A Lot of Miles, A Lot of Stories to Tell
Here are some surveillance case histories using SWS-manufactured equipment and conducted by our personnel. All are used with permission. How could we assist you or your clients in similar matters? Some cases were in the Baltimore area and were for Maryland-licensed Private Detective agencies, others were for foreign governments. Our services are available worldwide. Photos Pt 1 - 4 are a photo-essay of SWS personnel at work and play.
Charlie Winchester of Advantage Investigations (410-296-4456) solved a nearly impossible sexual harassment case in Maryland by planting our video body wire on the victim (transmitting video wirelessly by radio to a receiver and recorder inside the plant as well as to another in our van in the parking lot). The harassment was occurring anywhere in any of several buildings, so fixed surveillance cameras would not have worked. We got hours of live video footage with the bad guy exposing himself, groping the victim, thumping her with a nightstick and more. We also provided the client with full page computer-enhanced hard copies we extracted from the videotape.
Until Charlie got involved, nobody was sure whether the victim was telling the truth. Without our body video transmitter there was no other way to know for sure.
Charlie solved the case, made money and impressed the client. We manufactured the equipment, did all the technical work and evidence processing.
Henry Wysham (RIP my good friend, 2003) of Wysham & Associates (410-833-7505) got 13 hours of live video on an internal theft at a Baltimore corporation by using our wireless video equipment. The victim company was nationally owned but locally managed. The local management was in on the theft, so we had no cooperation and it was impossible to install and service video recorders inside the facility.
With the national owner's permission we broke into the building at 2 AM by picking locks and bypassing two alarm systems. We installed our cameras and wireless video equipment, and Henry recorded a quarter of a million dollars in theft over several days from our surveillance van several blocks away. The bad guy was arrested based on our evidence, and the merchandise was recovered for the client after Henry located it in a storage warehouse.
Henry was the only agency the customer contacted who was able to solve this case, because he was familiar with and used technology from our firm. The wireless video equipment was our own manufacture and performed substantially better than consumer equipment widely advertised to PIs.
In this case, Baltimore City Police deferred to us to coordinate the investigation and the arrest. We supplied the police with our radio communications equipment as theirs did not cover the areas involved adequately. Henry and I directed the activities of the police detectives from the command post in our surveillance van.
After the Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm), SWS designed, supplied and installed the complete radio communications network throughout Kuwait. This commo system was used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the Kuwait rebuild, where the priority was getting the power plants operational and the power grid reconstructed. We supplied handheld, mobile and base radios, repeaters, logistics, operator and maintenance training, installation assistance and project engineering.
We are proud of the award we received jointly from the Government of Kuwait and the Corps of Engineers for "helping to turn the lights back on in Kuwait". We used VHF equipment largely supplied by ICOM America whom we represented at the time (we no longer represent ICOM). Equipment was supplied on an emergency basis, and we worked many late nights building coax harnesses, trimming and tuning antennas, programming radios, and packing equipment for international shipment.
Investigator Jay Harrell (now retired) had us install covert video in a Maryland residence (with the husband's consent) to document his wife's suspected adultery. The video we got not only confirmed the wife's adultery with several of the husband's business partners, but showed us something nobody had even suspected: The wife was sexually abusing the couple's 4 year old son.
Based on that previously completely unknown and unsuspected information, we showed the video to a judge and were able to get an emergency protective order granting the father exclusive custody of the child. Divorce proceedings went uncontested, where previously the wife had been seeking a high six figure settlement due to the husband's business interests. None of this would have happened without our covert video. Jay Harrell was able to rescue a child from sexual abuse, save his client a huge amount of money, and enhance his reputation for getting the evidence where two other agencies had failed on this case after wasting a lot of the client's money.
We furnished and installed the covert video gear and processed the evidence.
On another case in Pennsylvania using our electronic tracking equipment, we hid our transmitter on a piece of equipment at risk of being stolen from a jobsite. The equipment eventually was stolen and transported to a warehouse in another part of the state. Using our direction finding equipment, we located the transmitter in a warehouse later in the day after the equipment was discovered missing.
On the strength of the evidence that our transmitter was inside an inaccessible warehouse, our PI client was able to get a search warrant served on the warehouse. The equipment was recovered and a multi million dollar theft ring was disbanded. We manufactured the tracking equipment and operated it for the client.
Bob Hoffman of Checkmate Investigations in Columbia, Maryland (410-720-6110) has solved numerous difficult theft and workman's comp fraud cases by using covert video equipment we manufactured. Covert video systems typically installed in a briefcase, bowling bag or diaper bag as well as our video body wire system can be leased from Bob. His policy is to send one of his investigators along to operate the equipment because a certain amount of experience with the personality of the equipment helps to get the best results.
Lease rates are in the range of $200/day + investigator's hours. Call Bob. One of Checkmate's recent cases using our body video transmitter involved a Baltimore area pawn shop in litigation where one owner was suspected of concealing a hidden cache of high value jewelry from the other. Two Checkmate employees, posing as an engaged couple interested in a wedding ring set, made visits to the facility and encouraged the owner to display the non-inventory very expensive jewelry. The Checkmate investigators caught all the jewelry on video, transmitting the signals from the investigator's body to the surveillance vehicle outside where the video was tape recorded. Further investigation revealed the owner had lied in depositions about the existence of the jewelry.
To obtain video using any other electronic method would have been impractical if not impossible.
Our covert video was used in another Washington, D.C. Checkmate case to surveil office areas to catch persons who infected a lobbyist's computer system with two viruses. We also helped the lobbyist by removing the viruses from his computer without losing a single bit of data.
Later, we installed virus protection and encryption software on the client's computer system to protect his data and guard against similar incidents in the future. This made Checkmate a good profit, further enhanced their reputation and got them a lot more work from the client. Again we did all the technical work.
During the Somalia hunger relief efforts, SWS Security provided the complete radio communications system used by the International Red Cross to coordinate activities, logistics and manpower worldwide. We designed the networks consisting of HF SSB communications for long haul coupled to local VHF repeaters, base stations, mobiles and handhelds. We assisted in the installation and trained operators and technicians. We estimate we performed a typical 4 months of work in less than 3 weeks. People were starving to death and our systems helped get food where it was needed most.
We will attempt to respond immediately in emergency and health and welfare situations.
We did a similar effort in the Haitian relief efforts during the unrest down there, building on the experience we gained in Somalia. Red Cross communications were conducted using networks designed and supplied by SWS Security.
Kevin Keane of Sovereign Investigations (410-437-6221) gets video few other agencies can by using our night vision equipment coupled with his camcorders. Especially this time of year as the days get shorter, with night vision you can get video 24 hours a day instead of just during the few daylight hours. We no longer manufacture night vision equipment but can refer you to honest and competent manufacturers who will work with you. Call us for free advice before you buy any night vision.
Real night vision is very different from the Russian toys you see advertised. Avoid the Russian garbage and save your money.
We supported another New England area investigation recently involving a former employee who stole a proprietary industrial process from his multinational firm, and offered it for sale on the open market.
The amounts involved potentially were millions of dollars. Dave Brown of Brown Investigative Group in Washington, D.C. (202-756-2256) set up a pretext company and arranged several meetings in out of state hotel rooms with the thief. We bugged the rooms with several cameras and microphones (we were in a one party consent state; audio would have been illegal in Maryland as Maryland is a two party consent state), the undercover investigator wore our video body wire, and from our listening post in another hotel room we obtained studio quality video and audio of the thief offering to sell the stolen process. Our video was so clear you could read the writing on documents held up in front of the camera.
Another investigator was 5 stories down in the parking lot, and we equipped his vehicle with our wireless video/audio receiver so he could watch and listen to the meeting and know when the subject was ready to leave so he could be followed. Our listening post provided immediate video hard copies of the subject, to be faxed to the client company for instant verification of the suspect's identity.
SWS provided the radio communications for the surveillance team, furnished, installed and operated the listening post, manufactured and installed all surveillance equipment, and processed the video and audio tapes.
Maryland PIs Bob Bolton of Bolton Detective Agency (301-753-1874) provided invaluable assistance on this case.
Another recent Washington, D.C. area case we did was for Bob Jones of Maryland Claims Investigations (410-918-9400). This case involved a video surveillance in a warehouse to verify employee theft and misconduct. We obtained superb quality video of product being stolen as well as night shift and overtime employees sleeping or watching TV the entire shift.
The company took appropriate action and has stopped the large losses. We furnished and installed the covert video equipment and did the post processing of the evidence.
Several PI agencies doing work for sensitive clients who should not to be named use us regularly to sweep for bugs and wiretaps for their corporate clients in multiple locations throughout the world. Although audio surveillance is extremely illegal in the U.S. and carries heavy penalties, unscrupulous outfits sell and install hidden tape recorders or transmitters on phone lines and microphones, recorders or transmitters in meeting rooms and office areas.
We can find these devices and protect your client's privacy and peace of mind. Be cautious here, as the debugging industry attracts sleazy product and services vendors who talk a good line and perform rain dances but do not have the extensive training or equipment necessary to do this work properly. If you may have need for this service, call us for full information, references and a rate sheet.
Again, we do all the work, you assist your client and earn extra profit. To see articles on this topic, click Publications on the Menu Bar.
We also do two way radio work, providing fleet supply and maintenance for a number of police departments nationwide. We can furnish you with top quality and reasonably priced new radios. Portables, mobiles and repeaters are available. Lease radios also are available for short term use.
We also do superb repairs and provide accessories (batteries, etc.) for most quality brands of two way equipment (note we do not sell or service pagers, cell phones, CB radios or toys).
If you have a guard site requiring a repeater, we can design and install your own repeater or put you on one of our wide area coverage repeaters in Baltimore or DC. We have saved several guard services tens of thousands of dollars on their radio systems, and we take care of FCC licensing as well as the equipment.
Some of our larger local jobs include the portable radio fleet for Baltimore City Housing Authority Police, three repeaters, base stations and 90 portables we furnished and installed for the National Aquarium in Baltimore, furnish and service over 200 portables, repeaters and base stations for Master Security, and portable and mobile radios for private detectives Dennis Seymour , Kevin Keane, Steve Anderson, Bob Hoffman, Carl Cummings and many other detective agencies nationwide. Many of these radios have been in daily use for over 10 years giving reliable service.
If you use or need radios for guards or investigations you should talk to us. We welcome difficult and interesting communications work.
A typical example of how we can support you with radio communications is on a contract Crown Security in Baltimore has with the Baltimore City Board of Elections for the 1998 elections. David Snee of Crown Security was tasked with supplying and coordinating 35 uniformed officers to courier the ballots from the various polling places to election headquarters in Baltimore City.
This was a high pressure time critical assignment, as you can imagine with most of the state waiting for the count. To be most efficient in deploying his officers, David had us equip each officer with a portable two way radio to use in their vehicles, linked back to the command post at Election Headquarters. We did this on a lease basis, with us supplying all the radios, batteries, chargers, onsite delivery and setup. We also supplied two base stations at Election Headquarters and two wide area coverage repeaters which reached to the extreme corners of the city and well out into the surrounding counties. By leasing the radios for two days, Crown Security did not have to tie up a lot of capital in purchasing, realized the maximum efficiency from their manpower, and we did all the work and assumed the maintenance expense. We can furnish up to 80 portable radios and nearly that many mobiles or base stations, on just a few days' notice.
In emergency situations we can respond within hours. Our repeaters cover the Baltimore City and surrounding counties well and are available for long term or daily use, at very economical rates. Consider how communications could streamline your operations.
Although we work quite a bit with private detectives, governments around the world are our primary focus. Recently we manufactured and installed the nationwide pager monitoring network (our Beeper Buster system) to antinarcotics forces in Bogota, Colombia. This system allows the government to monitor any message sent to any pager anywhere in the country. Several years ago, the Colombian military used our pager intercept system as a primary tool to dismantle the 2nd biggest narco-trafficking ring in the history of the country.
We also manufactured and installed a multi-million dollar communications intercept platform to the U.S. Army on an FMS contract to Bogota, used to intercept, unscramble, record and analyze radio transmissions by the drug cartels in the jungles. This network consists of 44 systems installed in locations around the country.
SWS is contracting with the National Police of a Pacific Rim country to integrate two mobile cellular phone monitoring and direction finding vans used to intercept and locate specific cellular phones used by criminals.
Also in a recent case, SWS responded to an emergency request for assistance from a Central American government on a kidnaping of a high government official. In full panic mode with only a few hours to catch a plane, we threw together radio tracking beacons (transmitters) and a direction finding receiver.
The government tasked us with bugging the ransom money so we could trace it to its destination and hopefully recover the victim. It was rather interesting hiding the transmitter in a stack of bills. We installed direction finders and allied electronics in several ground vehicles and airplanes, and were on standby. Unfortunately, we learned after several days of standby that the victim had been killed in an exchange of gunfire between the bad guys and the victim's security team when he was taken. So we never deployed, but it was valuable experience for the next time.
And there will be a next time, some day, somewhere.
Above are some of the more interesting surveillances cases we have supported in our 31 years in business. They are listed for your entertainment, to prove we actually do what we claim (can other companies on the web provide the same proof backed up with phone numbers of references?) but mostly to indicate the types of products and services available through SWS Security. As demonstrated above, our services are available worldwide, and usually we can respond within hours in emergency situations.