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Auto Theft Prevention/1980 Cadillac


HI Rob

I purchased a 1980 Cadillac Coupe DeVille De Elegance. It has the standard 368 cu in engine with 4 barrel carburator It is not a show car but definetly draws attention.

What are my options for an inexpensive theft prevention system. Im thinking of the device that locks the steering wheel to the brake pedal .



You are using an oxymoron here. You are asking for an inexpensive effective anti theft device. The first problem is that anything attaching to the steering wheel is not only cumbersome and a pain to install and remove is that you are attaching to a very week point. The steering wheel is made of wire and plastic. In A&E's "Stealing Wheels" where I had been featured because of my extensive background in repairing theft recovered vehicles (primarily GMs) I held a club in one hand and a cut steering wheel in the other. The makers of the Club (Winner International) called me after that piece and told me Karen Winner was not happy with my portrayal of their product. I told them that I was not happy having to go to a junk yard and trying to find the same color steering wheel for a replacement. They bragged about selling 25 million clubs. All I did was ask; and how does that correlate with stopping theft. I stated there were just 25 million suckers.
The other problem is once one of these devices is removed, the thief now has a weapon to use on the owner of the vehicle and it has happened!
I am aware of what you are referring to and the issue remains the same.
Your steering column can be defeated in 30 seconds with a screwdriver from a teenager that learned how to do this in jail. The left side of the steering column is vulnerable to access the locking mechanisms (We rebuilt over 10,000 of these steering columns)and grossed millions over the years. No damage to the ignition lock which is also inferior. After time, because of wear the key will come out in any lock position and a key is no longer needed to turn the ignition.
Most of the so called anti theft systems are one size fits all and designed by people that have no clue as to how vehicles are stolen. They don't care if these products work and it is all about marketability. If some potential customer thinks the product will work, that is the main goal. The best way to describe these devices in my opinion is "JUNK."

The best thing you could do is install a hidden starter disable. This is accomplished by using an unmouted toggle with wires spliced into the start circuit of the electrical ignition switch under the dash at the steering column wiring. If mounted under the dash, the first place a thief looks for a switch is the dash.
You may consider going to an alarm store and inquire about a paging system with a starter disable. This way you are notified of a break in. No siren, because no one cares about a siren going off any way.

Bottom line, if you want to waste money on the steering wheel to break pedal lock, you will find it a waste of money because the time you did not put it on, the car is stolen, or there is the challenge factor to a thief that just brings another tool with him (a side cutters) and now you need a setting wheel and good luck finding a good one. The plastic on these steering wheels deteriated and literally stink and most used wheels are not worth the trouble of putting on without a steering wheel cover.

GM from 1969-1994 used the Saginaw steering column on all their vehicles and Chrysler and many other vehicles used this column. These columns were pitifully simple to defeat and I am one of the very rare few that knows how to rebuild them. Another common problem with this column is people would hang on the column getting in and out of the car, causing them to become loose requiring the steering column to be disassembled to tighten the 4 bolts that came loose. The junk yards have many of these loose columns and sometimes so bad the upper and lower portions seperate and steering is lot.

Good luck!

We are the leaders in strategy to refute denied denied auto theft claims in which an insurance company paid forensic locksmith accuses the insured of having involvement with the theft f their vehicle by stating the vehicle was last driven with a key of the proper type. It is our opinion that these experts are the pinnacle of consumer fraud by defrauding their locksmith background and testifying speculatively as fact as to the methods a car thief would employ. Commonly hiding by the self-imposed forensic title and knowing that anyone else in the courtroom has no knowledge about auto theft methodology, they testify as to physical evidence they never had.
If anyone has had their vehicle stolen, submitted an insurance claim and are under investigation, subject to an EOU or have been denied, we are the only firm in the world you should contact.
Some feel they need an attorney. The problem is generally, no matter how good the attorney, t is very common for the attorney to have the first case of this type. Go with experience--23 years of experience working exclusively with only these types of cases with a 95% prevailing side rate.

Auto Theft Prevention

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Rob Painter, ASE, CFL, CFEI


My background in auto theft is extensive. I have been directly involved in the repair of over 10,000 theft recovered vehicles. I also do insurance investigation as to how a vehicle was last operated. My clients are insurance companies and attorneys. Was featured in the A & E auto theft documentary "Stealing Wheels" July 26, 2000. Has consulted with Daimler Chrysler steering column engineers to make their steering columns harder to defeat. Holds patent # 6,039,140 for 8 different variations to protect air bags from theft.


ROB PAINTER, ASE, CFL, CFEI Forensic Vehicle Component Analyst Diplomate, Board Certified Forensic Examiner ASE Certified Auto, Collision, Med/Hvy/Duty Truck Technician Certified Forensic Locksmith Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator Certified Vehicle Fire Investigator Certified Forensic Auto Theft Examiner Certified Auto Theft and Fraud Expert P.O. Box 190 Big Bend, WI 53103 Phone (414) 698-9696 Fax (262) 662-1352 As per federal court rules of evidence (702) (Daubert) my testimony has qualified me as: Auto Theft and Fraud Expert Forensic Vehicle Analyst Fire Origin and Cause Expert In the trial transcript of Holiday vs Progressive Insurance Company (March 12, 2002?Eugene, Oregon) with Holiday being my client-named ?the expert for experts.? BUSINESS EXPERIENCE Founder of the ?Forensic Institute of Auto Theft Analysis? (January 2002). This is the training school that will set the standards in determining the last operation of a reported stolen vehicle-burned or unburned. Much of my testing and procedures have been accepted as the guide for the forensic community. 1986 opened Auto Recovery Specialists Inc., providing exclusive repair of theft recovered and vandalized vehicles. The initial concept of the business was to return vehicles to their original shape before the theft, vandalism or fire. In 1987 bought the rights to the theft deterrent known as the ?Chicago Collar?. Duties include complete component replacement: dash, stereo system, interior, locks and coding, rebuilding steering columns, repairing and installing vehicle security system components (factory and after market), engine components, body repair, glass replacement, repair and service of air conditioning components, brake and suspension repair, and replacement, wiring harnesses etc. to return vehicle to pre-theft condition Complete reconstruction. During the past 17 years directly involved in the repair of over 10,000 theft-recovered and fire damaged Personally examined and rebuilt thousands of steering columns on both import and domestic vehicles Internationally acknowledged as expert in auto theft including court, consulting with insurance companies, attorneys and law enforcement. Consultant on steering columns, locks, stereo systems and vehicle security for Special Investigation Units for many large insurance carriers during the past eight years. Consulting services include but not limited to: How a vehicle was last operated (with or without keys in burned or unburned vehicles), Origin and Cause of vehicle fires, and vehicle defects. Provides services as a consultant and researcher to attorneys and insurance companies, and private industry throughout the US in cases related to vehicles. Has worked with crime prevention officers throughout the US establishing training programs designed to protect the public from becoming victims of auto theft. PATENT: 3/21/00 issued patent# 6,039,140 for 8 different variations of airbag anti-theft devices. PUBLICATIONS Currently authors articles and test reports on an ongoing basis for SIUs and the forensic/vehicle fire industry. Published author: (1,297 slide training course) Auto Theft/ Fraud Training Course) ?The Modern Forensic Approach to Auto Theft Investigation.? (January, 2001) Author: ?Variables to Be Considered In Vehicle Fire Investigation after Suppression.? (Insurance publication-November 2001) Author: ?Ford Magnesium Steering Columns and the Results to Ignition Components after a Fire?. Article for peer review from the fire and forensic community. (November 2001) Author: ?The Truth About GM VATS.? (Article) (November 2001) Author: ?The Truth About GM PASSLOCK TM? (Article) (November 2001) Author:? Auto Theft Investigation: Hollywood vs. Reality? (Article) (February 2001) For the John Cooke Fraud Report. Published author: (Manual) ?Forensic Vehicle Fire/ Arson and Auto Theft Investigation? (October 2000) Published author: (Article) ?Petty Claims? for the John Cooke Fraud Report (October, 1998) Published author (Manual) ?AUTO THEFT: LET THE TRUTH BE KNOWN!? (1998) (Previously distributed by Barnes & Nobel) Co-authored the investigation manual, ?Surreptitious Entry & Auto Theft & Burn & the Investigator.? (1999) Authored test questions on the subject of steering columns and vehicle security for CFL designation to be given by the International Association of Investigative Locksmiths. January, 2000 Published author: (Manual) ?Saginaw Steering Columns-What Has Not Been Told? Training manual for fire investigators. (March 2000) Published (Article) ?Beyond The Lock? (May 2000) Published Author: (Article) Fraud Defense Network-August, 2000 Edition-?Melting Steering Column Tests.? Published author: (Test Report) ?Burned Toyota Steering Column Testing to Determine How Last Operated?. Tool marks and procedures. (December 1999) Currently at the FBI Crime Lab in Washington DC and the US Army Crime Lab in Atlanta, GA for peer review. ACCOMPLISHMENTS Defeated the ?unstealable? Ford Securilock transponder system for a court case 10/10/00. They said it could not be done! Primary designer of a state of the art ?bait? car for a police department to catch car thieves. Worked with The National Highway Safety Transportation Administration and discovered a potential fire hazard on a vehicle and determined origin and cause of under hood fires on this type of vehicle. Featured as ?Auto Theft Expert? in the A & E auto theft documentary ?Stealing Wheels? that aired July 26, 2000. Contacted by Sears and Edelman Marketing to be a national spokesman for an anti theft device for vehicles. (November 1999) Invited to provide evaluation and consulting to steering column engineers at Daimler Chrysler Corporation in Auburn Hills, MI (10/19/99-10/22/99). The purpose of this project was to demonstrate how steering column locking mechanisms could be defeated without the use of a key and how to reinforce the columns against theft. Court Qualified as an Auto Theft Expert and my videos of defeating columns were also accepted by a Cleveland, Ohio Court in October 1999 as a valid piece of evidence. Contacted by Disney Touchstone Pictures for technical assistance in making the movie ?Gone in 60 Seconds? (March 1999) CONSULTANT FOR FOLLOWING ORGANIZATIONS ? Former contributor for The Insurance News Network (Auto theft and prevention) includes heading a forum for the public on how to protect their vehicles for 3+ years. ? Former editor and consultant for the public on matters involving auto theft and prevention 2000-2001 on the web at ? The Insurance Career Center (Auto theft and fraud). ? National Association of Investigative Specialists (Auto theft and fraud) ? Expert Find (Auto theft and fraud} TECHNICAL EXPERIENCE ? ASE (National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence) Certified in Auto: brakes, steering and suspension, engine repair, manual drive train and axles, air conditioning. Med/Heavy duty truck: gasoline engine repair, electrical/electronic components. Collision: elec.....

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