Some Thoughts and Tips On Bike Theft Prevention - ZX6R Forum
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post #1 of 51 Old 07-01-2013, 09:33 AM Thread Starter Supporting Member
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Some Thoughts and Tips On Bike Theft Prevention

Most Forum members pretty much know the basic rules for keeping their bike(s) from being stolen. The whole key thing, caliper locks, "squealers" etc., is preaching to the choir (I hope...). But there's some things you may want to know as "insider" information. Some ain't pretty, and some may not be practical. Some, however, may make the difference between coming out in the morning only to find your "Precious" has been taken, OR... being able to take the nice ride you intended, and making sure what can be done is done in the case of a theft.
First of all, just so you know, I'm a retired Captain with the Sheriff's Office here in my home town/ county. I was the Marine Officer, and before that the Special Investigator and Intel Officer for the Sheriff, a Detective Lieutenant, etc., etc. My experience ranges from homicides all the way to vehicle thefts. Name it, I saw it and have the t-shirt collection.... When I did crimes, I had the highest “solve” rate ever in this County, and never had a case dismissed, or lost a case in court.
Bear with me, because I'll start this with a very recent SBT (Sad But True) tale of woe, grief, gnashing of teeth, tears, and epiphanies all round. And it has a happy ending...
It is a good example of Murphy’s Law when it comes to bike thefts, why most police agencies don’t pay much attention to what they consider as “run of the mill” or routine vehicle/ bike thievery; and what you can do to “lubricate the wheels of justice...”.
My daughter has a Katana, and son in law (SIM) has a Suzuki GX something or other “go-fast”. They lived in town until a week ago, until they moved to a real house with a garage to park the "Precious's". Well, SIM rides the Suzuki to and from work, but parked it in front of the main door of the apartment at night. My daughter, for whatever reason, kept her "ride" inside the living room as some strange monument to speed technology and modern art. Been there, done that when I was a young man. Always eat breakfast sitting on your bike comes to mind...
When I went over to the apartment a couple times, I told SIM that he needed to keep his bike on the side screened in porch, or wheel it inside with daughter-unit’s (DU) Katana. Nope, did not happen, and at 0700 hours one morning a couple months ago I get the phone call from DU and SIM. “Daddy (teary sniff, sniff clearly audible on the phone...), somebody stole SIM’s bike last night”.
Well they called the local city PD, and officer came out, took the report, did nothing else except tell them that it did not look good, and said an important fact. Seems like there were four other bike thefts that night. Huhm...
Well, being retired, nothing better to do, I headed over there and surveyed the scene of the crime. Bike was parked right next to my daughter’s car, bike was not “locked”, and had been wheeled away, across the grass down the street, no doubt to a waiting truck with a ramp, etc.
Not wanting to listen to DU’s crap for the next month, I called my buddy, the PD Chief. After the how for’s and what to’s of the “wazzup” call, he was apalled that the crime scene had not been processed in any fashion, and was actually unaware of the four thefts in the City during the night. We’re a small community and 2-3 vehicle thefts in one night is a crime wave... he said he’d send a detective over right away, and would keep me posted as to any progress.
I then called the Sheriff’s Office (SO) and spoke with my buddy, the Detective Division Chief, and told him about the thefts in the City. He was interested, seein’ as how a couple bikes also were stolen from County residents. I told him that SIM and DU would head over and also make a report with the SO
Well the “defective detective” from the City showed up, drove right up in the grass next to the apartment (running over foot prints...) and spoke with DU and SIM and gave me the “you interfering bastard” look, and started to leave. So I took him to task, so to speak, and had him dust my daughter’s car for prints. Voila! Several greasy dick beater prints where the thieves had leaned against the hood and fender while moving SIM’s bike. I then walked him through the lawn where it was obvious and evident that the bike had been wheeled to the street. Made him take pics, etc.
At that point, I laid out some facts supported by the evidence to this point.
  • There had to be at least three people involved. Two to do the steal, and at least one, likely in a box body truck so that when they departed the area, no-one would see any bikes bouncing around on a trailer, or in the back of a pick-up truck.
  • Given the number of thefts at one time, the thieves probably were from out of town, and it was planned. Nobody local will steal a crap load of bikes one night unless they have a buyer.
  • Large scale bike thefts in South Florida are often headed to the coast and put in containers, labeled as “scrap metal” and shipped overseas, usually to South America.
  • If this happened here last night, they may wanna’ call the adjacent counties, and also ask to speak with vehicle theft task forces in the counties south of here.
Well, he took notes, gathered up his donuts and coffee and left. I then sent DU and SIM to the Sheriff’s Office to file a report. I then called the investigator assigned and let them know about all the facts of the scene examination. Not to mention that that’s also how boat motor thieves in South Florida operate... Like I said, got the t-shirts from tracking down motor thieves. In fact, because I carefully processed a scene a few years prior, the prints I lifted eventually led to the bust of one of the largest boat motor theft and smuggling export rings in the state’s history. Took a while, but it paid off.
Well, it seems that the City’s and Sheriff’s detectives followed my advice and called everyone and their brother in the police world and lo and behold, a task force from over on the coast called a couple weeks later and told SIM they had just seized his bike from a container being loaded onto a ship destined for some shithole down in the Carribean. Yup, container labeled as scrap. Four suspects, used an old moving van, once a week would head out, do recon, and load up easy targets. They’d put together a fill container, load the front end with barrels of scrap and hope the useless, lazy TSA/ Customs port inspectors would do a cursory glance, sign off and away the container would go.
Other than some fiberglass, a new ignition system and his pride, SIM got his “Precious” back. He learned his lesson. Until they moved last week to a nice house with a garage, the bike joined DU’s in the Kitchen of their apartment. Damn place looked like a Hell’s Angel’s clubhouse for a long time, but what the hey.
Much to be shared here that is relevant for Forum members.
First, get to know what the “stolen bike” scene is like in your area. Is it constant? Sporadic? Certain bikes? What’s the recovery rate? Best place to get that info is from other bikers, dealers and parts people at the dealers. Some will talk to you, others will not. Oh well.
Second... Factoids....
  • There are two types of bike thieves: Targets of Opportunity idiots who usually live in your area, and the “rings” that usually have associations with some outlaw MC clubs, etc. When 5-10 bikes are lifted at a time, it’s a ring...
  • Vehicle thefts (motorcycles) are (1) not real high on the “things to do” list for the police. Sorry folks, but it’s the truth. Unless it’s a violent carjacking, it’s just not a priority other than the usual “motions”. It’s a property crime, and most of the time the victim has insurance, etc.
  • Little dirty secret here is in order. property crimes are usually assigned to the least capable investigators. Why? ‘cause the solve rate is low (10% or less), and the better detectives are assigned to crimes against persons, robbery, narcotics, etc.
  • Many police officers and agencies don’t see some 20-30 something year old who had their 5 year old sport bike ripped. Notwithstanding the psychology involved, it’s just a fact of life. In their minds, the little, inconsequential, and certainly not influential tax-paying citizens who drive demon bikes are a nuisance, not a priority. Sorry to say that, but it’s true.
  • Bikers are stereotyped, and often from a police point of view, considered as “Children of the Lesser God”. Next time you outrun the “man”, remember what you have done may, in no small part, affect how the “man” comes to your aid when your “Precious” disappeared in the dark night...
  • Most thefts are NOT for the bike as much as for the parts. There’s more money in the parts than in trying to sell the whole bike. Exception to the rule? Newer bikes and those that are expensive and highly desirable (‘Busa’s comes to mind...).
Third, some “Hard Core” suggestions.
  • Most thieves will haul ass to their next target if you have a caliper lock, and especially a squealer. If you have a cable, etc. USE it!
  • NEVER tell anyone that you don’t know, or trust with the family jewels... where you live, or what your habits are. You are just telling folks when to come help themselves!
  • Always tell someone you don’t know who casually asks if you “garage” your bike, “Yes locked up and alarm system at the house”.
  • Always keep recent pics of your bike on hand. Especially after any mods, etc. Keep receipts for any and all aftermarket parts.
  • Always keep a copy of the registration handy.
  • Selling your bike? Never meet a prospective seller at your home, etc. Pick a public parking lot or the local police parking lot.
  • Be ambitious and proactive! When you get a chance, or have the opportunity, scribe a unique number on the back side of your ‘ABS pieces, under the tank, backside of a fork support, back side of the swing arm, etc. Don’t use your social number. I recommend your last initial and last 4 of your DL number. Precede that with a couple XX’s, and a couple XX’s at the end.
  • Wanna’ get anal? Remove the license plate when you finish up for the day.
  • Really wanna’ protect your bike! Get a Lo-Jack GPS system. Hell, they are cheaper than an average exhaust system... Check out:
    Stolen Vehicle Recovery System for motorcycles - LoJack - LoJack ..
    I know how these work and lemme’ tell you, when someone wheels off your bike in the smoke and fog of the night, they will not get very far (just don’t be in throws of an all night weed, cheap wine and ether binge and passed out so you don’t hear your I-Whatever phone app yelling an alert...)
Other Preventive Measures....
If you park your bike outside your house, apartment, get a caliper lock and a “squeeler”. A “squeeler” is an alarm device that is movement activated. Put the device away from the bike and run a piece of fishing line from your bike to the device.
At night, if you can, park the bike real close to another vehicle. Basically block the thieves from rolling the target away...
Lastly, and hopefully this is never the case...
  • You walk outside and your “Precious” is gone.... DO NOT touch anything!!! Don’t crawl around and look for clues, trample the grass, smoke cigarettes and throw the butts on the ground, etc. Call the Police right now and stay where you are until they get there.
  • Make sure you have the copy of the registration (and a copy of the title if appropriate) ready for Officer I.M Friendly when he/ she arrives.
  • Never let the police assign a value to the bike. Reason? It affects their statistics, and depending on the laws in your state, is the difference between a 1st degree felony (usually $10k) and just another POS routine crap theft.
  • If you have “connections”, such as your wife, sister, brother, uncle, etc. is the mayor, or works for the police, local government, ask them (innocently...) if it’s alright if you check on the status of your case with them from time to time... (Squeaky Wheel Gets Greased Theory..). Hell, my son in law’s bike got ripped, of course I’m gonna use my “connections”...
  • Do not let Ole’ Fuzznuts Friendly leave unless they have processed the scene in some fashion. Should include, but not limited to: A slow ‘walk-through’ of the area, dust for prints if the bike was next to anything, speak with the neighbors (lemme’ tell you, that’s a big one... You have no idea what your neighbors watch at night..., LOL!!!), and your PICTURES!!! Fastest way to determine they don’t give a shit is if they don’t ask for pics, folks....
  • If you are not happy with the processing of the scene, don’t get mad, get creative... Ask for a supervisor and make sure that you get an answer as to why they did not do something. BE POLITE...
  • Make sure that when they leave you have a business card, and know how and when a copy of the report will be available for you. Ask then to describe to you what will happen. At a minimum, your bike should be immediately entered into the NCIC database as “stolen”. Ask Friendly if you can call him or the investigators later and check just in case they have any questions....
  • Don’t play detective unless you know what you are doing. You could easily screw up an investigation that involves not only your bike, but other victims.
  • Always call every few days and speak with to whomever the case was assigned. Squeaky Wheel Theory... Ask them if there is anything you can do... You never know, they may ask you to do something.
  • If anyone you don’t absolutely trust asks questions about the theft, never tell them what you really know.
  • If your bike ever does a disappearing act, always start checking eBay and Craigslist, and “post-it” messages with used parts at the local dealers. You would not believe how much stolen parts move through eBay and are parted out in that fashion.
  • Make sure that YOU go to the local dealers with a picture of ‘Precious’ and let them know what happened. If the theft was local, before it’s over, someone will order an ignition set, etc.
I hope this is of some help to everyone.

Drive your bike like there's a drone watching you... You'll survive, get really old and have to give your wife Viagra for Women...
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post #2 of 51 Old 07-01-2013, 09:36 AM
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post #3 of 51 Old 07-01-2013, 09:54 AM
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Haha damn, I wish this article had been up "back in the day" my buddy has had almost every bike he has ever owned stolen. Every time the cops came out it was a quick description, a couple of scribbles, and that was it.

Hell, the only reason they 'happened' to recover the first bike was because the moron was doing wheelies down a residential in front of a Sheriff. The cop had some familiarity with bikes so when he ran the plate and saw that it was a "honda" but in fact the bike "looked more like a Suzuki" (the guy had sanded down all identifying information), the guy was arrested.
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post #4 of 51 Old 07-01-2013, 10:05 AM
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Glad you wrote this up I actually did the same thing ans shared my tips and tricks for anit theft on another forum here is what I put:

It's getting to be that time of the year where the scum come out and start picking up bikes. We have already seen three threads on here with people who's bikes have fallen victim to theft. I am sure there are others that maybe are not on this forum but its important that everyone be aware of what is going on.

Fortunately there are measures that can be taken to help minimize the risk of your motorcycle being stolen:

1. Brake disc locks, while the perps can still pick your bike up it makes it difficult for them to wheel the bike anywhere if you pin the bike between a wall and a car.

2. Alarm system, they make systems for motorcycles that once the bike is touched or leaned upward it makes a very very high pitched loud scream, and all the lights start flashing, if you go with one of these do not mount a security blinking light somewhere completely visible, when you do they will see it has an alarm and will go the extra mile to cut any power cables to disable it. Also i believe they make those alarms that can run off a separate smaller battery for such an occasion. These systems can get pricey but would you rather spend $150 now and save your $5k bike from being stolen later?

3. If you are going to be out of town and you don't have a garage find one! There are more than enough people on this forum who are always willing to help each other out and have garage space to hold a bike for a week.

4. When you park your bike try parking it in between a wall and your car, sure it takes time to move your car, but is it worth taking 3 minutes to secure your bike or the 1 minute it takes for someone to steal it?

5. Be tactful: These thieves are pretty organized believe it or not they plan and they have a strategy. Don't take the same rout home everyday, sometimes these guys will post up in a spot and just monitor what motorcycles take what road everyday and the note the times. Then they will follow you to a certain point one day and turn off so you don't think they are following you, then the next day they follow more, untill they have seen what general area you have parked your bike. They also have scouts that will do drive by's and see what times motorcycles are in their parking spots so they know the best time to come take it. Don't be fooled these thefts don't only happen at night so don't assume you are safe when the sun is up.

6. Mix your times up, leave work an hour late, or leave for work an hour early if you do not have a consistent schedule the thieves cannot target a time to grab your bike in fear either the bike wont be there or you will pop out when they try to grab it and they will give up.

7. Change your parking spot, when i say this I mean park all the way on the other side of the parking lot where it can be hidden, then move it back to the other side. These thieves don't usually slowly creep through lots looking for bikes at night as it raises suspicion, they already know where they are because you park in the same spot or 3 spots everyday so they know exactly where to go. If your bike is not where they thought it was they will not typically look around for it.

8. Pay attention to your surroundings, these guys do have scouts that drive around looking for bikes during the day, if you see a car stopped across the street where your bike is parked get the plate number, i had my ninja being scouted a year ago in Denver while I was at work, and i spotted the guy who was scouting it, I came outside and wrote the plate number down, few days later i found a Kawasaki key on the ground near my bike that was not the key to my bike. They tried using a forged key to get my bike to start so they could ride away with it and this was in broad daylight. I called the Denver PD and reported the plate as a potential suspect to steal my bike, they came took the forged key and went to the house the plate belonged to. There where no attempted thefts after that (not sure if they were arrested for other things or what).

Keep all of these things in mind they may help you from getting your motorcycle stolen, always try to stay one step ahead of the thieves.
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post #5 of 51 Old 07-01-2013, 10:44 AM
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Lots of info here I never really put much thought into. I'm not a very paranoid person, and to be honest, sometimes I dont even lock the handlebars when I park my bike somewhere. Maybe I'll start with something basic like disc locks.

Good info, thanks.
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post #6 of 51 Old 07-02-2013, 06:16 AM Thread Starter Supporting Member
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Great advice from Grim! In particular the remark about finding a garage if you are going to be out of town for awhile.
Big cities, urban areas seem to be the worst for organized bike thefts.
My wife did mention that our best defence is the fact that we close our driveway gate and turn guard duty over to "Boudreaux" and "Nadine". If anything enters the "compound", they go nuts! LOL!!! And they KNOW what our vehicles and bikes sound like. They come outto greet us and make sure "we is who we is".
They also wake us up a couple times at night when the random "critter" passes through... But that's the price you pay (along with doggie biscuit treats...) for customized security services...
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post #7 of 51 Old 07-02-2013, 07:02 AM
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Last years news but really worth a read if you have never seen it. Basically the confessions of a thief and chop shop operator.
EX Thief & "chop-shop" operator AMA : motorcycles

At the very very least pick up an alarmed hub lock for 99.00. Xena is a good brand.
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post #8 of 51 Old 07-02-2013, 07:24 AM
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post #9 of 51 Old 07-02-2013, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by screaminz View Post
Last years news but really worth a read if you have never seen it. Basically the confessions of a thief and chop shop operator.
EX Thief & "chop-shop" operator AMA : motorcycles

At the very very least pick up an alarmed hub lock for 99.00. Xena is a good brand.
+1 for this link. It really gives insight into how motorcycle thieves operate.

I do have some bad experiences with XENA alarms though. First one would trigger randomly. The replacement under warrantee doesn't trigger.
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post #10 of 51 Old 07-02-2013, 12:09 PM
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Yeah mine is very sensitive. I normally set the thing off with the key when taking it off..
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post #11 of 51 Old 07-27-2013, 03:59 PM
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What if you replace your license plate with one that is offensive towards police officers after you're done riding for the day?
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post #12 of 51 Old 09-21-2013, 01:13 AM
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Great post! In the South Florida area bike theft is rampant and pretty scary stuff I have to admit.

This is a great post and definetly makes me consider getting more protection and insurance for my gear. I used to leave the SV out with no fancy locks or anything of the sort except the forks. Definite reality check
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post #13 of 51 Old 09-21-2013, 01:54 AM
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I know it won't stop anyone pushing my bike away but I have a switch parallel to my stand switch that's hidden in the bike out of site.

This means if the steering lock is broken and the ignition is forced it'll start and run in neutral. On my ZX6E (believe all Kawi are the same) the stand switch only cuts out if the bike is in gear and you release the clutch. This switch i fitted can.make the bike think the stand is down; thief breaks steering lock, forces ignition barrel, starts bike.
Tries to set off and engine stalls as clutch is released. Thief restarts bike and tries again, probably with more revs this time, having "stalled" last time. This attracts attention and they'll hopefully give up or get caught.

Far as i believe, you have security to stop an opportunist and you have insurance for a planned theft. Guy i work with had an SV650 stolen in a planned theft.
They took two cars out of the garage, took the bike out the garage and put both cars back. Believed to have been a couple of days before the theft was.noticed - after he saw some dirty little chav riding it round the rough part ( featured on 'Skint' on Channel 4 earlier this year)

Edit: anyone used a roadlock? Them disc locks that mount up on your caliper and you just fit the lock barrel to activate them?

Originally Posted by scoobs View Post
dave just tell her you are THE MAN and it was just a pair of nockers nothing more .......
then ask her did you pull over to the side of the road and flop your manhood out and thrash it uncontrollably.......NO
and then ask her did you stop the bus pull the girl out with amazing nockers throw her to the ground and plant your Little Dave into her cream donut......NO
so tell her its life things like that happen........... HAHAHAHAHA

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post #14 of 51 Old 09-28-2013, 02:10 AM
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I wish this article had been up "back in the day" my buddy has had almost every bike he has ever owned stolen. Every time the cops came out it was a quick description, a couple of scribbles, and that was it.

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post #15 of 51 Old 09-28-2013, 07:16 AM
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Park it inside, when I build my house there will be no garage just a formal room for the vehicles.
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