On, Saturday, May 14, between 8am and 2pm, the Lehigh County District Attorney’s Auto Theft and Insurance Fraud Task Force and the Whitehall Township Police will conduct a free Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) etching event at the Whitehall Township Municipal Building at 3219 MacArthur Road.
VIN-etching labels the car parts that are most expensive to replace with the vehicles identification number (VIN). In order to sell the car, thieves would have to replace the etched parts, thereby deterring auto theft by reducing or eliminating the potential profit. The process also increases the likelihood of recovering stolen vehicles.
“The etching, which is free, takes about five minutes,” said Lehigh County District Attorney James B. Martin, “but can save vehicle owners time, money and aggravation by deterring thieves from targeting etched cars, trucks and sport utility vehicles.”
The process of VIN etching is simple—the Task Force members will engrave the VIN number on all the windows and the sunroof using a chemical process that will not damage the windows at all. Detective Sgt. Salvatore Aprile says that the time it takes to replace the VIN-etched parts in a vehicle makes that vehicle “practically worthless to thieves.”
This is the 11th VIN-etching event that has been held by the Task Force in Lehigh County since 2009, servicing 580 vehicles with this process. In 2009, the Task Force recovered 166 stolen vehicles, a recovery value of $1.3 million. Again in 2010, 115 stolen vehicles were recovered with a value of $1.4 million.
“Vehicles ranged from older models like 1990’s Hondas to new vehicles that are most likely to be stolen,” said Detective Sgt. Aprile of the Task Force. “Owners should not think that because they have an older vehicle that it’s not worth getting its parts etched.”
Vehicle owners not only protect their vehicle but can often expect a reduction from their insurance companies. “It’s a small task that takes a few minutes, costs nothing, but can be a valuable tool in preventing vehicle thefts,” said Detective Sgt. Aprile.