What is Operation Identification?
Operation Identification is one important step YOU can take in combating
burglary and theft. The Louisa County Sheriff's Office conducts the Operation
Identification Program as a service to the citizens of Louisa County. This
program helps to take the profit out of burglaries and other thefts by making
the stolen property easier to identify and harder to sell or put to personal
use. Burglars and other thieves thrive on stolen property that can be easily
sold because it cannot be properly identified. Recovered property that does
not have personalized identification cannot be traced and returned to the
owner, and it is difficult to introduce as evidence.
A.D. Fortune, Sheriff of Louisa County
How can you participate in this program?
It's as simple as engraving your identifying numbers on valuable property
and making an inventory list. If you do not have an engraver or access to
one, the Louisa County Sheriff's Office has a limited number that may be loaned
out to our citizens. Return the engraver to our office and receive your free
OPERATION IDENTIFICATION window stickers. Then you place the provided decals
in conspicuous areas to let any would be prowlers in your neighborhood know
that you have marked your valuables and are a participant in Operation Identification.
This program greatly increases the risk criminals must take to steal your
What number do I use to mark your property?
If your property does not have a serial number assigned by the manufacturer,
you may want to apply an OAN (Owner Applied Number). We suggest you start
your OAN with "VA" to represent Virginia, and then follow with either your
driver's license number or another number with personal meaning. Do not use
your social security number as a means of identification. If you use your
DMV assigned Operator License Number, than any law enforcement officer can
search the number through our police computer systems and relate it back to
the individual with that DMV Operators License Number.
Property that can be marked
Engrave your number in a place that cannot be easily dismantled, where it
can be observed easily. Make your number as large as possible, and paint over
the grooves you make with fingernail polish or correction fluid to make the
markings more visible.
Property that cannot be marked
If the property cant be marked, such as antiques, jewelry, silver, artwork,
etc., you should take a Polaroid or digital photograph or videotape it. Write
a detailed description on the back of each printed photo, and place these
photos with your inventory list in a safe place. Don't store your only copy
of your list and digital pictures on the computer, that may also be stolen.
When using an electric engraver, follow these tips:
- Practice using the engraving tool before you mark your property.
- Be sure to engrave the complete Operation Identification number.
- Identify your property as conspicuously as possible without defacing
it. (On some valuables, it's wise to engrave a second number in an inconspicuous
spot for added security.
- When engraving, hold the tool in an upright position — not at a slant.
- The engraving tool has a depth adjuster. To adjust for hard surfaces,
such as metal, adjust the knob to the loudest position.
- Make a record of the property you mark and keep it in a safe place.
- Don't put decals on your doors or windows unless you have engraved your
Engrave these possessions
Listed below are some of the most commonly stolen items from homes and businesses:
- Television Sets
- Stereo Equipment
- CD Players
- DVD and Video equipment
- Computing Equipment
- Video Game Equipment
- Fish Rods and Reels
- Vacuum Cleaners
- Kitchen Appliances (mixers, toasters, etc.)
- Mag Wheels
- Lawn Mowers
- Outboard Motors
- Golf Clubs
- Tools (hand and power)
- Watches and Clocks
- High-value Watches
Inventory and make a list
After marking your property, make a list of your valuables and keep a copy
of the list in a safe place. If you should subsequently become a burglary
victim, you will be able to quickly describe the stolen property from the
list. This will be of great help to the Sheriff's Office, in their attempts to recover
the stolen possessions.
Once property has been marked and a list made, display an Operation Identification
sticker at doors and windows which might be used for entry. By advertising
your participation in Operation Identification in this way, you are announcing
that your valuable property has been marked and will be difficult for a burglar
to resell. Often the presence of the sticker alone is enough to deter a burglar.
Did you know?
Virginia Code provides "..The owner of personal property may permanently mark
such property, including any part thereof, for the purpose identification."
..It shall be unlawful for any person to remove, alter, deface, destroy, conceal,
or otherwise obscure the manufacturer's serial number or marks, including
personally marked numbers preceded by the letters "VA", from such personal
property or any part thereof, without the consent of the owner, with intent
to render it or other property unidentifiable. ...
..It shall be unlawful for any person to possess such personal property or
any part thereof, without the consent of the owner, knowing that the manufacturer's
serial number or any other distinguishing identification number or mark, including
personally marked with a OAN preceded by the letters "VA", has been removed,
altered, defaced, destroyed, concealed, or otherwise obscured with the intent
to violate the provisions of this section.