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Permanent labels help prevent auto theft

By Catherine Diamond | June 7, 2013

FLEXcon and Creative Stencil work together to deter would-be thieves.

FLEXcon, a manufacturer of pressure sensitive films and adhesives, recently announced that it has been selected by Creative Stencil/CSI Alert/SPY-Dot as the continued supplier for its Body Marking Labels, products which aim to help reduce the risk of stolen vehicles. The companies work together to reduce the threat of auto theft for car owners by using permanent labels with etchings that are placed on automobile parts to deter thieves from stealing a vehicle. Given the fact that a car worth $35,000 can be dismantled and sold for parts worth upwards of $100,000, those labels may very well be the most undervalued part of a car.

FLEXcon also provides Creative Stencil with materials that are used for window warning stickers that are applied to the rear side windows to warn potential thieves that parts within the vehicle are marked and are traceable by law enforcement. According to Don Liberacki, president of Creative Stencil Inc., windshield glass is an incredibly valuable part of a car. These warning stickers “permanently destroy the windshield as a piece of resalable glass,” he says. Best of all, he says, they do so without altering the look of the glass, so consumers don’t have to sacrifice aesthetics for security. 

“Our goal has always been to protect consumers’ vehicles and reduce the risk of theft,” Liberacki, says. “Because car thieves – and chop shops – often steal vehicles for the parts, by working with FLEXcon we are able to create a product that delivers an extra layer of protection through permanent labels with etchings and by alerting would be thieves that the parts in a specific vehicle are permanently marked.”

FLEXcon provides a custom THERMLfilm Silver Polyester for Creative Stencil to print body-marking labels. The material can withstand various conditions, including UV exposure, temperature extremes and chemical/solvent contact. When the THERMLfilm product is laser etched by Creative Stencil, the label is permanently adhered to a specific metal part of the car and leaves a traceable “footprint” behind upon removal. THERMLfilm Silver Polyester uses an adhesive system that allows the etching on the part to remain visible via black light, if the label is removed. The body marking labels have unique PIN and telephone numbers permanently etched or engraved by laser to help law enforcement identify stolen parts of a vehicle. These identity label systems are frequently offered to prospective consumers as they go through the process of buying a new car through new car dealers.

“We are always excited to work with customers that are creating products to help consumers protect against theft, counterfeiting and diversion,” says John Bennett, vice president of product identification at FLEXcon. “With Creative Stencil’s unique approach and FLEXcon’s expertise, we’re able to create comprehensive labeling solutions with adhesive chemistries to provide a truly unique anti-theft system.”

Bennett adds that these labels can be placed on painted, as well as glass, surfaces. “Today, the big thing is that criminals want to steal your car and the chop shops want to take the parts off and resell them,” he says. “They don’t want to paint cars anymore. The want to sell the parts with the OEM pain on them.” The additive in the label’s adhesive allows it to be fully removable, while the traceable information remains in tact. “If you go back over where the label was with a UV light, you can see that the label was there.”

Liberacki says that his company has seen a significant increase in demand for these anti-theft labels over the last few years. Particularly in 2009, when the economy began to downturn, car dealers were looking for every conceivable way to attract customers. “It takes five minutes to apply,” he says. “You open four doors, the hood, trunk, etc., and you’ve got a system that’s fully operational.”

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