Possession of Motorcycle Theft Tools Illegal in California

Motorcycle thieves use a device, known as a "pigtail," to bypass the factory-installed ignition on sport bikes and therefore manage to steal thousands of machines every year. Using electrical tape, wire strippers, and an Allen wrench, they make the pigtail work like an altered motorcycle ignition, which allows them to steal a bike in less than 20 seconds.

Now California has a new law coming to make the possession of a pigtail illegal starting January 1st, 2011. Specifically, makes it a misdemeanor to possess specified tools with the intent to unlawfully take or drive a motorcycle. Violators face up to six months in jail and fines up to $1,000.

"The freedom of riding a motorcycle on California’s roads is one of life’s greatest joys that only enthusiasts can truly appreciate," said State Assemblyman Martin Garrick, who authored the legislation to ban pigtails. "With this new law we are taking an important step to defend that freedom from those who seek to take it away by stealing someone’s motorcycle."

Law enforcement investigators say they’re relieved they now have the ability to stop motorcycle thieves when they catch them red-handed with an altered motorcycle ignition or the tools used to create pigtails.

"This law will greatly assist proactive police units throughout the state which have been working diligently to target professional bike thieves for years. This is the tool we’ve been waiting for that will give law enforcement the edge against these criminals," said California Highway Patrol Captain Scott Parker, who is also the commanding officer for the San Diego Regional Auto Theft Task Force, also known as RATT.
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