the top drug enforcement officer in Contra Costa County. He starts to get mysterious emails from an anonymous source who calls himself "Rutherford."

Act Two. His Partner Drops a Dime.

Joshuah Bearman's story continues. Chris Butler makes a transition into true criminal behavior. Someone rats Chris out. The truth emerges. You'll have to hear it to believe it.