Source: Auto Theft Claim SIU Investigation, EUO Consultant. Court Qualified Auto Theft/Forensic Expert Witness, Vehicle Fire Origin and Cause Instructor.
Serving The US.
The Faceless Experts That Examines a Vehicle to Determine How It Was Last Driven
What is wrong with a Certified Forensic Locksmith opining as to if the vehicle was stolen or not?
Most from my court experience opposing them tells me one of two things. They are either the dumbest experts out there or they are flat out dishonest when they acuse the insured of having the last key used.
It is normal to see a forensic locksmith report to state the key and lock had average wear consistent with the age of the vehicle. Unfortunately, very common.
The question then is; if they are going to stretch the truth here, what else in the report is misinformation?
This statement is a great example of the lack of validity these reports have.
First of all, usage affects the wear, not the age of the vehicle.
Define average as it relates to wear. Now, this is supposed to be a factual proven statement. There is no way to factually determine average wear. However, if such a statement is made about wear, then the lock should be removed and disassembled. The wafer (tumbler) lands (where the key rides when inserted in the lock) should be measured with a micrometer. Those measurements should be compared to new wafers. The same measuring applies to the keys from old to new.
Without doing this the statement is a scam into making one believe they are the forensic experts they portray themselves as.
Forensic Locksmith Reports on a Reported Stolen Vehicle
Depending on the firm, most of these reports are pre-made before they examine the vehicle with a pre-determined conclusion. The major differences are the insured information, the insurance company, the type of vehicle and condition.
Methodology depends on what they feel like examining that day. There is rarely standard replicatable Protocol.
On one vehicle, they will check for excessive wear in the ignition lock by inserting the key and putting the lock in the run position. The examiner will pull on the key and see if it can be removed in that position. In this case, a key is not needed to rotate the lock. Yet, in the the next exam, no such test.
Since many of these firms are to cheap to purchase key programmers that will tell the examiner as to how many keys are programmed for the vehicle. Some vehicles can have 8 keys programmed for them.
The key programmer will also let one know if the transponder is functioning correctly or if there is a problem.
The cheap way these guys use for a test is to block the signal from the chip in the key, by placing foil over the head of the key. If the engine does not start with foil on t he key, the transponder anti theft system in their minds appears to be functioning. They regard this as an important test that is used for them in developing their conclusion.
Hmm… I wonder where they learned that? These were the parameters set by Ford in the Greines v Ford case in Los Angeles. My case! Its on the web.
If this test is so important and they can’t perform it on vehicles suffering from fire damage, then explain to me how a burned vehicle can have the same exact conclusion as an unburned vehicle? In other words, the didn’t or couldn’t perform the ignition wear test, or check the transponder system with foil, yet burned or not, they have the same exact conclusion.
Years ago these same firms removed the ignition lock, disassembled the lock and examined the components under a microscope and took microscopic photos. No longer. Why bother? The jury doesn’t know the difference anyway.
Now, the ignition lock is almost never removed, no photos taken of the internal components of the lock, and we are supposed to take their word on what they purportedly observed inside the ignition lock.
See, they have gotten away with this non-sense because the jury was only looking at one exhibit for that specific vehicle, the report.
Interestingly, I have a better idea. What if the jury could see 5 or 10 reports from the same firm to compare to the report in question? I believe this would be devastating to the expert!
Trust me, you have not seen anything yet when conjecture is used as fact and I will be supplying that shortly.