- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 14, 2006

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

For many, Valentine’s Day conjures up images of love, romance, flowers and chocolate.

But for detective agencies across the United States, the romantic holiday is a boon for business as it is the ideal time for a spouse to catch a cheating mate.

“Valentine’s Day is the biggest day of the year for private investigators,” said Tony Delorenzo, of Private Detectives of America, a New Jersey-based company. “This year we’re doing surveillance Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday because if somebody has a lover it will be on one of those days to catch him.”

Mr. Delorenzo and several other sleuths said that in the run-up to the Feb. 14 holiday, they had been overwhelmed with requests by men and women seeking to find out whether their partner was unfaithful.

“Let me put it to you this way,” said Paul Dank, co-owner of Advanced Surveillance Group, a detective agency based in Michigan and with offices in 14 other states.

“We’re having a real, real difficult time finding anybody else that can assist us with surveillance right now, and we are referring cases to other companies.”

He said Valentine’s Day was an opportune time to catch a cheating partner as it was the one day lovers would battle all odds to be with each other.

“People involved in a relationship tend to make a big ceremonial meeting on or near Valentine’s Day to celebrate it,” Mr. Dank said. “They feel they have to do something new, special, so they go out and buy new underwear, flowers, candy and they get a hotel room with a Jacuzzi.”

Telltale signs of a cheating spouse are the surprise “business trip” or late office meeting, unexplained gifts and the depressed friend who needs a shoulder to cry on.

“This is the one day when infidelity and extramarital affairs reach their peak,” said Ruth Houston, author of “Is He Cheating on You — 829 Telltale Signs.”

“Any man who is cheating has to buy his mistress a gift. There’s no way he can get around that if he wants to stay in her good graces and in her bed.”

She said men or women who suspect their partners need to be extra alert on Valentine’s Day and look for credit-card receipts, new jewelry or lingerie.

Mr. Delorenzo said he was working on about 50 infidelity cases this year. He charges between $500 and $1,000 to confirm to a client whether a spouse is cheating and $650 for five hours of surveillance.

Jeanine Davis, 41, said she nabbed her husband with another woman on Valentine’s Day last year after hiring a private eye to track him down that evening.

“They followed him and found him having dinner with her at a restaurant, and then they took pictures of them kissing in the parking lot, and he spent the night at her place,” said Mrs. Davis, who is in the process of getting a divorce.


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