HPOU names Detective Gardiner Investigator of the Month

The Union presented Crystal Gardiner with this month’s Investigator of the Month honors at the Sept. 2 general membership meeting.

Here’s a recap of her award-winning work:

On Jan. 14, Detective Gardiner, while on her assigned duty as an investigator for the Cyber and Financial Crimes Division, received a case for follow-up. It involved an n 84-year-old victim.

Gardiner possesses a passion for criminal investigations involving the elderly and this passion is evident in her work, particularly in this case.

She began a lengthy investigation that included obtaining and reviewing medical and financial documents. Since the case involved an elderly citizen who was unable to be a witness for herself, the detective stepped up and assumed this role.

Through a collaboration with Adult Protective Services (APS) and the Senior Justice Assessment Center, Gardiner was able to complete an investigation resulting in a felony charge against a defendant. As a direct result of the charge the complainant was secured from the defendant.

During her investigation, Gardiner interviewed numerous witnesses from APS, the Harris County Guardianship Program, the Senior Justice Assessment Center and persons from the complainant’s neighborhood.

Upon speaking to APS, Gardiner found that three APS reports had already been made. She reviewed all of them and was able to locate and review an additional 36 reports in RMS involving the defendant and the elderly complainant. The history documented by Gardiner in her supplement showed six years of alleged abuse by the defendant.

Detective Gardiner was able to interview the complainant’s neighbors to corroborate her findings, which is necessary in cases involving persons with dementia and capacity issues.

Gardiner was also able to interview local business employees to establish the defendant’s presence and use of the complainant’s funds. Again, this is a key method in seeking prosecution on cases where a complainant lacks capacity.

The detective completed this research and her investigation while the defendant was in custody for PCS charges. She filed an in-custody charge with the Harris County District Attorney’s office prior to the defendant’s release.

This allowed Harris County Guardianship to take on the estate of the complainant and other financial matters in peace, free from the bane attempts of the defendant to take over the estate.

Detective Gardiner filed a Debit Card Abuse charge on the $32,000 the defendant removed without authorization from the complainant’s bank account.