Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Listening device found in car
Sherlock Investigations got a call on a Sunday from a client in Staten Island who thought her cellphone might be bugged. I asked if it was a smart phone? “No,” she replied. “Just an ordinary cellphone.” Thinking it was not bugged, I asked, “Where do you mostly talk on your phone.”
“In my car,” she said. “Maybe your car is bugged,” I said.
So I, and my equipment, headed to Staten Island. She told me she was going through a nasty divorce. Her husband owned a chain of pharmaceutical companies and traveled a lot.
Her car was parked on the street. It was a new Jeep SUV. I inspected the car top to bottom. Nothing. Sitting in the driver’s seat, I still had the feeling that the car was bugged.
I looked into the rearview mirror. Then I saw it. It was burred screw on the map light just above the mirror. Knowing that it was a new car I knew that it was unlikely the bulb in the map light had been replaced. It was more like that it had been tampered with.
I removed the two screws in the map light and found a tiny microphone and small circuit board—about the size of a postage stamp—with two wires leading from them. One wire went to the battery, and the other went to a cellphone hidden in the roof.
When the estranged husband wanted to listen in to his wife on her cellphone, he would call the hidden cellphone. Of course, it didn’t ring. If his wife was in the car at the time and on her phone, he could listen to her side of the conversation.
I cut the wires and removed the phone. All the numbers he called from on trips around the country were on the registered on the phone. My client told me that two weeks ago her husband had taken the car in for “servicing.” She thought he was being uncharacteristically nice.
She gave the spy cellphone and my written report to her lawyer. What her husband did was a crime. I don't know the outcome of the divorce or the illegal bugging.