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

September 16, 1999 - Town and Country Hotel - San Diego


President Randy Ballin called the meeting to order and asked long time WSATI member and friend, Emile Massen, to lead the flag salute.  It was good to see Emile again.

The first speaker of the day was Richard Knapp of the law firm of Haight, Brown & Bonesteel (714/754-1100), who provided us with information regarding insurance fraud and the sharing of that information between the insurance industry and law enforcement.  Richard also provided us with handout material and explained the benefits of shared information and why you should keep these investigations separate.  Different insurance code sections were included in the handout, which explained the rules governing insurance and the release of information to authorized governmental agencies and other insurance companies.  A sample letter was attached to the handout to be used for requests for information included in the insurance company files. 

The next speaker was Jose Gutierrez of the California Highway Patrol Mexican Liaison Unit in San Diego.  He showed a video and passed out material regarding Mexican license plates.  He encouraged those in attendance to always run the VIN through the Stolen Vehicle System (SVS) on a Mexican registered vehicle.  He told us that many U.S. stolen vehicles are actually recovered with Mexican fraudulent documents.  Jose's telephone number is 858/637-7158.  Anyone with any questions is asked to call him at any time.  He can obtain information regarding Mexican license plates, hopefully, within three to four hours. 

Ted Saraf of LOJACK told us of an investigation being conducted by TRAP where cars are being stolen statewide from rental car companies and new car lots.  These vehicles are being containerized and shipped out of the country.  Several vehicles were stolen in Northern California and brought to the Port in L.A. for shipment out of the country.  The vehicles targeted are expensive luxury cars and SUVs.  Fictitious credit cards are being utilized to rent the vehicles and all of the information on the rental contract is false.  Some vehicles are also being insured and after the reported “theft,” claims are made through various insurance companies.  So far, approximately $1,700,000 worth of vehicles have been traced to this group.  Thirty-one vehicles have been shipped to Korea with four having been recovered so far and hopefully more to follow.  Anyone with any information regarding this investigation is encouraged to call Investigator Bob Binder of TRAP at 310/952-7822. 

After lunch, Diana Rummel of the Crime Prevention Program spoke regarding the recovery of half a million dollars worth of stolen equipment recovered last week alone.  She mentioned that decals that had been placed on these various pieces of equipment aided in their identification and recovery. 

Keith Jackson of LAPD BAD/CATS spoke next regarding the increase of boat thefts in the Southern California area.  It seems that the crooks are doing an excellent job on switching the “HIN” numbers on the various watercraft and the VINs on the trailers.  Apparently the thieves are aware of the lack of knowledge on the part of DMV.  For information regarding their scam, contact Keith directly.  Keith has gone to DMV in Sacramento and given them a presentation explaining the problems found.  Several recovered boats and trailers had been sold to innocent third party purchasers through ads in the Recycler and Photo Buy publications.  A pager number is utilized by the seller who meets the buyer at a street corner in the Sun Valley area.  Anyone with any similar thefts is urged to Keith at 213/485-2507. 

Thanks were given to the Southern California Gas Company and RATT for co-sponsoring this month's meeting and providing the raffle prizes.  Dave Dempsey, representing NICB, also provided additional prizes in an attempt to make amends for his oversight at the last meeting.  You are right, Dave, “Better late than never,” but you still get the Bent Screwdriver Award! 

The gifts that are provided by our various sponsors are what help raise the money that is used to subsidize the lunches during our meetings.  These donations are greatly appreciated. 

The new WSATI website is now up and running according to our Webmaster and WSATI Vice President Gary Labb, so you can quit accessing it through his personal home page address and now bring it up by simply typing in: http://www.wsati.org/.

Carol VanNatter has updated the WSATI roster.  The current list is available on a floppy disk, via email or for those without e-mail, it will be provided to you by mail.  Carol's e-mail address is cvannatter@wsati.org.  If you contact her, she will gladly download it to your computer if you have the Windows 97 Excel program.  If you need a hard copy or a floppy disk, she can be reached at 714-885-1608.

The Central Chapter of WSATI is hosting the 28th Annual Training Seminar, November 7th – 9th, 1999 at the Monterey Beach Hotel, 2600 Sand Dunes Drive, Monterey, CA 93940  (800) 242-8627.  For information on the conference, contact P.J. Odonnell, Fresno PD (559) 498-1198 / Chris Freeman, CHP Central (661) 395-2574. 

Our understanding is the host hotel, the Monterey Beach Hotel, is completely booked.  WSATI Central Chapter is suggesting to book at the overflow hotel, the Carmel Mission Inn. 

There were no Bent Screwdriver Award nominations for this meeting, so be thinking of a good one for our next meeting.

The next WSATI meeting will be held on Thursday, November 18, 1999 at 1000 a.m. at Luminaria's Restaurant, located at 3500 Ramona Boulevard, Monterey Park.  There will be the nomination and election of the year 2000 Board members.  Anyone who would like to become a Board member or knows of someone who would like to, is encouraged to attend.

CLICK HERE TO SEE PICTURES FROM THIS MEETING


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