The Department of Transportation shall provide vehicle identification numbers for vehicles required to be registered in this state and components of such vehicles as the department determines necessary if the vehicles or components do not have vehicle identification numbers. The authority granted by this section is subject to the following:
A vehicle identification number provided under this section shall be assigned by the department and permanently attached to the vehicle or component as prescribed by the department.
A vehicle identification number provided under this section shall be furnished by the department.
The vehicle identification number shall be affixed on an appropriate place on the vehicle or component by the department or, at the discretion of the department, by a police agency that has custody of the vehicle or component.
The department shall not assign a vehicle identification number to a vehicle or component from which the identification number assigned to the vehicle or component has been removed, defaced, covered, altered or destroyed unless the vehicle or component has been:
Inspected by a specially qualified inspector or police officer for the purpose of locating the identification number and if the number is found it shall be checked with the list of stolen vehicles maintained by the National Crime Information Center. [1983 c.338 §293; 1985 c.253 §9]