Refuting Forensic Locksmiths on Stolen Vehicles


Posted by Rob

I am an expert witness in auto theft & forensic locksmithing. I also am an expert in Vehicle fire origin and cause. I have qualified as an expert in 23 states, federal court numerous times in criminal and civil areas.

This information is for attorneys across the nation opposing these experts.

Denied Stolen Vehicle Claims or Insurance Fraud Cases–1-866-490-1673

It is very common to see auto theft claims denied and they are based around the forensic locksmith’s conclusion inferring the vehicle was last driven with the insured’s key. I am an expert in tihs area. I am also an expert in the insurance investigation process either denying these claims or used by the prosecution with over 20 years experience.

As an expert in forensic locksmithing and auto theft. Currently looking for cases in the DC, Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Florida  in which Robert Mangine’s company North American  Automotive Forensic Consultants serving as Expert Witness Service for insurance companies and the prosecution.


I am not only an expert on the processes of forensics in these cases, being a long time instructor on the subject. I am also an expert on forensic locksmith companies having many of their reports for comparison illustrating that different methodologies are applied, yet the conclusion is exactly the same. This is not scientifically plausible, unless the conclusion is just a generic one size fits all, which then could be argued as misdirection.

  1. I have been extremely effective refuting these firms!

Ohio and Midwest A-1 Forensic

Mark Ames of A-1 Forensics Based in Toledo, Ohio.

Serves Ohio and Midwest as a Forensic Locksmith with Ryan Ames.

Plaintiff and Criminal Defense Attorneys, if you are opposing these guys, you need me!

They serve Erie, Progressive, American Family, Grange and many other insurance carriers.

My trial prevailing side score against Mark Ames is about 10 for 10. Tactical advantage-I have been the instructor of Frensic Locksmithing for close to 20 years. I have commonly written on it. Designed a 1,350+ slide training program vetted by the FBI and the US Army Crime Lab in Georgia. Not only do I know the subject far better, but I have reviewed over 100 of A-1 Forensics reports and designed a spreadsheet for examination standards that there has been no effort by this firm to follow. In other words, an ignition lock may be removed, disassembled and examined on one vehicle. Yet, the next 5 there is no attempt to apply this process. On a transponder vehicle, the transponder system may be electronically interrogated. The next 10 aren’t. There is no rhyme or reason and one then needs wonder as to how conclusions are the same from vehicle to vehicle!

This firm examines reported stolen vehicles that are recovered burned, but to my knowledge neither Mark or Ryan have ever had a fire and explosion certification or a vehicle fire investigation certificate. They are locksmiths and Forensic Locksmiths.

I can successfully refute them with my  background in auto theft and forensic locksmithing! I base that statement on a reasonable degree of scientific certainty!

Another interesting phenomena about this firw, is they don’t even need a vehicle to determine how it was last driven! Not recovered-they must use the physic friends network for their conclusions!


There is a company in California operating as North American West. The Forensic Expert is Chad Tredway.

He examines vehicles that have been reported stolen and applies his magical forensic process to the igntion. When he bought the company from Robert Mangine years ago, also included was the cookie cutter reports he uses. These are premade reports in which, only the specific detals have to be changed! This expert has never been a locksmith, nor has he been an auto tech, and has never been involved in the repair of theft recovered vehicles. Yet! He determines as to how a reported stolen vehicle was last driven without the use of science!


New Jersey-Sterling Investigations

Here you will find Ken Vitty and Glen Hennings as a tag team. Both claim to be Certified Forensic Locksmiths and have fire training. Their testing and conclusions appear to be real professional to the novice that knows nothing about forensic locksmithing and auto theft. However they can be scrutinized and the smoke and mirrors is evident to a professional.

Hennings examines the vehicles. Vitty does the microscopic analysis.

This firm services NYC and NJ and we are looking for cases against them!


George Plackey of PDQ Forensics is another forensic locksmith, with no fire certifications that examines reported stolen, recovered burned vehicles.

He also examines recovered thefts and offers reports inferring insured involvement.

He claims he can determine tool marks because he has been a locksmith for over 20 years. He covers the Chicago Metro area almost exclusively for all insurance companies. My Chicago guy can refute him rather well!


Another forensic locksmith that examines reported stolen vehicles for insurance companies for the purpose of inferring the vehicle was last driven with the insured’s key.

The last case I had against him was a total burned Toyota. He staed he could not determine anything with the steering column because of the fire damage. He claimed he did not recver the ignition.

He then stated that the vehicle couldn’t have been driven without the insureds key, because it was equipped from the factory with an anti theft transponder system.

He had no evidence to opine on. He was not aware my client had a after market remote start installed before the theft, there by any reference about the factory transponder was moot, because it was bypassed for the remote start.

This would have been a good lesson for S.D. Lyons that when all evidence is destroyed by fire to render the findings inconclusive.

However, for more than a decade, the insurance companies have used unvetted (No check to see if their conclusions are scientifically valid) independent forensic locksmiths as a straw man. The investigator can and does say “We had the ignition examined by an independent forensic locksmith” who in essence, to keep assignments rolling in, is going to write a report favoring their client, not the insured.

People lose their jobs and licenses because of these questionable accusations! The investigator looks good though, because when they are done they have dreamed up the financial motivation needed to deny the claim!

Some insurance companies pay the SIU (Special Investigation Unit) bonuses at the end of the year. Say the insurance company did not have to pay $30 million in claims that year. The SIU Department might get a bonus check for $10,000. Sometimes that is divided up by the investigators. I am not saying this practice is common, but I am not saying that it isn’t. I don’t know. I can say I have been involved in cases that did occur!

These auto theft fraud cases  are built around the forensic report from the investigator’s hand picked expert! Then a case of financial motivation is manufactured wth the investigators imagination, and the claim is denied accusing the insured of misrepresentation.

Yes, fraud is a very serious problem, but I have demonstrated that all misrepresentation is not always from the insured.