Police seeing spike in motorcycle thefts in north Phoenix - CBS 5 - KPHO

Police seeing spike in motorcycle thefts in north Phoenix

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Courtesy: Arizona Auto Theft Task Force Courtesy: Arizona Auto Theft Task Force

Police said they're seeing a rash of motorcycle thefts in north Phoenix right now. And Harley Davidson bikes in particular are being targeted.

According to the Arizona Auto Theft Task Force, 188 motorcycles have been stolen this past year in north Phoenix.  About a quarter of the thefts have been Harleys. 

Investigators believe most of the stolen bikes are being chopped up and sold for parts. 

"(Harleys are) expensive motorcycles.  So to take them and chop them - it's a lot of money," said Sgt. Steve Wamsley of the Arizona Auto Theft Task Force.

This week, investigators searching a home near 10th Street and Dunlap for drugs discovered what they call a good-sized chop shop.  Evidence photos released by police show a 48-foot trailer full of bikes and parts. 

"(They found) probably 30 to 40 different motorcycles inside - different kinds and different brands.  Primarily there were a lot of Harley Davidsons," said Wamsley.

Frank Fiorucci was arrested on drug and weapons charges and will likely soon face auto theft and chop shop charges as well, according to Wamsley. 

Police also said Fiorucci had a state-issued vehicle identification number stamp because he built custom bikes, but may have been grinding down VIN numbers on stolen vehicles and re-stamping them.

"We did find his stamping equipment that he was using on vehicles and we did seize that," said Wamsley.

One Valley resident tells CBS 5 his bike was nearly stolen Thursday night while it was parked right in front of his apartment.

"It was a matter of minutes.  If we wouldn't have came out (from the apartment), it would have been gone," said Bruce, who did not want to give his last name.  "My neighbor heard something going on outside, and then saw a tow truck backing up to my motorcycle."

The neighbor, Carrie Hare, said the men looked like a repo crew, but she knew something wasn't right.

"I was like, ‘Hey! Hey! What are you doing?'  And then I went and banged on Bruce's door -- knowing he owned his bike -- so they couldn't be taking his," said Hare.

Bruce said he chased after the men, but they got away.

"It's kind of scary.  I mean, how many times do you see someone being towed? Nobody would ask any questions," said Bruce.

Bruce said thanks to his alert neighbor, his bike did not end up in pieces.

"I'm very thankful," said Bruce.

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