NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – Newport News Police held a car etching service Saturday afternoon.

The event brought out more than 100 people to get personalized vehicle identification numbers, or VINs, put on their cars in an attempt to prevent car thefts.

“It’s for catalytic converter engraving and window etching, putting the VIN on the windows,” said Detective Antonia Love.

First, spray paint was put on people’s catalytic converters, followed by a VIN.

Love said different colors of the paint coincides with what part of Hampton Roads the car comes from.

“For instance, in Newport News we use the color yellow and for Hampton we use orange,” Love said.

She said the event was meant to put a stop to what she called an ongoing problem, catalytic converter thefts.

She told 10 On Your Side one man who pulled up to the event and said his was stolen.

“That was one catalytic converter that was cut off and it cost him $3,000,” Love said, “and unfortunately it’s not covered by insurance. … Those things are being stolen on a regular basis.”

However, the event wasn’t only to make sure catalytic converters aren’t stolen, but full cars as well, VINs being put on windows of vehicles.

“The VIN is put into a computer system, and it’s printed out on a piece of paper that we adhere to the window, and we put an acid onto that piece of paper.”

She said police hope the event will help them catch future car thieves.

“They would put that VIN number into a computer system,” Love said. “When they do that, it’s signified as a stolen item and when a stolen item is flagged, it comes up and we are notified.”

Police said once the VIN is put onto a car, it won’t transfer onto a driver’s hands or come off during a car wash.