Scooters disappear as thieves target parts

By Amy McGillivray

Western Bay scooter owners are increasingly finding themselves without transport after their environmentally-friendly vehicles are snatched by opportunistic thieves.

Tauranga police Constable Sharleen Irwin said scooters were being targeted by thieves and used for parts.

The number of scooter thefts reported had jumped during the summer months with seven reported in January and three in December while there were none in November, she said.

Only two of the 10 scooters had been recovered. One was found dumped at the corner of Fairmont Tce and Ridge St in Otumoetai with the front guard, side panel, handlebar and mirrors missing and the other was found dumped in the bushes behind Otumoetai College.

"Historically it's something that happens over the warmer period. People are using them more in summer time," Ms Irwin said. "Brookfield and Mount Maunganui seem to be our hot areas for them."

Four have been stolen from Mount Maunganui properties, three from Brookfield and one each in Greerton, Papamoa and Otumoetai.

It takes only 11 seconds to steal a scooter, she said.

The low recovery rate suggested the scooters were being stolen for parts, Ms Irwin said.

"Where are they all going? With vehicles they usually end up somewhere but with the scooters we are not finding them," she said.

Craig Leckie reported his daughter's boyfriend's scooter stolen from Mount Maunganui in December.

Mr Leckie said the 19-year-old usually parked his scooter around the back of their Oceanview Rd house but made the mistake of leaving it parked on the side of the road for a couple of nights.

"A couple of nights he left it on the kerb and he woke up and it was not there. I guess they just threw it on to the back of a trailer," he said.

"In fact, we didn't notice for most of the day. It was only when he went to go home and it wasn't there. They must have just come in that night and quietly done it."

The 2007 model Adley SF50 scooter, worth about $1000, had a steering lock on it but was not otherwise secured.

"It's a respectable street but I suppose you leave it out there and it can catch the eye of someone," Mr Leckie said.

It was a lesson learnt the hard way, he said.

Ms Irwin said scooter owners needed to take steps to secure their vehicle at all times.

The best advice was to park in busy, safe, well-lit areas, lock the steering column and use a disc lock, throttle lock or an alarm system.

Use ground anchors for overnight parking, chain the scooter to a fixed object and keep it parked in a garage where possible, she advised.

"Don't hide your scooter behind a bush at your house. Keep it visible and well lit. Put it in the garage if you can," she said.

Recording the VIN number and marking as many parts of the bike with it or the registration number could also help stolen bikes be recovered.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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