UFO probe leads to Capitola, but not to answers
J.M. BROWN - SENTINEL STAFF WRITER
Article Launched: 03/26/2008 01:31:55 AM PDT
CAPITOLA -- Only two miles long, this tranquil seaside resort town of 10,000 people may not have as many utility poles as bigger cities, but T.K. Davis and Frankie Dixon say they have examined nearly every one of them.
At the behest of a loose-knit cluster of international UFO enthusiasts, the two former cops turned private investigators have scoured the city looking for the phone or power pole that appears in a photograph that allegedly captured an alien drone in flight.
Their efforts, though unsuccessful so far, have turned quiet little Capitola into the Internet epicenter of an intergalactic probe as the two men crisscross Northern California hunting down leads, appearing on national news programs and building their burgeoning business.
Although the former Santa Clara County sheriff's deputies have received more than 400 tips and 10,000 hits on their Web site since launching their investigation in the past few weeks, they haven't found a smoking laser gun.
They haven't talked to any supposed witnesses face-to-face -- including the man who allegedly took the photo that sparked all the speculation -- or found the pole that might lead them to potential witnesses who have yet to come forward.
"Right now it appears it's not true," the 62-year-old Davis, a Saratoga grandfather of newborn twins, said during a phone interview Tuesday from Reno, where he's been chasing down online reports of a sighting of a similar craft near Lake Tahoe.
A photo reportedly taken in Capitola on May 16 by a man named Raji, who said he was in town visiting his in-laws, shows an object that doesn't match the classic image of UFOs made iconic by sci-fi movies. The silver object in the photo is circular with four large metallic arms and appears to be floating over power or phone lines. It reportedly made a crackling noise as it flew.
Bloggers from South Lake Tahoe, Bakersfield and Saratoga also reported seeing the object or something similar last spring and summer after Raji posted it online. After being pressed for more information about the photo by the members of the international extraterrestrial Web site Open Minds Forum, Davis said Raji disappeared, rendering him virtually untraceable by the detectives.
Open Minds Forum members hired TK Davis Investigations to chase down leads. Much to the chagrin of their skeptical families, Davis and the 60-year-old Dixon, who lives in Capitola, have made numerous investigative trips, but none have led to any in-person interviews with alleged witnesses.
A blogger named Isaac has said he is familiar with the craft due to his former work with a government lab in Palo Alto, Davis said. Numerous other tips have come in, but the difficulty in verifying information has been getting bloggers to reveal their real identities, Davis said. Many who post reports of UFO sightings have been reluctant to give their full names because they are worried about what others might think of their fascination with the otherworldly, he said.
Capitola authorities looked into what has been dubbed the "California Drone" recently after international Internet interest became too much to ignore, Police Chief Richard J. Ehle said. But their probe turned up nothing.
Dispatch records from May 16, 2007, show no one called police to report seeing anything unusual. Ehle said he is highly skeptical that the photo or the UFO is real because he said there would have been several thousand people downtown for a concert that night, and someone would have called 911 if they saw something suspicious.
Still, he assigned an officer to look into the matter in case there had been a small plane or helicopter flying too low, a weather balloon had come crashing toward land or a crime had been committed. The officer was not able to locate Raji or identify where the photo was allegedly taken, but found a similar photo and dialogue online describing the purported Tahoe siting.
"I absolutely think it's bogus," Ehle said. "It has no merit as far as I can tell. You can find somebody to investigate anything if there is money in it."
Although Davis and Dixon have yet to find any tangible UFO evidence, Davis said members of Open Minds Forum have paid him handsomely through a wire transfer to keep probing, though he won't disclose how much. He said a recent Los Angeles Times article about his work on the case inaccurately reported that his fee is $100 an hour. He said it's lower, and that he has donated a lot of time to the investigation.
Davis also said his clients have not asked him to believe in UFOs, just to determine the authenticity of the photo.
"It's not you have to believe in these things," he said. "I look for dead-beat dads, follow cheaters and runaways. Our jobs is to basically use these same skills. We're just trying to locate the witnesses."
The detectives are collecting UFO information at www.tkdavisinvestigations.com.
UFO probe leads to Capitola, CA
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