the "Hold Invader," a device costing less than $200 that allows one to hear what is being said while the other party thinks the call is on hold.


The newlyweds checked into the hotel's bridal suite, drew the curtains, opened a bottle of champagne and began to relax after a long busy day of wedding activities, relatives, etc. At last they were alone -- they thought.

The smoke detector over their bed, however, contained a video camera, and their weekend activities would be viewed by hotel employees on a television monitor.

Smoke-detector video cameras are available in most spy catalogs for about $500. They are available with audio and will adjust to varying light conditions. Cameras are also available in alarm clocks, stereo speakers, pens, "exit" and "no smoking" signs, framed pictures and a variety of other devices.


The shipment of cocaine was detected by specially trained dogs. Officers pried open the crates to test samples, then nailed the crates together again. They would watch the shipment, follow whoever arrived to collect it and arrest the perpetrators.

Unfortunately, no one ever arrived to pick up the shipment. When the crates were broken open and the drugs taken to a police warehouse, an electronic listening device was found inside. The drug shippers heard the sound of the crates being opened, and listened to the officers' conversations. They knew the drugs had been spotted.

Wireless bugging devices that transmit voices and sounds to an FM radio can be purchased for less than $40. One device with a one-third mile range sells for about $150. A variety of more sophisticated devices with longer-range transmission -- and higher cost -- are also available.


During crucial labor negotiations, the government agency's every move was anticipated and countered. Key portions of the agency's strategy appeared in the newspaper almost as soon as it was formulated.

The agency negotiator's cellular phone was being monitored by a "cellular interceptor," a device costing between $7,500 and $10,000 depending on the vendor. The negotiator's cellular phone number was punched into the device and from then on, both sides of every call were recorded, to be played back at strategy sessions. Key sections were leaked to a sympathetic reporter.


The campus apartment manager knew everything about his tenants, because he was using some inexpensive and easily obtained electronic gear. He used a "shotgun microphone" ($250) advertised as "easily concealed in a sleeve or folded newspaper" to eavesdrop on tenants around the pool and through the open door of the laundry room. At night, he walked down the hallways and put his contact mike ($280) on the walls to pick up conversations in apartments. If he heard something interesting, he would install a listening device in the resident's phone ($255) during one of his maintenance visits. When activated by a code from the manager's phone, the manager could turn the resident's telephone into a room listening device and hear everything that was said.

Any special delivery mail, left at the office, was sprayed with a fluid ($19) which made the envelope transparent for a few minutes before evaporating.

The manager also mounted several pinhole cameras ($1,295) in ceilings over showers during apartment inspections.


Want a set of lock picks ($29 for a set of 11), or just a locking gas cap pick ($9)? For $30 anyone can buy keys that "open and start most foreign and domestic vehicles." How about "warded padlock keys" for most common locks ($20)? Just kidnap someone? Use the $99 voice-changing device when you phone in your demands.


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