Increase in ATV thefts, owners warned to take measures to secure vehicles

The NPJ noticed a lot of social media posts over the past few weeks about ATV/four-wheeler thefts in the Natchitoches area, so we reached out to local law enforcement for comments. It was confirmed that there’s been an increase in these thefts in recent weeks.

The Natchitoches Police Department said there have been five reported thefts between March 30-April 9. The Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office said there have been seven reported thefts over the course of the last month, along with two stolen motorcycles. Two of the ATVs were recovered.

These numbers were given to the NPJ over the weekend, but on Sunday, April 16, another social media post said an ATV was stolen off of White Oak Lane. Another post from April 12 said a four-wheeler was stolen during a transaction at the Natchez Place Apartments in Natchez. Yet another post on April 11 said a four-wheeler was stolen from a garage in Provencal in the early morning hours. Another post on April 9 said someone entered the backyard of a home on Watson Drive and stole a four-wheeler. The posts described above are just a few the NPJ has come across lately.

The Sheriff’s Office believes that suspects are riding around in the daylight hours to spot the ATVs if they’re left out in plain view. Then, they’re returning to the properties in the late night hours, stealing the ATVs by pushing them out of the yards, loading them, and then hauling them away.

When asked if there was any reason to suspect that its the same person or persons behind all these thefts, the consensus was that it’s really hard to say, but the number of thefts in such a short period of time is suspicious.

The Sheriff’s Office recommends that ATV owners secure their vehicles by locking them up in a shed, or by other means, or at least trying to keep them out of view. It also recommended that owners keep the VIN numbers readily available, if needed in case of thefts.