MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The Myrtle Beach Police Department has a team dedicated to finding stolen cars and motorcycles and because of the crowds coming in for Bikefest, they were able to track down 55 stolen bikes and parts,
That represents an estimated $230,000 worth of property.
"In many cases, we found out that many owners did not know that parts of the motorcycle in this case were stolen," said Lt. Joey Crosby, spokesperson for the MBPD. "They had identified the motorcycle through Craigslist or some other type of resource, made the purchase through an individual, thought it was a legal purchase and later found out parts or the entire motorcycle was stolen."
Crosby said the team dedicated to recovering stolen property used different kinds of technology to find out if the motorcycle or parts of it were stolen, and if those riding it were completely innocent or not.
"And the officers come in contact with the individuals in various means," he said. "It could be through just a street encounter or a traffic stop. There's also various ways that we come into contact with the stolen property and identify it."
Crosby added the team works with other entities and agencies to piece together where these bikes are coming from. Once they find out the motorcycle is stolen, they act immediately.
"We seize that motorcycle. We then do an investigation of how long it's been stolen, where it's stolen from," he said. "We do an in-depth investigation and then the motorcycles are returned back to the rightful owner in many cases."
If officers find those riding the bikes truly did not know they were stolen, they are let off the hook but still faced with trying to get their money back.
"Through our investigation, if they do not know, then of course they have the civil recourse to recoup their money through the civil means," Crosby said. "But certainly no criminal charges are filed against them."
Crosby added that anyone considering buying a motorcycle through a website like Craigslist should do a background check on the vehicle's VIN numbers.
"Make sure that you check as much as possible to see if the motorcycle is stolen," Crosby said.