FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – For the past two months, Fort Wayne Police say there’s been an increase in motorcycle thefts.
Since May 20, 18 motorcycles have been stolen in Fort Wayne. FWPD says the thieves are targeting sport bikes, otherwise known as “crotch rockets,” made by Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha brands.
“Because of gas prices they're more economical on gas. They're very popular— they're everywhere,” said Officer Raquel Foster, FWPD Public Information Officer.
Police say the bikes are being stolen from all around the city off the streets or from driveways and front porches of the victim’s home. More recently, the thefts have been in the parking lot of some apartment complexes. The bikes are all 2000 to 2012 models and weigh 350-450 pounds, light enough for two people to lift. They suspect the bikes are being loaded onto a vehicle or trailer and taken to be sold out of town.
“We believe it's several people. It's very likely they're acting together. These incidents all appear to be related,” said Foster.
Mike Ackels, General Manager at Fort Wayne Motorsports, says the bikes are being stolen for other reasons.
“They don't want the bike,” said Ackels. “There's no value to that because they don't have to hawk the frame or grind up the serial number. Why do that when they can steal a motorcycle, take the plastic off, and sell in on E-Bay?”
Ackels says the most targeted places to steal on a bike are the gas tanks, the plastic used to make the body, and the tires. He says you can sell those online for thousands of dollars.
“You can get up to $1000, easy. The nicer the stuff, the more you get. It’s so simple because there’s the same plastic on every single bike. It's the same colors on every single one, so there's thousands of people out there looking for that piece of plastic,” he said.
Ackels says it’s easy to sell the parts online because there’s no way to prove if they’re stolen or not.
“There’s tons of plastic on E-Bay for sale, and you can’t trace it. There’s no serial numbers on plastic, there’s no VIN numbers on plastic, there’s no way to identify it’s yours,” he said.
To protect your motorcycle, Ackles suggests purchasing a disabler with a tracking device, or a disk lock with an alarm for $60.
“It's the simplest alarm you can get. You literally just put in on the bike disk and lock it. They can't roll the bike, but it's harder to steal a motorcycle when the front wheel won't turn. If they lift your bike up, it sets the alarm off.”
Police are encouraging motorcycle owners to secure their bikes in a garage or keep it in a well-lit, highly visible place.
Anyone with information about this recent rash of motorcycle thefts is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at (260) 436-7867 (STOP) where a cash reward is possible for information received. These incidents remain under investigation with the City of Fort Wayne Police Department and the Allen County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
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