Utah UTV group warns owners of several side-by-side thefts

Jul 15, 2023, 5:19 PM | Updated: 5:29 pm

UTAH COUNTY, Utah — UTV and side-by-side owners have reported increased vehicle thefts in the last few months.

Because of all these thefts, a Utah group dedicated to side-by-side recreation wants owners to be alert.

“We’re getting a lot of members joining that have just had their machine stolen, and they’re trying to reach out to the community to keep their eyes open,” said Bud Bruening. “And we’re seeing, truthfully, if you average them all out, almost one a day.”

Bruening, the President of UTV Utah, said he’s heard of about 40 side-by-sides stolen in the past month or so. It’s to the point where he wants other UTV owners to know something is going on.

“We used to see a theft here or there, but now we’re seeing enough where it’s. If you’ve got a machine and you have it in front of your house, I would be concerned,” he said.

An UTV stolen from Travis Langelier. (Courtesy: Travis Langelier)

Travis Langelier told KSL TV that his UTV he worked for months to enjoy with his family, was stolen in less than 15 minutes.

“The wife felt pretty violated, you know? But yeah, other than financially, you feel violated.” Langelier expressed.

In Langelier’s photos, the truck allegedly involved in stealing his family’s UTV was seen in other thefts near his neighborhood.

“They got two the night they got mine. Apparently, they got two or three the other night in Eagle Mountain,” Langelier said.

To combat these thieves, Bruening suggests setting up an anti-theft device on the UTV, like a kill switch to prevent the machine from starting, a GPS tracker, or even a removable steering wheel.

“If I walked up to a machine and it got no steering wheel in it, it’s probably not one I’m going to take,” he said.

The alleged truck used in the Eagle Mountain UTV thefts. (Courtesy: Travis Langelier) The alleged truck used in the Eagle Mountain UTV thefts. (Courtesy: Travis Langelier) The alleged truck used in the Eagle Mountain UTV thefts. (Courtesy: Travis Langelier)

Police reports have been filed, but with the thefts happening in so many different cities and counties, it might take a multi-agency approach to figure out what’s going on.

“I would imagine they’re selling them off,” Langelier said.

Bruening explained that a lot of the thefts are covered by insurance, but because of the increase in cases it’s causing insurance rates for side-by-sides to increase.

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Utah UTV group warns owners of several side-by-side thefts