Interview with a Detective.

Interview with a Detective

Interview with a Detective in womantoc.

We spent a day with private detective Nikos Pelekasis

From Sherlock Holmes to Facebook and from infidelity to the perfect crime, the life of a private investigator is as exciting as it is dangerous


Interview with a Detective.

From the window of private detective Nikos Pelekasis’ office, the life of Piraeus flows like a rushing river of people, cars and signs.

The simple but bright space on the second floor of a building on the bustling Heroin Polytechnic, seems for a moment to my eyes like the ideal observatory. I imagine the detective intently surveying the passers-by when he finishes the job, like another James Stewart in Hitchcock’s Silent Witness. “This job has no hours. If you have hours, you don’t love it enough,” he’ll tell me later.

“The office has existed in Piraeus since 1976, when my brother opened it. Piraeus is my second great love after the police. It’s where I learned and loved good, evil, the red and green line,” he tells me at first, sitting in his office chair. I notice that, as we talk, he leans in towards me and looks at me intently. As if this were yet another case.

As I look around the space, an office with white and grey walls, black leather chairs and low blinds that reminds me as much of a police station as a doctor’s office, I am informed about the basics. Mr. Pelekasis joined the police, moved on to the security services and then worked for years at the National Intelligence Agency, where he specialized in intelligence collection, analysis, management and exploitation. When he retired, he took over the office.

Interview with a Detective.

Sherlock Holmes and the detective profession

“What stimuli led you to become a detective? Did you read Sherlock Holmes?” I ask, determined to avoid any stereotypes. “Yes, I’ve read a lot of them and they’re completely different from what we see in the plays,” she pleasantly surprises me. “The stimuli, however, I’ve had since I was a kid. I come from a large family and I’ve always had concerns. I knew that everything has two sides – the one we see and the one we don’t see. I always wanted to discover the unseen side.”

Do you remember a first incident?

I come from a mountain village, where there were minor offences by both adults and children. Mistakes and actions done by others out of childish carelessness at school, at play or football were for me, lacking that carelessness, my own field of exploration. I learned in this way to discern who had good intentions and who had bad intentions.

Keen observation is therefore one of the key virtues of a detective. What are the others?
Memory. And not believing anything he hears, believing half of what he reads, but believing everything he sees in the research. Finally, having a large circle. Information doesn’t come easily, you have to cross check it, be sure of it to decide whether to use it or not.

However, people are fascinated by detectives through movies and TV series. What is the biggest inaccuracy in the representation of your profession? That we know everything. If you don’t have a network of partners, you can’t operate. And to get it, you have to gain the trust of many. The job of a detective is very, very difficult and dangerous. Anyone who says they are not afraid is either ignorant or dangerous to their partners, the investigation and themselves. Because in an investigation it’s not just about finding a result. It is also important not to burn it.

What do you mean?

Don’t reveal yourself. Many customers come in without a specific problem. They just have a suspicion, they saw a movie, it happened to an acquaintance and they decide to look into it. For example, someone discovers quite by accident that his wife is having an extramarital affair; his friend decides to investigate if something similar is happening to him. It is tragic, in this case, to find out that his wife has had her followed without having given any permission.

Why does someone go to you and not to the police?

The police cannot serve private affairs. What happens is that, in felony cases, we continue the investigation when the police complete their work or provide the evidence we discover. We are licensed by the Ministry of Public Order and we are checked regularly. On the other hand, this does not apply in all cases. If we discover misconduct by one of our clients that falls under the category of a misdemeanor, we will not report it. We will protect him.

Are there clients who are essentially looking for a psychologist instead of a detective? How do you deal with them?

It has happened many times. People convinced that something is going on, insist on looking for it when it’s not really there. In these cases the problem stems from elsewhere and after I assure them that there is no evidence on my part, I refer them to other disciplines. A woman came to my office with suspicions that her husband was having an extramarital affair. He denied it and called her crazy. It turns out she was wrong. She confessed to her husband and he called me. “I begged her to go to a specialist so she could tell her the truth,” he told me.
Συνέντευξη με έναν Ντετέκτιβ.

Beyond the “familiar” image of the suspicious, jealous husband and other private affairs, Mr. Pelekasis undertakes professional investigations for companies. “We work with insurance and pharmaceutical companies, banks that want to ensure their confidentiality, their staff, their information; whether an employee is loyal and not giving information to others. Companies participate in competitions and interests are at stake to the tune of one euro. In addition, we have accidents, traffic accidents, theft of boats, cars, motorcycles and that is where the expertise and autopsy is done. And the investigation.”

The X-ray of a case

Trying to bring the process of a new investigation to life, I imagine the detective taking an appointment in his office. I fall out. “A lot of clients don’t want us to meet here, so no one sees them, so they don’t arouse suspicion. Often, the appointment can be made at a hotel, a home or even a café.”

How long does it take you to build a client’s profile?

Depending on what he asks for, how he asks for it, with his rhythm. Let’s say, for example, that a man asks me to look for his wife. I can tell whether he wants to know because he is interested or whether he himself is having a parallel relationship and wishes the wife to have one too, so that he does not become the culprit of the separation. It happens.

What does a detective’s 24-hour day involve?

It can be loose, it can be in the red. Adrenaline, creative stress is what sustains us. In this business you don’t have a schedule; if you do, you don’t love it enough. I travel frequently, on average twice a month, to the countryside and I have collaborators in some foreign cities.

So how do you start working on a case?

“Are you keeping a secret?” he asks me, and I answer in the affirmative with determination. “Me too,” he replies. “To find out how these things work, you have to see them from the inside, get baked.” “Do you change techniques in the course of research?”, I insist, hoping for a more insider’s tip. “I change them in the same day. You assess the situation and move accordingly. You can run into people who know what they’re doing, who are trying to mislead you and commit the perfect crime.”

How long have you been working on a case?

It depends on the case. An investigation can be started today and finished in three months, it’s not an absolute. But on average, we’re talking about a week to 10 days. But you can get lucky.

How do you get lucky in such cases?

A car accident was declared and I went to the countryside. The first thing I did was go to the garage. I then discovered, in the incoming car book, that the vehicle had entered the garage two days before the accident was declared. So it was revealed that he did the accident, took his car to the garage, came up with an excuse and declared it two days later. After that, he recanted, so the case ended there.

Interview with a Detective. There are two sides to everything.

Detective and honors: How much does an investigation cost?

“The cost of an investigation is not fixed. It depends on the time and the risk of the case. But we all live in Greece and we all adjust,” Pelekasis tells me. “The mindset, technology and culture has changed. And of course, the economic situation.”

In terms of technology, developments should have opened up a new era for the industry. Curiosity didn’t kill the cat, but it turned everyone into would-be online detectives who greedily poke around on their mobile phones, even calculating the hours the other person is or isn’t connected and accessible. In the hands of the suspicious, Facebook becomes an online spy game. “Technology has advanced so much and we’re following it. We cover all cases related to the internet, through social media monitoring, recovering deleted data, etc., of course being even more careful now to stay within the GDPR. I have younger partners who specialise in social media and the internet and they take care of that part. But we work together and I pass on my experience to them. In addition, I use a lot of tools, which are constantly updated, and I work with a geneticist and a graphologist.”

Interview with a Detective. There are two sides to everything.


Interview with a Detective.

Detectives and new generations

From the lowered window blinds, a group of students can be seen crossing the street. I wonder if these ages exist in the treaty before me?

“Young people are coming, minors have come. In most cases it has to do with their parents. One 20-year-old girl found out she was adopted and came looking for her mother. She discovered that her mother had 7 other children and even found one of her sisters. After this incident, she told me that she loved her adoptive parents even more and I hear from her to this day.”

Not all stories have happy endings though. The way in which children are involved in Mr. Pelekasis’ affairs is disheartening. “When I started the job, I promised myself that I would leave the problems of work at the office. But there are some cases that have followed me even in my sleep. The cases of kids taking drugs. I can’t look at it coldly, professionally.”

Are they that common?

Very. Children fall into drugs out of ignorance and unfortunately, in most cases it is a one-way street. Usually the parent comes to us, but doesn’t want to admit it; they just tell us that they have strange behaviour. The question I always ask is “has he started stealing things from the house?”. If the answer is yes, then things are already at a very difficult point.

You tell the parents?

Of course, and I’m trying to see what’s wrong. And I’m glad when parents come in here and they’re both fighting it. When a child falls into drugs, it’s a whole family that’s tormented. I’m so glad that there are people today with their own businesses who once, as children, I helped them get off drugs.

Have you ever discovered something you didn’t want to reveal?

No. The client who contacts us has suspicions and wants them confirmed. Since he comes to me, I have to tell him the truth, whether it is pleasant or unpleasant. We are not always pleasant, we are beneficial. We must tell him the truth and not create another problem or another doubt.

Κρυφή κάμερα ρολόι

What is the strangest incident that has happened to you?

I’ve been in this business for 30 years and new things still happen to me. Once, a family from Australia asked me to go to a village, take a handful of soil and bring it to them to put on their father’s grave. To some people it might be a joke. I treat every case with the same seriousness. But I’ve had a student call me before the national exams to ask for a device to dictate solutions in his ear. I told him that the only way to pass is to study.

Any social phenomena you see with greater frequency? The behavior of divorced men towards their children. Many fathers are alienated and treated in a hostile and antagonistic way; it happens all too often. With mothers it’s not the same. On the other hand, with couples, the following happens: because of the economic crisis, there is no room for one of them to go on trips, to go out drinking alone; they concentrate more on the family.

Interview with a detective. There are two sides to everything.


As the conversation progresses, my eye falls on a magnifying glass – the classic detective’s tool, with which he can make out fingerprints, hairs and anything that cannot be seen with the naked eye. A typical movie scene; and opposite me is the real version of it.

Are you now exposed to danger yourself?

I am exposed first and foremost. I am responsible for my colleagues and their physical integrity. After all, for a partner to reach my office secrets, he has to pass many tests. No, I’m not watching him. When you’ve been doing this job for 30 years, it’s hard to get someone to lie to you. I have my way, and I get it.

What about fear?

The legal man will not fear the illegal. Nor do I fear for my family. Every case ends when the investigation ends, because even the “perpetrators” know that I will never charge them without blame.

Καλώδιο gps

What is it that reveals more evidence? The carelessness of the “perpetrator” or his ignorance?

The frivolity. And the certainty that he can’t be caught, because he can’t be suspected in the first place. If you talk to people who are in prison, not for murder but for robbery, they usually don’t say “I was wrong to steal”. They say “I made a mistake and got caught.” And when they get out, they make sure they don’t do it again.

Is there a perfect crime?

I think not. At least, that’s what you get if you look at it statistically, bibliographically and historically.

Interview with a Detective. There are two sides to everything.

Is there a case that stands out in your career?

A prostitute was once murdered. Her casual lover was charged and taken into custody. With hard evidence, I proved his innocence and discovered the real killer. At the time, the prosecutor congratulated me. Seeing an innocent man released from prison was the most important moment for me.

The time has passed, we have said too much. The traffic on the street continues unabated, as does Mr. Pelekasis’ appetite for taking on new cases.

What case are you closing on? “I haven’t set a limit. I’ll work on it as long as I can, and if I lived again I’d do it again,” he tells me as the phone begins to ring insistently. Some other case, some new mystery is waiting to be revealed inches away from us.

“Have you seen any cop shows lately?”, I ask him as I leave, hoping for a brief conversation about the first season of True Detective. “I don’t have time to watch shows. In the little time I have left at work, I watch my family.”
Interview with a Detective Posted in womantoc

Office of Private Investigations Nikos Pelekasis
Phone: 210-4131519

Interview with a Detective. There are two sides to everything.