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Police and fire

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Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette
Javin Meux calls his insurer Thursday while Aviara, 3, plays in the parking bay where his motorcycles were stolen.

Motorcycle thefts spike across city; link likely

Fort Wayne has seen a recent jump in motorcycle thefts, mainly Japanese-made sport bikes, and police believe most of the cases are related.

In the past two months, 18 motorcycles have been stolen, city police said.

Two of those bikes belonged to Javin Meux. The 26-year-old welder said his blue Suzuki and his white and black Yamaha were parked outside his southwest-side apartment Tuesday night. The next day about 4 a.m., his uncle discovered they weren’t there.

“I jumped up to look outside, and they was gone,” Meux said. “I got a helmet. That’s the only thing they left behind.”

The light bulb in the carport sheltering the two bikes had been unscrewed, presumably to conceal the crime as it was committed.

The other motorcycle thefts also occurred overnight, police said. The bikes have been taken from streets or driveways outside the homes of victims and from the lots of apartment complexes. Except for one, all the stolen motorcycles were Hondas, Kawasakis, Suzukis or Yamahas, according to police.

Investigators believe the motorcycles are being lifted or loaded into a vehicle or trailer. Victims have reported that their bikes were locked with fork locks or some other means.

Meux said his handlebars were locked, a measure he had heard would deter thieves.

Meux said he only recently got into riding motorcycles. He bought his Suzuki in March, and he bought his Yamaha less than a month ago.

He said he had full insurance coverage on the Yamaha, worth about $14,000, but only liability coverage on the Suzuki, worth about $4,200. For now, he’s driving his car to work.

“Hopefully, I get my bike back in one piece – both of them,” he said.

Police encourage motorcycle owners to park their bikes in secure garages or well-lit spots. Installing an alarm system or using a chain to lock the bike to a fixed object is also recommended.

Investigators believe most of the thefts are linked but do not have suspects. Police are asking anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 436-7867. Tipsters can remain anonymous, and cash rewards are possible.