George Martinez

Image: Fred Lopez

“If you can’t trust the FBI, who can you trust?”

That thought convinced George and Barbara Martinez to launch G-Man Home Watch in 2017. FBI special agents, the couple had visited Venice and “fallen in love with the beautiful beaches and community values,” George says. He retired before Barbara, and began investigating business opportunities. 

With many affluent residents leaving houses here vacant for months, George saw a market for a professional home-watching service. They decided to make their FBI experience, which includes specialties in terrorism and theft and property crime prevention, the cornerstone of the company. 

“Barbara retired from the FBI on June 30 of last year,” says George. “On July 1, we were here.”

An accredited, insured business like theirs offers more security than asking a neighbor to watch your property, says George: “What if they break something? Are you going to charge them?” And insurance companies may deny claims if they decide there was inadequate security. 

It’s easy to see why clients trust the Martinezes. Neatly dressed in polo shirts bearing their business logo, they come across as archetypal FBI agents, serious, honest and watchful. They document and photograph every home visit and scour properties, looking for everything from loose roof tiles to leaflets on the front step.

Patrolling homes in Venice’s sedate communities could seem dull, but “a lot can happen in a week,” says George. A storm can damage structures; air conditioning units can fail; leaky water heaters can inundate nearby rooms. After lightning struck one house, the brand-new refrigerator broke. “It smelled so bad I thought a squatter had died inside the house,” George says.

Wildlife, like an armadillo who took up residence underneath one front porch, can invade homes when people aren’t around. At one home, they spotted a bright-colored snake in the pool. When Barbara squirted it with a hose, it swam right at her. They determined that a den of snakes was living under the deck.

Although the work is less intense than their former jobs, there are similarities, says Barbara: “As agents, we’re used to fast responses and emergencies. And we’re investigators at heart.”

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