What To Do When Your Motorcycle Has Been Stolen

Six steps to increase the odds of a reunion with your stolen bike

A bike stripped of valuable parts by a thief.
To a thief, your bike's value is often in its individual bits of steel, aluminum, plastic, and chrome.Ken Condon

There’s a special place in hell for motorcycle thieves—and there are a lot of them. One of those thieves once lifted my machine—in broad daylight while parked and covered—outside my place of business. When my co-worker ran to inform me of the crime, I sprinted to the parking lot to find an empty space where the bike once stood.

It’s a terrible feeling that raises a dozen questions: What happens now? Is there anything I can do? How do I catch this jerk? Unfortunately, math isn’t on your side; the odds of recovering your motorcycle are slim. However, there are some things you can do to increase the odds of a reunion with your ride.

Call the Cops

The first thing I did was call the fuzz. The amount of sympathy you receive and the effort the officer or detective puts into your case depend largely on whether you live in an indifferent city or a sleepy hamlet where grand theft is rare. In my case, the South Boston cop who arrived on the scene was eager to help recapture my motorcycle.

Check the Neighborhood

The officer told me to jump in the cruiser, thinking the bike may still be in the neighborhood. It never hurts to enlist your friends to do the same. We looked down every alley and inside every parked panel van, but to no avail. Eventually, a police report was taken, and I took a depressing subway ride home, helmet in hand.

Find Witnesses

In my case, my co-worker couldn’t give a description of the perps. There is a chance the bike might reappear in the neighborhood if it was stolen by joyriding teens. So post notices with a photo, description, contact info, and where it was stolen on local bulletin boards and lampposts. Someone might come forward with just the info you need.

Tell Your Friends

Amplify your message. Nobody likes a bike thief, so use the power of the internet and post about your loss on social media. Upload pictures of identifying scrapes or dents, custom mods, or other distinctions. Alert Facebook groups and internet forums that are local to your neighborhood, or specific to your bike model or bike type.

Part Out

Thieves often steal motorcycles to sell the parts. Search Craigslist and for-sale forums to spot suspicious online activity. If you happen to see your custom-painted fuel tank for sale, inform the authorities and hope they care enough to follow up.

Coverage

You’ll be glad you bought comprehensive insurance coverage if ever you discover a sickening void where your motorcycle was parked. Lucky for me, dealing with my insurance company was painless. Soon I was shopping for an even better replacement motorcycle, and that certainly helped the healing process.