You are here:

Auto Theft Prevention/'re:2009 stolen suburban


I have a 2009 Chevrolet Suburban LTZ that was stolen.
The insurance company has demanded a lot from me. I had to give them a recorded statement explaining everything as it related to the theft.
They are invading my privacy demanding my cell phone records, bank statements and payroll stubs.I spoke with an attorney and he said I did not have to supply that private information.

I have been interviewed by the SIU investigator and he made it sound as if they thought I had something to do with the theft. The investigator told me that they had a forensic report stating that they could prove my key was last used in the ignition, but that can't be because I had both keys at the time of the theft.
I assure you I did not have a thing to do with the theft of my truck!.
I am starting to get upset because this claim has dragged on going on 6 weeks.
I have also been informed that next week, they want me to do an EUO. What is that?
Should I get an attorney and sue my insurance company?
I am sorry about so many questions, but I am hoping you can explain to me what is going on.
Any assistance would be deeply appreciated.
Thank you.


There are a lot of issues in questions here, but what you are going through is quite common.
I want it known that I am not anti insurance company, because there are a lot of fraud claims out there. Some my construe my answers as if I am anti insurance company with the answers I give. The auto theft claim investigation/denial game is very common throughout the US and Canada. All I do is level the playing field for the insured.

This requires expertise in the auto theft investigation protocol. I have over 20 years experience working with and training with SIUs (Special Investigation Units.
Also required is to have expertise in the forensic locksmiths the insurance companies hold out as independent experts that have determined the last key used was one of the proper type. I set the standards on these processes applied as early as 1999, which are still wrongly applied today determining as to how the reported stolen vehicle was last driven. I know their weak points and I know what they cant prove!

Another expertise required is the knowledge as to how to steal vehicles, in which forensics plays little to no role. Unlike the Certified Forensic Locksmith, I actually was involved in the repair of theft recovered vehicles for 20 years! In fact, my auto theft background goes back to 1980 and is current to 2016, on any make, any model.

These claims are all built on preponderance of the evidence, which is a very light standard to meet the requirement of denial. This is where innuendo and assumption are applied as fact.
Now, the investigator will state that their denial is not built on the accusation of the independent forensic locksmith's conclusions in his report. The claim is that the use of a forensic locksmith is just a tool in their arsenal of investigation tools. Of course this answer is the tantamount of the term "Smoke and Mirrors."
Generally, if it could not be determined as to how the vehicle was last driven, then it could not be separated from a vehicle that was actually stolen. There is a caveat to this too! It used to be that the vehicle had to be recovered to be denied, but no longer. Insurance companies have gotten so brazen that they will say to the insured: "There is not enough evidence to determine your car was stolen." The burden of proof is on the insurance company, not the insured!

We are not lawyers! However, lawyers do not have the highly specialized experience we have in auto theft claims.
We consult insureds through the claims process, explaining as to how to answer questions truthfully, but appropriately. There are things that insureds say without realizing it that will get them into trouble. We have hundreds of hours of sworn testimony we have given in very adversarial conditions that we apply this experience to our clients. We prep the clients for an EUO (Examination Under Oath), where with our assistance a claim that was sure to be denied got paid in many instances because of our guidance.

We also serve as expert witnesses in court. When the experts say the vehicle was not stolen, we demonstrate many different ways it can be stolen to a judge or jury.

In fact, these claims when denied can be very challenging because it then requires lawyers because that is how the insurance company has set it up. For an example, I was dealing with a lawyer for the insurance company on a burned reported stolen vehicle. The forensic locksmith stated the fire had been so intense that he could not even determine the origin and cause of the fire. In reality, one should question what a locksmith is doing on a fire determination, and rarely are vehicles burned so bad that such cannot be determined, but it illustrates my point as to the extensive damage. With everything in the vehicle so destroyed, the computer, the ignition and steering column, the expert stated that the vehicle was equipped with a transponder from the factory requiring an assigned key to start the engine. The attorney thinking she was smart sent me all the facts to the denial, as far as statements made by the insured at the EUO, the slanted financial information on the insured and these facts taking up two pages. I said to her that although all these facts against the insured were interesting, she did not consider one very important fact her expert missed! I sent her a receipt from the insured for having a remote start installed. This meant the transponder was totally bypassed! An assigned key was not needed to start the engine! I also sent a note: "Check mate!" That receipt totally muted all of their facts and the claim was paid!

Insured's are accused of fraud with false narratives, arrogance and ignorance on the part of the investigators and their so called forensic locksmiths.
I also advise the insured. A knee jerk reaction is to hire an attorney. Attorneys have no standing in an investigation and they really can't do anything for the insured except for this caveat: If the insured had something to do with the theft and wants to confess, of which time they need a criminal defense attorney. Other than that, a devastating choice will retain an attorney for an investigation including the EUO Examination Under Oath) which is commonly at the tail end of the claim.

Here is what you need to know. The investigator is not looking for the person that stole the vehicle. Why? He/she has been indoctrinated that all theft claims are fraud. To confirm this for the investigator, they are taught vehicles with transponders can't be stolen without the insured's key.
It does not matter about the truth in this case. The worst thing the insured can do is attempt to defend themselves at this point! The investigator believes the insured is guilty.

In order to support the investigation the investigator hand-picks a forensic locksmith from their vendor list. The forensic locksmith is not directly employed by IRS W-2 and serves as an independent contractor. His purpose is to check the ignition lock for forcing tampering or picking the ignition lock. The standard conclusion is the vehicle was last driven with a key of the proper type. Of course there are no specifics as to which key was last used and the reason is because these super duper expert has no clue, but who is capable of destroying the expert on the stand? Our firm is the only firm on a national basis, are the only experts that are capable of refuting their conclusions.
The forensic expert has a vested interest in the outcome of the claim. If they don't submit a report in favor of the insurance company, they won't be doing these assignments in the near future. This is an unwritten rule that this is what is expected. These experts are normally above reproach. The reason is the use of the phony forensic title they use.

The investigator then has the green light to build a case in which the insured's financial elements.

See, the investigator has done due diligence. At least it appears that way and that is what these claims are all about-appearance. He hired an independent forensic expert to conclude as to how the car was last driven. The "facts" are added past the expert's conclusion. The insured could have been late on a bill and that is the reason for the fraud. It doesn't take much!
Those that have a security clearance, a state issued license like Real estate, or even a cop has the potential to lose their ability to earn a living because of moral turpitude.

Once denied, you are charged and convicted without due process, having the insureds name placed on a database available to all insurance companies as committing fraud for the insured's life and can never bee removed. Many attorneys have been surprised to learn this!

Bottom line--as the insured, you do not want to do this alone because if the claim went to the SIU, you can bet the carrier does not want to pay the claim.
The biggest problem I have had with this is that a fraud investigation has fraud interjected (forensic locksmith) in order to accuse the insured of fraud in order to save the company money from paying the claim.

Some states will prosecute too!

In order for you to understand what we do, you will see we give information out that no one else does about auto theft claims.


Auto Theft Prevention

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


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.....

©2016 All rights reserved.