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AAA fighting car theft with free VIN etching

Car thefts are on the rise across the country, but AAA is stepping up and working to protect your ride so you don’t fall victim.

The AAA Wexford branch hosted a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) etching event Wednesday after vehicle thefts across the country jumped 9% last year from a year earlier to 873,000.

That’s the highest number in more than a decade, according to CNBC.

Experts say a nationwide car shortage has led to the acts of desperation.

“The auto thefts had increased. People were stealing cars for catalytic converters and selling them. People were hard up for money,” J.J. Miller, safety advisor for AAA East Central, said.

Technicians spent the day carefully carving cars’ vehicle identification numbers on all of the windows. Police say this deters thieves because before a car can be resold, the VIN number has to be illegally changed. If it’s etched on all of the windows, the crooks are forced to replace all of them and ultimately lose profit.

“If a thief would come along and wanna steal a car they probably would not stop and look at a car that had a vin etched on the window. They know where to look because basically a chop shop would never want them. A window is the most expensive thing to replace on a vehicle. They’d probably move along from my car to yours,” Miller said.

The service was provided for free.

“The more people who do it, less crooks will be involved in stealing cars,” Abe Greenberg of Ross said. “They only way they can now steal the car is to take out all the windows and it’s too much of a job and too much of a hassle.”