Burn, baby, burn!

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by dontoe, Nov 18, 2005.

  1. dontoe

    dontoe 3/4 ton status GMOTM Winner

    May 7, 2004
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    Hickory, N.C.
    [​IMG] Nov 16, 2005 9:29 pm US/Pacific

    Gas Prices Push Some To Torch Their SUVs

    (CBS 5) Gas is costing more, as much as thee bucks a gallon in recent months.

    So if you are driving a gas-guzzler, you may be feeling a pinch. For some the answer is torching the vehicle. Investigators say they have their hands full with claims for stolen SUV’s, many of those cases may simply be fraud.

    "People end up getting backed up against the wall financially,” says Dale Banda, of the California Department of Insurance.

    Experts say that the owner often reports the vehicle stolen, only to have it found within hours, looking like a pile of melted metal. A completely burned out car raises a red flag for Dave Roccaforte, a special agent with the auto task force. He’s seen suspicious vehicles all over the Peninsula, and in the South Bay. He says the only person who really stands to gain from a burned out vehicle is the owner, because the car would be much more valuable to a crook if it was not destroyed.

    "Most of these people are everyday, go to work people. Some of them with some very high class jobs, with families,” says Special Agent Ken Hutchinson of the National Insurance Crime Bureau, who has busted more than a dozen frauds in Sacramento County.

    The list of busted owners has been growing in recent months. Some say the increase could be tied to higher gas prices. But while arrests are on the rise, convictions are often harder to come by.

    "We've talked to people who committed insurance fraud who otherwise wouldn't commit another crime,” says Banda, who heads up enforcement at California’s Department of Insurance.

    But for those who intend on torching their own truck and claiming it as stolen, be aware, it’s a felony. The fine alone may be more than the pay off.

    By Janet Yee

    Link with video

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