Post by f1guyus on Sept 3, 2013 0:42:00 GMT
On the old board I wrote several long posts about how EAR might have driven an assortment of vehicles without leaving a paper trail. Here they are as one post. Probably my ego but they were posts and reasoning I'm reasonably proud of.
Law required a new owner to re-register the vehicle within ten (may have been thirty) days. With the vehicle registration you got a change of ownership form which let you release your interest in the vehicle whether the new owner re-registered it or not. It was always a good idea to do this just to avoid getting dunned for something like a parking ticket later on. Like a lot of things in the 70's this stuff didn't always get done. Wasn't computerized as I recall
If you were prudent and followed the law when you bought or sold a car you transferred title immediately. You had to be the legal owner meaning you had possession of the *pink slip. If you financed the car through a dealer or a bank the lender retained the pink slip until you paid off the loan. When you re-registered the vehicle in your name you got in addition to the pink slip and registration a form to transfer title. When you sold the car you signed the pink slip over to the new owner and if you were smart you filled out the transfer certificate and sent it off to the Department of Motor Vehicles. The new owner had ten days (may have been 30) to re-register the vehicle with DMV. So you can see the loopholes. If you have cash you buy a car from a private owner and ignore the title transfer. Give him a phony name and address just in case he fills out the transfer certificate. Now all you have to worry about is the annual license fee. You won’t get a renewal form so you just look around some dark night for a car that renews the same month as yours, use a single edged razor to peel the Scotchbrite sticker from the license plate and put it on your car. I went through maybe five roadblocks or DWI checkpoints and nobody ever checked the registration number on the tag on the license plate against the one on the registration. If both were current they made sure your drivers license was current and sent you on your way. I’m thinking that a smooth talker could probably get by having an outdated certificate as long as the tag on the plate was current. But if you bought a different car every year and chose one that had been recently renewed you would never have a problem. Now that I think about it this might explain all the different cars witnesses reported to law enforcement. If as I suspect EAR had money it would be pretty easy to check the parking lots and newspapers for cars for sale and drive a new one every few months. In Stockton we had some public employees who stole the reflective tags from license plates of people who came to do business at the City Hall . They ran this racket for several years.
*Certificate of ownership/Legal title
Reading the other posts on the thread where I got these led me to write this. I’m thinking the cars are a dead letter. As usual this is opinion only.
The reason LE could never connect EAR to a specific vehicle is because he gamed the system to never drive one traceable to him through DMV records. Buy one from a private owner, don't transfer title, use it for attack(s), sell it for cash. If some observant neighbor got the plate number and the police checked they'ed find the registered owner was "Joe Smurd" of Sac who was 55 yrs old and 5'5" 145 lbs. I'll bet with the amount of tips the cops were getting nobody ever called "Joe". If they did he told them something like "Oh, yeah, sold it to a nice young man. Told me he wanted to fix it up for his Dad/Mom/Aunt. Yeah I sent that transfer form in weeks ago." As long as he paid cash and got rid of the cars on a regular basis he'd never show up as the owner. Clever lad.
My wife and I both drove "sharp" cars before we got married. They wore out their welcome when the kids came along and we started buying used low mileage sedans. If you kept your eyes open you could deal on some pretty nice cars. We usually drove them until they were fully depreciated and sold them for cash. Drove our first family car 13 years and sold it for peanuts. Started out as a primary vehicle then I started taking it to work. BUT the day I sold it, I would have replaced all the belts and hoses, put on new tires and driven the car anywhere. The cars of the 60's in particular take some heat for being big gas guzzling sleds but we drove a bunch of 'em and never got let down on the road. I did all the simple stuff like replacing exhaust systems, starters, generators/alternators and tuneups. Never had to do a major repair to any of our cars. Don't let them overheat, change the oil and filters on schedule and drive 'em 150,000-200,000K. That's why I think EAR drove cars he bought for cash. They were widely available, cheap, especially after the first gas crunch, simple to maintain and especially in the Valley you blended right in. Pickups ditto although they being working vehicles held their value better. He may have even made money if he bought and sold right
And, if I'm smart enough to figure it out 35 years later I sure hope the cops were smart enough to figure it out back then. Tracing the sales might not have gotten them anywhere but setting up a sting might have gotten them somewhere
I have a feeling that if he had been involved in the car business (access to vehicles from a used car lot or garage)somebody would have tipped the cops. Or the cops would have checked. Dunno, maybe they did. This guy figured it out so he was unconnected by name to anything that would have connected him to the crimes. What you heard and continue to hear is that he was like a ghost.
I posted on another thread, what is now the Orchard Supply Hardware parking lot was used car central. Some communities really surpressed this activity. Stockton didn't. The mini lots were everywhere. This was kinda after my time but lots of fairly nice used cars passed thru these lots. For cash