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Carjacking or insurance fraud? Story raises suspicions

Published January 28, 2013
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Want to play detective, just like on TV? Here’s your chance to play Crime Scene Investigator.

See if the following reported real-life incidents raise any alarm bells with you. The incidents occurred several years ago and details are as best I can recollect.

Carjacking. It’s wintertime. The owner of a new Mercedes SUV stated he was out driving. As he halted at a stop sign, a “carjacker” reportedly opened the door, jumped into the passenger seat, ordered him out at gunpoint, and then drove off with the vehicle.

Senior moment. A senior says he pulled his late-model Cadillac up to the entrance of his condo complex to pick up his long-time wife. He then states he leaned over to unlock the passenger door to let her in, but inadvertently let go of the brake – causing the vehicle to move and run over the wife. She died of her injuries and police called it a “tragic accident.”

Here’s what I find disconcerting in these scenarios:

In the carjacking case, I know the Mercedes model involved has factory power locks and all doors lock automatically once your speed hits 8 km/h. The doors would have auto-locked seconds after he began driving and, therefore, the carjacker couldn’t have freely opened the passenger door and “jumped in.” It’s a cold winter day, so it’s unlikely the window would be open to allow for manually unlocking the door.

More: Dash cam catches pedestrian in car crash scam attempt

More: Another blatant attempt at insurance fraud?

I spoke to the police detective on the case and he conceded that the incident “may not have occurred exactly as reported” and “other factors may be at play.” I’ll let your imagination run wild on that explanation, but my TV-inspired mind suspects a payoff or fraud (“take the car, I’ll claim insurance”).

In the “senior moment” case, Cadillacs are a luxury car with standard factory power locks. At a bare minimum, I would expect the investigating officer to test the power locks on the vehicle to see if they were working properly. I also question whether an idling vehicle can run over someone without some accelerator input.

As TV’s Judge Judy says, “If it doesn’t make sense, it’s probably not true.” The driver overstretching in a wide Cadillac to unlock the passenger door makes no logical sense, since a simple flick of the master power lock switch on the driver’s door armrest would have effortlessly unlocked all doors. Of course, the senior’s mental state, medical conditions and medication, if any, would also have to be looked at.

Nonetheless, police readily discount any possibility of foul play and offer no further explanation.

Now keep in mind that the persons involved in the above cases may be innocent of wrongdoing, as everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty under the law.

All I’m saying is that when police feed the public an “official story” that defies logic, this will only cause public doubt and suspicion to linger.

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