Locksmith's Testimony Helped Catch Man Who Allegedly Had Car Torched

Oct. 11, 2012
Despite the vehicle owner's claim that his car was stolen, a locksmith determined that a "key or a remote transmitter was used to gain entry to the vehicle," the police report said.

A 55-year-old man was booked into the county jail Friday, charged with paying someone to torch his Land Rover because he no longer wanted it.

Jorge Amado Rojas, of unincorporated Loxahatchee, is facing charges of second-degree arson, conspiracy to commit grand theft, conspiracy to commit arson and burning to defraud an insurer.

In December 2010, Palm Beach County Fire Rescue responded to the 6600 block of Wallis Road in suburban West Palm Beach to reports of a sport-utility vehicle on fire. A captain working the fire spotted a 5-gallon gas container burning inside the SUV.

About an hour later, a sheriff's deputy was sent to the parking lot of a supermarket in the 4600 block of Gun Club Road for a report of a stolen vehicle. The deputy met with Amado, who said his 2003 Land Rover Discovery was stolen while he was in the supermarket.

Further inspection of the SUV by the fire rescue investigator showed no sign of forced entry, and no damage to the steering column or the ignition's cylinder. "It appeared that the vehicle had been started with a key," according to the arrest report.

Meanwhile, Amado filed a claim with Allstate.

In January 2011, a locksmith determined that a "key or a remote transmitter was used to gain entry to the vehicle," the report said.

Armed with that information, the fire rescue investigator confronted Amado, who initially denied the allegations.

But Amado later said he had been going through tough financial times and that his SUV was not "running as it should," the report said.

Amado asked a man he knew as "Javier" to get rid of his SUV and make sure it "did not come back to him," the report said.

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