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

July 20, 2006 - The Oceanside Elks Lodge - Oceanside


2006 WSATI Southern Chapter President Steve Torres (DMV Investigations [retired]) welcomed everyone to the Oceanside Elks Lodge, WSATI's newest venue. 

Steve then requested that Sergeant-at-Arms John Bartolone (DMV Investigations) lead the members in the pledge of allegiance.

Steve then introduced the other 2006 Southern Chapter Officers who were in attendance:

Bud Hood, Vice President, OCSD / OCATT
Jim Williams, Treasurer, Long Beach Police / TRAP
John Bartolone, Sergeant-At-Arms, DMV Investigations
Richard O. Knapp, Legal Counsel, Knapp Law Firm, LLP

Steve then introduced the Southern Chapter Past Presidents in attendance: Skip Davidson (1991), Dennis Frias (1997), Gary Labb (2000), and Bill Lovold (2001).

Steve then requested that those in attendance do a self introduction of their names and which agencies they represented.  It was great to see the great turnout of people who traveled in from Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside, and San Diego Counties.  It was good to see some new faces such as Detective Matt Morales of the Albuquerque (yes, New Mexico) Police Auto Theft Unit and some familiar (but not recently seen) faces like former Border Division Auto Theft ISU Lieutenant Lisa Wrobel who is now the Captain in charge of San Diego County's RATT program.  And we had the former San Diego Police Department Auto Theft partners, Jerry Park and Frank Steffen, take time out of their retirement day to come to the meeting.

Steve then spoke briefly about the upcoming WSATI Annual Training Seminar being hosted by the Northern Chapter of WSATI on October 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, 2006.

Steve also spoke about the upcoming IAATI Training Seminar that will be held in Winnipeg, Canada on August 6th-11th, 2006.

Steve said that the WSATI Southern Chapter will be hosting the 2007 WSATI Annual Training Seminar. Steve said the Seminar would be in San Diego.  He then introduced Vice President Bud Hood, who will be the chairperson for the Seminar.  Bud said that he was going to start having bi-monthly meetings to put together the 2007 WSATI Annual Training Seminar and was seeking committee members to assist with putting together the Seminar.  He requested that anyone having an interest, please contact him by email at  or 714 634-1385.  For further information on the seminar go to http://www.wsati.org/2007conference.html.

Steve thanked Past President and Webmaster Gary Labb for maintaining the wsati.org website and suggested that attendees go to the website for up to the date information on events, classes, and links to investigative resources.

Steve then introduced CHP FEAR Sergeant Dennis Frias who spoke about the 2005 Orange County Auto Theft Advisory Committee Recovery Officer of the Year Awards Brunch that took place on June 13, 2006.  Dennis said the event was very successful.  Dennis also explained that ATAC is a subcommittee of the WSATI Southern Chapter.  Dennis said that Randy McWilliams of the Placentia Police Department was the Orange County Recovery Officer of the Year.  Dennis said that AAA's West Ways Magazine would be doing an article on the Orange County ATAC Awards.

Steve then introduced CHP Border Division ISU Lieutenant John Marinez who spoke about the San Diego County Auto Theft Advisory Committee Recovery Officer of the Year Awards Brunch that took place on June 2, 2006.  John said the event was also very successful.  He said that he would attempt to have the Orange County and San Diego County Awards Brunches take place in the first quarter of 2007.

Steve then introduced the guest speaker, Mike Bender, owner of Bender Enterprises.  Mike explained his background as a prior law enforcement officer and NICB Agent.  Mike then began his presentation on how vehicle thieves are stealing vehicles by electronically bypassing vehicle anti-theft systems.  Mike's Power Point presentation was quite complete.  Mike can be reached by email at  or (888) 724-2597

At the conclusion of Mike's presentation, Steve asked if anyone had any cases they wished to discuss.

Forrest Folck, Motor Vehicle Forensic Service, brought up a question that piggy-backed on Mike's presentation and Bill Lovold had a similar situation.

Long Beach Police / TRAP Sergeant Jim Williams spoke about a recent VIN switching operation that was investigated by TRAP and OCATT personnel.  Numerous arrests were made and vehicles recovered. 

Earl Gunnerson, Executive Director of the Crime Prevention Program of Southern California, spoke about recent updated statistics available regarding 2005 construction equipment theft.  If you want a copy of the statistics, contact Earl or Jane at  or (562) 860-9006 or it can be found on their website.

Steve then had Bud Hood preside over the raffle.  There were a lot of winners.  As Bud explained earlier, the proceeds from the raffle go to support the WSATI Southern Chapter.  The "grand prize" ticket for the 145 piece tool set went to former San Diego Police Auto Theft Detective Jerry Park

Once the raffle was over, those in attendance enjoyed a "Mexican buffet" style lunch and the chance to talk to their peers at their tables.

Steve then adjourned the meeting.

After the meeting, people interested in helping put together the 2007 WSATI Training Seminar got together to discuss committees and what was needed.  Attending the meeting were Bud Hood, Kimberly Baker, Ira Beaty, Earl Gunnerson, John Bartolone, Steve Torres, Skip Davidson, Dennis Frias, and Gary Labb.  We are seeking more people to be involved in all aspects of the Seminar.  Some of the committees are Training and Educational Committee; Publicity, Marketing, and Public Relations Committee; Finance Committee; Exhibits Committee; Registration Committee; and Local Entertainment, Amusement, Sightseeing, and Companion Program Committee.  If someone wants to put together a golf tournament in conjunction with the Seminar, we would like to have you involved.  All these committees can use additional people.  If you have an interest, please contact Bud.  The next scheduled Seminar planning meeting will be on Thursday, August 17, 2006.

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