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Thieves ride off with ATVs, helmets, cash

Chuck Biedka
| Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011

West Deer police are trying to determine whether an $85,000 theft of all-terrain vehicles and equipment from a dealership along Route 910 early Monday is related to three similar heists in the region.

Burglars took ATVs, helmets and cash from Crossroads Motorsports at about 3 a.m. Monday. The business is located at Oak Road and Route 910.

West Deer police Chief Jon Lape said seven ATVs were removed from the building, but only six were taken.

"One was left behind because they apparently didn't have room," he said.

Also taken were many specialized helmets -- each worth about $750.

Lape said the burglars entered through the rear of the Crossroads building, damaging a door in the process. They used a box truck to haul away the merchandise. The incident was recorded by surveillance cameras, the chief said.

Lape wonders why the burglars abandoned one of the six stolen ATVs along the roadside about a quarter-mile away from the motorcycle and off-road dealership. Several helmets were apparently tossed into the woods.

"Why• We don't have a clue," Lape said.

Connected?

Chief Lape said authorities are determining whether the West Deer case is related to others at dealerships in Moon Township, near Johnstown, and in East Liverpool, Ohio.

All four dealerships sell Yahama ATVs and motorcycles -- but the burglars focused on the ATVs.

A spokesman at state police headquarters in Harrisburg said troopers are investigating large burglary rings that specialize in ATVs.

Sgt. Anthony Manetta said a task force is looking into ATV burglaries in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

"We've made some arrests," he said.

Crossroad Motorsports sells a wide selection of Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki ATVs and it had dozens of motorcycles on display Tuesday. The other dealerships also offer a large selection.

The state police and the attorney general's agents have broken up several ATV rings between 2004 and last year.

Thefts of ATVs from individuals frequently happen across the Alle-Kiski Valley, a survey of police revealed.

"This is something that is stolen at all times of the year," confirmed Lt. Steve Ignatz, crime unit commander for the state police based at Butler.

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