How do you prove that’s your A-T-V when you try to reclaim a stolen vehicle? Insurance scams, stolen airplanes, chop shops, lo-jack thefts – they’re all on the agenda as law-enforcement officials and insurance agents from Iowa and a dozen other Upper-Midwest states attend the annual conference of the International Auto Theft Investigators. A new target is costly construction equipment, backhoes and other big rigs. A Midwestern patrol trooper, Sergeant Al Theobald says they’re harder to identify than cars…and so it’s harder to prove they were stolen, if they are recovered. He says a lot of that equipment goes out of the country, stolen in the US and sent to Mexico or somewhere else, and you won’t get it back. Many new cars have an ignition key that includes a computer chip for better security, but Omaha police officer Bill Fell says they can’t overcome the problem of people who leave the keys in their car. He says people know how the technology works, and “the rubber needs to hit the road” as we use the systems, since anytime a car’s stolen he says we all end up paying for it. Tomorrow (Thursday), a presentation on storefront operations will feature Iowa officers from the D-C-I, Narcotics Enforcement Division, and Iowa State Patrol.
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