Fingerprinting cars with the Sheriff’s Office and Virginia State Police

Published 9:40 pm Monday, April 15, 2024

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This past Saturday, the Suffolk Sheriff’s Office and Virginia State Police teamed up again to help residents “fingerprint” their cars. During the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) Etching and Constitutional Officer’s Day event held at 1200 N. Main St., residents came out to get their cars marked with a VIN, a chemical etching their VIN to help prevent automobile theft. The event also doubled as a meet and greet where some of Suffolk’s local officials came out to meet with attending residents to give out information from their departments.

During the event, Chief Deputy Major David Miles provided details on the etching for those who were unsure.

“What we’re doing is with help from the State Police – they are actually putting the VINs up there [and] we are assisting them – but what they’re doing is they are etching the VIN number into the glass around the vehicle. So that way if the vehicle is stolen, it’s easier to identify,” Miles said. “So if someone steals the car, it’s too expensive to replace the glass. So it’s easier to walk up to the car, look at the VIN and law enforcement can run that number really quickly and find out whether or not the vehicle had been stolen.”

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Suffolk Resident Miranda Harding says she saw an advertisement for the event as she was leaving Lowes, which brought her to the etching.

“So I wanted to know what it was about,” Harding said. “and then once they explained to me what it was about, I said, ‘It’s awesome, let me turn around and get it done so that in the event that my car was stolen, they can find it fast.’ And quick and easy.”

For James Begley, he initially thought it was a donation event for the Sheriff’s Department but decided to stay after getting details on the etching.

“He said that it was easier to track if the car got stolen, and I don’t see the harm in that,” Begley said. “So I just decided, ‘I’m already in line, might as well go ahead and go with it.’”

Both Commissioner of Revenue Susan Draper and Chief Deputy Treasurer Andrew Owen attended the event. Draper talked about coming out with her staff to support the Sheriff’s Office.

“I came out today along with some of my staff to support the Sheriff’s Office and also to come out and meet the community and give them information that will hopefully save them money on their taxes,” Draper said. “It’s always good to meet people in the community, because it’s what we’re all about!”

Likewise, Owen provided detailed support to the Sheriff’s Office while giving information about the Treasurer’s Office.

“What we’re doing, staff from the Treasurer’s Office, is we are providing information about our office. Some of the services we provide, some of the upcoming events and activities,” Owen said. We’re making the citizens more aware about what we do for them each and every day, and we’re letting them know that we’re here for them if they need anything.”

The event also saw Commonwealth Attorney Narendra Pleas in attendance, who discussed coming out for the office’s etching event for another year.

“They’ve done it before. We were attending that previous event, so we wanted to come out and support them to help deter people from becoming victims. Which we’re all about in the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office,” Pleas said. “Hopefully, this will deter people from breaking in and stealing people’s cars.”

For those who haven’t had a chance to make it, Miles says residents can follow their social media for announcements on the next etching and other events.

“We will, of course, like everything else we do, we publish our events on our social media platforms, and when they see that it is coming… then hopefully they will be able to come and get in line and get their vehicles, as we say, ‘fingerprinting their vehicle,’” Miles said.

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