Catasauqua Press

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Free VIN-etching event set for May 13 in Whitehall Township

Wednesday, May 3, 2017 by CONTRIBUTED ARTICLE in Police Log

Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin has announced the Lehigh County Auto Theft and Insurance Fraud Task Force has scheduled a free Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)-etching event May 13 in Whitehall Township.

The event will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Whitehall Township Public Works building, 3219 MacArthur Road. The event is open to all vehicle owners in Lehigh County, and there is no limit to the number of vehicles that motorists can bring to the event.

VIN etching is the process of chemically etching a vehicle’s unique identification number on all windows and sunroofs. The process does not harm the windows and does not detract from the appearance of the vehicle.

Detectives who do the VIN engraving, which takes just minutes, use special software and a dot-matrix printer to create stencils with the identification number on them. The stencils then are applied to each of the vehicle’s windows and are dabbed with an etching solution. The stencils are then removed, and the glass is cleaned with glass cleaner. The number remains behind and is lightly etched into the glass.

Detectives usually do VIN engraving on about 80 vehicles per event.

Task Force Detective Sgt. Salvatore Aprile said vehicle owners can save money by going to the free VIN-etching events, which are held several times a year in the Lehigh Valley. Car dealerships offer similar etching services as an option, but those can cost between $100 and $300, Aprile added.

Etching is a simple way to deter thieves from stealing a vehicle, Aprile said. If someone steals a VIN-etched vehicle, the thief will have to replace all the windows or deface the glass to remove the etching, so the vehicle can’t be identified as being stolen.

“Because it is more trouble for them, thieves are less likely to steal vehicles that have their windows and sunroofs engraved,” Aprile said. “At this free event, vehicle owners can protect their property and have peace of mind that they took an active step to prevent becoming a victim of vehicle theft.”

The township also has scheduled its annual recycling drive and document shredding event at the same time and location. While the VIN etching is open to all Lehigh County citizens, the recycling and shredding services are available to Whitehall Township residents only.