Saturday, August 21, 2010

Love Is Blind

I made a friend at a sushi bar out here.... and over the years, we crossed paths every now and then.
He was the owner of a rather large business on the Peninsula where I live.
He was silver-haired, handsome, retired military and happily married when we first met.
He sat to my immediate right, I was eating my usual odd assortment of sushi, which I ordered in Japanese.
He asked me if I speak Japanese.
I said, "No, I just speak sushi."
He laughed and the rapport of friendship was instantly established.
We talked about his marriage then... it was about two years old.
And it was his second marriage.
She was 15 years younger than him.
He said he met his wife on, "of all places" he said "the internet."
He said she was the perfect woman for him, beautiful, attentive, foreign, was a hair stylist he planned to set up in business.
He brought her to America, she got citizenship.
He said eventually, she wanted to bring her whole family to the USA and  she suggested he build a new house for all of them.
It was then that I pressed my business card in his hand and said, "Hold on to this card. You may need it one day."
I recall him looking at my card with amusement and his reply.
"I never met a P.I. before."
"Well" I said, "Hope you never need one. But just in case..."
And so it went.

The last time I was in the at sushi bar was about one year ago.
Hadn't heard from him until last week.
He wanted an immediate surveillance.
He was leaving home for four days on a business trip.
He suspected his wife was having an affair.
He said he was almost 100 percent sure.
So he planned an out of town trip and wanted an investigator on the house.
He wanted pictures, from dawn to 9:00 AM, when she went to work.... and  also at the end of the work day. He wanted photos of everyone entering and exiting.
Normally I rarely, take these cases.
After way too many years of domestic surveillance, it is not my favorite thing to do.
However, this guy was a friend and I see anyone who betrays a friend as an enemy.
I agreed.
And it was one of those moments investigators live for.

I got to the area about 5:00 a.m.
Not only did I find the perfect surveillance spot to sit unnoticed in my vehicle, I didn't have to sit the endless hours, or days, I anticipated.
Within the first two hours of my arrival, the front door of the house opened.
A man stepped out, his arm around a woman in a white bathrobe.
There was a long lingering kiss.
I got the shot.
As I zoomed in on the kiss, then their individual faces, I could see he appeared much younger than her. I knew she was 35, he looked to be in his early twenties.
He walked to his car just in front of the front door.
It was new model 350 Pick-Up parked right next to her brand new Lexus.
I  got his plate, followed him to his place of business -- an Auto Repair Shop --  and then stopped at at drug store and processed the photos.
Later that night I returned.
He arrived at her door, she greeted him in a tank shirt, jeans and wine glass in her hand.
I stuck around until the lights went out and returned pre-dawn.
Again he exited the house, again she was in the white robe.
Again I got photos, processed them and then...  called my friend, the client.

"You were right," I said. "She's had a young guy at the house. He works at the auto shop down the road from your house."
He was silent and then said,
"Is he very tall, dark-skinned, curly hair?"
"Joe," he said.
There was more silence, then he said quietly,
"damn, he fixed my car last week. Maybe I better check my brake lines," he pretended to laugh.
I told him that was not an bad idea. I also told him I had photos.
We agreed I would meet at the sushi bar and I would hand him the envelope.
He would hand me a check.
And (bonus!) he said, he'd like to buy me sushi dinner, for finding the truth.

He said he'd felt something was very wrong with his marriage for over a year
We discussed what he intended to do with the info and photos.
He said he'd be calling his attorney after we got the off the phone and will have him ready to paperwork.
Then he would go home with his an attorney as witness, hand his wife the pictures and tell her to leave.
If she gives him any trouble, he said, they will call the police.
He told me did some background on her before he hired me and found a warrant in her name.
He said he could use that as leverage to make her leave.

I asked why he didn't do the background before he married her.
"Love is blind," he said.
"But our family attorney wasn't. The house, all the money, it's tied up nice and tight in a pre-nup that kicks her to the curb for cheating."
"Sweet" was all I could think to say... which in hindsight was fairly stupid.
Particularly since the line, "love is blind" is so profound and worthy of a greater response.

What most attracts some people to a person in the beginning, is what most repels some later on.
That's why it's so important to look inside the book before you judge it by its cover.
My client was clearly a wealthy target, his woman was beautiful and used her looks as the instrument of his capture.
He was lucky. He got off with his life and most of his assets.
Many are nowhere as fortunate as my sushi loving client was.
The whole thing reminded me of an older well-known case I probed at great depth involving Sonia Rios.
Only this case ended in three murders.
The next blog post leads you to that case.

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