Private Investigator Spends Retirement Years Finding Young Runaways

Bob Meinert has had a career as a private investigator for more than 50 years. The 77-year-old is co-owner of CSI, a private investigative firm located in Beaver County, Pennsylvania. Meinert, who was a patrolman in Arizona where he headed the county’s homicide squad, has stopped searching for criminals and instead now focuses his skills on finding runaways.

Meinert is the senior investigator at CSI which he co-founded with Louis Gentile, who was also formerly in law enforcement. The grandfather of 14 has teamed up with Allegheny County Children, Youth and Families (CYF) system to assist in finding runaways. His caseload now mainly consists of CYF cases and his team has successfully closed almost 100 runaway cases since May, 2015.

Meinert says that some of the children he has found have runaway as many as four times. A girl he found three times finally decided she was done running away. Shortly after, she called Meinert and thanked him for helping her get her life on track. “That made me feel great,” Meinert said. “They’re definitely at risk for a lot of things – sex trafficking, drugs, gangs, two girls were beaten up pretty badly,” he added.

Most of the runaways are found locally in Allegheny County with a few found in nearby counties or other states. Some of the female runaways he found were victims of sex-trafficking and he is currently trying to find another young girl that he suspects has been victimized in the same manner.

Meinert says runaways who aren’t found in the streets are often found with a friend or a relative. In some cases the adults housing the runaways have been criminally charged for interfering in the custody of a child.

At 77, Meinert doesn’t seem to be contemplating retirement, having recently changed his hours from part-time to full-time.

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