Wheels and vehicle parts are a hot temptation for criminals, but a new product invented in Connecticut is helping track down thieves.
Having car parts stolen happens far more often than one might think, and the likelihood of getting them back is slim.
“There's like zero chance of getting them,” said Brad Deveran, owner of PassKey Premium Productions.
Deveran said his product called InvisibleVin is helping investigators crack auto theft cases, and his company PassKey Premium Productions is located in Hartford.
“Most likely they would have no idea that it's on there,” Deveran said.
The product is a permanent marking applied on more than one dozen parts of the vehicle, and is only visible under a black light.
The vehicle identification number, or “VIN,” is imprinted using a chemical that permeates the layers of paint and coatings, making it difficult for thieves to remove, and that is even if they knew it was there in the first place.
“Even when you grind it or sand it,” said Jason Hocking of Executive Honda of Wallingford, which applies InvisibleVin to parts on all of their cars before they are sold.
Earlier this month, an older model Honda Accord came into their shop for a simple repair, and the mechanic noticed something suspicious.
“It had 2013 rims on it so the tech saw it, and said ‘hey this looks like the wheels that we had stolen awhile back',” Deveran said.
A group of thieves had hit the dealership and took off with eight sets of wheels in 2013.
“We came in and they were on the milk crates, and our wheels were gone...it was about a $20,000 claim we had to put in,” Hocking said.
The mechanic checked for the InvisibleVin markings and ran the VIN in their system, and it was a match.
Beyond simply finding the lost parts, InvisibleVin is backed by insurance, meaning as long as the vehicle owner has a sticker on their car letting potential thieves know that the vehicle is marked, the insurance company will send some money for a replacement.
“They'll have a little bonus, down payment on a car, what have you. In addition to any insurance money that they might collect on the vehicle,” Hocking said.
For more information on InvisibleVin and to find out where you can have it applied to your vehicle, click here.
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