Organized crime group steals motorcycles to make ‘fast cash for drugs’

Brady Edwards said he found himself “up a creek” after this thief stole his motorcycle. Trina Hoggan was able to capture this picture in the parking lot of GameStop after she noticed the bike looked exactly like the bike in Edwards’ picture on social media. (Trina Hoggan).

BYU senior Brady Edwards came home one night in August and parked his motorcycle in front of his car. He let out a groan of despair when he came out of his apartment the next morning to find his motorcycle was gone.

“To wake up and find one of my prized possessions was gone because of the selfishness of some low-life person was a tough pill to swallow,” Edwards said.

He turned to the police and social media to get justice. The next day his friend Trina Hoggan found a bike that matched the picture Edwards posted on social media.

“I was going to the dentist right next to the GameStop, and I see a bike that looks exactly like (Edwards’ bike),” Hoggan said. “I was able to get a picture of the (suspect).”  

Sure enough, it was Edwards’ motorcycle. He reacted quickly by contacting the Provo Police Department. An officer was sent to watch the surveillance video at GameStop.

Thanks to the footage and an anonymous tip, Officer Palmer was able to track down the suspect at a motel in Provo, according to Officer Jeff Wilson, who assisted with the case.

Wilson, who was called in by Palmer, hid his Police patrol car around the corner as Palmer approached the suspect. There was a group of people around the motorcycle, stripping it down and spray-painting it. The two officers cornered the men and took them into custody.

The anonymous tipster also revealed to police that the suspect is a member of an organized crime group. The group steals bikes and sells them to generally get “fast cash for drugs,” according to Wilson.

The officers contacted Edwards and asked him if he wanted to retrieve the bike or have it towed. He told them to tow it. When he went to the tow yard, he said he was horrified at the state of his motorcycle.

When police found Edwards’ vandalized motorcycle, it was beyond repair. Unfortunately, he will never be able to ride this motorcycle again. (Brady Edwards)

“The exhaust has been ripped off, the key holes gutted, the clutch snapped off, a terrible white primer coating sprayed on the full exterior of the bike … the right mirror missing, all the gold decals scraped off and to top it off, he left the battery nonfunctional,” Edwards said.

Unfortunately, Edwards’ bike was beyond repair. He only had liability insurance, which wasn’t able to help.

Edwards said he was happy to receive closure, but sad to say goodbye to what he called his “pride and joy.”

“It was like walking into the morgue to identify a dead relative,” Edwards said of his experience seeing his vandalized and destroyed bike.

Wilson has a few recommendations for those with bikes. He recommends that owners have their bike serial number memorized and registered, and also to report suspicious activity and identify the features of “anyone who seems like they’re snooping around.” This information gives officers a good lead to follow.

Wilson also recommends to keep bikes in a garage or a well-lit, secure place.

“If it’s not easy for them to steal, they’re not going to take it,” Wilson said.

Will Wright, a freshman who studies mechanical engineering at BYU, has had a motorcycle since he was 16 years old. He said he makes sure to lock his wheels in place most of the time but doesn’t when he is at home in Orem.

“I feel like it’s in a safe environment, and it would be pretty hard for someone to hot wire it. There are people up late at night and early in the morning. Somebody would see somebody hot wiring a motorcycle,” Wright said.

Edwards’ bike before it was stolen. He said he’s learned important lessons about preventing theft from his experience. (Brady Edwards)

Edwards said he feels people should always be on their guard. He posted warnings on social media for people to take necessary precautions against motorcycle theft.

He recommends that motorcycle owners install a GPS tracker or motion sensor alarm on their bike. He said though it’s expensive but worth it.

“We have a false sense of security. Regardless of where we live there will be people who try to take advantage of that,” Edwards said.



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