Saturday, August 29, 2009

Data Dump from Lexis/Nexis

Twitter searcher @luckyitslizz did a search for Evan using the Lexis/Nexis database. Her access is through a university and is most likely not a full Lexis/Nexis search. The results from this search are mostly from and mostly they reference Evan's articles from Wired as well as other publications.

Some interesting pieces of information that I have found so far include: Evan held, maybe still holds, the title of Speech Assistant at Wired, and a new (to me) email address:

If you have a chance please look through the data and provide your thoughts or questions in the comments section of this blog or on the Find Evan Wiki.

The Lexis/Nexis data dump can be found here.



Thursday, August 27, 2009

Has Operation Bookstore Been Defeated?

It would appear that in Wired's contest to find Evan Ratliff the current score is Evan 1 and Operation Bookstore 0.

Nicholas Thompson, Evan's editor at Wired, posted this tweet today about Evan's successful purchase of Tracy Kidder's new book, Strength in What Remains:

According to Nicholas, via a Twitter direct message to me, Evan emailed him the message about purchasing the book and "Since Evan can't lie to me, it's either true or someone cracked his account. But writing sure sounds like him." 

Nicholas had assured that Evan would purchase the new Kidder book on or before today. The ABA mentioned in the email to Nicholas is most likely a reference to the American Booksellers Association, the association for independent bookstores. Operation Bookstore was mentioned in the official Wired blog, Vanish: Finding Evan Ratliff, ensuring Evan would know the hunters were focused on finding him at an independent bookstore.

Evan is now taunting his hunters by letting us know he eluded Operation Bookstore, which was designed to limit Evan's purchase to a large chain bookstore, thus narrowing his purchase options and hopefully making it easier to find him.

I wonder if our man on the lam went to extraordinary measures to purchase his coveted book at an independent bookstore. Maybe he disguised his appearance even more before walking into the store, throwing a glance over both shoulders, warily looking side to side, before entering the Shangi-La of book nerds: an independent bookstore.

Perhaps the paranoia of a man on the lam forced Evan to hide behind big, dark sunglasses and a creepy-looking trench coat while standing on a street corner whispering to pedestrians, "Hey, wanna make 50 bucks? It's yours if you buy the new Tracy Kidder book for me."

We probably won't know how our efforts to find him effected Evan until his follow up story in the December issue of Wired is published. It seems that the extra worry on his brow or any special steps Evan took to make his coveted purchase at an independent bookstore were worth it. For indeed, he did make his purchase at an independent bookstore and tauntingly defeated Operation Bookstore.

Unless, of course, Operation Bookstore never existed?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Operation Bookstore Is Underway

Attention Evan Ratliff!!

We're coming to a bookstore near you! 

Evan's editor at Wired, Nicholas Thompson, blogged yesterday that he is sure Evan will go into a bookstore on or before Thursday, and purchase a copy of Tracy Kidder's new book Strength in What Remains.

Through contacts (a friend of a friend) I have at the American Booksellers Association, an e-mail will go out to all independent bookstores in the U.S. informing them of the Find Evan Ratliff contest. The e-mail will contain photos of Evan and details of the contest and how to claim the $5,000 prize. They will urge the booksellers to distribute the information to all of their employees.

Hopefully this will put the squeeze on Evan's plan to purchase the latest book by one of his favorite authors. I know he still has the opportunity to go to a chain bookstore for his purchase. I think this campaign will narrow his opportunities to purchase the book. So, if you are one of the friends of Evan, please be sure to let him know that going to an independent bookstore would probably end his time on the lam.

On the Grid Confirmations

In case you haven't heard already, Evan has sold his car. He sold his car to a Car Max in Las Vegas, NV, on August 14th. Evan deposited this check at a bank in Santa Monica on August 21st. 

From an interview Wired did with Evan's friend Jeffrey O'Brien we know Evan and Jeffrey were in San Francisco on August 12th. Jeffrey states: 

"The day before he left, we watched the Mexico-U.S. soccer match in town, and he told me that he was leaving the next day. But he didn’t say anything about where. He was driving his hunter green Honda. But he told me that he was going through a move and selling that car. But he certainly hadn’t sold it yet."

Evan's Fast Track toll pass has him leaving the San Francisco area on August 13th at 7:27 p.m. So, the "day before he left" remark by Jeffrey fits in with Evan travelling to Las Vegas and selling his car on August 14th. Evan, who is nocturnal, could easily have driven to Las Vegas in 9 hours, spent the night in Las Vegas, and sell the car on the 14th. It's also possible Evan could have stayed some where in between San Francisco and Las Vegas.

After the 14th, Evan pops up on the grid August 20th using his computer from San Diego. Then on the 21st of August he makes a deposit at a ATM in Santa Monica, CA. There are no confirmed locations to my knowledge between the 14th in Vegas and the 20th in San Diego.

This is my best guess as to confirmed locations. If you have any additions or deletions, please leave them in the comments.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Wanted: Cryptologist

Cryptologist needed to help decipher a message from Evan:

Official Blog Entry about this message from Nick on Wired Blog:

Text of Message:

GD—BB:aBaJ/tCoM/tMotS; see GR 

Code deciphered here:

Wikipedia Entries for Authors Here:

Additional message, deciphered in the link above, left here:

What does it mean? Or is it a misdirection? Adding to our file to make us waste our time?

Evan interviewed Frank M. Ahearn, author of the #1 book on how to disappear, for Evan's article in Wired. From Mr. Ahearn's web site:

"DISINFORMATION is making the PI’s file thicker disinformation has three parts, Hook - Line & Sinker. The hook is to bring a PI into an area of choosing and have them start searching for the subject. The line is having them find information about my subject. The sinker is having the PI believe they are on the trail of my subject and keep trying to reel them in.

Disinformation is my favorite part when it comes to teaching someone how to disappear. To me it is the sneaky aspect of leaving the breadcrumbs for the PI to find or who ever is looking for my subject. Disinformation makes the file thick and eventually cauSes mass confusion."



Sunday, August 23, 2009

Search for Evan Ratliff on Wikipedia and wiki for #Vanish Hunters

The wiki being used in the Search For Evan Ratliff can be found, here.

I just discovered there is an Evan Ratliff entry on Wikipedia. Most of the information so far concerns the hunt for Evan. Wikipedia site can be found here.

The official Wired blog, Vanish: Finding Evan Ratliff can be found here.


Has Evan Sold His Car? (Updated)

There has been speculation among those searching for Evan that he may have sold his car. This theory materialized after it was learned that Evan deposited $3,000 into his checking account on Friday, August 21, in Santa Monica. His car, a 1999 Honda Civic, would be worth approximately $3,000 dollars if he sold it.
Thanks to Facebook Group contributor Ben Feldman it appears that Evan has not sold his car. Ben points us to the California Bureau of Automotive Repairs web site for the evidence. Using Evan's license plate number, 4MUN509, the database shows us that Evan's car has not had a smog check in the past 90 Days (see screen capture below). In California, in order to sell your car you must have a smog check done within 90 days prior to the sale date.

Edit: Thanks to @Mescad for reminding me that Evan's Twitter account has a post from July 13th that Evan was at the DMV.

The one A caveat is the database may not have been updated recently. Checking the database later this week would be prudent to rule this scenario out.
This information still doesn't tell us whether or not Evan is using his car during his travels.