Stop Theft Course May Protect Your Vehicle this Summer

by Mike Miller July 21, 2014

I am not sure if you are aware of it, but July is the month where the most cars are stolen in the United States. When I was younger we used a Club or Gorilla Grip to deter thieves. Nowadays there are more sophisticated anti-theft devices. So what can you do not to lose thousands of dollars?

Did you know that your auto insurance doesn't cover theft unless you have purchased comprehensive coverage? If you have comprehensive and your car is stolen, you'll still have to pay your deductible. Insurance should pay to replace your vehicle at fair market value, or for repairs and towing if the vehicle is recovered. As reported in

Maybe the following will not only keep your car safe but your bank account fuller.

Four Steps to Keeping Your Car

  1. This is simple and total common-sense: remove your keys, roll up the windows, lock the doors and park in a well-lighted area.

  2. Use a visible or audible device warning that your car is protected. That could include a steering-wheel lock, VIN etching or an audible alarm that you set when you leave the vehicle.

  3. Use an immobilizing device that keeps thieves from starting the car. Those could include smart keys with a chip embedded, kill switches, fuse cut-offs and fuel-pump disablers.

  4. I cannot recommend this highly enough – you might want to consider purchasing a device that help track and recover a stolen car, which may include LoJack or onboard telematics systems such as OnStar. They give you your money back if your car gets stolen and it is not recovered.

I would also like to think that stop theft courses would keep thieves from ever entertaining the idea of stealing your vehicle, but that might be naive. What are your thoughts?

Protect Your Vehicle This Summer and Promote Anti- Theft Class

by Mike Miller July 16, 2014

Have you ever had your car stolen? Do you know anyone who has had their vehicle boosted? The odds are you have. Car theft, especially along the states and cities that border our good friend to the south – Mexico, is quite common.

I would like to make sure you are aware that we are currently in National Vehicle Theft Protection Month! As reported in

The International Association of Auto Theft Investigators (IAATI) and LoJack Corporation are partnering to promote the annual National Vehicle Theft Protection Month. Throughout July, the top month of the year for vehicle theft, IAATI and LoJack are partnering to educate vehicle owners and raise public awareness of the issues and criminal behaviors around auto theft.

For those of you unfamiliar with Lojack, it is a small monitoring device placed discretely inside your vehicle that monitors its location through a microchip.

The summer months of July and August are the top months of the year for vehicle theft, which continues to be a significant problem throughout the United States. Despite the common misconception that theft is often a result of teenage joyriders, auto theft cases often involve professional thieves using sophisticated technology and techniques.

During July and August – the top months for auto theft – vehicle owners must embrace their shared responsibility in protecting their vehicles. Here are a few tidbits of information about stolen vehicles:

  1. Many of today's car thieves are seasoned criminals whose main occupation is to make a profit from stealing vehicles.

  2. Professional car thieves are often linked to large international crime rings that are more than happy to drive or export their new car outside of the U.S. and sell them to unsuspecting customers

  3. Many vehicles stolen by professional thieves are taken to chop shops , where they are dismantled and then sold off as parts. Stolen auto parts account for millions of dollars a year in profits for criminals.

  4. Criminals also look for an older vehicle that can be stolen and stripped for its parts, which can then be sold – piece by piece – to any local salvage yard or online.

We will continue to look at vehicle theft in subsequent blogs at

Stop Theft Class will Keep A/C Going

by Mike Miller June 29, 2014

Have you ever heard of Freon being stolen? Most people probably do not even know what Freon is. However, if you live in a warm climate, and have air conditioning in your car – beware!

Have you turned on your air conditioning yet only to find it's not working? It's a problem several people in Nevada have experienced. As reported in

One air conditioning repair man has noticed a disturbing trend. Clients are calling because their unit isn't putting out cold air, and now he knows just what to look for. The caps are missing and there will be some oil at the port and the system's blowing hot air – a perfect indicator that the client has been the victim of Freon theft.

I will not say how it is done as I do not want to abet any would-be thieves. The robbers have been targeting vacant homes as well as neighborhoods where homes are less clustered. And they are hitting anywhere they can.

The Reno Police Department says they had one report last year where thieves took parts from and abandoned superstore in North Reno. They say air conditioning parts are often stolen, but Saba is noticing the trend grow.

"We've definitely seen more of the theft occur in the past 2 to 3 years."

He has also noticed the thieves are targeting older units because they contain a very specific item; R-22.

It's the common refrigerant used in units older than 2010, but the use of it is being phased out because it has been deemed bad for the environment.

The government has required the use of R-22 be banned by 2020 but by next year, any units sold must use the more environmentally friendly 410A Freon. Saba says the regulations are making the R-22 Freon more valuable.

"Right now they're reducing the production, so supply and demand has gone through the roof and it is much more expensive than it use to be."

Which may be why thieves are stealing the Freon, and why it's going to cost you to replace it.

"It's going for about $50 a pound today," Saba said. "An average system if it's empty, is going to need about 4 to 8 pounds. It's going to cost you a couple hundred [dollars] to replace what's been taken."

Saba says to ward off thieves, you can build an enclosure around your unit, but he also recommends installing locking caps.

"They require a key to take them off so [it's] a little bit tougher to get into your system."

The Freon can be collected and resold on the black market, but that requires the use of special equipment. Saba says it's more likely the thieves are kids looking for a high. They can easily collect the Freon in a bag and huff it, but it's often fatal from the very first sniff. The Freon blocks air from getting into your lungs and will cause suffocation.

Car Thief Should Be Mandated to Theft Program

by Mike Miller June 24, 2014

It is not every day you catch someone stealing your car. What would you do if you saw someone driving away in your prized vehicle? Here is a great story about this very scenario.

Police are looking for a suspect in a car theft who took off in a hail of gunfire from the victim, who hit the front and rear driver's side tires on his own car.

The victim came out of his residence to see his dark green 1997 Buick LeSabre being stolen. In his defense, first he pleaded with the driver, the suspect, to stop. The windows were up. He was yelling at him and the thief continued pulling out of the parking lot. That's when the victim fired 5 to 10 times at his own car, hitting two of the tires.

The car thief, shirtless fled on the freeway where he was pursued and later lost by a witness.

How do you feel about a victim firing shots at his own car? Keep in mind that the victim was lawfully carrying his weapon and fortunately, no one was hit by the gunfire.

Do you think mandatory theft prevention classes for all public school children would have prevented this situation? I would like to think that theft education, combined with strong parenting and good morals would keep our world a better place to live in.

Newspaper Thieves Need Online Anti-Theft Class

by Mike Miller June 19, 2014

The newspaper industry is having a difficult enough time staying afloat without thieves steal .50 newspapers. Why would anyone steal a newspaper? The answer to that question is pretty simple – because they can.

Many newspaper vending machines have easy-to-reach openings in the back. It is easy to reach in and grab a freebie. As reported in

Not surprisingly, the number of places customers can buy inside stores is going up as the number of outdoor newspaper racks goes down.

A recent study found that there was a 31 percent theft rate of papers in outdoor racks. Is it just me, or is that an astounding figure? Could it be that almost one in three papers in outdoor racks get pilfered?

The phenomenon is part of a nationwide trend, according to West, fueled in part by coupon clippers and a popular television show called “Extreme Couponing.”

The problem is getting worse. In years past someone might pay for a paper and take one or two extra. Now they pay for one and take five or six — or more.

Many papers around the country are considering not selling the Sunday paper in racks because of these thefts. How do you feel about stealing about newspapers for the coupons?

I have to admit that I too am a coupon clipper. In fact, I can easily justify the cost of subscribing to my local paper as a great deal because the coupons I clip more than pay for the paper itself.

I would hope that this trend does not persist and that newspapers thieves who are caught be mandated to an online stoptheft class.

Cow Thieves Need Stop Theft Class

by Mike Miller June 14, 2014

No cow is safe tonight. With the price of beef skyrocketing cattle thieves are riding high. Cattle duffing has been around since the days of Captain Starlight but the crime is still under-reported.

More than 2000 head of cattle are reported stolen from farms in Queensland, Australia. Stock theft is estimated to cost producers about $2 million per year. As reported in

Some stock are stolen for re-sale - one truck of cattle can fetch $80,000 or more - but others are stolen for their stud line. Often times the theft occurs right next door. Sound like the Old West here in the USA? It sure does. A farmer steals their neighbor’s cow to breed from it and get as many calves out of it as they. They keep the calves for themselves, with no intention of ever returning the stolen animal.

Do you know what the penal code is for this type of theft? It is “unlawful use of a cow.” That is comical, right?

Branding Required

By law, cows must be branded to determine ownership, but brands can be altered and ear tags can be removed. People in the industry know how to get around branding, no different to how bank robbers get around security systems and alarms.

Stock thieves range from petty opportunists through to large professional organizations.

Two years ago, 860 head of prime bullocks worth $1 million were stolen from Strathmore Station in far north Queensland.

There is also the threat of midnight butchers - those who hunt cattle at night, butcher the beasts (taking the best cuts) and then sell the meat on the black market.

Perhaps it is because I do not live in a rural area that I do not hear more about cattle theft, but it is apparently a serious problem. Do you have any experience with this? If so, please share.

16 Hour Stop Theft Class Teaches How to Spot a Thief

by Mike Miller June 9, 2014

As a counselor for online stop theft classes I am often perusing the news for stories about theft and shoplifting. I do this both out of curiosity as well as the desire to help my students learn from both their mistakes and errors in judgment of others.

Sometimes the stories are almost humorous. As reported in

Getaway Vehicle is a Bike?

You wouldn’t think a bicycle would make a good get-away vehicle, yet that is exactly what one jewel thief used after stealing a pair of white gold diamond earrings in Richmond, Ohio in April, 2014. As of now, he has not been caught.

Watch My Stolen Bike, Please

How about the story from Dunwoody, Georgia where a thief, also using a bike as a get-away vehicle asked police to keep an eye on his ride as he was being arrested. Get this – it was a stolen bike too!

While Dunwoody Police Officers were arresting Mark Densmore, 44, on suspicion of shoplifting at a Wal Mart, he had other priorities on his mind.

During the arrest, the suspect asked the officers over and over to make sure his bicycle was secure while he was in jail because it was very nice and expensive.

These are just two of hundreds of stories that happen all over the country and the world every day. If you have an interesting shoplifting story, or one that can prove to be a tale for others, please respond to our blog here at

Could Anti-Theft Educational Courses Halt Rise in Theft?

by Mike Miller June 4, 2014

Perhaps, as a counselor for theft prevention education, I am more sensitive to the situation, but it seems like shoplifting is on the rise. Perhaps because of the stressful economy or maybe more people are lacking self discipline. What do you think?

I was reading an article recently about the sharp increase in shoplifting in Birmingham, England. It is being reported that one of the most common crimes taking up the court's time is shoplifting. In just one day, nine suspected shoplifters were due to face justice, accused of pinching everything from a jumper from to bacon. As reported in

According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics' (ONS) crime survey, while overall crime has fallen significantly, shoplifting is up 6% on average, year on year.

Across England and Wales, police recorded 317,027 shoplifting offences in 2013, with 34 of the 43 force areas recording an increase compared with the previous year.

The 2013 Commercial Victimisation Survey (CVS) puts the figure even higher, at 3.3 million incidents of theft by customers in the wholesale and retail sector.

Why do you think this is? Is it the economy? I do not think so. Statistics show that more than 75% of all shoplifting is done for the thrill rather than out of need. So why the increase now?

Do you think drugs could be a motivating factor? There is no doubt drug abuse is rampant across the globe and many need to support their habit.

One of the ricks shoplifters commonly use is to line a bad with aluminum foil to stop security tags triggering alarms.

Do you think stop theft classes help? Again, as a counselor, I would like to think so. If you have anything to add to this story I would like to hear what you have to say.

Drug Classes and Anti-Theft Classes Go Hand-in-Hand

by Mike Miller May 30, 2014

Does it surprise you to learn that drug use increases the likelihood of shoplifting? Drugs are found in almost 50% of all convicted criminals now serving jail time.

Father-Son As reported in

A father and son were arrested Tuesday following a shoplifting complaint at Home Depot that led to the father being charged with heroin possession, New Castle police said Wednesday.

Daniel Saunders III, 37, of the first block of Seventh St. in Wilmington, was charged with with possession of heroin, shoplifting and conspiracy. His 19-year-old son, Daniel Saunders IV, who lives in the 1800 block of Maple St. in Wilmington, was charged with shoplifting and conspiracy, said Senior Lt. Adam Brams.

Officers were called to the Home Depot in the Airport Plaza on U.S. 13 to investigate a shoplifting complaint where one man was being held and the second had fled.

The pair was attempting to return merchandise they had just stolen to the store for a refund, Brams said.

Officers found the father on U.S. 13 near the Crown Motel and arrested him.

At the time of his arrest, officers found 10 bags of heroin and drug paraphernalia in his possession, Brams said.

Saunders III, who is considered an habitual offender by the court, also was charged with violation of probation.

He was committed to Young Correctional Institution after failing to post $18,000 cash bail.

His son was released pending a court hearing.

Drugs and Theft 2

Police investigating reports of a shoplifting at a St. Albans department store on Tuesday ended up charging a Dunbar man with drug possession.

Officers went to Kmart around 8:30 p.m. after store security said two men were trying to hide merchandise. Police stopped the men as they were leaving the store, Capt. James Agee of the St. Albans Police Department said

Officers searched Cory M. Marshall, 21, of Dunbar, and found 49 Clonazepam pills, Xanax, crack cocaine and heroin, Agee said. He said Marshall also had $1,500 in cash.

Marshall was arrested and charged with four felony counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. He was at the South Central Regional Jail this morning, with bail set at $100,000.

Agee said the other man allegedly had several CDs in his possession, worth about $76. He said the CDs were recovered, but could not be resold. The man was charged in St. Albans Municipal Court with simple possession of marijuana and first-offense shoplifting.

Stop Theft Class Could Help Stop Car Robbers

by Mike Miller May 25, 2014

Have you ever had your car stolen? Have you ever walked out into the parking lot, looked for your car, and it was not there? Even if you eventually found your car in a different location in a crowded lot, you know the horrific feeling you get when you think your car has been boosted.

The most terrifying thing about this new trend is that nobody is sure how thieves are stealing these cars. As reported in

I have attached a youtube video that shows just how this is done. Do any of you know what is happening? If so, please write in and let me know.

It appears that thieves simply walk by a car with a little box and are easily able to open the door. Technology has its benefits, but also its detriments. It appears that somehow these thieves are hacking into the automobiles computer system to unlock the doors.

These thieves are not actually stealing the cars, but taking anything of value that has been left in the vehicle. How terrifying is this? Again, if you have any input or personal experience about these thefts, please let us know here at

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