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Free Lance-Star reporter Robyn Sidersky covers Caroline County government and schools. You can reach her at 540/374-5413 or rsidersky@freelancestar.com. You can follow coverage on Facebook or Twitter as well.

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Free VIN etching Saturday to prevent car theft

The Caroline County Sheriff’s Office and the Virginia State Police are offering free Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) etching Saturday to help reduce car theft.

The etching will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  in the parking lot of the Ladysmith Pharmacy located at 18014 Jefferson Davis Highway.

H.E.A.T. (Help Eliminate Auto Theft) is an auto-theft reduction program and coopperative effort between the State Police, the Department of Motor Vehicles and local law enforcement agencies across the state.

According to state police statistics, car thefts in Virginia increased by 42 percent from 15,022 offenses in 1987 to 21,284 offenses in 1991. Since H.E.A.T. began in 1992, car thefts have decreased by about 46 percent compared to 1991.

There were 11,451 reported car thefts in Virginia in 2009, state police said.

VIN etching is fast, safe and won’t ruin the look of the vehicle or motorcycle, police said.

Numbers are etched with a permanent chemical solution.

This will deter car thieves, police said, because it makes the car more traceable and more difficult to dispose of.

Police say VIN etching obliterates any potential profit thieves may get from the practice of selling windows and windows and windshields for parts via chop shops.

For more information on this program, contact the Caroline County Sheriff’s Office at 804/633-1120.

—Portsia Smith

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