By Staff

AUBURN (CBS) — Authorities are warning Central Massachusetts residents of an increase in reported thefts of off-highway vehicles, particularly dirt bikes. Both state environmental and Auburn police issued statements Monday about the rise.

“The APD and other area departments have taken numerous reports of ATV / dirt bike thefts in the last few months,” Auburn police said. “The thefts are primarily occurring in the early morning hours when the owners are asleep.”

Police said that in most cases, the victims had listed the bikes for sale on the internet and social media sites, such as Facebook Marketplace.

“We want to remind everyone to use caution when posting classified ads and be aware that it is fairly easy to find addresses etc out through the Internet,” Auburn police said.

Environmental police are advising dirt bike and ATV owners to store them securely with a chain when possible, and consider storing them with no fuel or remove the spark plugs. Anyone selling them online should be careful about sharing personal information.

Anyone who has a stolen dirt bike or ATV should immediately report it to police. Staff