WESTERN STATES AUTO THEFT
INVESTIGATORS ASSOCIATION
SOUTHERN CHAPTER
TRAINING MEETING / LUNCHEON

January 21, 1999 - Holiday Inn - Laguna Hills

Outgoing President Dave Dempsey called the meeting to order and turned over the reigns to our newly elected President Randy Ballin.  The new board members were introduced and President Ballin presented Dave with a plaque for his outstanding service to the organization during 1998.

President Ballin introduced our first speaker, Mike Boruff (916/227-3731), who is the Supervisor for the DOJ Stolen Vehicle Unit in Sacramento.  Mike spoke of the plans regarding updating the Stolen Vehicle System for the year 2000.  He said that they monitor every entry that goes into the system and that 1200 are made every day.  They work 7 days a week and have a very small crew for such an important job.

Mike spoke of their office being contacted by LAPD Narcotics Division who asked if DOJ could do anything about the vehicles that they seize under the forfeiture process being manipulated through DMV by the crooks.  Apparently after the initial impounding of the vehicles they only stay in the system for approximately 60 days and then drop out of the computer as "impounded".  Since the vehicles are remaining in police custody for anywhere from 6 months to a year, there is nothing in place to notify DMV of this and therefore the crooks from whom the vehicle was seized are doing different things with it in an attempt to circumvent the system.  They are selling it on paper, changing the registration and even reporting it stolen.  To keep this from happening, DOJ has drafted new legislation that will place a caution code "Z" on all vehicles impounded or seized pending forfeiture.  It will remain for the current year plus 4 years.  If you use this caution code, you must cancel the entry when the vehicle is released.

Mike also spoke regarding DMV changing its policy on the re-issuance of substitute license plates.  If a license plate is stolen, a copy of the police report must accompany the application for a substitute license plate.  A loophole has already been detected in this well-meaning policy.  However, if the person reporting that the license plate is merely "Lost", lost plates are not covered under this new policy, and therefore a police report is not required. (See the Accompanying Memo).  Also it is not clear what constitutes a police report.  An actual report or a memo bearing a report number?  Some agencies are balking at giving out reports. 

The CHP will be required to verify the VIN number of any vehicle that has been found to have a history through DMV of prior issuance of a copy, duplication or substitution of a certificate of title or license plate. 

If you have any questions regarding this, you are encouraged to direct your questions to the DMV Law Enforcement Liaison Unit, Anita Lopez at (916) 657-7732.

A new method of solving the problem of stops that have been placed on missing VIN's through DMV is currently being discussed.  At the present time, once a DOJ restraint is placed on a VIN that has been stolen from a recovered vehicle, DMV will not re-register the vehicle.  A committee has been formed to discuss this issue.  Instead of the current "VIN-Plate Missing" appearing on DMV printouts, a new terminology "VIN-Plate Part Missing" is being considered.

Due to the growing trend in air-bag thefts, NICB has requested assistance from the Department of Justice.  The replacement costs of air-bags vary from between $1000 and $3000.  Stolen air-bags are being sold through the black market for approximately $100/$150 each.  Mike checked the stolen vehicle system's records and found that there are only seven stolen air-bags currently listed in that system.  Detectives were encouraged to cross-reference VIN numbers to air-bag numbers through NICB in their investigations and enter those stolen from recovered vehicles.  When checking chop shops you should be alert for stolen air-bags and cross-reference those numbers through NICB.

Representatives of "Zeus" addressed the meeting and demonstrated their new product.  Both Steve Kenny and Jim Labelle (760) 510-0008 spoke of their new anti-theft device which operates off of radio transmission signals activated by a small transmitter attached to your key ring.  The device itself is installed under the hood of your car interrupting the starter cable.  This device is 100% passive and appears to be relatively easy to install.  They hope to market it for under $200.

Craig Biehl of Epson America Inc spoke to those in attendance and demonstrated his companies' Photo P.C. Digital Camera.  He said that his company has perfected an anti-tampering system, which will guarantee the integrity of a digital image taken at the point of capture in a standardized file format. Craig spoke of the gap in time in which the image can be altered after it's initial taking and prior to it's being downloaded into a computer and the security measure is applied to the image.
Epson has developed an image verification system that safe guards against the alteration of the image within the camera itself.  Photos were taken of those in attendance and displayed onto a screen for all to see.  That camera is ATS enabled and is compatible with all Windows 95 including windows NT.  The camera Craig demonstrated sells for approximately $500 retail.  A drawing was held for a free camera and Gary Labb won it.  It was probably because we all know Gary would be the one most likely to use this camera. 

After the luncheon break, the afternoon session began with a series of announcements. 

Gil Hetrick, LAPD BAD-CATS will be retiring after 30 years of service.  His retirement dinner will be held at the LA Police Academy on March 19 at 6:00/PM.  Tickets can be purchased in advance by calling BAD-CATS at (213) 485-2507.

Randy Ballin is attempting to legally established WSATI as a non-profit organization and has begun discussions with the other Chapters to join in and share in this endeavor.

Carol Van Natter will be assisting in the preparation of a useable WSATI membership telephone directory and has volunteered the AAA Graphic Arts Department.  Carol comes through again.

Dave Stuflick, RAID-San Diego, spoke of Assembly Bill #183 which has been introduced by Assembly Member Washington.  This bill will extend the funding of the various statewide Auto Theft Task Forces until the year 2005.  A copy of this bill is attached.

LoJack will be in the Sacramento and San Francisco Bay areas in 1999.

Randy Ballin acknowledged Joan Pitts for her past service and participation in WSATI.  Joanie will be retiring from Hertz Corporation next month after 40 years of dedicated service.  (See attached flyer regarding her retirement party to be held March 20, 1999).  We know that although she is retiring from Hertz she will still be actively involved in WSATI and IAATI for many years to come.  We look forward to paying a special tribute to Joanie at the May Meeting in Palm Springs.

Recognition was given by WSATI Southern Chapter to those who so graciously gave their time and efforts to make our 1998 WSATI Conference in San Diego so successful.  A special thanks go out to: all the Southern Chapter Officers, and all the people who really pitched in; Terry Cramer, Mary Ann Finney, Dennis Frias, Lee Martin, Joan Pitts, Diana Rummel, Pat Sheets, Mark Stowell, Dave Stuflick, Carol Van Natter and Ed Verduzco.

The 1999 WSATI Conference will be hosted by the Central Chapter this year and will be held in Monterey on November 8th through 10th.  The host hotel is the Monterey Beach Hotel in Monterey.    Reservations are limited in that hotel and those planning to attend are encouraged to call as soon as possible for reservations at (800)242-8627.  Room rates vary from $79.00 to $109.00.  Other rooms are available in nearby hotels in the area as well.  (See attached flyer)

Dave Dempsey spoke regarding NICB Video Spectral Comparator VSC-1 that examines documents and can detect alterations.  The machine is currently located back East and if documents are provided for analysis they can be returned with the results within one week.

Joan Pitts was nominated for the Bent Screwdriver Award for misspelling Sergeant of Arms on newly elected Dave Randolph's badge.  She blamed the engraver.  Lou Koven was nominated for his failure to bring the "Four" plaques, he so graciously had volunteered to engrave, with the past recipients names.  So now, Lou will be able to engrave his own name as he was unanimously selected to receive the prestigious award. 


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