SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) - According to the Summerville Police Department, a motorcycle theft ring has returned to South Carolina. Last Friday, two bikes disappeared overnight from a Summerville apartment complex and police are worried the thieves are just revving up.
"Six years just to get that bike," said Douglas Ravenell, talking about the time it took him to save up for his motorcycle.
Ravenell, who is a disabled veteran originally from Cross, says before he was really able to enjoy his prize possession, it was gone.
"I woke up to go fishing around 6 o'clock," said Ravenell. "I walked around my apartment. Walked around to get my fishing rod and noticed my bike was gone."
Ravenell says he had his brand new Suzuki Hi-Booster for only two months before it was boosted from the Church Hill Commons apartment complex off Trolley Road.
Summerville Police Capt. Jon Rogers says this case isn't random. Ravenell is a victim of a well oiled motorcycle theft ring that has been a problem for the last few years.
"It's just been an ongoing problem," said Rogers.
Police say, first, the thieves focus on minivans before stealing what they're really after.
"They're stealing an older model minivan," said Rogers. "They take the seats out of the minivan and discard them to the side. Then they'll go to another apartment complex and steal motorcycles."
Last week, reports of two stolen passenger vans were reported in Summerville from the Waters Edge Apartments and Martins Creek Boulevard.
Two other reports of missing sport bikes came across Capt. Rogers' desk on the same day. The motorcycles were stolen from The Tradition Apartments and Church Hill Commons.
"They want the motorcycles," said Rogers. "They don't want the vans. They just want the vans for transport."
Every year around spring time, Rogers says reports start popping up in North Carolina and Georgia about similar incidents. Then Rogers says the ring skids into South Carolina.
Rogers recommends chaining up your bike or purchasing a GPS or LoJack system to track down your motorcycle if it's stolen.
Ravenell says he's going to spread the word.
"I hope they find it and find the person doing it," Ravenell said. "Some people work hard for what they want and if someone just comes out the blue and takes it, it's a hurting feeling."
The Summerville Police Department says some of the stolen vans have been traced up to Sumter, but they're found burnt out on the side of the road with no sign of the motorcycles.
According to NICB's motorcycle forecast report, just under 50,000 bikes were stolen in 2010 across the country.