- The Washington Times - Monday, July 14, 2014

Private investigators are turning to the latest in technology — drones — to catch adulterers, insurance and workplace liars and even would-be child abusers.

“People want you to believe there’s all this negativity associated with drones, but they could be a very helpful tool,” said Olwyn Triggs, a private investigator for 23 years and the president of Professional Investigators Network Inc. in Glen Cove, Long Island, the New York Post reported.

Ms. Triggs told the New York Post that she recently used a drone to out a man who was accused of committing insurance fraud.

“He was supposedly fully disabled,” she said, the New York Post reported. “We knew he was active, but couldn’t prove it because of the layout of the property. I couldn’t risk being shot.”

So Ms. Triggs sent in the drone to snap photographs of him chopping wood.

The Federal Aviation Administration has not yet allowed drones to be legally flown for commercial use. But a federal judge dismissed a $10,000 fine against a person who flew a drone for business reasons just a couple months ago. Now, a lot of businesses are taking advantage and flying drones for commercial reasons anyway.

“A lot of PIs bought drones [after that ruling],” Ms. Triggs told the New York Post. “But before you use a drone, you’re calling everyone you know just to be sure.”

One of the most common uses of drones by private investigators: To catch spouses in the throes of infidelity.

One PI, Matthew Seifer, said he recently pretended to test-fly a drone in Central Park, while actually recording a husband who was in a passionate embrace with a woman who was not his wife.

“We had to get in and get out real quick,” Mr. Seifer said in the New York Post report. “We deployed a drone for eight minutes and got five minutes’ worth of box video. That was the closure our client was looking for.”

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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