Nearly 10 motorcycle thefts a day were reported in 2001, according to CCC Information Services Inc., an information clearing house for the insurance industry.
In Texas, the Austin Police Department auto theft unit recently managed to clear 25 motorcycle theft cases following the arrest of a San Antonio man who reportedly had $180,000 worth of stolen bikes, parts and accessories in his garage.
In Olympia, Wash., a massive motorcycle theft occurred at Olympia’s South Sound Honda on Jan. 30. There, 18 off-road motorcycles valued at $75,000 were stolen during the night.
And, in San Francisco, where police say incidents of motorcycle theft are increasing, cops busted a former robbery convict late last month after finding a cache of reportedly stolen Ducatis and a hodgepodge of burglar's tools, spare parts, drugs and guns in his home.
Robert Scott is a resident of Los Angeles who had his car stolen in late 2001. Remembering that his cell phone was still in the vehicle, he called the telephone company, which only was able to triangulate the general area in which the thief was traveling.
“And that’s when I came up with the idea for Lockdown,” Scott, also an avid motorcyclist, recently told Powersports Business. “I knew motorcycle thefts were a big problem, and so I used my misfortune to try to help others.”
There are many theft deterrent devices currently on the market — locks, alarms, pagers, etc. But Lockdown, formally called Lockdown Tracking System, is a wireless theft detection and tracking device that combines GPS and cellular technology with the Internet to offer real-time control over a motorcycle as well as historical information.
Based on a small black box called a Mobile Location Unit (MLU), Lockdown can be hidden on a bike in several places. If a motorcycle is disturbed in any way — or even approached — the device immediately alerts the bike’s owner via cell phone, e-mail, fax or two-way pager.
According to Scott, the bike owner can then visit Lockdown’s Web site and track the bike via their PC, or contact Lockdown’s 24-hour call center, which will notify local authorities and begin tracking the bike’s movement via GPS.
“Many times, thieves will steal a motorcycle using a pick-up or a box truck,” Scott explains. “They transport the bike to a secure location, where they more often than not begin to strip it. Our device will warn you when someone approaches your bike, and can trace the thief to a hideout, where law enforcement will sometimes find an even greater amount of loot.
“With our system, the location, speed and direction of the vehicle can be tracked real-time, so finding the bike is really very simple.”
Based in Aliso Viejo, Calif., Lockdown began offering its product late last spring after obtaining $500,000 in initial start-up funding. The firm now is going through a second round of funding, seeking $2 million to further its marketing plan and bolster its presence in the powersports industry.
Scott said he devised the product with the help of a friend who is an engineer. While the first generation of Lockdown’s MLU measured 4" x 2.25" x 2", the new device is 4" x 1.75" x 1", and a third generation device — expected within the next nine months — will be even smaller.
Product components are imported from Japan – from suppliers also working with Nokia and Motorola – and assembled in the U.S.
Lockdown is carried by 384 dealers throughout the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. It also works, but is not sold, in Mexico.
Since Lockdown does not sell directly to consumers, and has no plans to deal with a distributor, the firm’s Web site — www.lockdowntracking.com — offers a Dealer Locator. Scott says dealers signed up on the Locator are receiving an average of two calls a week for the product. Margins, he says, can sometimes reach 50% or greater.
“We don’t advertise our price anywhere,” Scott says. “Suggested dealer pricing is $595, and most of our dealers are selling it for around $895. Since some dealers in certain locations can get upwards of $1800, we want to be sure we don’t do anything to clip their wings.”
The meat and potatoes of the Lockdown system is theft-recovery, but there are a lot of other bells and whistles on the product, including Speed Threshold Notification, which contacts a bike’s owner if a set speed is exceeded, and a Starter Interrupt.
“Locks and alarms, or any deterrents or early warning devices are great, but what I feel works best is having a layered approach — with our product being the last line of defense,” Scott said.
Copyright 2003 Powersports Business