If you have a stolen motorcycle and you recently found out, you can make it legal. In this article, I disclose how to make a stolen motorcycle legit. Note, however, that the best solution is to report the stolen motorbike to the police.
I recall some time in 2018 when a friend discovered that he possesses a stolen bike in Alaska. His mistake was trusting blindly. Moreover, he was given a floated motorcycle title, which is a sign of a stolen motorcycle.
How did he discover that his motorcycle was stolen? We had a police friend across the street. One day, he decided to run a check on his bike, and he was dumbfounded. Yes, the VIN had no record, and the previous owners on the title could not be reached.
He loved the motorcycle but wasn’t ready to lose the motorcycle and the money paid.
The cop friend said he couldn’t register the bike and that contacting the registration department would be hell let loose.
To summarize the story, he legalized the stolen motorcycle and got rid of it without a title.
What happens if I bought a stolen motorcycle?
A stolen motorcycle is a stolen motorcycle whether you discovered it after purchase or not. If you can’t present the original paperwork and receipt to prove motorcycle ownership, it is assumed that you stole the motorbike.
The best practice is to report to the police. Although you will lose the bike, it is worth receiving legal sanctions for a crime you did not commit.
How to Make a Stolen Bike Legit or Legal
Before the adventure, we did researches, though. Below are the ways to make a stolen bike legit:
The Chop Shop
When the chop shoppers strip the motorcycle to parts, they sell it to crook motorcycle repair or body shops. Typically, the sellers are aware of the situation, but they acquire the bike.
However, the chop shop retains the parts with the VIN plates and may imprint a new VIN, which gives the bike a new identity.
To make the stolen motorcycle legal, the seller may then buy back the parts, excluding the VIN parts, and obtain receipts for them. They may then claim to build a custom bike from parts, which the registration department admonishes with a new title and license.
I legally own a 2001 VS1400GLPK1 Intruder that was stolen and then recovered by the police. The thief erased the VIN and put in a new VIN from a motorcycle of a different make and model.
You can also switch the VIN of the motorcycle to make it legal. Also, you must get rid of the motorcycle on Craigslist or sell it out of state, especially to a state without stringent motorcycle laws.
Strip and Run
This method involves VIN switching the motorcycle. However, it gives a clean identity to the stolen motorcycle.
It is not a legal way to make a stolen motorcycle legit, but it can get you under the radar permanently.
First, find an insincere parts dealer and sell off the bike in parts. The next step is to dump the parts of the motorcycle with VIN. If the police get to find it, they might investigate for a day or two. Suppose no one comes up to claim the VIN; it will be auctioned.
Inform the dealer, he bids and buys back the parts with VIN and resells them to you.
Now, the stolen motorcycle is legit and can be registered, titled, and licensed legally.
Strip and run might take time to materialize. The dealer might also inflate the price, though it depends on the make and model of the stolen motorcycle.
Switch with a Wrecked Bike
Also called salvage switch. Switching stolen bikes is a business itself. Typically, criminals pay between $1k-1500 per bike.
After acquiring the bike, buy a wrecked bike at the auction, use the stolen bike as a parts donor, and get rid of the VIN plate. The wrecked and the stolen motorcycles must be similar in make and model.
You can also part the bike out from the beginning through B2B channels such as a storefront or eBay.
Many wrecked bikes go through auction with clean titles, and we can’t think of an established Carfax for motorbikes. Moreover, most dealers rebuild wrecked bikes and switch the VIN with a stolen bike to make it legit.
Note that after switching VIN with a wrecked motorcycle, you must get a rebuilt title for the bike and to through the road test.
Frame with No VIN or Frame Cloning
Another method crooks can legalize stolen motorcycles is to get replacement frames. Most of the time, the frames do not arrive with VIN, so the thief has to title the frame (optional) and sell the bike. A crook can also get a matching frame to the stolen bike, change the VIN on other parts of the bike to match the VIN plate on the new frame. Typically, the frame with VIN may have been salvaged, so the stolen motorcycle gets a new salvage identity and becomes legit.
Moreover, some race bikes sold through dealers on a factory-supported race program or team do not have VINs. It does not also mean that the motorcycle is stolen, which gives a motorcycle thief an advantage.
Frame cloning Some older motorcycles never received the VIN stamp on the frame. For example, my Suzuki DR350 has a VIN tag but no VIN on the frame. Unfortunately, the VIN tag got off for powder coating and is lost. I parted out the motorcycle because it had no VIN instead of fixing it. A thief can do the same to make a stolen motorcycle legit.
Meanwhile, you should see how to title a motorcycle frame.
What Should You Do Next?
After a thief makes the stolen motorcycle legal, they take additional steps to keep it clean permanently.
First, they can create a fake bill of sale for the motorcycle. Of course, an unsuspecting buyer can’t tell when a bill of sale is legit or not because it’s just a document like a sales invoice. Moreover, some motor vehicle departments do not consider it significant during registration.
You can jump the title if you do not want to be involved with the DMV. However, you’ll be selling as a curbstoner.
Suppose you want to keep the bike, find out the requirement in your state and spare some cash for paperwork.
How much can I sell a stolen motorcycle?
The value of a stolen motorcycle depends on the year, make, model and condition. If the stolen but legalized motorcycle is titled, you can sell it for thousand dollars depending on its condition.
A stolen near new 1000cc Supersports sells at $3,500, but it typically sells between $1,000 and $1,500. Harleys vary depending on the model and options. The basic late models start at $1,000. A fat boy and road king goes for several thousand dollars.
Before you purchase a motorcycle next time, make sure you obtain the title and run a VIN check so you do not wonder how to make a stolen bike legit. Also, never sell a motorcycle without a title unless you plan to torment the buyer.
If the police pull you over with a stolen bike, that could be expenses and a criminal record to your name.