Car Theft Solved by Private Investigators

From time to time, a private investigator might be asked to track down a missing car. A car can be stolen from a public place, private residence, or a car rental agency.

Types of Car Thefts:

During economically challenged times, car thefts increase. Some people try to steal cars from rental agencies by using fake IDs to rent cars, and then simply never return them. Some steal cars for their own use, whether for regular daily use or for transporting contraband and later abandonment. Some turn the stolen vehicles over to chop shops, where the cars will be used for parts. Some just want a car to take on a race or joyride, and will abandon the car after using it for a period of time.

Some will sell a stolen car to an unsuspecting person, who has no idea that he or she just purchased a stolen vehicle. Sometimes, the owner sold the car in good faith to a person who passed a bad cheque. In other cases, a couple may have surrendered their second car to a re-leasing company to cut down on expenses; however, the car may have been leased to a “customer” who disappeared. Thefts may be for convenience – the thief may have some stolen goods to transport.

No matter what the reason for the theft, it’s up to the private investigator to use his or her ingenuity to figure out what happened and track down the car. It’s always a good idea to file a police report first, but because the police might not be able to take the time to track down your vehicle, a good Private Investigator can come in handy.

How We Track Down the Car:

A private investigator will use tools such as phone calls, casual conversations, and interviews. A good Investigator knows how to word questions and statements to get the most cooperation. Most people are shocked if someone they know has stolen a vehicle, and they will want to cooperate. The trick is in putting all the pieces of the puzzle together and tracking down hard information that is admissible in a court case.

Investigators can use license plate scanners, GPS tracking that comes with certain cars, handheld devices, cameras mounted on cars, or interviews with anyone whose job requires driving around, such as delivery workers. PI Agencies in some countries might have memberships in professional organizations where information gathered from license plate scanners is stored in a database. Surveillance on public streets is generally legal and does not overstep privacy issues. One popular technique is keep a watchlist of all vehicles reported stolen by owners, and using the scanners to detect license plates of parked vehicles. Since thieves often switch license plates, it can take time.

The human element in the form of social media and community alerts can work wonders, too. Many people have assisted in recovering their own cars by posting pictures of their stolen cars on social media and asking people to share. It’s never a good idea for a friend to confront a car thief, but it can be really useful if they snap pictures or report sightings of the stolen vehicle without getting noticed by the perpetrator.

Clumsy planning on the part of the thief helps, too. Sometimes a thief will falsify an ID card to rent a car that they never return, but use a real address of someone they know. As we interview the person whose address was used, the person might recognize the description of the thief and give us clues as to where to find him or her. We can then conduct a surveillance and get videos of the perpetrator using the stolen car, which will be admissible in court. Once we have enough evidence to stand up in court, we can wait for the perpetrator to turn in for the night and immobilize the car with car boots before there is any attempt to make contact.

Over the years, Private Investigators form relationships with informants. Knowing how to befriend people who can supply information is golden. Cooperation from all sources is the most important key to solving crimes, and a good Private Investigator knows how to form those relationships.

Other sources of information, although not glamorous, are salvage yards, auto manufacturers, trash bins on public streets, and hidden cameras in public areas. We can also keep lists of vehicles with out-of-area registration tags on them, check on the vehicle registration for those tags, and track down the lienholder (lender) for the vehicle. That is public information and we can call the lender to see if the vehicle is stolen.

Another easy way to verify if a car is the one we’re looking for is to check the VIN number, which is often in plain sight on the driver’s side.

Repossession of the Car:

Once the car is located, it can be repossessed rather easily and the Private Investigator and client will agree upon the method in advance. Upon finding the car, it can be booted or disabled before the PI does one of three things depending on what the client wants: knocks on the suspect’s door and asks for the keys, notify the police, or notify the client. It is never a good idea for the client to contact the perpetrator, but the client could contact the police.

If the client is a business such as a rental car agency, the client may instruct the private investigator to repossess the vehicle. A team of two pis will drive to the location, boot the car, and explain to the perpetrator who they are and why they are there. They will cite to the violator the specific vehicle codes that were violated and the jail time or fines attached with such crimes. They will be firm but also very professional. Most perpetrators will hand over the keys without too much fuss once confronted. If not, a tow truck can be called to remove the vehicle. This should not be done without hard evidence and knowing the laws in your area.

How to Prevent Theft:

Most vehicles sold nowadays have key codes or tracking systems such as LoJack or Onstar. Some have microdots that tag individual parts of the car, so they can be identified if the car goes to a chop shop. However, even very sophisticated systems can be bypassed by professional thieves.

The best car theft prevention devices, such as ignition interlock and pedal locks, disable the vehicle so that it can’t be moved without the right key. If your car does not come with these devices, you can buy a self-setting immobilizer. Always lock your vehicle and park in the safest spots you can.

Unfortunately, car thefts are very common. Using reasonable security precautions and keeping a photograph and copies of vehicle registration information can help you in case of a theft. A good Private Investigator will work for your better interests in recovering the car.

Top 10 Common Car Problems

It is hard to make this kind of list since the things that go wrong on the car are endless. This is not written with pessimism, but as many drivers have experienced even on new cars a thing or two can go wrong.Not to mention the older ones, an old car is a like an aging man, the older he get’s the more grumpy he becomes.

Here’s a list with the top 10 car problems from our point of view. Not only are they problems of mechanical nature, they are usually problems that drive you nuts:

1. Flat tire most common car problem but the most easy to fix. Often happens at the least convenient time. Having the right equipment and knowledge to help yourself is crucial.

2. Dead battery: how many of us made that face of despair when we put the key into the ignition and… Nothing or a short click. Especially during winter months. An easy problem to fix, but best preventing it on time by changing the old battery.

3. Ignition problems: the car will crank but won’t start. The problem can be solved on your own in a couple of minutes or it can take days and a tone of money. The list of probable causes is pretty long.

4. Various leaks: oil leaks, coolant leaks, break fluid leaks etc. In most cases (if the leak is not severe) they don’t cause big problems while driving. The moment you see them, get it fixed, it only get’s worse over time.

5. Electric and electronics problems: these kind of problems manifest themselves as if the car is possessed by an evil ghost. Various glitches, signal lamps warning about nothing, endless diagnostics and car mechanics going out of their mind are just some of the symptoms.

6. Sensor problems: a car problem that has the most fancy name.These are the eyes of the ecu unit. Since exposed to dirt, moisture, cold, heat etc. Cause the most of the electronics problems.

7. Bad serpentine belt: it makes that squeaky noise that gives you a bad chill down the spine. Nothing serious, if the car is properly maintained you won’t hear of it. Otherwise, it can make a lot of problems.

8. Car bulb failure (headlights, taillights): when your vision from the car during night driving decreases it’s either time to check your eyesight or the signalization. The headlight bulbs are easy to spot when they burn out, the tail lights can go on not working for months (unless you have the proper dash warning). Make a check of the signalization from time to time.

9. Cracked windscreen: you get in a second, but you usually look at it for months. When the crack happens, fix it right away or else your putting yourself and the your passengers at risk.

10. Body scratches and minor dents: looks like a little acne on an otherwise beautiful face. You look at it and say: ” wow what a beautiful face, but look at the acne….”. Can be solved with a few tricks and perhaps minor body repair.

Learn this list and you will know what car problems you can have on the road or at home.

What Does an Automotive Service Manager Do?

The automotive service manager is the person that is responsible for the supervision of the service department for an auto dealer. They act as go-between for the customer, mechanic, and an auto dealer. The major part of their duties includes customer satisfaction and customer relations. They are ultimately the individual who is responsible for productivity and profitability of the service department. Part of this responsibility includes sales, and keeping all customer service records.

This individual is also in charge of supervising all elements of safety as they pertain to maintenance of customers’ autos. As part of their duty they supervise the complete mechanical process, assuring only the highest level quality service is provided. They are responsible for the inspection of every vehicle that has been repaired or worked on within the service department and are also responsible for selecting an individual who oversees this in their absence.

The automotive service manager must be an individual who is able to focus on several different things at the same time. This includes the supervision of all personnel, the service department, and hiring and supervising. They also must keep track of all service data files that documents any pertinent information retained to employees, including reviews and raises.

The service manager ensures the dealer at the service department obtains the goals of the dealership as they pertain to the budget. In many cases, they may be expected to create and monitor a marketing plan that involves the creation of current and recurring business. For many automotive dealers service, customers typically consist of individuals who have purchased cars in the dealer. You may also be required to generate this information from outside the current clientele.

New vehicles repairs are typically covered by warranties. It is the responsibility of the service department manager to understand the intricacies of all warranties and to inform the staff of this information. Service managers must also beware of any information obtained relative to recalls.

Typical service managers have a background in automotive repair and will most likely have worked for the dealer he is now employed by. Some dealerships hire from outside of their service staff if it does not create a conflict between employees. No matter where they have gotten their training, it is necessary that this individual has years of experience as a mechanic. Usually it is desired that this experience is on the brand of cars the dealer carries.

This position is typically a well-paid position and, in many cases, includes a respectable benefits package. In many instances this individual will receive a demo car and full medical and dental benefits. Being promoted for this position can be lucrative and rewarding for an experienced mechanic.

What Are the Top 5 Reasons For Car Theft?

In order to better understand how to protect your car from car theft, and in order to get a better idea of which cars will be stolen, it is important to understand the top five reasons that cars might be stolen. These are the five biggest reasons a person might steal your car.

Joyriding

Joyriding is something that is referred to sometimes as a prank, but it really does happen. This happens because a person sees a car and wants to drive around in it. They steal it with no other purpose other than to simply ride around in the car. These are cars that are stolen and usually recovered within a day or two in the same general area that they were stolen. Most of the cars that are stolen for joyrides are damaged, because the thief doesn’t care what happens to the car. Most of the time, cars that are stolen for joyriding are chosen because the owner has left the keys in the car, or has left the door switch in an unlocked position.

Transportation

The second reason that cars are stolen is simple – the thief needs to get from one place to another. They need to go somewhere, and have to have a car to do that. Most of the time, they leave the car wherever their destination was. Sometimes, the car is wrecked and often there are parts stolen from it, but the biggest reason to take the car in the first place was to simply get where they were going. Thieves choose these cars in the same way – they were left with the keys in the ignition, or in a way that is very easy to steal.

Other Crimes

Sometimes, a car is stolen so that other crimes can be committed. This happens when someone steals a car to get away from the scene of a crime that just happened, like a robbery. However it can also be done to get to a different crime, like a burglary or drug crime. Most of the time the stolen vehicle is abandoned when the crime is finished, but a lot of the time it is damaged or wrecked in the process. These cars are often stolen in places where there is a lot of crime.

Parts

Sometimes, a car is stolen for the parts. This happens when a car is hotwired and stolen, and the radio, or parts of the engine are taken out before the car is abandoned or found. Sometimes, the thieves have one or two main items in mind, and sometimes they strip whatever they can out of the car before someone finds it.

Commercial Theft

The last type of car theft is commercial theft. Unlike the cars that are stolen to strip the parts, these cars are stolen to be resold. Body shops will take in stolen cars, file off serial numbers and change the look of the car and then resell them. These are the cars that are in most high demand, and that is why they are stolen.