Thieves are bugging bikes and following them home
Professional bike thieves are fitting GPS tracking devices to high-end bikes parking regularly in the same location.
A recent post on social media has highlighted the use of tracking devices to discover the home location of the bike’s owner.
On the Kent Ducati Owners Club GB Facebook group, a member posted this story:
“I parked in Covent Garden, weekday, daylight. When I went to get the bike a girl from a nearby café asked me if the bike was mine and told me someone had been doing something under the seat or engine a little ago.
“I looked and was lucky to spot a little thing about a square inch stuck there magnetically.
“Anyway, the Met Police told me that now thieves use simple GPS trackers to find out where bikes sleep, when they are unattended and steal them.”
The thieves are using one of two types of tracker and judging by the size of the device found it’s likely to be the type that records locations or waypoints at set intervals. Once the device has been onboard a vehicle for a few days the unit is retrieved and the information is downloaded. Any GPS locations that are recorded continuously indicate where the bike is likely being parked overnight.
Thieves need to make an investment in these units and there is always the risk that they will get caught if the unit has been found and either the police or the owner observe the vehicle and wait for their return.
For this reason, it’s more likely that only high-end bikes like BMW, Ducati and Yamaha superbikes will be targeted, along with desirable or rarer bikes like top end GS’s and Diavels.
The other type of device is larger and transmits real-time data about its location – the same type of device that is used by owners to protect their bike. They are more expensive and harder to conceal, so it’s less likely that thieves will be using these.
What can you do?
Try not to park too regularly in the same location – the thieves have to come back to retrieve the unit, so don’t make it easy for them.
Realistically, the only other thing you can do is to ‘pat-down’ your bike in places where it is easy to conceal a magnetic unit.
It’s more likely that this will be somewhere on the rear frame, under the seat or on a part of the exposed frame further forward that is normally out of eyesight. If you have saddlebags or panniers that someone could slip a small tracker into, consider checking these too.
We’d recommend that, if you are using a disc lock, instead of fitting it to the front brake disc, fit it on your rear sprocket – it will save your disc being cut with a grinder by more opportunistic thieves. While you are down there taking off the lock, you can easily take a look around the rear frame area and undertray. Also, take a good look around the headstock area.
You can also buy a scanning device to search for trackers but they aren’t cheap and are a bit unwieldy. There is also a risk that if you have a GPS tracker fitted it will detect that and not the bug.
Get yourself sorted:
If you are parking a high-end bike in target areas such as London’s West End and City, get into the habit of patting down/checking bags pretty much every time you come back to the bike.
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