Motorcycle Thefts on the Rise, Military Affected

Between January and November 2013 850 motorcycles were stolen in the county, CHP officials tell NBC 7.

The California Highway Patrol says motorcycle thefts are up across San Diego County, and the thieves are taking the stolen bikes across the border to sell parts for quick cash. Officials believes these are crimes of opportunity. They say more people in general are riding motorcycles, especially in San Diego.

According to the CHP, between January and November 2013 850 motorcycles were stolen in the county. Only 243 were recovered. Officials say the stolen motorcycles cost victims a total of $615,000 a month and $7.5 million that year.

Many of the victims are military, including U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Albert De La Cruz. He returned from deployment last Friday and discovered his Suzuki GSXR was stolen four days later.

“Tuesday night a police officer calls my phone asking me if I knew where my bike was,” De La Cruz. “He said ‘Would you like to take a look at it because I have it right here.’”

The police officer told De La Cruz he had pulled over a 17-year-old driving the motorcycle to Mexico and that he was only two exits away from the border.

The teen had ripped out the bike’s ignition.

“[Police] said it take [the thieves] about 30 seconds to take the bike. They break off the ignition with a crow bar and they just drive off,” said De La Cruz.

CHP Officer Jake Sanchez says they are actively investigation these thefts and forming task forces to find violators.

“We ask the public if they have a bike to secure those bikes whether it's taking a chain wrapping it around a post - whatever you can to secure their property,” said Officer Sanchez.

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