Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version Share this


December 27, 2010 (San Diego) -- Professional motorcycle thieves are using secondary ignitions and altered motorcycle ignitions known as “pigtails” as bypass devices to steal sport motorcycles throughout San Diego County. A pigtail acts like a picklock, enabling a thief to steal a bike in less than 20 seconds.


On January 1st, a new law takes effect which makes it a misdemeanor to possess any device or specialized tools designed to bypass the factory installed ignition of a motorcycle.


Violators face up to six months in jail and fines up to $1,000 under the measure, AB 1848, which was authored by Assemblyman Martin Garrick (R-74th district).  Local auto theft investigator Anthony Molina with the Chula Vista Police Department, and Deputy District Attorney Michael MacNeil were also instrumental in getting this law enacted.


 The Regional Auto Theft Task Force (RATT) says the new law is necessary because 78% of the sport motorcycles in the San Diego border region are never recovered. In 2009 alone, more than 11-hundred sport motorcycles were stolen in San Diego County.


According to the insurance industry, the cost of a stolen motorcycle averages around $9,000 per claim. These costs are often passed on to consumers in the form of higher rates.


There are more motorcycles stolen in California than any other state. During the first 10 months of this year, more than 5-thousand bikes were stolen in the Golden State; that translates to $45 million in insurance claims this year alone.

Error message

Support community news in the public interest! As nonprofit news, we rely on donations from the public to fund our reporting -- not special interests. Please donate to sustain East County Magazine's local reporting and/or wildfire alerts at to help us keep people safe and informed across our region.