The Albuquerque Police Department’s Auto Theft Unit is hosting a VIN etching event May 14 in the Target parking lot, 6100 Paseo Del Norte Blvd. The free drive-thru event will be from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
“Basically, what we do is just put the VIN number for the car on all the pieces of glass that’s on the car, including the sunroof,” said APD Sgt. David Taylor. “If they have the intention of taking it to a chop shop, they have to replace all the glass. They’re more likely to abandon it and we can recover the vehicle.”
Brian Eagan, from the North Domingo Baca area, wrote on NextDoor, “I have had my VIN etched into the windows by APD Detectives at a similar event at this location in prior years and it was a quick and easy, well organized, drive thru process. And after I had the windows etched with the VIN, I did not suffer from any car thefts or burglaries.”
“It’s not going to keep the vehicle from getting stolen,” Taylor said, “but if it’s an organized theft ring that’s stealing it to make a profit where they’re going to part it out, that cuts into their profits when they notice all the glass is etched.”
“I’ve recovered one that was totally stripped down,” Taylor added. “We were able to say ‘hey this is the car; it has all the glass etched.’”
To prevent auto thefts and break-ins Taylor recommends keeping valuables out of sight or out of the vehicle. He said not to leave the keys in the car or to let the vehicle run while no one is around. Taylor also recommends keeping the title, registration, and insurance in a safe place.
“I always recommend to either carry it on your person or to make a pouch with Velcro and put it under your seat,” he said. “That way if your car is broken into while you’re at work or whatever, they don’t have your home address and drive straight to your house and break into your house because they know you’re not there.”
Taylor said a vendor advertising the Ravelco anti-theft device will also be at Saturday’s event. He said the device has never been defeated. “It comes with a special key that locks the ignition of the vehicle so if you don’t have that special key, you’re not getting that car started,” he explained.
Taylor said on average 70-80 vehicles have shown up to past events, but on one occasion around 300 vehicles had the VIN etched into the glass. The events take place in warmer months because an acid used in the etching process takes to the glass better when it is warm. It only takes about five minutes to complete the process. Taylor said dealerships will charge a couple hundred dollars to do what APD is offering for free.
For more information about the event contact APD Sgt. David Taylor at 505-823-4455 or visit or visit cabq.gov/police/events/vin-etching-event.