13 June 2014

Losses and Lessons: Five stolen Harleys ride off in the night

MOTORCYCLES COVERED: Five classic Harley Davidsons – two 1917 JDs and a 1919 JD, 1920 JD and 1948 Panhead.

WHAT WENT WRONG: Car and motorcycle shows are fun for enthusiasts and owners alike. They’re also a magnet for thieves. The proud owner of five classic Harley Davidson motorcycles loaded them into an enclosed trailer and drove to South Carolina for a show. He arrived the night before and rented a motel room, leaving the truck and trailer parked nearby – seemingly safe for the night. The following morning, however, the trailer and its precious cargo were gone.

DAMAGE/LOSS: It’s never easy being the victim of a crime, but when thieves make off with something very special – like a motorcycle (or five) that you’ve put a lot of time and effort into – it’s heart wrenching. The insured Guaranteed Value of the five Harleys totaled $171,500, which Hagerty paid (less any deductibles).

LESSON: An enclosed trailer in a motel parking lot, especially one that shows up the night before a classic motorcycle show, might as well have bay windows revealing what’s inside. It’s going to be a target. Knowing that a good thief can swipe just about anything no matter how many precautions we take, here are a few suggestions to make it as difficult as possible. Whenever you park your trailer for the night, back it against a light post or wall so that the rear doors cannot be opened without moving the trailer. To prevent thieves from detaching the trailer from the hitch, use heavy duty chain to link the trailer to a solid/immovable object on the truck, and secure it with an industrial lock. Better yet, if there's enough room, after you’ve backed the trailer as close to an immovable object as possible so the doors can’t be opened, unhitch the trailer from the truck and park the truck perpendicular to the tongue of the trailer so the truck will have to be moved before the trailer can go anywhere.

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