BUCHANAN DAM, Texas (KXAN) — Law enforcement across Texas are investigating an apparent “auto theft ring” after a moped was stolen in Austin and transported to Buchanan Dam to be sold on the black market.
Jose Ortega, the general manager for Texas for Revel Transit, said one of the vehicles in his fleet was taken from downtown Austin and transported more than 70 miles to a home in Llano County.
Llano County Sheriff’s deputies said they recovered the stolen moped at a home in Buchanan Dam. They also found numerous other stolen mobility devices, including Lime scooters.
“Theft is a crime and ultimately harms those who rely on these vehicles everyday as an affordable, convenient way to get around. Lime takes theft and vandalism seriously and will pursue appropriate legal action against those that damage, vandalize, or steal our property.”Lime Spokesperson
“It was very shocking,” said Ortega. “We were very confident with our technology and our assets that we finally had enough information to have the authorities retrieve our moped.”
34-year-old Harley Sharrock was arrested and charged with felony unauthorized use of a vehicle and felony possession of drugs and narcotics, punishable up to 20 years in prison, according to police documents.
Ortega said the moped was located using the internal GPS tracker built inside the vehicle.
“It was great to use our technology to do something that benefits our users and the safety and integrity of our assets,” Ortega said.
The Llano County Sheriff said this crime is now being turned over to the Heart of Texas Auto Theft Task Force, the law enforcement agency that investigates vehicle theft across the state.
It’s unclear if Sharrock was attempting to sell the moped in its entirety or in parts. Bikers in Austin said they see a compatability between the mopeds and larger motorcycles.
“I had no idea they were this big,” said Jose Cepeda of the Revel mopeds. Cepeda has owned a motorcycle for a decade. “I can see that some of the parts could actually be used on bigger bikes.”
Cepeda pointed out the luggage carriers, levers and disc brakes which could all be retrofitted. He hopes law enforcement continues to crack down on this type of theft.
“It makes me a little more concerned now. Maybe I will put a GPS tracking system on my bike,” Cepeda said.