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YOUR WHEELS

The Shocking Truth About the Latest Anti-Theft Gizmo for Cars

Designed to give a convincing jolt to would-be thieves, the device is already raising some hackles.

September 10, 1998|JEANNE WRIGHT

The FBI has bought 12 Auto Tasers, Miller-Steinke says, noting: "We don't know what they'll use them for--everything is so top-secret there."

Although police agencies don't endorse specific products, retired LAPD Det. Gary Sims recently said he would welcome "any legal method you use to make it harder for someone to steal a car."

People have done everything from "wrapping a live snake around their steering wheel to leaving big dogs in their cars" to thwart thieves, says Sims, who investigated auto thefts in the city.

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Ultimately, he warns, "if someone really wants your car, there is nothing on the market that can stop them."

"We've had suspects dismantle tracking devices on cars as they are driving down the freeway," he says. "I've watched suspects steal a Mercedes that had an alarm system in less than a minute."

Even Miller-Steinke of Taser International acknowledges: "If a thief really wants your car, they can hitch it to a tow truck and take off with it."

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Jeanne Wright cannot answer mail personally but will attempt to respond in this column to automotive questions of general interest. Write to Your Wheels, 1875 I St. N.W., No. 1100, Washington, DC 20006. Via e-mail: highway1@latimes.com.

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