Definition of catch someone in the act in US English:

catch someone in the act

phrase

usually be caught in the act
  • Surprise someone in the process of doing something wrong.

    ‘the thieves were caught in the act’
    • ‘Coun Sunderland said: ‘I want cameras which can catch them in the act and I believe people should be fined.’’
    • ‘The difference was that we were caught in the act so we couldn't deny it.’
    • ‘And the council warned it would step up its campaign, with new powers meaning it could take firms to court even if it has not caught them in the act of dumping.’
    • ‘NEARLY 100 of North Yorkshire's most prolific offenders will be swept off the streets if they are caught in the act again.’
    • ‘Then, in 1993, she was caught in the act of torching a neighbor's home in Ajo, Arizona, and sentenced to 15 years in prison.’
    • ‘I followed her gaze to see Carter, who looked like he had been caught in the act of doing something wrong.’
    • ‘All propaganda is a sophisticated form of deception and she had been caught in the act of misdirecting the electorate.’
    • ‘The wives find out about the plot and put in a plan of their own to catch them in the act.’
    • ‘They return the next night after Jule realises she has left her mobile somewhere in the house, but Hardenberg surprises them and catches them in the act.’
    • ‘However, during their third attack in nine days, they were caught in the act after police set up patrols and arrested them when they stole a handbag from a 46 year-old woman.’
    • ‘They usually ask if you can identify the perpetrators and I've pointed out to them that if they arrive quickly, they'll catch them in the act.’
    • ‘The court had heard how Frazer was caught in the act after a routine police patrol stopped the car he was driving as officers were suspicious following a spate of break ins.’
    • ‘A German company has sacked one of its employees for smoking at home after hiring a detective to catch him in the act.’
    • ‘So he did a kamikaze attack on my fridge about 2 minutes before his bedtime and I caught him in the act and said, ‘Hey, Kitchen's CLOSED, it's time for bed.’’
    • ‘The council also visits schools across the town to talk to children about the trouble they could get into if they were caught in the act.’
    • ‘Our covert approach to surveillance gives us an element of surprise over our targets, often catching them in the act.’
    • ‘At this point, a guy suddenly came along the pathway around the bend, and caught me in the act of arguing with the cat.’
    • ‘Unless nursing staff had caught him in the act then even with half-hourly or even quarter-hourly observations, that might not have altered the outcome.’
    • ‘It's very difficult to arrest people unless we catch them in the act.’
    • ‘Night after night I heard the same excuse from every officer, until he is caught in the act of violating the restraining order by a police officer, no arrest can be made.’
    discover, detect, find, come across, come upon, stumble on, chance on, light on, bring to light, turn up, expose, find out, unmask
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