'DataDots' help recover stolen motorcycles during Bike Week

By Saul Saenz, Volusia County Reporter
Last Updated: Friday, March 06, 2015, 8:30 PM EST

There's a new, high-tech tool to battle thieves this Bike Week and help owners and law enforcement recover stolen motorcycles.

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Bike Week Safety

9 reminders for motorcyclists and other drivers during Daytona Beach's Bike Week

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For many motorcyclists in Central Florida for Bike Week, one of their greatest fears after parking their expensive bike is having it stolen.

"I have a bike that can easily be dragged onto a pickup truck or a flatbed, so it doesn't take much to steal a motorcycle,"said Pete Peregamo, of Orlando. "My Bike Week, if it was stolen, it would ruin it."

Peregamo said he knows what many bikers attending Bike Week know: Many motorcycles are stolen during the 10-day event.

It's been such a problem in years past, that the Volusia County Sheriff's Office, Daytona Beach police and other agencies have formed a task force aimed at preventing bike thefts and recover stolen motorcycles.

Lt. Jim Morgan, who leads the task force, says 23 bikes were stolen and only 12 were recovered in 2013.

In 2014, 11 bikes were stolen during Bike Week, but 33 bikes stolen nationwide were recovered last year.

Like other bikers, Robert Echard, visiting Daytona Beach from Pennsylvania, parks his bike during the event and walks away, hoping for the best.

His worst nightmare? "That I come back and there'd be an empty space," he said.

Harley-Davidson is the bike brand of preference for thieves, and that company is now using a high-tech approach called DataDot Technology.

Each glitter-sized DataDot contains all the motorcycle's information, which is linked to a nationwide database. Many of them are attached to the frame of the motorcycle.

"Or to certain specific parts of the motorcycle," added Shelly Rossmeyer Pepe, daughter of the late Bruce Rossmeyer, founder of the world's largest Harley-Davidson dealership in Daytona Beach. "It's like a liquid dot system that is put on, and if the bike is recovered, they can scan and find the motorcycle."

Officials say the best way to make sure your bike is not stolen is to keep it in your line of sight at all times during Bike Week.