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Catching a Cheater
As an investigator I have seen and heard of a lot of relationship problems. Our agency regularly receives calls from a husband or wife that suspects an unfaithful partner and wants to either catch their partner cheating or prove that they are not cheating for peace of mind. Some instances I have seen are a suspected office romance, a reconnection with an old fling, or just odd and suspicious behavior. This type of investigative work can be categorized in the our industry as domestic cases while attorneys refer to them as family law cases.
For the most part domestic cases and family law are very similar. Whether we are assisting a law firm with a child custody battle, providing proof of infidelity, or we are helping a partner obtain evidence of a dishonest relationship, the objective is to obtain evidence of the wrong doing. Over the years we have accumulated experience and honed the art of catching a cheater.
Recently our agency worked a domestic case that was more complex than usual. The call first came in from a woman that was inquiring about our investigative services, such as surveillance, videotaping, and photographing an alleged cheater. Our client, the sister-in-law was concerned about the woman her brother-in-law was married to (complex right?). She had information that that the wife was sleeping with another man and she wanted proof to help convince her brother-in-law that the woman was a cheater.
Unfortunately love can blind some people of the real circumstances and in this case the client’s brother-in-law did not want to leave his wife even though he had also heard the same rumors. He wanted clear proof that she was cheating before moving on. To complicate matters even more, the client owned a family business and let the couple be involved in it. The alleged cheater had threatened legal matters regarding the business and had a history of manipulating people to get what she wanted and had destroyed other marriages and people’s lives. Now our client was concerned for her business and family.
She needed proof of this affair and had reached out to our agency to help her. Our agency offers several different options for how in depth we need to manage each case with surveillance and GPS tracking. The initial plan was to monitor the subject and photograph who she was with hoping to obtain the proof needed to confront the matter with solid evidence.
After the first weekend of surveillance the subject was observed with friends and family. She did not deviate from what she had told her husband she was doing. By the second weekend she had purchased a new vehicle and would switch between driving her Denali or her new Jeep. The issue here was that her teenage daughter was driving whichever vehicle our subject was not driving. This is where things can start to get complicated. When multiple people live in the same house and share vehicles that have tinted windows the first challenge is to determine who is driving which vehicle. In this case, our subject was also known to travel with friends in other vehicles.
Discussing this matter with the client we decided it would be best to place a bug on the vehicle that the subject was most likely to be driving. A bug (vehicle tracking device), also known as a Global Positioning System (GPS), is always recommended as it is the greatest tool for the investigator to use while following. The device will also show a history report of all the places the vehicle traveled to and how long it was at each location. It can also provide the speed the vehicle traveled as well as many other things. We have used these devices for major corporations and companies that needed to monitor their company vehicles and employees to ensure they were where they should be. It is a great way for companies to protect their assets as well as for couples to discover the truth of where their husband or wife and even their kids are at. Our GPS vehicle tracking device will attach to the bottom of a vehicle or other asset allowing us to track the whereabouts of the asset. The battery life will last for about 90 days depending on the usage. We can track anywhere AT&T cellular range is available. This same system is used by various law enforcement agencies and investigators across the world.
The second weekend of surveillance we successfully placed a bug on the vehicle. Following on this particular case would have been challenging without the vehicle bugged. The subject made irregular turns and routes as if she was covering her tracks. This can be normal when marriages are on the rocks. If there is any confrontation about a suspected cheating spouse the case will either go cold or will become much more difficult because the dishonest partner is now watching everything he or she does.
The advantage that Rogers & Associates had in this case was years of experience and state of the art equipment including vehicle GPS tracking, night shot video recording, and covert video equipment allowing us to capture film inside establishments and up close without being detected.
As we followed the subject she arrived at a residence where several people had been gathering. This home was in a residential neighborhood. It was in the evening hours making it difficult to capture good film but our investigator was able to obtain some video and photos of the residence and area the subject was at. Although we could not obtain photos of the subject’s affection we did confirm that she was involved with another male other than her husband. The male subject was as had been described to us and much younger than her. The subjects were observed through binoculars as they stood close to each other talking then kissing and showing affection as they emerged out of the dark shadow area and walked into the residence.
Investigating infidelity and unfaithful partners requires patience, especially if the partner is being cautious. If not, it is relatively easy to capture the couple in an area to obtain film. In this particular case were the marital couple had been disputing and allegations of infidelity were out in the open, our subjects were careful about showing affection when in lighted areas and with other people present.
A second investigator was called in due to the complexity of the case. The residence continued to have people coming and going. Couples would arrive then were seen departing the area in different vehicles. With GPS installed we were able to keep track of the subject’s vehicle. However, because the high traffic of people coming and going and the lighting at this particular location we were uncertain if the subject had left in a separate vehicle.
At this time our second investigator was dispatched to a known night club the subject frequents. The investigator on site followed a vehicle that he believed the subject was a passenger in. Fast forward and both investigators were on the wrong track (again difficulty in identifying subject due to lighting combined with high traffic of people). By this point the GPS signaled the investigator that the vehicle was on the move, thankfully we have high tech equipment to compensate for human error.
As our investigators closed in on the vehicle it was determined that the subject was in a Hispanic night club. Rogers & Associates has an investigator that is Hispanic and bilingual which allowed us to blend into the crowd. A surveillance post was established by one investigator to capture night shot film of the subject as she exited the club. The bilingual investigator entered the establishment and utilized covert video equipment to capture the subject dancing with her mistress and apparent signs of sharing affection while they sat at their table. As the couple left the club the investigator that remained outside captured video of the couple showing affection as they approached the vehicle. Later in the evening the investigators obtained more video of the couple having a late dinner then following them to her residence as the husband was out of town.
This case continued on for three more weeks as we compiled evidence provided by the GPS tracking history report, video and photographs of the subject behaving inappropriate with another person while at the same time trying to work on her marriage with her husband.
Even though the objective remained the same to provide proof of infidelity; this case is a perfect example of how complex cases can get and the importance of working with a private investigation agency that has the experience and ability to handle these complicated issues. Although many cases can be completed within a week, this story illustrates challenges that occur. We are grateful for our team and staff that make these types of cases a success. Every experience adds new tools to the art of surveillance that we love to do.
Idaho recognizes common law marriages (if united before January 1, 1996).
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