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Old 05-05-2012, 08:35 PM   #1
ThatOtherGuy OP
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Inside the Mind of a Motorcycle Thief

An ex moto thief talks about the best methods of keeping your bike safe.

http://www.reddit.com/r/motorcycles/..._operator_ama/

Kind of a long read, but interesting nonetheless.
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Old 05-05-2012, 09:32 PM   #2
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Thanks for posting!
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Old 05-05-2012, 09:52 PM   #3
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I worked with a guy who had done something like 5 years for motorcycle theft.

He was doing his best to work a real job, but I think he was realizing the job we had was shit... and that crime, done right, could pay.
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Old 05-05-2012, 11:29 PM   #4
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Very good read. Makes me feel paranoid, low on ammo, and missing having a garage.
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Old 05-06-2012, 12:02 AM   #5
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Let me just copy-paste the essential bits here:

Quote:
basically you want it to appear to take a long time to steal. $100 disc lock on rear wheel, $150 chain/lock combo through hard parts not chain and not wheels, if it has to be a wheel put it through the rear one, lockable bike cover, and keep your steering locked
Lojack is pretty good for recovering bikes from beginners, but I want to keep mine from being stolen in the first place.
copy/pasta below! As far as the first post is concerned
1) Mostly supersports. They are the most commonly crashed and generally the easiest to find (left outside in nice apartment complexes) Next would be Harleys and for a brief moment in time the high dollar choppers.

2) Never, ever, never never never, NEVER leave your bike outside at an apartment complex. Especially one with a gated parking garage. The gated parking garage in a mid to high rise apartment building in the nice part of a large city is the number one place for bike thieves to go "shopping." As far as passive devices go I like the NYC fughetaboutit chain/lock from Kryptonite, the thicker of the two. It needs to go through something like a braced swingarm whenever possible. If you absolutely have to put it through a wheel put it through the rear wheel. It takes much longer to swap than the front wheel. Any $100 disc lock will work well, again, rear wheel, locks on the front are more easily defeated, take my word for it. Cheaper disc locks can be quietly, well, we'll leave it at that, cheap ones can be defeated in silence.

Lo-jack and Lo-Jack w/early warning are pretty good at recovering the bikes from amateurs and semi-pros, but someone who knows what they are doing will remove the lojack system quickly after clearing the area. Still someone even more professional (surprisingly rare) will have somewhere to check/store/breakdown the bike that is rf shielded. The problem with lo-jack is that it doesn't keep someone from stealing the bike. Even if you get it back in one piece without the police crashing into your bike to catch the thief you'll still likely have a broken upper triple, damage to the neck of your frame (Steering lock), damage to your ignition, damage to the tank lock, possible damage to the tank itself (rareish) possible damage to the trunk lock , and then your insurance company might fuck you too. It's much better to not get the bike stolen in the first place. So in addition to lo-jack you want some sort of VISIBLE passive devices to make the thief move on. The paging alarms are somewhat effective, but they aren't linked to the police. Removing electronic devices is obviously more of a mental challenge than a physical one. The quality of the install is a huge factor here. Hide the lo-jack or alarm in or under the airbox and all the wiring within the factory looms and you'll have a good set up. However, almost NO dealer tech is this thorough. It's not his bike, why would he go the extra mile?

3) I think bobbypeel covered the locks and chains well. Very few thieves are this thorough, of the dozens of them I knew over the years I only came across one like this, but I knew someone that had a pair of bolt-cutters that weighed a lot, more than a 45lb plate at the gym, and had replaceable cryogenically hardened teeth. They cost several hundred dollars. The high dollar chain lock sets $150+ are worth it. Even the high dollar braided cable locks are good. They can be cut, but it's a pretty time consuming process.

4) Personally, if it's rashed up, looks cosmetically rough, but mechanically sound. Say grips are worn, been dropped on both sides, but the chain is clean and well-adjusted, tires worn hard on the edges, has any signs of safety-wiring for the track etc. It's lack of value isn't what I'm looking it. It would remind me of myself once upon a time. I think that's probably all he's got, his whole world, it's not pretty, but he rides the piss out of it. He gets a pass.

More for most people, just what takes time. I've known very very few stone cold guys that can sit there for an hour working on a bike. Most people will give it a few seconds, maybe a couple minutes, and if they can't get it they are gone. What is only seconds feels like an eternity when your freedom and life are on the line. Quality disc lock on the rear wheel, quality chain and lock, lockable bike cover and theft coverage on your insurance. For me, lo-jack isn't worth the cost. It's more expensive than theft coverage and after a thief has had his way with the bike I don't want it back. All can fit in a back pack and aren't much of a hassle to carry. Never leave it outside very long day or night. If you have to ground anchors are good like bobbypeel said. I always wondered what was available in a marine application for something like this. Something with a real burly chain/lock.

If you're temporarily parked outside somewhere a good little FREE anti-theft trick, bring a stubby flathead with you and remove your clutch lever. No clutch lever and they aren't riding anywhere. Of course if you do this every night outside your apartment they'll just come back with their own clutch lever.

Also - LOCK YOUR FUCKING STEERING - DON'T LEAVE YOUR SPARE KEY IN YOUR TRUNK. I can open your trunk with a butter knife, don't leave me your fucking key in there, jesus. Happens more often than you think. Also, don't leave your TITLE in the trunk, i've seen this too often too. Steering locks aren't that hard to bypass, but they aren't THAT easy either. Sometimes you get the freak one that doesn't want to break and you'll need to come back with a second person. In that time maybe the owner sees the bike and the thief doesn't get it. Had it been unlocked the bike would be gone.

Again, if you park outside of an apartment and your bike gets stolen, rent a fucking garage or self-storage unit near by to use as a garage. The thief is just going to wait a couple weeks for insurance to replace your bike and come back to check. If someone tries and fails to get your bike the same thing applies. Move it, they WILL be back.
The majority of thieves aren't that smart and half of those are on drugs, please don't be dumber than they are.
Quote:
Some guys would take off at the horn, some wouldn't, they might disable it and try to get the bike still. What would happen if they shook the bike repeatedly. Say the horn goes off, they hide, you come and reset the alarm, they do it again, so on and so forth. Would you think it's a false alarm and eventually disarm the alarm? What if they did this for a few nights in a row?
Just something to think about.
The bit on the clutch lever is quite brilliant, actually

Thanks for this though, it's a really handy piece of information
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Dekatria screwed with this post 05-06-2012 at 12:30 AM
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Old 05-06-2012, 12:40 AM   #6
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I keep thinking something that activates a taser if it isn't disabled.

Also, maybe loosening the rear wheel bolts could do the same thing. Just don't forget to tighten them back up.
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Old 05-06-2012, 02:29 AM   #7
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No one wants an old BMW K bike like mine.

I do have two bicycle projects going on and will be buying another mc,
so this thread got me thinking once again about an alarm with two way paging.

I did read the whole thing and no mention of a paging alarm was made iirc.

Bully makes a U-lock with pager that would be great for bicycles as well as motorcycles.
It does not have a long range however. I think it said 400 meters.

On a quick search there was one, installed on the bike pager, that has a 5000 meter/3 miles range.
One like this should get through concrete codo parking structure walls.... just a thought.
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Old 05-06-2012, 05:24 AM   #8
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What about pulling the shifter (instead of the clutch lever)? True, it's easily replaced with a small vice grip but it would make it more difficult to steal. And, isn't that the object here? I'm just referring to day-time parking, say, while you were at the office, not over-night.
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Old 05-06-2012, 05:54 AM   #9
mattjw916
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Won't matter if they just throw the bike into the back of a pick-up truck... which is what happened to my Ninja back in the day.
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Old 05-06-2012, 09:51 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bronco638 View Post
What about pulling the shifter (instead of the clutch lever)? True, it's easily replaced with a small vice grip but it would make it more difficult to steal. And, isn't that the object here? I'm just referring to day-time parking, say, while you were at the office, not over-night.
I remembered a very nice custom honda 750 chopper from long ago that had a nicely polished and chromed vise grip shifter and also vise grip highway pegs.

Back to the story, bike thief should be staked out on a fire ant mound. Just once for about 20 minutes for every bike they stole.

Rod
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Old 05-06-2012, 10:21 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldPete View Post

I did read the whole thing and no mention of a paging alarm was made iirc.
Quote:
The paging alarms are somewhat effective, but they aren't linked to the police.



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Old 05-06-2012, 10:42 AM   #12
Homey
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I take the ignition switches off my bikes. None of them even have a key, just a little hidden switch. When I was in college at San Diego St. I had a very nice 86 GSXR (Yoshimira engine, Olhins suspension front and rear) that I used to ride to school every day. There were motorcycles stolen right next to mine. I'm sure it was because they went to look for the ignition switch and there was nothing there for them to hotwire so they just went to the next easy target. Funny thing is that if they knew what they were looking for they could have drove the thing off in about 2 seconds.
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Old 05-06-2012, 11:16 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattjw916 View Post
Won't matter if they just throw the bike into the back of a pick-up truck... which is what happened to my Ninja back in the day.
The guy claims, the pros ride them off. Which probably draws less attention. Then 4 guys walking up and picking up a bike.
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Old 05-06-2012, 11:35 AM   #14
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I could probably steal up to twenty bikes a day if I wanted without spending any time at it.

Half the bikes I see daily will start with the key to just one of my own bikes.

That said, I live where most people drive bikes and a small, but growing, minority have cars.

In fact, I often steal friends bikes for fun, then return them.
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Old 05-08-2012, 06:22 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattjw916
Won't matter if they just throw the bike into the back of a pick-up truck... which is what happened to my Ninja back in the day.
That's one of the reasons I lock my bike to a light pole, with a Kryptonite u-lock and Krypto-cable. It won't stop a pro but will certainly deter the 'opportunist' thief. Isn't that the thought here? Make it just difficult enough for them to pick another target?
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