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OFF BEAT: LoJack system foils auto theft fraud scheme


A car owner allegedly attempting to commit auto insurance fraud was busted when the vehicle’s LoJack system alerted sheriff’s deputies to the theft, according to the San Bernardino County, Calif., Sheriff’s Department.

The system, devised by Canton, Mass.-based LoJack Corp., helps investigators track and locate many stolen automobiles, a department spokeswoman said.

But it’s the first incident she has heard of in her 10 years on the job in which a LoJack system helped nab a car owner suspected of hiding his vehicle in an alleged insurance fraud scheme, the spokeswoman said.

“I believe this gentleman was not aware his vehicle had been equipped with the LoJack system,” she said. “That is why he overlooked that.”

A LoJack alert directed deputies to the location of the car that was hidden behind a house. Deputies detained four people at the residence and allegedly learned the car’s owner, Ricardo Felix, had conspired with relatives to hide the car.

Meanwhile, Mr. Felix had a relative drive him to another location where he reported the car stolen. He then contacted State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. and filed a claim.

The suspect was arrested recently and charged with insurance fraud and conspiracy to commit a crime. Potential charges are pending for the other alleged conspirators, authorities said.

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