PRATIE PLACE

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Why it's maybe not so bad to be without a valentine.

Extracts from
One Tough Day for Two-Timers
As Cheaters Juggle Valentines, Private Eyes Work Overtime;
the Feb. 14 'Business Trip'

by Nancy Keates for the Wall Street Journal, February 10, 2006

It was the Valentine's Day card that finally cracked the case for private detective Art League.

Mr. League had been trying for weeks to catch a client's husband cheating, but it wasn't until Feb. 14 that the evidence surfaced. After tailing the man to an office parking lot, Mr. League spied him placing a card on another car before driving away. Mr. League swiped the card -- which was festooned with hearts and professed true love -- and surreptitiously videotaped the woman who later showed up frantically looking for it. He presented the card and the video to his client, and the case was closed.

"It's a good holiday for business," Mr. League says. The Greensboro, N.C., gumshoe has already scheduled five infidelity investigations for Tuesday, and plans to add two part-time sleuths to his staff of four to handle the demand.

Valentine's Day is the biggest single 24-hour period for florists, a huge event for greeting-card companies and a boon for candy makers. But it's also a major crisis day for anyone who is having an affair. After all, Valentine's Day is the one holiday when everyone is expected to do something romantic for their spouse or lover -- and if someone has both, it's a serious problem.

The Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts, a Southfield, Mich., trade group of professionals trained to review divorce settlements, says filings typically spike in mid-February.

Planning a "business trip" that falls over Valentine's Day is a typical mistake cheaters make, says New York detective Stephen Davis.

The firm's surveillance expert, Sean Lanigan, says he worked on a Valentine's Day case last year for a married client who was planning to be out of town with his wife -- and wanted to spy on his mistress. Mr. Lanigan says he followed the girlfriend to a card store where, using a special pinhole camera built into the button of his shirt, he videotaped her buying two Valentine's Day cards. Her next stop was a store where she bought a dress using the client's credit card -- and finally at a hotel to meet another man.

Christine Gallagher, a 43-year-old writer in Los Angeles, was so incensed after she caught her boyfriend cheating on Valentine's Day that she launched a Web site called RevengeLady.com, where she gives advice on how to get back at people.

The article also gives lists of devices you can purchase to track your own possibly-unfaithful significant other. Cynicism R Us.

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