EVANSTON — Video surveillance shows thieves had to make two trips to steal seven new high-end Polaris RZR side-by-side utility terrain vehicles valued at more than $225,000 from Basecamp Evanston.
There were at least four men involved in burglarizing the powersports dealership, said Dylan Lee, a salesman at Basecamp.
Surveillance footage shows that the thieves cut locks and cables to gain access to an outdoor parking area where the vehicles were parked at about 12:30 a.m. Saturday. They removed and replaced the ignitions from four of the RZR side-by-sides, loaded them on a flatbed gooseneck trailer and left.
They then returned at about 3 a.m. and replaced the ignitions on three more RZRs and loaded them on the same trailer, Lee said.
‘They Knew What They Were Doing’
All of the vehicles stolen were high-end 1,000 CC models, and six of seven were equipped with turbos, Lee said.
"They knew what they were doing," Lee said. "They headed off toward Yellow Creek, (south of Evanston) toward the bus barns, and then we have footage of them coming back. We think they got on I-80 after that."
Basecamp Evanston owners are offering a $30,000 reward for information leading to arrest and conviction of the thieves.
Lee said the pickup used in the crime was a 2006 either white or silver Dodge Mega Cab. The truck either had no license plates or the plates were covered up.
Could Be A Theft Ring
Lee said detectives from the FBI have visited the business and are working the case. He added that there could be a Utah connection to the crime as several side-by-side vehicles have been stolen there recently.
"It's been a big deal down there recently," Lee said about the UTV thefts. "Thieves have hit both dealerships and people's private machines."
Lee added that the machines would not start without a Polaris ignition. FBI agents told Basecamp's owners there were reports of people buying replacement ignition switches at some Utah dealers.
"We think it's connected to the Utah thefts," Lee said. "To come in and steal seven machines with a truck and trailer, they knew what they were doing and what they were coming for. They had scoped out this business."
Salt Lake City NBC affiliate KSL News reports that about 40 side-by-sides from several Utahcities have been stolen since early June.
Evanston Police Department did not respond to a request for comment from Cowboy State Daily.