CCSO/SCATT schedules free window etch clinic to help curb auto theft

On the day most of us are looking forward to paying something to Uncle Sam, Comal County residents can get something free back from their government. The Comal County Sheriff s Office, in partnership with the Sheriff s Combined Auto theft Task Force (SCATT), has scheduled a free window etch clinic, from 9A to 1P, on Friday, April 15th, 2005. The clinic will be held in the parking lot of the First State Bank, 8010 FM 2673, in beautiful downtown Sattler, TX.

The service is free of charge, takes about seven minutes, and you are on your way , says Cpl. Tim Kolbe, of the Comal County Sheriff s Office.

If you vehicle does not have the VIN number etched on its windows, this is an excellent opportunity to have it done. During the etching process, a stencil is made of the VIN number and placed on the windows of your vehicle. An acid is applied over the stencil, which permanently etches your vehicle's VIN number in the window. The etched number is approximately 1/4" high, positioned in the lower corner of the window. The number is not obtrusive, but visible to thieves, and law enforcement officers.

Glass from stolen, chopped vehicles ends up in the auto salvage pipeline, providing an income for thieves. Having your vehicle etched not only is a good deterrent for auto theft, but could also count as an insurance discount. Some insurance companies will give their customers anywhere from 5-15% discounts, on comprehensive coverage, because they opt for the window etching.

While you wait, you can sign up for the free Help End Auto Theft, or HEAT program, and be doubly protected from auto theft.

"The best theft protection is a layered defense, and we plan to have literature available to address those topics," Kolbe stated.

The HEAT program allows law enforcement to stop vehicles on the roadways between 1 a.m. to 5 a.m., when joyriding in stolen vehicles is at its peak time. Participants will receive stickers for their vehicle, applied as they wait.

CCSO is a member of SCATT, and contributes one investigator to the task force. Come see a seized stolen vehicle, used as our crime prevention vehicle. The CCSO uses several such vehicles, saving tax monies by deferring purchases of new equipment for specific purposes.

The top five most stolen vehicles in Texas are the Chevrolet and Ford pickup truck, Honda Accord, Dodge pickup, and GMC pickup. June and July experience the highest rates of thefts, and we are adjacent to the fourth highest county in the state for vehicle thefts. Bexar County holds that dubious distinction, preceded only by Dallas, Tarrant, and Harris counties. Those 15 to 24 years of age, account for the majority of the age groups who steal vehicles.

For more information about the event, contact Kelly Hibbs at the Travis County Sheriff s Office Auto Theft Division, at 512-854-9735, or Cpl Tim Kolbe at the Comal County Sheriff s Office, at 830-620-3400.

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