Participants: Ashley Cobb, Karen Thomas
Series Code: IAA
Program Code: IAA000015
00:30 Welcome to another edition of Issues and Answers.
00:32 Today our guest is a real life
00:34 private investigator and a much
00:35 sought after motivational speaker who speaks all around
00:38 the country to businesses, churches and groups on how to
00:41 make better employees and how to make God as part of your
00:45 business plan. He has produced a cassette series which is
00:49 entitled The Secret of Success is the union of human effort
00:52 with divine power. Also he has a brochure that he sends out
00:56 and a newsletter. He has been featured in the national
01:00 publication Sharing Ideas which is a motivation publication.
01:04 He has also been featured in a youth publication titled Guide
01:09 where he includes a story of one of his famous cases in New
01:13 York City and he is also in the process of writing a book
01:17 entitled The Secret of Success. It is a real treat to have
01:21 Ashley Cobb with us today. Welcome to our program today
01:25 Ashley. It's a real pleasure to have you.
01:27 Thanks and it's good to be here.
01:28 Now the last time we were together you had shared with us
01:31 how you had been the son of a share cropper and at 18 you
01:35 moved to New York City and then you decided to include Christ in
01:39 your life. He blessed you to become an insurance claim
01:43 investigator. You went back to school and you became a private
01:46 investigator, became licensed. You had worked for the city of
01:50 New York. Now, what was your first case?
01:54 I knew you were going to ask
01:56 that question. Any time a
01:58 business person engages in
02:00 business everybody wants to know what was your first claim, what
02:06 was your first investigation? Now I had received my license
02:11 all in the necessity of going into the private investigation
02:16 business. Now at first I began at my kitchen table because
02:20 I wasn't able to rent an office. I really wasn't able to buy
02:25 business cards. But I managed some way to get some business
02:30 cards so when the telephone rang I would tell my wife and
02:34 children now this is the way you answer because that call might
02:40 be a business call. So I taught them how to answer the phone
02:43 but it became stress on the house, you know. You have to
02:47 pick up the phone and say Ashley Cobb, private eye and my wife
02:51 didn't like the idea of a private investigator bringing
02:54 cases to the house because some of them can be extremely
02:57 dangerous and some not so dangerous, but you never know
03:01 when the one is going to be dangerous. Okay, so I didn't
03:05 have any cases and I had talked about trusting God, you know,
03:10 depend upon God and he will supply all your needs, but now
03:17 here I was, no investigations, license and waiting on God to
03:24 answer my prayer. Now that is what you call faith. It's easy
03:30 to talk about faith until one has to experience it themself.
03:35 Then it becomes a real issue. But God was testing my faith.
03:40 I was able to get a few cases. What I would do, I would go down
03:45 to the courts and I would approach attorneys and I would
03:49 say look I'm a private investigator. I investigate
03:52 this, I investigate insurance claims, I investigate criminal
03:56 and civil cases and I would pick up a few. I was able to
04:03 save enough money to rent a small "2 x 4" office. I think
04:10 it was about 8 feet wide and about 15 feet long. At that time
04:16 I had approached a friend of mine and at that time she was
04:22 Congressman Shirley Chisholm.
04:28 Oh my. A personal friend of yours? What a great break.
04:32 She said now if you want to be a successful private
04:36 investigator you need to move from your house because you need
04:40 to be in a business environment. She said you need to have an
04:43 office not too far from my office She said why don't you go
04:47 and talk to the rental agent and maybe they'll find something.
04:51 Karen, that's just what I did. The rental agent took me around
04:55 this little office with nothing in it, just a bare floor with
05:02 a ceiling you know. It was okay but I thought about when Naaman
05:07 went down to see Elisha. He thought that he was supposed to
05:11 go to the king's palace to get healed but he was sent down to
05:17 Elisha's rather shack. So it was something like that. Well
05:21 I'm not saying it was that bad but it was a bare office, but
05:26 the security was good. We had enough money, about $160, we
05:30 put a piece of carpet on the floor. I worked a little more
05:36 and I was able to get one steel file cabinet, one desk and one
05:41 telephone, but no claims. Now I'm working by faith. But there
05:46 was one thing; I had promised God that whatever I received
05:53 he would get a tenth of it. I said you will get a tenth and
05:59 God saw my sincerity. I sent about 50 letters out, called
06:05 numerous companies and they said okay we don't have anything now.
06:10 You don't have to call us back, we'll call you. So one day I was
06:15 sitting at my desk and I always believe in having everything in
06:20 order. I received a telephone call and at the other end was
06:25 one of the vice presidents of an insurance claim company.
06:30 He says, Ashley why don't you come down to my office. I have a
06:35 case that we want to try you out on. See in business like we tell
06:40 a lot of young people, just because you're out of college
06:43 that doesn't mean that you go down and become the president
06:46 of AT&T or the New York Stock Exchange. You're going to have
06:50 to start at the bottom and do the dirty work. So, excited, I
06:54 got in my car and drove to New York City, I was driving from
06:58 from Brooklyn there. I parked and I went upstairs and this
07:02 handsome man sitting back there. See in the insurance executive
07:06 world these men wore tailor-made suits and they live the best of
07:10 life. They have paid their dues. As we say, they have paid the
07:15 piper, they paid the cost to be the boss. So he says well I have
07:20 a case for you here now and I thought that you could handle
07:23 it. I said, Yes sir, I certainly can. So he handed me the case.
07:26 He says well we have a guy up in Harlem, tough part of New
07:31 York City. Not all is but that part is. He says now we think
07:35 that he is working and receiving a check. He claims that he is
07:40 unable to work. We want you to go up there and conduct a
07:43 surveillance for two or three days and let us know what's
07:47 going on. Well, Karen, I took the case and next day I drove
07:53 up. Oh boy, it's a congested area and I knew that it was
07:57 dangerous for me to be spying on people. See being a private
08:00 investigator the worst thing that can happen is if you get
08:04 caught spying on someone. It's serious. You may not come out
08:08 alive and you may wind up in the hospital. But I was experienced
08:12 and clever enough not to get caught. So I conducted the
08:16 surveillance and that time the guy didn't go anywhere, so I
08:20 just had to finally make sure. So I used a pretext and went
08:24 us and talked to the guy. He didn't know who I was and after
08:28 talking to him I was convinced he wasn't working; he just
08:32 couldn't work. So I took the report back to my office and
08:36 had it typed up so nicely. I hired a young lady to type it up
08:40 you know on nice letter head and everything. I want to say to all
08:45 people that are going in business, if you're going to be
08:46 in business you give your best letterhead, you put it in the
08:49 best manner of a business setting. You have to be
08:54 professional if you want to do business with the corporate
08:58 world. So that's what I did and I put my bill there. I think the
09:02 bill was about $300, a lot of money at that time. I called up
09:06 the executive and told him, Sir I have finished the case and I
09:09 would like to bring it in. He said, sure bring it in. When I
09:13 arrived I went in this long office with fresh carpet and a
09:18 table with the vice president and all his aides sitting around
09:23 and they were just looking. They focused on me. He read the
09:26 report and he passed it around to each one and he looked at it.
09:31 He shook his head and he said it's good but how did you do it?
09:35 Now I wasn't going to tell him how I did it because if I had
09:40 told him that he may not need me anymore. He looked at it and
09:45 he said okay. Okay, thank you very much. Leave your report and
09:49 we'll get a check out to you in the next few days. We'll be
09:54 calling on you. So I went back and several weeks later they
09:58 called me again and said we have another case that we want you
10:02 to try and see how good you are, what you can do on this one.
10:08 Karen, this was a real test. I had received my check and I had
10:13 more confidence and I knew that God was with me. So they had me
10:18 go out and really spy on another young man that we know the guy
10:22 was working and drawing a check. So I drove to this housing
10:27 development and I parked my car and sat there and waited to see
10:33 would he come out. Say around about 9:30 I saw this young man
10:37 coming out, approximately 25 years old, and he was walking
10:41 a little girl. So he took her to school and in approximately 35
10:45 minutes he came back and went inside. And I said now Lord I
10:48 can't get in this house because he'll discover who I am. But I
10:52 noticed across in the housing development there were some
10:55 maintenance men working in the yard. So being a private
10:59 investigator you might as well look at everything and leave
11:03 nothing uncovered, all the Ts crossed and all the dots made.
11:06 So I said wait, let me see if I can get some information.
11:09 So I approached the men and I said do you know so and so?
11:12 I'm not going to call his name John Doe. They said yes, yes, he
11:17 used to work for us here. Huh, he used to work here? Sure he
11:21 worked here. How long ago? Well he stopped working approximately
11:25 three months ago but he worked here full time. I said by the
11:29 way, where is your management office. They gave me the address
11:33 in Brooklyn. That's all I needed because if I could prove that
11:37 this young man was working and drawing a workers compensation
11:40 check, it would be proof that he could work. So I went to this
11:45 address in Brooklyn and I walked in and identified myself as a
11:50 private investigator and I needed the books on this young
11:54 man. The payroll clerk had an attitude from anywhere. She said
11:57 oh yeah, he's lazy anyway. No he stopped working for us. She
12:01 pulled the books out and showed them to me and told me
12:03 everything. We got photo copies of everything. I typed my report
12:06 up and I took it back and the executives were excited.
12:10 Boy you're a good investigator, you broke the case. But the
12:15 thing about it Karen, before I could really have it sewed up
12:19 like in court you must have the evidence. Just like the cops say
12:23 we know you committed the crime but you got to prove it in court
12:27 so what I did, I used a pretext and I went in and interviewed
12:30 the guy. We sat you know and he drank the orange juice and we
12:33 talked and et cetera and I said okay thank you very much.
12:37 We have everything so I left. So I went back and took the
12:40 report and they said great, Ashley, you did a great job.
12:42 Thank you very much. We're going to pay you; your check will be
12:45 in the mail in a few days. But the strange thing about it,
12:49 Karen, a month later they called me up and they said Ashley, you
12:54 remember the young man, that case that you broke? Yes. Well
12:59 now you have to go to court. I said what do you mean I have to
13:02 go to court. This is the same man I used the pretext and sat
13:05 and interviewed him. Well that's the law. Sorry. You have to go
13:09 to court. So when I got in the court, who's staring each other
13:12 in the face? Me and the young man. He's looking at me.
13:15 So the attorney had an attitude with me that I played some
13:18 tricks on his client. He said your honor, would you tell
13:21 Mr. Cobb to give his address. So our attorney for the company
13:24 jumped up and he said no your honor we don't need to give the
13:27 address because you know how people are. They can come back
13:30 and harm him. So the judge said no we won't give the address.
13:34 At that point, the attorney for this young man got up and said
13:38 well we withdraw our case and we admit that he was working but
13:42 it was this and that. So that case was successfully completed.
13:45 I want to tell you, I still do work for that same company and
13:50 that's been about 18 years ago. I've made a numerous amount of
13:55 money and I've done many cases. But that case is the one that I
14:00 promised God whatever I made he would get 10% and for that
14:03 reason I've been in the business 18 years. I don't care how bleak
14:07 life may look when we put the Creator in front and make him
14:11 our partner... I'm not going to say there won't be hard times.
14:15 I'm not promising you that. No one is promised that life is
14:21 going to be a bed of ease, but I can say that God will bless
14:26 a business person if they make him first in their life.
14:30 So I was successful with that.
14:33 That is fantastic. Twenty-five years later, 9,600 cases, 98%
14:39 success rate today. Now let me tell you, now there's
14:42 company. Once you're good everybody else hears about you
14:46 and they want to use you. There is one case I want to talk about
14:52 This is a private case. It had nothing to do with being an
14:55 insurance case. Being a private investigator I've investigated
15:00 criminal cases, civil cases, insurance cases. I just have a
15:05 knack just to snoop around.
15:08 Maybe you got that from all
15:10 of your experiences right? From
15:12 when you were share cropping.
15:14 You had to watch those plants, you were responsible for all
15:17 those others. So you kind of developed those skills early in
15:21 life. I'd get in trouble around the
15:22 house about it. They were thinking I was snooping. No I'm
15:25 not, it's just my makeup. So one day I was sitting at my desk
15:28 and I was doing some insurance case and the telephone rang.
15:32 I picked it up and it was another private investigator
15:37 from Pennsylvania calling me. He said, I saw your name in the
15:41 yellow pages and I have a problem. I was just wondering
15:45 whether you could help me or not. I said, what is your
15:50 problem? He went on to say a client hired me here in
15:53 Pennsylvania to track her daughter down. She's been
15:57 missing for almost 15 years. We believe that she's dead but I
16:03 want to satisfy my client. She may be living and I tracked her
16:09 from a little town in Pennsylvania to Philadelphia and
16:13 from Philadelphia to New York and from New York back to
16:17 Philadelphia. So the trail is growing cold I think I would
16:21 just give it one more shot and maybe you could help me.
16:24 I said, what do you have? He said, well I have this
16:27 information. I said, well why don't you overnight it to me.
16:31 At that time you'd overnight it. The next day I received it. When
16:36 I received the information he sent a picture and the last
16:40 place where she had worked. But he really didn't have too
16:44 much. I was at my desk and at that time I paused and called
16:48 upon the Great I Am private investigator. When you call
16:52 upon the Great I Am private investigator he knows from the
16:56 beginning to the end. I told him well you know I don't really
17:00 where to find this young lady but I need your divine guidance.
17:04 I need it, I really need it because in my work the job can
17:08 be very dangerous at times and you need the Creator to walk
17:11 with you because you may go in places and never come out.
17:14 Your wife or you family, you may go away and they don't see you
17:16 anymore. They may fish you out of the river somewhere or you
17:20 may be dumped in some basement or barrack somewhere and they'd
17:23 never find you. It has happened to private investigators.
17:26 So after praying I called up one of my colleagues and at that
17:31 time he had a computer and I said would you run this date of
17:35 birth through the computer and maybe you can come up with an
17:38 address. So he said okay Ashley. Approximately 15 minutes later
17:40 he called me and he said, hey, Ashley, I think I got a
17:43 hit. What hit in private investigation terms doesn't
17:50 mean that you went out and shot someone like the mob. Let me
17:54 explain. In other words, it means you came up with some
17:57 information. That's the language Every profession has its own
17:59 language. So a private investigator will say I think I
18:02 got a hit. He said, well, take your pen and he gave me this
18:05 address. He said we came up with that she at one time she worked
18:09 at a plant somewhere in the Bronx, Bronx, New York.
18:12 So okay; with that information I began to do my leg work.
18:16 Now a good investigator must know how to snoop. You have to
18:20 do some leg work. You can't sit up and do it all on your
18:23 computer and telephone. So you got to get out and as we say
18:27 beat the bushes and get down into it. So I put my private
18:33 investigation tact in action. So I went to these plants and
18:37 factories until we traced her back to an address in the Bronx.
18:41 Now this is the exciting thing. So I got to this particular
18:46 address, a tall, 5-story brick building tenement, you know,
18:50 congested area, working class neighborhood. It seems like the
18:53 may eat you or shoot you. They don't know which one they will
18:56 do. Your just the wrong person in the wrong place. Especially
18:59 if you don't belong there. You don't belong there. You look
19:02 just like a cop, you look just like a police officer or someone
19:05 So I traced her there. I thought about it and said, I don't want
19:09 to go in and frighten her if she's there. So I looked up the
19:12 superintendent of the building and I asked him, do you know
19:16 this certain person. I had to speak in a manner so he didn't
19:20 become suspicious, because if he is a friend of that person he's
19:23 going to alert them that some one is looking for them. I could
19:26 have been an immigration officer or I could have been an under
19:30 cover FBI agent or a New York City police officer, or a parole
19:34 officer looking for you to lock you up. He told me, well I think
19:39 someone fitting her description lives up on the third floor and
19:45 you know you can go up there and check. So I did. I went in
19:49 gracefully and knocked on the door, kind of a nervous knock.
19:54 No one was home. I said okay so I may have her address. So I
19:59 went back to my office. The next day again I went back to the
20:04 same location and I went in and knocked on the door and she
20:09 opened the door. I said well I'm an insurance investigator. Never
20:13 mention private investigator. You never mention private.
20:15 There's something about people the word private detective and
20:18 private investigator sends a shock. They figure it's like on
20:23 television. You know, you solve a case in a half an hour
20:27 and you make $20,000. Magnum PI. You have this convertible
20:31 and this beautiful young lady driving with you. In America the
20:36 average person figures that's the way it happens though.
20:37 So she opened the door. She had gained weight. I always have the
20:44 gift of gab. I was able to persuade her to let this
20:47 stranger come in and talk to her. That's a real gift.
20:50 Yes, well I have a gift for gab they say. I'm able to persuade.
20:54 I have no problem getting in. If you were in the house and I
20:57 was going to investigate sooner or later I'll talk my way into
21:00 it. Most of the time, not all the time, but most of the time
21:03 I find my way into it. So she let me in and we got to talking
21:07 and during the conversation she identified herself and I said oh
21:12 I got her. She told me about she had worked for this factory
21:16 and she had become ill and she had a child and she couldn't
21:20 work anymore. But that's all I needed. I said okay thank you
21:23 ma'am. We'd get back in contact with her. Because she was
21:26 thinking it was probably some workers compensation check that
21:29 they owed her. So I was ready to leave now. As I was about to
21:33 make my get away, I've got my information. As I walked out I
21:38 looked in the face of this tall 6-foot man and you could see
21:41 under his coat he was carrying a large gun. He was packing.
21:44 He was packing; that's what you say. I didn't know whether he
21:48 was a police officer or the gangsters or some drug dealer.
21:53 I said oh what a jam I've got myself in. I didn't carry a gun.
21:57 I'm 5'4" standing up against this large strong man. He looked
22:04 like he had followed all the health rules. He had exercised
22:10 every day in the gym, like he ate proper, slept proper and
22:16 exercised and I'm saying oh my, Lord, how am I going to get out
22:20 of this. As I was going he said, hey you, come back here. I want
22:24 to talk to you. So he said, what are you doing coming out of my
22:27 house? I said, well sir I'm just an insurance investigator and I
22:31 was searching around and looking for a particular woman. I didn't
22:34 tell him that I was looking for that one. He said, well I don't
22:37 like for people to be hanging around my house. Okay, I said,
22:40 thank you and I got out. So I drove back to my office and I
22:43 called up the private investigator in Pennsylvania.
22:46 I said, we've got a hit, this is her. But one thing; she has a
22:50 man. I don't know whether he's a police officer, gangster or a
22:54 drug dealer. I said we have to get back. He said, Ashley,
22:57 you have to know this is the person. I said, why don't you
23:02 get your client and you drive over. Okay, the next day they
23:06 drove over and we went to this house and we knocked on the door
23:09 and they weren't there. So we were all three of us standing
23:13 out there. He brought his private investigator and I was
23:17 and he had the client. There was nobody there, as I said. We came
23:22 outside and we were standing and everybody in the
23:24 neighborhood was looking at us, looking at this black guy and
23:28 two white guys. I knew they figured they've got to be cops.
23:31 They're waiting to make an arrest. So we stood there and
23:34 tried to not stir up any motion. The client was standing around
23:38 and so about 15 minutes later the same guy who had said hey
23:42 you come back here, he drove up and he focused on me. I guess he
23:45 said well what happened now. He had his wife and that was
23:48 the client's daughter. So when they saw each other she says
23:52 look and the client got out of the car and grabbed the daughter
23:56 around the neck and hugged. The guy who had called me back said
24:00 I knew you had to be a private investigator or something.
24:03 He said, I'm sorry, man, I'm sorry. I'm a police officer
24:07 myself. He was one of the good guys. But you know he was
24:11 looking mean. They have to be that way because you know I
24:14 could have been anybody coming to harm his family. So the
24:17 mother got a chance... Yes the mother and the father hugged
24:19 they daughter. At that time the girl was off drugs. She had aged
24:23 and she was more mature but she was ill taking medication.
24:26 You know it was so emotional till I cried myself and private
24:30 investigators don't usually cry.
24:32 Well that's very touching. Fifteen years.
24:34 Fifteen years and it was a great family reunion. We even took
24:38 pictures of that and that is one of my stories that I talk
24:42 about. Now Karen I have 100s of other stories more exciting than
24:46 that. It just shows that God led me through dangers, the ups and
24:50 downs and he blessed me and brought me out with the surety
24:53 of God. There's no better feeling whenever you can help
24:57 somebody. My motto is I may not pass this way again but whatever
25:02 I can do for humanity let me do it now. Then my life, my living,
25:08 will not be in vain.
25:09 Amen. That is just an incredible story. I want to share right
25:13 now with our viewers: Hasn't this been riveting. I was at the
25:17 edge of my seat the entire time. Listen, if you'd like to have
25:20 Ashley come to your church group or to your business to motivate
25:24 your employees or whoever, or if you'd just like to hear
25:27 him again besides the cassettes that introduced earlier in the
25:31 program and the book that's soon to come out, call that
25:34 800 number and find out how you can reach Ashley Cobb.
25:37 He is available to come and talk with you, to come and motivate
25:42 your employees and especially to share with you personally
25:45 how God has made a difference in his life. We going to ask
25:48 Ashley will you please pray with us right now. I know there's
25:51 somebody out there who has been touched personally by the fact
25:55 of your own witness is so powerful how God has led in your
25:59 life. If you'd like God to be leading in your life we're going
26:02 to pray with you right now. Will you pray with us please.
26:06 I'll be glad to do that. Father in heaven, I thank thee
26:09 for letting me share my experience with this audience
26:13 and with Karen. I pray that you let my experience be a blessing
26:18 to someone who needs you. Lord we know that our experience as
26:23 we let you lead us can be a blessing to others. Those that
26:28 have been touched by my experience let them go out
26:31 themselves and help others. When we help others, we're helping
26:35 ourselves. Amen Amen. Well again thank you so
26:40 much for coming to our program today. We've got time for just
26:45 one more instance. Was there a scripture, anything in the Bible
26:50 that was leading you at this time as a promise when you were
26:55 building your business. Well I would go back to Malachi 3:3.
27:01 And I've thought about that. Will a man rob God, yet you have
27:06 robbed me in tithes and offerings. Bring your tithes
27:10 into the storehouse... If I will not open you the windows of
27:12 heaven and pour you out a blessing that you will not have
27:15 room enough to receive it. That's what I relied on and
27:19 other scriptures. That was my main one.
27:23 You decided to go ahead and let God be your partner in business.
27:27 That's right. That will assure success.
27:29 And you started with your very first case doing that.
27:32 Doing it from the very first and then doing it ever since.
27:34 For 25 years and God's still your partner.
27:36 Still my partner. Still paying tithe.
27:38 Still paying tithe. Still being blessed.
27:40 Still blessing me more than I can talk about.
27:43 Well thanks again so much for coming to our program today.
27:46 We look forward to having you back again very soon.
27:49 For those of you at home, again, call that 800 number
27:52 if you'd like to know more about how to reach Ashley Cobb
27:55 and how to hear more of his exciting stories of how God
27:58 has led in his life. May God continue to lead you
28:01 in your life. Thank you for joining us on Issues and Answers