LOGANSPORT — As more people are out riding their mo-peds, the Logansport Police Department is seeing a rise in the number of thefts.
The police department has seen a marked increase in moped thefts, with 18 reported since April 1, as compared to about 10 total thefts in 2011. First Detective Sgt. D.J. Summers attributes the spike in thefts to the increased presence of mo-peds and the lack of owner safety precautions.
Though mo-ped theft was high a few years ago when gas prices increased and people began using the scooters more frequently, the numbers slowly decreased, Summers said. Then there was a marked spike this year.
“All of a sudden this year, major increase,” Summers said.
Summers said he had seen the biggest increase in mo-ped thefts, particularly the Tao Toa brand, this past month.
The most recent reported theft occurred Sunday, when a man reported that his white 2012 Tao moped was stolen from the back of his residence at the 400 block of East Broadway. The keys had been left in the ignition.
The average cost of a Moped is $500-$1,500, Summers said.
Mo-ped thefts often occur because the owner is “a victim of opportunity,” Summers said. The reported thefts have frequently been from the victim’s home and sometimes the keys are in the ignition, he said. More people have their mo-peds outside because of the warm weather, Summers added.
Nine of the stolen mo-peds have been recovered.
Summers said mo-peds are difficult to recover because they don’t have a BMV license plate. Therefore, police officers have to use VIN numbers and owner descriptions.
Police are able to find mo-peds more easily, Summers said, if the owners have applied their own markings or if there are any distinct additions to the mo-ped.
Summers said the perpetrators who have been caught with stolen mo-peds have been juveniles The trend in “victim of opportunity thefts” has also extended to property theft, Summers said. He said there’s been a marked increase in personal property theft, from people not locking their houses or giving others access to their homes.
“There’s been a lot of theft, period,” Summers said.
Police Chief Mike Clark recommends that mo-ped owners memorize the VIN number, make and model of their scooters and take photos in case the bike is stolen.
Summers also recommended better safe-guarding.
“Treat it like a bicycle really,” he said. “Chain it up.”
• Caitlin Huston is a staff reporter of the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5148 or firstname.lastname@example.org.