HEAT billboards start showing in Lunenburg

Published 11:08 am Thursday, February 1, 2024

You may have noticed the signs while driving around in the county this week. The Virginia State Police are using Lunenburg County as a bit of a test case for their new program. VSP’s Help Eliminate Auto Theft (HEAT) group put up mobile billboards all around the area, each offering statistics, urging people to report motor vehicle theft and offering rewards. 

In 2023, more than 12,000 vehicles were stolen in the Commonwealth. Out of that number, nine were taken in Lunenburg County, along with 12 other pieces of equipment. That includes everything from all-terrain vehicles to trailers, and even at least one tractor. Tips on auto thefts that lead to arrests are eligible for rewards up to $25,000. The idea of using Lunenburg County as a test case came from Virginia State Police Special Agent Craig Hudson, who happens to live in the area. 

“I live near Lunenburg and drive through there every morning, so I just decided to try out the billboards here,” Hudson said. “We’ll leave them there for a year and see if they have any effect.” 

Once they’ve run the billboards for a year and see if that’s made any dent in auto thefts, Hudson said he plans to look at doing the same thing in Prince Edward and Nottoway counties.