SAVANNAH, GA (August 18, 2011): Motorcycle thefts have Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police on alert and looking to cyclists themselves for cooperation.


Police departments across Georgia and South Carolina have been plagued by the thefts, some of which have followed the theft of minivans from the same area that are used to transport the stolen bikes. SCMPD detectives have been working with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, trying to crack a ring of thieves from the Sumter, SC area, which already has yielded more than 20 arrests, but not stemmed the tide of stolen cycles.


“We have issued warnings to owners, but many of these motorcycles are left unattended in parking lots of large apartment complexes,” said West Chatham Precinct Capt. Richard Zapal. “These thieves work quickly. One owner heard his alarm go off and ran outside only to find the motorcycle was already gone.


“If there is any way possible, we need them to try to park these cycles in lockable garages, out of sight. Many apartment complexes provide them. They may cost a little more, but that can save a lot of misery when a bike is stolen. At the very least, they need full descriptions, including Vehicle Identification Numbers, in case they are stolen.”


Police have staked out areas and have other plans to combat the theft, but feel owner participation can go farther than anything they can do.


So far this year, 42 motorcycles have been stolen from the SCMPD jurisdiction and 11 have been recovered. At least four of those were recovered in the Sumter area.


Thieves tend to lean toward Suzuki GS and GSX models and many have been stolen from soldiers in the Southside and West Chatham areas. In many cases, a minivan – often a Chrysler, Plymouth or Dodge – has been stolen in the area and the seats are left behind to make room for the motorcycles. Several of the minivans also have been recovered in the Sumter area.


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