Best P.I. Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach 2010 - William "Cobra" Staubs
William "Cobra" Staubs has a bouncer's build, with a ponytail, snakeskin cowboy boots, and a gold chain around his neck. His hands are enormous catcher's mitts, and he carries a towel to wipe the sweat from his face. "I'm a hillbilly," he admits. "You got to be crazy to do this shit." The Fort Lauderdale-based private eye should know. He made headlines for secretly trailing Tony Masilotti, looking for a whiff of the corrupt land deals that eventually sent the former Palm Beach County commissioner to prison. He chased down a fugitive drug dealer who was making bombs and hiding out near military bases. And he nearly sabotaged his career by searching for Haleigh Cummings, a 5-year-old who disappeared from her North Florida trailer home more than a year ago. After three decades in the business, it's tough to say just how successful Cobra has been. But one thing is certain, says his friend Jeff Poole, a Broward County sheriff's deputy: "He's after you, you're almost guaranteed to get caught."