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Tyler Sechrist and his off-campus house­mates. Left to right: Spencer Bohlinger, Will Smith, Tyler Sechrist, John Biscaro, Michael Erickson, and John Szc­zotka.
Courtesy | Tyler Sechrist

A video camera, blackout cur­tains, and a car were the only require­ments for senior Tyler Sechrist’s summer job. He spends most of his time at Hillsdale during the semester at the rock wall, with the Phi Mu Alpha boys, or running lights for theater pro­duc­tions. Sechrist’s summer work as a private inves­ti­gator expanded his already varied list of accom­plish­ments. 

One of Sechrist’s closest friends, senior Joseph Harvey, said, “Tyler is very com­petent. He’s one of those people that just knows how to do every­thing.” He is so incredibly friendly and so good at putting people at ease. It didn’t sur­prise me that Tyler was working as a private inves­ti­gator.”

Sechrist worked as a private eye for the past two summers at Superior Inves­tigative, a company owned by his friend’s father. 

“Private inves­ti­gation sounds glam­orous and fun, but it was mostly just insurance fraud,” Sechrist said. 

Superior Inves­tigative that Sechrist worked for received a lot of cases from insurance com­panies that needed help inves­ti­gating worker’s com­pen­sation cases. Sechrist explained that the cases con­sisted of legit­i­mately injured employees who got too com­fortable with the money that they were receiving from their insurance. Some of them faked that the injury was taking longer to heal in order to receive more money. That’s where Sechrist came in. 

“It was my job to sit at or around somebody’s house and try to get video of whatever they did throughout the day, espe­cially any­thing that vio­lated the injuries they were claiming to insurance com­panies,” Sechrist said. 

Sechrist’s workday usually started around 6 p.m, when his company would email him the name of a person to inves­tigate. 

“I would get every bit of infor­mation that is pub­licly available about a person,” Sechrist said. “And believe it or not, that includes social security numbers, every address you’ve ever lived at, every car you’ve ever owned, and all of your rel­a­tives and their addresses.”

It was Sechrist’s respon­si­bility to read the case, know where he had to be, and to drive there the next morning. 

Sechrist said once at the location, “I would always find a dis­creet place where I can observe without being observed. So maybe I’m parked down the street in a group of cars or at the closest gas station parking lot.”

Then he would wait.

“I just have to sit there until I see the person who I’m trying to get footage of,” Sechrist said. “And then I go wherever they go. If they go into stores, I follow them into stores and I get video of whatever they’re doing, espe­cially if it vio­lates the restric­tions they have with their injury.”

Sechrist said he’s not con­sid­ering a career in the private eye field. 

 “It’s just a summer job for me. There’s a pos­si­bility that I might end up back in it a little bit, but the end goal is concert pro­duction design.”

Majoring in theater and art, Sechrist enjoys running the sound and pro­duction for the members of his music fra­ternity Phi Mu Alpha, and works with the lighting department for all of Hillsdale College’s theater pro­duc­tions. 

Senior John Szc­zotka, a fellow member of Phi Mu Alpha, described how Sechrist’s char­acter helped him be suc­cessful as an inves­ti­gator. 

“He’s very dependable, very resourceful, and very indus­trious,” Szc­zotka said. 

“Tyler is someone I can always depend on to help me out.”