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DALLAS COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) – New statistics from the North Texas Auto Theft Task Force, a division of the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department, shows a marked increase in the theft of sport motorcycles also known as “crotch rockets.”

Officials say, while stealing the bikes is relatively easy — locating the motorcycles and returning them to their owners is a far more difficult task.

According to investigators the bikes are stolen for three reasons: re-sale, dismantling for parts, and “stunting” or showing off.

When thieves want to sell a stolen bike they often remove or alter the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Officials say bikes sold online are often done so without a title and are sold to buyers out of state or out of the country.

Bikes stolen for “stunting” often involve taking risky joyrides or performing dangerous acts that result in the sport motorcycle being damaged or destroyed. And of course, bikes broken down and sold for parts are virtually impossible to recover.

Officials are advising North Texas bike owners to try and prevent theft by doing three things:

  1. Conceal the bike – since most thieves like to ‘shop’ for a motorcycle and steal it later. Keep the bike stored, in a garage, or under a cover. If at an apartment or in a public place park the motorcycle in a well-lit area and near surveillance cameras if possible.
  2. Lock your bike – If equipped use the steering lock or the harder to break disk brake lock. A simple chain through the wheel and/or frame is also recommended – the bigger the better. U-bolt type locks can also be used to prevent the wheel from spinning.
  3. Take advantage of sound – Use an audible alarm or at the very least use stickers that say your bike has an alarm.

Nationwide, Texas comes in at number three for the most number of registered publicly owned, private and commercial motorcycles. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau the state is also third in the country for the number of motorcycle thefts – with 3,403.

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