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

May 21, 1999 - Marquis Hotel - Palm Springs


President Randy Ballin called the meeting to order, introduced the Board Members and welcomed all in attendance.  Special recognition and thanks to Farmers Insurance who sponsored the meeting and contributed a large number of door prizes.

The first speaker was Stephanie Wheaton, Sr. Special Investigator for DMV who made a repeat performance at our Palm Springs meeting again this year.  Her presentation is a favorite of all of those who attended and her pass out material, was organized in a comprehensive booklet.  For those of you who did not attend and would like to get a copy of her pass out material call her at (310) 998-5761 and she will see that you get one.

The information she disseminated to the members varied from how to read DMV documents and print outs to recognizing counterfeit documents.  Many helpful hints were given to the members on How to Utilize the Tools Available Thru DMV.

Randy Ballin informed us of WSATI member Ted Saraf's unfortunate accident while riding his motorcycle on the 15 freeway.  Ted escaped serious injury and is recuperat- ing at home.  Those of you that know Ted, who is now the Law Enforcement liaison person for LoJack, give him a call and wish him a speedy recovery.

Dave Dempsey  spoke of the upcoming WSATI seminar in Monterey sponsored by the Central  Chapter.  It seems that they are trying to get some "up front" money to help with the expenses and are selling raffle tickets for $5.00 each for such prizes as a trip to Hawaii and to Baja, California. 

Randy Ballin spoke again of the ongoing program of identifying previously "Blue Tagged" vehicles by means of a sticker or tag visible by police officers from outside the vehicle.  The latest out of Sacramento is that a tag or sticker will be affixed to the dashboard of the vehicle.  Randy hopes that this program will become implemented by years end.  He acknowledged the support that WSATI gave this program for it's success. 

John Moore of the Southern California Auto Club announced that they are starting to take a more aggressive approach towards auto theft and are looking for an investigator to work both Los Angeles and Orange County.  Anyone interested contact either John Moore or Carol VanNatter at the Auto Club. 

Randy Ballin announced that a new telephone number for the CHP Vehicle Theft Investigation Unit in Los Angeles (Southern Division) is now (323) 644-9550.  The old number will work for a few more months but then will be dropped.  So make a note of the new number in your telephone books. 

A special WSATI recognition was given to a favorite WSATI member who recently retired from 40 years of service with Hertz Rent-A-Car. Joan Pitts was honored with a presentation from Dan Ryan (FBI Retired) and from Randy Ballin, on behalf of WSATI.  Everyone wishes Joanie a good retirement and we hope to continue to see her at our various meetings and functions.  We will miss you Joanie!

Also honored for his "many-many" years of WSATI membership was Retired LAPD Bad/Cat - Bill (B.J.) Johnson.  B.J. has been an active supporter of WSATI for many years and did not have far to travel for this meeting, as he now lives in the Palm Springs area.  B.J. received a plaque from WSATI for his past contributions to this organization. 

Members were told of the availability of the latest WSATI Roster, which was assembled with the current addresses and telephone numbers of those who attended the annual conference in San Diego last year.  Contact Carol VanNatter at the Auto Club (714) 885-1608, or email her at Cvannatter@wsati.org.  She will have copies at the next meeting as well. 

Gary Labb has a web site now for WSATI communications.  All of you with that capability can view it at http://www.wsati.org.  The WSATI newsletter will appear on this site along with other items of interest.  All entries will be audited to protect any confidential material from those not entitled to it. 

Pasadena  P.D., is currently working along with Inland C.H.P. on a ring that is stealing 1998/99 trucks in Mexico and bringing them into California where they are re-registering  them and selling them to people as far away as Hawaii and Kansas. The target vehicles are Ford F-150's, Dodge Durango's and Jeep Cherokee's.  Anyone with any similar cases are encouraged to call Pasadena P.D. or Inland Division of C.H.P. 

The Bent Screwdriver Award went to Randy Ballin for forgetting the opening flag salute and pledge for the meeting.  B.J. felt sorry for him and led a late salute during the nomination process.  It didn't help though as Randy still got it. 

Randy also reminded us that the July WSATI meeting will be held on July 15th at 10:00 am at the Harbor House Restaurant located at 4211 Admiralty Way in Marina Del Rey. 

CLICK HERE TO SEE PICTURES FROM THIS MEETING


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