Local News

Thieves caught with help of LoJack

Posted July 20, 2009 11:33 p.m. EDT
Updated July 21, 2009 8:20 p.m. EDT

— A silent, hidden radio transmitter helped police bring an end to a string of motorcycle thefts in Raleigh last week.

The LoJack Stolen Vehicle Recovery System allows authorities to track vehicles and motorcycles. Raleigh police are crediting the system with helping them locate nine stolen bikes.

Burt Shelby's motorcycle was taken Thursday morning from his apartment complex parking lot on Barrymore Street.

"I didn't see anything at all,” Shelby said of his bike being stolen.

Shelby said he probably wouldn’t have seen his bike again, but the thieves stole another motorcycle that same morning on South Walnut Creek Parkway. That bike was equipped with a LoJack system.

"I was pretty hysterical,” motorcycle owner, Phillip Bisbee, said of the theft.

Bisbee owns a yellow Suzuki. He had heard about motorcycle thefts in the area so he bought a LoJack tracking device for his bike.

The LoJack transmitter hidden on Bisbee's motorcycle gives off a signal. Anytime the bike is rolled 20 feet without his permission, Bisbee said, he gets an alert.

"So if the key is not in it, and I roll it to the end of the parking lot, I get a phone call,” Bisbee said.

When Bisbee reported his bike stolen Thursday, an officer, using the computer in his police cruiser, entered his information into the National Crime Information Center database. The NCIC entry activated the LoJack, and tracking equipment in the police car quickly detected a signal from the bike.

The officer responded to the source of the signal, in the 2400 block of Raymond Smith Road.

Police found two suspects – Christopher David Brown, 25, and Vincent Lamar Street, 24 – unloading motorcycles from a trailer.

The men ran through some woods but were eventually taken into custody by police. Other stolen motorcycles were located in the woods, police said, including Shelby's Honda.

They checked VIN numbers to reunite the bikes with their owners.

"You could see different bikes just stashed in the woods, just leaning against trees,” Shelby said.

Shelby credits Bisbee with getting his motorcycle back. He is also planning to buy a LoJack system for his bike.

"I shook his (Bisbee) hand so many times,” Shelby said.

Bisbee said he paid $900 for the LoJack system. LoJack guarantees that authorities can track and recover a  vehicle within 24 hours, or the corporation will refund the cost of the system.

Brown and Street were charged with nine counts of felony larceny (for the recovered motorcycles) and 10 counts of felony possession of stolen property (for the recovered motorcycles and the recovered trailer).

Later Thursday, police said they arrested and charged a third suspect, 25-year-old Edward Cooper Outlaw.

A fourth suspect, Jennifer Dejesus, 27, was also arrested and charged with three counts of possession of stolen property in connection with the stolen motorcycles. Dejesus was also charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell or deliver, maintaining a dwelling for the purpose of selling or delivering marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

The trailer was reported stolen on July 11, which is also the date of the first reported motorcycle larceny associated with the suspects, according to police.