As our agency turned the page on a new decade, our sights were not far off of the February 2, 2020 Super Bowl. As we reported last year, this event has now eclipsed Valentine’s Day for the number of surveillance assignments we receive and actually work.
What happens in Vegas may end up on video.Traditionally, this has been a day when people having affairs must meet and be with their significant “other”. For many, to not be with them or acknowledge this special day is tantamount to ending the relationship.
Every year for the past 36+ years, media outlets call our offices on or about February 1. They ask for us to take them on a marital surveillance case so they can get a sense of what we do and how we perform. Our lawyers have long advised this activity is not allowed (the civil exposure, liability and potential lawsuits, if they were to be injured, is just too prohibitive). Confidentially for the clients is also paramount.
It is not unusual for a first-class agency to have more than 20 surveillance jobs involving cheating spouses on Valentine’s Day. The number can go higher if that day falls on a Friday or Saturday. That gives the couple an extra day to be with each other: An excuse to be with their wife/husband on one day and their paramour on the next. When Valentine’s Day falls on a weekday, it is imperative that the lovers get together. This is not an issue open to discussion.
The scenario is always the same:
- 80% of our clients are women, 20% men.
- They make an appointment and come into one of my five offices.
- They provide their contact information so we can contact them during the surveillance.
- They provided all available identifying data on their spouse such as name, work and home addresses, photos, vehicle and license plate information and what date and time to start.
The price is $150/hour, plus $0.95/mile. We work in four-hour minimums. The minimum retainer is $750. Most clients give us $2500. Clients are told we will never exceed the retainer amount so that it is best to put some extra funding on account in case the surveillance is extended.
(By the way if you ever hire a private investigator, make sure the PI acknowledges that they will return any unused funds and that their retainer is not classified as “non-refundable”. Not doing that is a total rip-off and unfair.)
These clients have either a female intuition (or a male gut feeling) that their mate is cheating. Often, they already know who the co-subject or lover is.
Female clients just want actual proof to show their husband who says they are “crazy” and just “imagining things”. Most just want some finality in their lives. Female clients just want actual proof to show their husband who says they are “crazy” and just “imagining things”. Most just some finality in their lives.
Male clients are less cerebral and more visceral. Many want proof so they can extract some type of “revenge”. People like this we simply won’t take on as clients. We tell them we are too busy to take their case.
During these many years we have caught people dating their mate’s brother, sister, co-worker, neighbor and distant relative. If you can imagine it, we have captured it on video.
A while back I met with a local TV reporter who was interviewing me about our surveillance jobs on Valentine’s Day. We has completed four surveillance jobs so far that day. On one case, we caught the husband in the midst of living a couple double lives: He was cheating on his wife with another man.
Over just the past 5 years alone, the art of conducting marital surveillance jobs has drastically changed. The number of marital surveillance cases has also seen a slight decline. The reason is simple: Technology and the machines we are all attached to.
Prior to the smartphone age, a spouse would come into our offices with the basic identifying data about their spouse, vehicle and work schedule. It was up to us to find the evidence based on minimal clues. Today clients are usually armed with what they have already found on their mate’s phone, and they just need to confirm it. They might find a text or email that says something like Let’s meet at the Hyatt. We should take separate elevators at around 7:00 p.m. and meet in room 318. We can order dinner with room service. Wear something special. With something like that, there’s no need for two or three investigators to frantically follow the subject in heavy traffic, we’d just have one investigator take photos of each subject arriving and entering the elevator.
The “money shot” comes later in the evening or the next morning – when they both exit the elevator together.
Candidly, most people are not coy. They usually meet in a lobby area, embrace, go to the bar for drinks, then to dinner in the hotel restaurant and then go hand-in-hand to their room.
Today’s marital surveillance jobs are like shooting fish in a barrel. It is almost too easy with all the information our clients are able to glean.
So why would anyone hire a PI, instead of a friend or acquaintance? The idea is to obtain the evidence in a fully court-admissable fashion, by investigators who are considered expert witnesses if they’re called in to testify. This is critical to a divorce case, and to what each partner ends up with after the divorce.
Enjoy the game. We’ll be watching.About 7 years ago, many of the top US-based PI agencies started to observe that Super Bowl Sunday was getting a number of requests for us to conduct marital surveillance jobs. During the past two years, our company has done twice as many surveillances on Super Bowl Sunday than Valentine’s Day. We are already fully-booked for Super Bowl Sunday (February 3, 2019). Our schedule for Valentine’s Day (Thursday, February 14, 2019) has just 5 surveillance jobs so far.
The reason for this switch may have multiple reasons.
First, Valentine’s Day has become well-known for PI activity. Cheating subjects may have just become too paranoid that their mates are hiring us.
Second, Super Bowl Sunday is a mecca for Las Vegas, local sport bars and neighborhood parties. All three lend themselves to people in already-formed affairs to hide under the cover of a legitimate event.
Third, some subjects go to a Super Bowl event not being in an affair or wishing to hookup with someone else. The atmosphere, game excitement, alcohol and playground atmosphere is very conducive to people letting their emotions win over the moment.
What happens in Las Vegas or these other areas may not stay there but end up on video.
Enjoy the San Francisco 49ers v. Kansas City Chiefs game. We’ll be watching.