Up to this point, the extent of my involvement in exploring anomalous aerial phenomena (for the sake of common colloquial familiarity – UFOs) was solely limited to my academic and avocationist experience in research cognitive psychology. However, inspired by a recent conversation with the creator and curator of The Black Vault website and author of the recently published book Inside the Black Vault: The Government's UFO Secrets Revealed - John Greenewald, I found myself deciding to proverbially throw my hat down a different avenue and employ my professional experience as a criminal investigator to examine the UFO phenomena.
Now, as sluggishly frustrating as the federal Freedom of Information Act process can be, as a career law enforcement and criminal investigator, I’m keenly aware that open records requests at the state and local level are far more responsive. In fact, it’s been my experience that local FOIA requests are typically returned in minutes or hours, as opposed to months or years at the federal level. Equally, until taking early retirement in the summer of 2018, having spent the first half of my professional life in law enforcement, I’m also well aware that, anomalous, paranormal events, albeit infrequently, ARE indeed reported to local authorities.
To test my hypothesis that nuggets of information-gold are out there just waiting to be mined from local governments, I decided to go after any information I could find on the FBI “raid” of Bob Lazar’s business United Nuclear Scientific. An event that was depicted in Jeremy Corbell’s 2018 documentary – Bob Lazar: Area 51 & Flying Saucers. As I had predicted, less than 48 hours later, the Laingsburg Michigan Police Department responded to my request.
What I found in the Laingsburg Police’s 2-page report on the search of United Nuclear, was more than I ever could’ve hoped for.
For clarity’s sake; police reports documenting a local agency’s involvement or assistance with an outside agency is extremely common. Generally, these are referred to as “Agency Assist” reports. However, I’ll admit, when it comes to the Laingsburg police department’s report describing the search of United Nuclear, it’s definitely unique from the countless similar reports I’ve seen in my career. The primary distinguishing factor being significant amount of details contained in the report. Typically, these types of reports are little more than two or three sentences. Essentially, “We came, we assisted, we left.”
Now, potentially, in a town with a population of only 1,200, in Laingsburg, Michigan time lends itself to being wordy in a fairly mundane report. Equally, the reporting officer may have been aware of Bob Lazar’s controversial past, and as such, the atypical addition of minutiae could’ve been inspired by the reporting officer’s (correct) consideration that a search of Lazar’s business could generate wide interest. Either reason would be speculation on my part; however, what’s less speculative is the fact that, thanks to this well documented report, some very interesting details are revealed.
The Laingsburg Police’s report is indeed an “Agency Assist” report, which details the July 19, 2017, search of United Nuclear Scientific- the business owned and operated by alleged “former Area-51 employee and UFO whistleblower,” Bob Lazar.
Though not directly stated in the report, it can be inferred the stated purpose for the search of Lazar’s business stems from the 2015 murder of 31-year-old Janel Sturzl in Houghton, Michigan. The quick back story on this:
After the sudden onset of an unknown, debilitating illness, Janel Sturzl was hospitalized in the fall of 2015. After being transferred to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, it was discovered that Janel had been poison by lethal levels of thallium. Sadly, on December 22, 2015, Janel Sturzl passed away from the effects of the poisoning. Houghton Police classified her death as a homicide, and the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department, Michigan State Police and FBI agreed to assist in finding this young woman’s killer.
Back to the Lazar search; for me, one of the most intriguing details of the report comes from the inference that, at least initially, Bob Lazar was being viewed as a suspect by the FBI. To be clear, nothing from the report makes me think law enforcement thought Lazar was directly involved in the murder of Janel Sturzl. Instead, there’s the suggestion the FBI thought Lazar was potentially involved in the unlawful possession or distribution of toxic chemicals. The basis for my saying this comes from several items listed in the Laingsburg Police report.
For starters, the reporting officer - referred in the report’s narrative by the acronym for “reporting officer”: R/O - details he was briefed by the FBI of their intention to conduct a search warrant on United Nuclear Scientific, two days before the search was to take place. Clearly, the extent of the officer’s initial conversation with the FBI is unknown. However, whatever was discussed was significant enough to inspire the officer to check the department’s records to see if the agency had any prior contact with Lazar. Typically, the only reason for this would be to determine if any relevant past police contact might indicate a person poses a threat.
In an effort to be objectively fair, I want to caveat my last statements by reminding a reader the Laingsburg Police Department is a very small agency. Likely, the FBI coming to town is not a common event, and the mere fact the feds were preparing to conduct a search in Laingsburg may have been enough to excite the local police officials. The fact the reporting officer did an intelligence analysis of Bob Lazar or United Nuclear Scientific is intriguing to me could be a result of bias having worked considerably alongside all of the federal law enforcement agencies over the years. In essence, what may have been exciting to Laingsburg Police, would have been viewed as – “Oh great, this is going to be a pain in the ass,” to me. Especially, in my last position as Assistant Patrol Commander; having to consider allocation of resources and man power, etc. But I digress…
Another detail that makes me think the FBI didn’t view Lazar as merely a witness, relates to aspects of the report describing the FBI’s search warrant of United Nuclear Scientific.
According to the report, the purpose of the search was relating to a “homicide investigation out of Houghton, MI involving poison” The scope of the search warrant pertained to “records and poisons that Lazar does sell.”
The report’s author suggests the FBI’s goal was not to simply obtain copies of sales records for past client purchases; as it’s been implied. Instead, the FBI’s intent was to physically search the property of United Nuclear Scientific for contraband – namely toxic poisons. Confirmation this isn’t simply a “records check” is further supported by the fact the report describes the pre-op briefing and actual execution of the search, with a HAZMAT team going in to clear the building before other investigators conducted the search.
The most compelling evidence of the FBI’s discerning view of Bob Lazar comes from statements of Lazar being observed by “the surveillance team” leave his home and arrive at United Nuclear Scientific on the day of the search. To be clear, this means the FBI either had one surveillance team monitoring and following Lazar from his home to work; or they had two separate surveillance teams stationed near his home and business. Regardless of which is correct, coordinated surveillance is NOT common practice for how law enforcement attempts to collect evidence from witnesses not, at least peripherally, suspected of involvement in criminal acts.
The police report further documents a “small group” speaking with Lazar; who evidently waived his Fourth Amendment Rights and gave law enforcement permission to search the premise. Giving credit to Lazar here, unlike the inferences made by law enforcement, giving voluntary consent to search, is not typically something observed by person’s guilty of illegal activity.
Going back to the remarkable number of details provided in the police report, the reporting officer tips off an intriguing aspect of this search, when he states, “The FBI also had a search warrant in case consent was not given.”
Basically, it’s already been established early on in the report that the search of United Nuclear Scientific was a fairly involved production. However, in reaffirming the existence of a search warrant, confirms there was never really an option of saying “no.” Instead, the FBI had seemingly established enough probable cause to convince a judge a search warrant was justified.
Curious minds would love to know what facts were provided to a judge in the affidavit for the search warrant. However, since the basis for the search - the murder of Janel Sturzl - is still an on-going investigation, all records, including the affidavit for the search warrant of United Nuclear are sealed. Of course, the civil rights investigator and curious bystander in me, wishes Bob Lazar had denied consent to search and forced the FBI to produce the search warrant. At least this way they would have had to provide Lazar with a copy of the affidavit, and the return of the search warrant would have filed in federal court – de facto subject to open records at the present.
Relating to how the search of Lazar’s business was depicted in Jeremy Corbell’s documentary; considering the report mentions the FBI, a HAZMAT team, at least two Laingsburg Police Officers, and “different groups” (likely state police and forensic technicians) being involved – I’m inclined to say the descriptions used in Corbell’s film of a large scale police operation, are likely very accurate. As far as the implication the FBI decided to search United Nuclear in hopes of finding some extraterrestrial artifact Bob Lazar, may or may not have stolen, from a top-secret government facility, he may or may not have worked at, or as a bully tactic because of Corbell’s filming, is something that’s up for interpretation at this point.
A quick check of the United Nuclear Scientific website shows the business indeed sells Thallium. However, unlike the Thallium that would have been used to kill Janel Sturzl, United Nuclear only sells harmless radioactive Thallium isotopes that are fused and a part of epoxy disks. The substance referred to as “the poisoner’s poison,” which would’ve been used to kill Mrs. Sturzl would have been Thallium sulfate – an odorless, tasteless, fine powder form of the toxic post-transition metal. Could one speculate that Bob Lazar secretly sells banned poisonous chemicals on the black market? Sure. However, it’s important to note, the FBI clearly didn’t find anything of that nature during their search – as Bob Lazar is still a free man.
Objectively, as a career law enforcement officer, instructor, and internationally qualified police expert, are there details in the police report I find odd or inconsistent with a benign inquiry for material evidence? Yes…
Equally, from the events described in the report, would I say the search of United Nuclear Scientific was a fairly involved and highly coordinated operation? Indeed, I would...
Finally, in light of the apparent oddities involved in the search, is there enough aspects that suggests this entire event could have a prosaic explanation related to the investigative efforts at solving a tragic murder? Also yes…
In the end, just as all legitimate research in the topic of UFOs, when it comes to the “Bob Lazar FBI raid,” there’s enough verifiable facts to support either side of the fence one is inclined to lean on. Objectively, the only real conclusions that can be drawn from these documents is the realization, “The Truth is Out There” – somewhere.
For me, the “Bob Lazar Raid” is the epitome of the entire UFO enigma.
At the core, the only true consistency with the UFO phenomena is “its” steadfast commitment towards enigmatic and elusive displays of an intelligence that disobeys and rejects conventional norms and pragmatic understandings. As a good friend recently said to me, “It is as if the phenomenon uses our love of the chase as the main motivator to entice us.”
Ultimately, I set out to examine the Bob Lazar raid from the vantage of a criminal investigator. However, while forcefully disallowing myself from forming any conclusions that weren’t rooted in established fact, yet again, I was left holding a strange tapestry with threads of my research in consciousness and perception intricately woven within.
The Bob Lazar raid isn’t just situational symbolism for the UFO phenomena because it leaves those who seek the truth left holding nothing more concrete than shreds of subjective ideological beliefs. Instead, it is embodiment of the only uniformity I’ve come to find during my examination of anomalous phenomena. Whatever, “it” is, seems to function like a technological reality generator. In the case of the Bob Lazar raid, two different persons will look at the Laingsburg Police report and end up walking away with two completely different perspectives.
One will sit back and see the atypical nature of the FBI’s search of United Nuclear Scientific as vindication of Bob Lazar’s claims of having worked on secret UFO technology, and the government’s commitment to keep this extraterrestrial Pandora’s Box closed.
Conversely, another will say how the report confirms Bob Lazar as a ne’er-do-well, seemingly surrounded by nefarious happenstances, and exactly the type of person who would create the whole Area-15/alien technology hoax.
Into the ether of collective consciousness, these different perceptions of the same exact event, will give birth to two contrasting realities. It is as if whether physical, immaterial, spiritual, extraterrestrial, or whatever one believes, the non-localistic and dualistic lack of definition seems to be the phenomena’s most distinguishing purpose.
From an existential perspective, indeed, these contrasting realities serve a greater purposes. For one tells us to seek realities which we have not yet come to know. The other, reminds us never to become so lost in the pursuit, that we forgot the existing reality around us.
Alas… the coyote – the archetype trickster god – cackles, as once again his tail escapes just beyond our grasp.
* Authors Note: In the PDF version provided in this article of the Laingsburg Police Report, the author has redacted some details that were not originally redacted in the documents provided. Chiefly, the names of the FBI Agents, and Police Officers have been redacted from the original materials provided to the author. The author did validated that all names in the report are of real law enforcement officials, and there was nothing about their positions or experience that caused me any suspicion of their credentials. Given the subject matter and propensity for conspiracy theories to run wild, the author took the liberty of redacting those law enforcement official's names in effort to try and prevent them from any potential undue harassment.
Lastly, the author encourages anyone, regardless of their opinions or thoughts on Bob Lazar, Area-51, or UFOs, to please consider intertwined in this entire event surrounding the search of United Nuclear Scientific, is the very real, untimely, and tragic death of a young woman - Janel Sturzl. Consider Ms. Sturzl has friends, families, and loved ones who've undoubtably been affected by her death. Regardless, of personal views, please be respectful to those who've endured Ms. Sturzl's loss of life.