How Are Motorcycles Stolen? A Rider’s Experience

Many stories regarding stolen motorcycles daily, but how are motorcycles stolen? To steal a motorcycle is easy compared to stealing a car, and you will find out how in this article.

Before then, let me share a story! I was at a little biker bar in Orange County one Saturday evening.

The nachos were soggy, the live band needed more practice, and the beer was flat. It happened to be my best night of the year, though.

Two dozen bikes were parked in front. Some Metrics, Harleys, and other mixes. While it sounded like the first band was wrapping up for the next act of the night, a blue panel van backed up to the entrance. Four large roadies lumbered out of the van, and like many others, I only watched.

Next, the bay doors of the van opened and started unloading what appeared to be galvanized fence posts. They approached a custom chopper parked next to the van and ran the fence posts through the front and rear rims.

The guys each grabbed an end with a quick heave and lifted the custom chopper into the van. They shut the bay doors and sped off.

For some seconds, I was dumbfounded like the others. The motorcycle theft operation lasted for 30 seconds.

When I became conscious of what just happened, I could hear murmurs; “what the f**k just happened?

Well, someone’s motorcycle has just been stolen in the presence of two dozen eyewitnesses, and not a soul moved a muscle.

The motorbike had a Kryptonite gorilla chain on it, a passive pager alarm, and the ignition was locked.

The cops arrived and took our statements. The owner explained to the cops that’s he hadn’t LoJack or TelTrac. A cop sighed and claimed it was the work of professionals.

The criminals smash and grab the motorcycle without playing around with Kryptonite chains or disc locks. Later that evening, the stolen motorcycle would have been shredded to pieces and legalized the following day.

How Are Motorcycles Stolen?

Motorcycles are stolen in many ways. Besides, it is easier to steal a motorcycle than a car.

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So, how are motorcycles Stolen?

  1. Trucking

Criminals do not have to ride a motorcycle to steal it. Most motorcycles have steering headlocks, and some have chipped keys that disable the starter circuit. Of course, to steal a motorbike, a thief hasn’t the time to break the lock or disconnect the circuit.

motorbikes getting stolen

They instead lift the motorcycle into a truck; it is even easier if the immobilizer lock on the front brake disk does not have an anti-tamper/motion detection alarm.

Wrap a chain around the motorcycle and hoist it into the back of the truck. Drive the truck to the lair, and cut the locks, and that is how motorcycles are stolen so easily.

  1. Bike Jacking

Criminals can bike-jack a motorcycle while it is in motion. While you are riding, a group of motorcycle thieves, typically 2, 3, or more, rams into your bike, and they steal it. It could be at gunpoint, but that’s not usual in most states.

Stealing a motorcycle with a screwdriver

When the criminals ram into your bike on motion or not, it appears like an accident. For some few seconds, passers-by think it’s an accident. An accomplice hits you off your motorcycle, and they ride off.

  1. Gunpoint

The most critical method of stealing a motorcycle is gunpoint. You either comply or get shot, and you can’t help the situation because your life is at stake.

What happens to stolen motorcycles

Typically, victims are trailed by the thieves until they ride to an enclosed area before they strike. When you sense being trailed, speed up to check whether the vehicle behind does the same. If they speed alongside, that’s a sign that you’re trailed.

Moreover, if you find yourself in this situation, avoid eye contact; look down all the while until the criminals zoom off.

  1. Hot-Wiring

To hotwire a motorcycle, it must be with no locks, and criminals hotwire motorcycles when the owners are unaware.

Typically, hot-wiring occurs at night, and the thief can ride home without the need to break the locks.

How does hotwire work?

Get tools such as short-length wire, flathead screwdriver, wiring diagram, and some electrical tape. Perform a quick internet search to determine the serviceable electrical layout. Note that modern motorcycles feature immobilizers that protects them against hot-wiring theft.

Locate the key switch connector. Trace the wires from the key switch; they should terminate in s plastic connector. Open the connector using the small screwdriver to disclose the terminals.

Complete the circuit. The key switch serves an essential function; disconnect the motorcycle’s ignition circuit when in an off state. Use the wire to complete the circuit, if not the key switch. Find the ignition terminals on the writing diagram and connect them with the wire.

Suppose you do it correctly, the lights will turn on, and you can start the motorcycle. Mercer, there should be no sparks. If the motorcycle isolates the ignition circuit from essential functions as lights or instrument cluster, get additional wire jumpers. Lastly, tape the connections. If the connections fall out, the motorcycle will die like you turned off the key.

Are motorcycles stolen often?

Following the recent NICB motorcycle theft report, almost 41,000 motorcycles were stolen in 2019. Most thefts occurred in warm-weather states and in the warm-weather months of July, August, and September.

However, motorcycle theft has decreased 12% since 2016. Reported thefts totaling 46,667 in 2016 dropped to 44,268 in 2017, 41,674 in 2018, and 40,380 in 2019.

California was the state with the most reported motorcycle thefts with 6,913, Florida followed with 4,085, and Texas with 3,165 reported thefts.

Can someone steal my motorcycle?

Of course, someone can steal your motorcycle. However, maintaining the basic security measures ensure that nobody steals your motorcycle easily.

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How to Keep Your Motorcycle from Being Stolen

A motorcycle can’t be 100% secured. However, the tips below keep your motorcycle from being stolen:

  1. Keep the Lock Off the Ground

Regardless of the lock you use, do not rest it on the ground; otherwise, a thief can get the leverage to break it. When the lock stays off the ground, a thief doesn’t have extra leverage to pry the lock open. Attach the chain or lock through the frame, fork, or wheel.

  1. Use Heavy Lock or Chain

A lightweight lock gets broken easily. Use heavy locks to chain your motorcycle; it should deter thieves from prying.

  1. Get Multiple Locks

One lock is enough, but multiple locks do the job better. Lock the motorcycle in a manner the thieves can’t think of trucking it away easily.

  1. Lock Your Steering Lock

Locking your steering wheel keeps thieves from riding your motorcycle away, but it does not stop them from dumping it in their truck or van.

  1. Install an Alarm

Alarms are good to attract attention when someone attempts to steal your motorcycle. Unfortunately, it does not help much, especially if you’re far from your motorcycle.

For a good setup, hide the alarm under the airbox, and all the wiring within the factory looms.

  1. Install the Kill Switch

Wire up a spring-loaded or kill switch to foil motorcycle thieves. It must be held down when the start button is depressed.

Some riders simply remove the main fuse when they park their motorbikes to foil the attempts to steal their motorbikes.

  1. Mind the Parking Location

Do not park your bike outside an apartment complex, especially if it’s a gated parking garage. A gated parking garage is a preferred spot for bike thieves to come shopping for your bike.

What happens if someone steals your motorcycle?

When your motorcycle is stolen, file a police report and inform your insurance. If the motorcycle has a lien, inform the lienholder immediately. Although the chance of recovering a stolen motorcycle is slim, you must act faster before the criminals make the stolen motorcycle legit.

Does a thief plan before stealing a motorcycle?

Yes. Most stolen motorcycles are targeted and trailed. Like every activity, motorcycle theft involves identifying the target and striking. Depending on the vehicle owner, the motorbike theft may require jacking, trucking, or riding off. If you park in a garage, the thief devises a means to break in and steal your motorcycle.

Final Thoughts

Stealing motorcycles is easy, but if a thief is caught in the act, most riders waste no time laying them out with whatever weapons they find.

With social networks today, riding a stolen motorcycle or attempting to sell it can incite riders to accost you. They do not always call the cop; most of the time, they call for an ambulance.

Meanwhile, read how I got a dirt bike out of impound after riding on the highway.

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