Auto Theft – To Those That Defy and Deny the Truth

On September 24, 2014, in Blog, by sieditor

I have written previously on the fact that factory installed theft deterrents and so-called anti-theft systems in vehicles don’t stop of even slow down today’s car thief. There are those in the insurance SIU (Special Investigation Units) that would rather listen to their forensic locksmith experts, that will tell them as to how impossible these vehicles are to steal without the the appearance of the insured’s key.

Sadly, the SIU takes my information as a personal attack on their friends, the forensic locksmiths nation wide, instead of realizing what they are told is simply not true. Or, maybe they do realize this, and this means that they are aiding and abetting a fraud being intentionally used in their fraud investigation of the insured.

Then, the SIUs actually have the nerve to attack the messenger personally (me), when their case falls apart in court because of the reliance on the ambiguous forensic locksmith report concluding the vehicle was last driven with a key of the proper type. There is too much reliance as to how their defense attorney can obfuscate the facts and like a majority of the cases I have been involved with for the plaintiff, the defense looses. I assure you SIUs, if you think it was bad before, it will get worse, when I can cause the forensic locksmith to impeach his own testimony with his own words and past methodology used in previous reports.
In order to illustrate this from a common sense approach, some of these forensic locksmiths stating in their reports as to how difficult it is to obtain a transponder key talk out of both sides of their mouths. A simple visit to their websites demonstrates the craziness, where it is stated that they make transponder keys! Yet, they are the same people that when working as a forensic locksmith determining as to how a reported stolen car was last driven was with a key of the proper type inferring the insured’s key. Possibly the last key used was a duplicate key that one of these experts generated!

When serving as a forensic locksmith for the insurance company, the forensic locksmith may state he observed no signs of forced entry. Yet as a locksmith, he may be called out where someone locked their keys in the vehicle. He gains entry surreptitiously without leaving any signs of forced entry.

It is also interesting that it is never noted that the vehicle was unlocked at the time of the exam. Does this mean that all insureds lied about the vehicle being locked last, if there are no signs of forced entry? How did the vehicle get from point A to point B then if the thief could not get in the vehicle?

As a locksmith, if someone loses a key, they are dispatched to go to the vehicle and make a replacement key in minutes. What is the professional automotive locksmith going to say? “Sorry, these vehicles are impossible to make a key for!”

It has been said by these experts that a thief would not go out and spend thousands of dollars for a transponder key programmer in order tocar thief make a key for a specific vehicle. This is a general statement made to cover all thieves and is stated as a fact! Since my background is not that as a mere locksmith, and I have been directly involved in the repair of thousands of theft recoveries, I can state as a fact, the only common denominator as to a thief’s motivation is that there is no common denominator! To make such a general statement as a fact, demonstrates that any fact that the forensic locksmith would state, should be questioned then.

The reality is, that even if one spent thousands of dollars on a key programmer assuming a thief would buy one, and not steal one, and the fact they are not thousands of dollars any longer thanks to China, if a thief had a factory unit like a Ford NGS, it would still be a great bargain, because he could make transponder keys not for a specific Ford, but all Ford products! If the thief had an after market T code or a knock off, which is $125.00 on the Internet available to anyone, transponder keys could be made for a number of makes and models like Ford, Honda, Toyota and many others!

I have not even addressed the ease of cloning a key!

It is also assumed that because there is an ignition lock involved, that one needs a key to rotate the lock to unlock the steering wheel and transmission gear selector. This s a definite maybe, but this is from the locksmith perspective used and locksmiths in reality know nothing about how vehicles can be stolen. Or do they? Since they can make keys for all vehicles. Maybe it is just when locksmiths are serving the insurance company in the capacity of being a forensic locksmith, that compels them to state a key cannot be easily made for the vehicle

In fact, the forensic locksmiths believed the dealers and because of their inability to understand electrical schematics, to them the Ford PATS was impossible to defeat until I did it in Greines v Ford for a Los Angeles court 10/10/2000. Forensic locksmiths are like little sheep in my opinion. They give me no credit for what they have learned from me, yet they have used much of the information I have taught to them either in seminars or the hard way when opposing them in court, as their examination standards.I am just wondering what would happen if I taught them wrong on purpose, and it would demonstrate as to how inept they would look in court.

The process I used on the Ford transponder from that time has been used for elimination on all vehicles, in which fuse boxes were checked for bypass as well as using aluminum foil on the key head, to block the transponder signal to test the transponder. The only reason this was employed on a Ford, is that it was done to Ford testing parameters. Not for all vehicles to 2014! The forensic locksmith rarely does their examinations the correct way of using a programmer to determine how many keys were programmed for the vehicle! Better yet, they can’t employ any transponder testing no matter how flawed it may be on a theft recovered vehicle that is totally burned, yet strangely, they have the same conclusion on a burned car, as they do a non burned car, which is the vehicle was last driven with the key of the proper type.

They even render the same conclusion where they have absolutely no evidence on a vehicle never recovered!

Key of the proper type is anything the writer wants the reader of their report to believe. It lacks specifics, deliberately. Yet ignorant defense attorneys believe in their expert’s findings that the last key used was the insured’s. Even though implied, key of the proper type does not mean the insured’s key. The forensic locksmith gives the impression that because of the title, a scientific process was employed to reach this conclusion. If they truly used the scientific method, one would think they could be specific and tell us exactly which key was last used. If it was the first or second insured’s key, and since most keys are double sided and can be inserted into the ignition lock either way, they should be able to tell us what side of that specific key was last used. Was the vehicle last driven with a thief’s key? How about in the case of a used car in which the buyer only got one key at the time of purchase, a key not accounted for?

We read the forensic locksmith reports as to the methodology employed. Rarely, are the ignition locks removed, disassembled, and the wafers (tumblers) examined under a microscope any more for tool marks and comparison to all known supplied keys. Now, it is just inserting a lighted magnified scope into the key way of the ignition, commonly injecting penetrating oil and inserting a key, without the realization that doing such is giving an abrasive motion to the soft wafers. Even though half the job and half the things that could be observed in a microscopic analysis the conclusion is the same that the vehicle was last driven with a key of the proper type. These forensic locksmiths no better than just the use of a scope, because they have applied microscopic analysis to other ignitions. The difference though is a scope examination takes minutes and a microscopic examination takes hours. This means only some insureds are afforded a microscopic examination!

The other issues with a scope examination is that the ignition lock is not kept for safe keeping so more damage to the lock does not happen such as further key insertions. The expert is testifying in court as to marks he did or did not see, yet there is not any evidence for peer review or any micro photographs. The courts have let these guys testify on evidence they do not have and yes, it is exculpatory, because they are accusing the insured of misrepresentation with their reports!

Some do not like the truth put in their face. Tough!

The key of the proper type conclusion is a sham and I have just laid out about 10% of the information I have on this subject. There are one of two reasons for a bogus forensic report that I will address here and there are more. The argument is that the forensic locksmith report is never used to deny a claim. Although on the surface, this may be true. The forensic locksmith report may be used as a catalyst in which the investigator has been given the green light to do a witch hunt for a financial motive and will manufacturer a case accordingly. Or the forensic locksmith report is used to corroborate the findings of the investigator that the insured is submitting a fraudulent theft claim. Either way, the forensic locksmith serves as the defense or prosecution star witness which creates the investigation house of cards. Remove the expert and there is no determination if the vehicle was stolen or not and the investigation no matter how legitimate and how good it was comes crashing down.

Auto theft claims all have fraud in them. The only question is what entity is committing fraud? The insured or the insurance company with the use of fraud in their fraud investigation.

This article may not come off as such, but I am completely objective and look at these situations in a neutral light. I do know for a fact, key of the proper type is not specific as it is used in court as the smoking gun. I have hundreds of reports from forensic locksmiths that will be revisited by them in trial. The question then will be as it relates to their methodology and conclusions: Which time did you lie?

Commonly, I am underestimated as being only a car guy. I have worked with and trained with SIUs for two decades. There is nothing I don’t know about the auto theft investigation process. I commonly demonstrate this without carriers knowing the were had when I prep my clients for EUOs. Even though they have all the smoking gun evidence against the insured at the time of the EUO, my clients are very well scripted and the carrier has no other way to go, but pay the claim. This is not being narcissistic, because I am actually amazed at what I know, which is transferred to an insured at their EUO. In fact, I am somewhat humbled and it is those at our company that say “What else did you expect?”

rob-painterRob Painter, ASE,CFEI,CVFI –  Vehicle Fire Instructor/Auto Theft Claims Master/Senior Forensic Analyst. Email: Copyright 2014 Rob Painter. All rights expressed and reserved.Copyright 2014 Rob Painter. All rights expressed and reserved.


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