Monday, July 31, 2006

Pinch My Ride

Brad Stone writes on Wired News:

Last summer Emad Wassef walked out of a Target store in Orange County, California, to find a big space where his 2003 Lincoln Navigator had been. The 38-year-old truck driver and former reserve Los Angeles police officer did what anyone would do: He reported the theft to the cops and called his insurance company.

Two weeks later, the black SUV turned up near the Mexico border, minus its stereo, airbags, DVD player, and door panels. Wassef assumed he had a straightforward claim for around $25,000. His insurer, Chicago-based Unitrin Direct, disagreed.

Wassef’s Navigator, like half of all late-model domestic cars on the road today, is equipped with a transponder antitheft system: The ignition key is embedded with a tiny computer chip that sends a unique radio signal to the vehicle’s onboard computer. Without the signal, the car won’t start. And Wassef still had both of his keys.

More here.


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