A man who poses as a prospective buyer is believed to have stolen at least five motorcycles during test rides on the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane and the Gold Coast since December 18.
Queensland Police have issued a warning to riders selling motorcycles to be cautious when allowing potential buyers to test ride their bikes.
More than 8000 motorcycles are stolen each year in Australia, with two out of three taken from the owner’s home. Over half of motorcycles stolen are not recovered.
While most of those thefts are at night, there is a growing trend for scammers to steal bikes from people selling them privately through online sites.
There has also been a rash of stolen bikes in Victoria from thieves who contact sellers and get their address on the pretence of coming to inspect the motorcycle. The thieves roll up and steal it.
However, in the case of the South East Queensland thief, he shows up and takes the bike for a test ride and never returns.
The thief has stolen the bikes from private addresses in Sunnybank Hills, Woolloongabba, Salisbury and Pacific Pines and on the other occasion the bike was stolen from a Kunda Park dealership.
The thief is described as being Caucasian in appearance, aged in his early 30s, about 185cm tall with a solid build, short brown hair and brown eyes. The man has a tattoo of a fish on his right arm and a wizard on his left leg.
Anyone with information regarding the man or his whereabouts is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
There are precautions you can take against test-ride thefts, such as meeting buyers at a neutral place and holding their licence or passport while they test ride.
Motorcycle theft stats
State or Territory
% of thefts
% of thefts
Most stolen motorcycles were low-capacity Japanese models which also dominate ownership and sales, followed by KTM, Harley-Davidson and then a range of scooters.
Hot spot for motorcycle thieves was South East Queensland with Brisbane topping the list at 291 (-3.3%) ahead of the Gold Coast (162 -13.4%) and Moreton Bay and Logan City also in the top 10 theft locations. The other hot spot was the Perth region with three locations in the top 10.
State or Territory
Gold Coast (City)
Moreton Bay (Regional Council)
If you want to keep your bike safe, make sure it is under lock and key in the early hours of Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday when most bikes are stolen.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR BIKE
Buy a secure chain so you can chain your bike to an immovable object like a lamp post.
Use a secure disc lock with a reminder cord attached to your handlebars so you don’t ride off with it still in place.
Also, use the steering lock if your bike has one.
Even when parked in a secure location such as your garage, consider the extra security of using the steering lock, a disc lock or chain as well.
Pull out a spark plug or fuse, or have an immobiliser fitted.
Don’t park your bike in railway or shopping centre carparks as these are notorious for theft.
Park in a locked carpark. If you have to park in the open, leave it where you can see your bike or in view of a security camera.
Otherwise, keep your bike out of sight, maybe parking it behind your car. If parking in a garage, block the bike with your car and ensure the garage is locked.
When riding home, make sure you are not being followed.
Stay alert for suspicious vans or trucks driving around late at night. These are used to transport stolen motorcycles.
Put a cover over your bike. It might slow down thieves and prevent theft of accessories. But make sure it isn’t a flashy lone with the brand name of the bike on it. That only entices thieves.
When riding in a group, park your bikes together.
Consider marking your bike in a unique way that could aid in recovery and therefore dissuade thieves.
At hotels or public parking spaces, try to park in view of parking lot security cameras.
If you park your motorcycle outside your house, consider installing a motion sensor light near the bike.
Install a motorcycle alarm and/or a hidden kill switch.
Buy a GPS tracking system that can track and deliver your bike’s speed, location, and direction.