DARIEN, Conn. – A thief can steal your scooter in less than 20 seconds, according to Darien police, and scooters are being stolen frequently from Darien and surrounding areas. But police have a few tips to offer residents to protect their property.
Police said that many scooter thefts take place in train station parking lots and other commercial areas. Many owners do not lock or secure their scooters.
On Saturday afternoon, a 39-year-old Stamford woman reported that she parked her her red and white ZHNG-BMS scooter at the Noroton Heights train station. When she returned two hours later, the scooter was gone. She had parked in the westbound lot and had not secured it, police said.
Police also stopped a man on a scooter recently and discovered that the scooter had been stolen. The man admitted that he had bought the scooter from someone who had stolen it from the Darien train station lot. The theft had never been reported.
Police offered some tips to owners to help them avoid becoming victims:
- Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Owners should cover their scooters if possible.
- Steer Clear: If equipped, the scooter’s steering lock can be a fist-step defense. It is even more useful if the ignition and steering locks are separate, so the thief will have to defeat two locks.
- The Power of Two: It’s best to use two or more locks in addition to the scooter’s built-in locks. Unless a thief has conducted surveillance, they won’t be prepared to tackle different kinds of locks, and anchoring the scooter to something immovable makes it difficult for someone to carry it off.
- Keep It Up: Whatever lock you use, it should be attached through the frame, or through the forks or wheel. When using a chain lock, remove as much slack as possible from the chain and always secure locks with the key hole facing down. This reduces access to lock pickers and cuts down on the amount of leverage a would-be thief can gain to break the lock.
- Lock It Down: A disc lock might inconvenience joy riders, but thieves can still hoist the scooter into a waiting truck. If you add a cable and anchor it to something solid, you create a more formidable obstacle for thieves. Even scooters inside garages should be locked.
- Don’t Cheap Out: Buy more expensive locks. Alarmed disc locks, U-locks of hardened steel and asymmetrical chains all rate highly.
- Get Sneaky: Use a kill-switch or spring-loaded switch that must be held down when the start button is depressed. Some owners have foiled thefts by removing the main fuses when they park.
- Shine A Light: When parking outside, pick a well-lighted, conspicuous area.
- Watch Your Back: Professional thieves often find the scooters they want to steal by following them to where they are parked during the day or night. As you approach your destination, especially if it’s your home, watch your mirrors for several blocks. If someone appears to be following you, try to lose them.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Call the Police: Report suspicious activity to law enforcement immediately and provide as much information as possible. Never leave your keys in the scooter while it is unattended. Keep a record of descriptive information about your scooter such as the vehicle identification number, license plate number, make, model, color and other unique characteristics.
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