PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The newest generation of spy cameras may astonish you.
The cameras are smaller, more advanced and cheaper than ever before, which makes spying on people much easier.
What’s weird is that nowadays, most of us carry a tiny camera with us all the time in our cell phones.
Surveillance or cell phone cameras are practically everywhere these days.
At casinos, your every move can be watched, from the parking lot to the gaming floor.
They can even zoom in to read serial numbers.
As impressive as those cameras are, Empire Investigations has some that will fit just about anywhere.
From purses with cameras sewn in, to an innocuous looking car key unless you look very closely, Robert Kresson showed KDKA-TV’s David Highfield some of the hidden cameras they use on jobs.
Kresson: [It’s] actually a working pen. You just put the pen in your pocket and you’re able to shoot video.
Highfield: So where is the camera exactly?
Kresson: Actually, right at the top of the pen clip.
An “eyeball camera” – as he calls it – can be hidden in the dirt of a potted plant. They even have cameras inside of a flash drive.
Kresson said an employer might use one to catch someone stealing or someone taking off early from work.
Even drink cups could have a camera in it.
“This is a drink cup and it’s actually a working drink cup, which would contain fluid in the bottom and all electronics are contained in the lid,” Kresson said.
A tiny little dot is the only sign of the camera inside and you can just set it on a counter.
Robert’s son, Brandon, showed Highfield one of their wildest devices.
The AR Drone flies like a helicopter, but he’s able to control with his iPhone.
“It actually has a camera mounted on the side of it and you can record that video on your iPhone,” Brandon said.
You may have seen hidden camera video on the news of child or elderly care providers caught doing something bad.
A camera mounted in a stuffed animal is one of the tools used to get video like that.
“We’ve even used them in children’s rooms for nannies that were being abusive,” Kresson said.
Finally, he showed Highfield something used to help detect hidden cameras.
“That was initially developed by the military and it was done with lasers and then they came down just with these lights and it works very effectively,” Kresson said.
The Spy Finder flashes red light to make it easier to see the lens of a camera.
While Kresson showed Highfield some of the cameras, he didn’t give everything away.
It’s also important to note that it’s illegal in Pennsylvania to record someone’s audio without them knowing.
So, what does some of this stuff cost?
The Spy Finder is about $100, while the AR Drone is about $300.
You can find some of this stuff online and it’s not as expensive as you might think.