String of ATV and dirt bike thefts hit Waterbury and South Windsor

SOUTH WINDSOR – One young man is asking for the public’s help after his ATV was recently stolen from his garage.

After a string of ATV and dirt bike thefts occurring across the state, police are urging everyone to be extra careful.

Chase Burnham, 18, locked his ATV up inside his garage last weekend in a place where he thought would be a safe place. It was until he went back home on Mother’s Day morning to find it gone.

“You always worry something is going to get stolen but you don’t think it’s going to happen,” said Burham.

Chase has been racing since he was ten-years-old. He said it's not just a hobby to him, but a career he was passionately looking to pursue. It was a valuable item he worked hard for and he spent thousands of dollars making custom modifications to it.

“I love it. I absolutely love racing. ATV, motocrosses, it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” added Burnham.

With the help of his parents, fliers were made with a reward of $3,000. They drove around neighboring areas day and night to see if they could find it.

“It’s something more than a hobby. It was something he really loved and we’re just doing our best to get it back, said Paul Burnham, Chase’s father.

Chase said one of his friends did spot the ATV on School Street in East Hartford and tried to go after the person. An unidentified man wearing a red bandana and goggles was riding on it and took off.

However, Chase has not been the only victim. A recent surveillance video posted by the Waterbury Police Department on Facebook showed two men inside an old warehouse on Johnson Street, stealing two dirt bikes.

“I think it’s an easy target. I think dirt bikes and ATV’s are a crime of opportunity or they’re not secured all that well once they’re used,” said Fred Spagnolo of the Waterbury Police Department.

Waterbury Police said tire rims have also been stolen from cars at the Byam Village Apartments and cars were broken into outside of Planet Fitness.

As for Chase, he said he has had to put his passion for racing on hold. If he does find his ATV, he said he will make sure it doesn’t get taken away from him again.

“I’ll be putting it in a more secure location and if not, I’m going to be spending thousands of dollars on security,” added Burnham.

The thieves in Waterbury and South Windsor have yet to be found. If you do own an ATV or dirt bike, police suggest locking it down with heavy chains or installing motion detector alarms.

If you also think you have spotted the stolen ATV and dirt bikes, you are urged to reach out to Waterbury Police or South Windsor Police.