Our case of the week involves two strip club cases we worked over the 2015 holidays. If you’re wondering exactly what private investigators do for strip clubs, here’s a brief history.
In the 1990’s, we worked numerous cases for the strip club owners. They didn’t retain us to surveil their own operations, but those of their competitors. Many licenses throughout the United States were granted to the clubs by the cities and municipalities of each state. Some were more strict than others. Most though, issued the licenses with stringent rules and regulations strictly prohibiting the touching or engaging in sex with the girls performing lap dances. We were hired to film the activities of those people getting the lap dances. If the male guest went to far or the girl initiated bad behavior, then that video tape would be taken to the city council in an attempt to shut down the competitors business. It was a very challenging assignment, given I would never allow our investigators to be the one getting the lap dance.
This was an effective strategy and one that soon became adopted by all the strip club businesses. Hence, as best we could determine, the private investigative industry was helpful in making the clubs a safer and more law abiding business. They all became so paranoid that the need for our services was basically eliminated.
Around 1999 or 2000, we started receiving new inquires from the club owners to install overt cameras in their establishments. We don’t sell any camera products, so we referred this business to companies who possessed the expertise. Unfortunately, some of the owners got “cute” and installed covert cameras in the lap dance booths. That caused unexpected problems when either the dancer or customer crossed the line. When either party was confronted by management with the evidence, the law suits and name calling became rampant. It was an easy call to stop the hidden cameras and make it painfully obvious where the cameras were installed so everyone was aware they were being recorded.
Fast forward to 2015.
The first case we had involved a club owner who approached us and asked us to review a video where a customer threw a jacket over the camera, causing the video to go “blank” for nine minutes before resuming a picture.
The club owner wanted us to track down the customer. We explained that was a terrible investigative plan with the chances of minimal success. There was simply no identifying data to pursue, as the customer paid cash and there was no video available to identify his vehicle.
We explained that a better plan: Move forward and explain to any dancers that if the camera is disabled in any fashion, they would be terminated immediately. A simple fix.
The second case involved a strip club patron who came to us very irate with a local establishment. Apparently, he had made arrangements privately with the dancer to meet her during her off-time working hours. During one of their “dates” she informed him that there was a camera taping their activities. He was very upset that the club was doing something of this nature to such a good customer. He wanted an attorney referral so he could sue them in civil court.
There are times to pick your battles. We convinced him that this was one not to pick. We asked him if he really wanted that exposure in the courts, so his family and business associates could read about his exploits.
Over the past few years, the girls are no longer referred to as strippers, but entertainers. The business has drastically changed in that many of the previous customers never leave the confines of their home or office. There are now strip club webcasts which are a voyeur’s delight. The clubs streams not only their stage shows online but many offer views of the entertainer’s dressing rooms. The clubs offer free streaming and an upgrade to VIP packages. You can purchase private dancing and even hit the “make it rain” button. If you don’t know what this feature is, you are probably in a good place.
A child-porn-watching dad busted.