Motorcycle theft has reportedly been on the rise in Italy, with over 31,000 bikes stolen in 2022 alone. Still, even if you know that, you probably don't expect thieves to try to make off with one of the bikes on the show floor at the world's biggest major motorcycle show of the year.
That's what happened at EICMA 2023, though. A team of two would-be thieves (at least, two that we know of) decided that what they needed was a shiny new Kawasaki KX250X. So, they came up with a plan that they hoped would net them a brand new bike, with no one the wiser.
As anyone who has ever participated in a major show can tell you, a whole lot of people are necessary to both get it off the ground and keep it running. With so many workers running to and fro, few (if any) staffers are going to know them all. That's exactly what this father and son tried to exploit to get their coveted Kawasaki.
Gallery: Kawasaki Stand at EICMA 2023
Unless you're another worker at a big conference like EICMA, lots of people tend not to notice the folks working behind the scenes. That's why this 55-year-old father and his 18-year-old son thought they could simply show up, claim to be workers sent to move a handful of bikes, and simply take an extra bike off the show floor on Monday, November 13, 2023.
EICMA 2023 concluded on November 12, so a full teardown of the event was underway. Teams of workers swarmed across the Rho Fiera convention hall in Milan, taking bikes, displays, and equipment down to be carted away.
Kawasaki brought around 60 bikes to EICMA 2023. At around 9:30 a.m. local time on Monday, a group of four men including the 18-year-old showed up at the Kawasaki stand. There, they said that they had been sent to transport four bikes. They then grabbed the four bikes and exited the area, according to local news outlet Milano Today.
Shortly afterward, a security guard was having a chat with the Kawasaki manager, when it was revealed that only three bikes were scheduled to be transported just then. Not four.
EICMA has a strong police and military presence on the show floor, even to the point of having display stands about police and military motorbikes. Unsurprisingly, that meant members of the military were on site during the show's teardown, as well.
Once security got the word out about the theft of the KX250X, members of the military proceeded to block the exits and search all departing trucks for the missing bike. After about an hour of searching, they located the bike inside one truck, along with the father and son duo who tried to steal it. The bike was returned to Kawasaki, and the pair were taken in for questioning.
Why Take A KX250X?
Of all the bikes to try to take from the Kawasaki stand, why did the thieves choose a KX250X? Only they know for sure, and so far, that information has not yet been made public. It's a bike that goes for about 11,000 Euros in Italy, and about $9,000 in the US. In terms of new motorcycles (from Kawasaki or otherwise), it's not particularly expensive.
We can only speculate at this point, but that seems to point to one of three possibilities.
- They wanted it because it would be useful for some purpose.
- They wanted it because they knew exactly what it was, and were enthusiasts.
- They had no idea what it was, but they just grabbed it because it was nearest to the other three bikes that were actually scheduled to be moved. It was convenient.
Unless this story is a thread in the fabric of a larger organized motorcycle heist ring or something similar, we'll probably never know for sure. Is trying to steal a bike off the EICMA show floor bold, stupid, or both? You be the judge.
Show photos courtesy of EICMA.