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

November 18, 1999 - Luminaria's Restaurant - Monterey Park


President Randy Ballin called the meeting to order and asked one of the "senior" members in attendance, K.B. Wright (CHP - Retired), to lead the flag salute.

The first business of the meeting was the election of the Southern Chapter WSATI Board Members for the year 2000.  Gary Labb was elected President; Bill Lovold, Vice President; Lou Koven, Secretary; Dave Randolph, Treasurer; and Phil Macklin, Sergeant-at-Arms.

Randy Ballin then spoke of the next seminar to be hosted by the Southern Chapter in the year 2001.  The past several seminars have been held in the San Diego area and have been very successful.  Hoping to continue with that success, but trying to give the San Diego area members a chance to get out of town, we are looking at the Palm Springs/Palm Desert area as our 2001 site. Anyone with any recommendations as to hotels that can accommodate a large group such as we had in San Diego is encouraged to contact the Board or Bill Lovold (who will be the President at that time).  We will also be looking into both interesting and meaningful topics for our training. Anyone with pertinent input, please contact the Board.  "POST" certification is also being sought for those who attend.  More later on this issue.

Randy Ballin updated us again as to the progress of the replacement VIN issue, indicating that due to a cost factor, the method of identification will probably be a windshield sticker.  This will alert both the patrol officers and traffic enforcement personnel of the presence of a "blue tag" or replacement VIN plate attached to the vehicle's door post.  Hopefully this will eliminate the needless impounding of vehicles missing a dashboard public VIN plate.  Bids are currently being obtained out of Saco for these windshield stickers, and we expect to see them soon.

Another topic addressed by Randy Ballin was the possibility of implementing annual dues for WSATI.  Although this has never been done before, the higher costs encount- ed for our meetings have forced us to consider this.  Anyone with any input regarding this matter is also encouraged to contact the Board.

Randy Ballin also spoke of the upcoming L.A. Auto Show and the annual "Law Enforcement Day" sponsored by both Toyota and NICB.  Dennis Lessiak (NICB) is still discussing this event with both Toyota and the L.A. Convention Center as certain issues such as lighting and catering need to be worked out.  The extra hours that will be needed to accommodate us are an added expense and are a concern of the company who puts on the Auto Show.  Dennis, however, assures us that the event will go on as usual.  You can contact Dennis Lessiak after December 13 to put your name on the list.  Anyone in law enforcement with any specific requests of vehicle manufacturers regarding their vehicles should also make them known to Dennis in writing at NICB.

It was announced that our own Joan Pitts has been elected President of the Western Chapter of IAATI. Carol VanNatter (AAA) was elected Secretary / Treasurer and will accompany Joanie on the Board.  Congratulations to them both!

John Moore of the Automobile Club of Southern California (AAA) announced that Bill Lovold has been hired by his company and will be assigned to the Special Investi- gations Unit.  Anyone needing assistance with auto theft cases involving AAA is asked to call Bill at (714) 885-1606.

The featured speaker of the meeting, Jim Harris, could not attend because of a late breaking case.  Jim was to speak on cargo theft trends and of the Western States Cargo Theft Association.

However, Barnet Fagel of Auto Security Consultants who was attending the meeting, agreed to fill in for Jim and speak regarding a recent consulting project with Daimler - Chrysler in Michigan that he and his partner just finished.  They tested and examined several vehicles manufactured by Daimler-Chrysler and their vehicle immobilizers.

Barnet was impressed with the new Jeep Grand Cherokee and its anti-theft system.  Barnet's presentation elicited many questions from the audience and was most informative.  Thanks to Barnet for filling in on such short notice.

Diana Rummel of the Crime Prevention Program of Southern California and Susan St. Amond, the current President of the C.P.P. Board of Directors, announced the winners of the 4th Annual "Hooter's Hummer Award."  This is the only award presented on behalf of the construction industry to a law enforcement agency or individual in Southern California.  It represents the closer working relationship between these two groups, saluting outstanding efforts, which contributed to the betterment of all concerned.  Named after the late California Highway Patrol Investigator John D Hootman of the Inland Division, it honors the memory of an officer who gave so much time, effort, enthusiasm and innovation towards helping the construction industry prevent and resolve equipment crimes.

This year's award was a tie between Steve Kolb of the LAPD BAD/CATS and Dale Nancarrow of La Verne PD assigned to TRAP.  Steve retired a few months ago, so Keith Jackson of BAD/CATS accepted for him and gave a synopsis of the case which involved a rather complicated but thorough investigation.

The other winner, Dale Nancarrow, was present and accepted his half of the award. He is assigned to the North TRAP team in Antelope Valley.  He related his case and how information was developed initially by patrol deputies responding to a domestic dis- pute call.  Dale and his partner recovered many pieces of construction equipment including Melroe Bobcats, log splitters and ARC welders at suspects' house.  Also, as a result of the training provided by Dale and his partner, another investigation was initated by patrol deputies who called Dale to a different residence in Antelope Valley.

During this second investigation, a CAL-Trans employee was implicated, and a stolen trailer and skip loader were recovered along with other property stolen from the state.  Both of Dale's cases resulted in the recovery of almost $200,000 worth of stolen equipment.

During case discussion, Detective Paul Makarenko of LAPD BAD/CATS discussed a case that he and his partner, Jamie Samaniego, investigated.  The case involved a receiver of stolen Porsche, Honda, and Acura parts.  The suspect owns several wrecking yards in the San Fernando Valley and had stolen parts stored in other yards and storage locations.  Through the service of several multi-location search warrants, many stolen parts including engines, sheet metal parts, and interiors were found.  A painstakingly thorough investigation was then begun, and as a result, 33 separate victims were identified.  The value of the vehicles stolen in this case was over a million dollars.  Twenty-three counts have been filed against the suspect, and he is currently awaiting his day in court.  Several of his cohorts are also in custody or are currently being sought.  Good job, Paul, Sam, and the rest of the BAD/CATS.

Tom Pusl of Burbank PD spoke of the recurring problem of the theft of Harley Davidson motorcycles in their city, particularly when the "Love Ride" comes to town.  He had eight Harleys stolen in Burbank last year.  The average price of these motorcycles is approximately $23,000.  One was valued at $60,000.  For further confidential information regarding an ongoing investigation, contact Tom.

President Ballin announced the 2000 WSATI Seminar dates and location.  The Northern Chapter will be hosting, and it will be held on October 2, 3, and 4 at Caesar's Tahoe, located in South Lake Tahoe.  Mark your calendars.

The Bent Screwdriver Award was awarded to our Secretary, Bill Lovold, because he failed to turn on the tape recorder at the exact moment the President began the meeting to memorialize his every word.

The next meeting will be held on January 20, 2000 at the Holiday Inn, 25205 La Paz Road, Laguna Hills.  It is located just of the 5 Freeway adjacent to La Paz Road.  See you there at 9:30 a.m. for coffee.  The meeting will begin at 1000 a.m. with the installation of the new Board Members.

CLICK HERE TO SEE PICTURES FROM THIS MEETING


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