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Free VIN etching to help prevent vehicle theft April 6 in Manassas

Manassas City Police Department will host its second Free VIN Etching event on Saturday, April 6, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Walmart parking lot at 9401 Liberia Ave., in Manassas. 

The event is sponsored by the Manassas Police Department and Prince William County Police Department, along with Walmart and the Virginia StatePolice’s H.E.A.T. Program.

Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) Etching is one of the most effective means available to deter auto theft.  Etching is a fast, safe and simple process of having a vehicle’s VIN engraved onto windows using a chemical solution, according to a news release from Patty Prince, city spokesman.

VIN etching takes less than 15 minutes and it causes no damage to the vehicle.  Once the VIN has been etched on all the windows, a thief must strip and replace every piece of glass on the car in order to profit off the sale of the stolen vehicle or its parts.  Doing so is a time-consuming and expensive feat.  This deters many thieves from stealing VIN-etched vehicles. 

Motorcycle owners will be given special VIN stickers to put on different parts of their bikes.

According to the Virginia Uniform Crime Reporting Program, 76 percent of all motor vehicle thefts reported in Virginia occur in the Tidewater, Richmond, and Northern Virginia areas of the Commonwealth.  Thefts are most likely to occur during weekends in the warmer monthsbetween May and August, and in Manassas this statistic is no different. 

The City of Manassas witnessed its highest number of motor vehicle thefts in 1998 with 177 stolen vehicles.  Since then, theft of vehicles, motorcycles and their parts in the City has decreased steadily, down to 60 reported incidents in 2012.

At the City’s first event in September, 74 vehicle owners participated.  The Manassas City Police Department encourages all drivers to take advantage ofthis free crime prevention service. 

For more information about the Virginia State Police’s H.E.A.T. Program or VIN etching, visit


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