When Electric Motorcycles Don’t Catch Fire, They’re Stolen

Of the stolen ‘motorinas’, five complete and four disassembled have been recovered so far. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 27 November 2020 — At least nine electric motorcycles were stolen in several municipalities of Havana by three citizens, according to a report by Cuban Television. The individuals carried out their misdeeds mainly in the early hours of the morning and entered the houses even with the owners inside.

State television reports that the thieves broke the locks of the homes’ garages to take the machines popularly known as motorinas, which were later marketed through social networks.

With the transportation crisis, electric motorcycles have become increasingly popular in Cuba, constantly making headlines due to the multiple fires that plague them throughout the country.

Given the increase in this means of transport, the authorities also informed state television that their robberies have increased. One of the elements that is repeated in crimes is the participation of two or more people.

Reportedly, the theft of electric motorcycles on the streets happen when their owners leave them unlocked. The vehicles are taken to other provinces and sold with photocopies of the ownership documents.

Dayron Toledo Lores, one of the victims, who lives in Havana’s El Cerro neighborhood, said that his motorcycle was inside a gated garage, protected with a chain, and one of the tires secured with a padlock, and all that security was overcome by the burglars.

The police were able to fully recover five of the vehicles, but four were found in pieces during an operation that was carried out at the home of the main defendant, who continues to be detained along with the other defendants.

An agent from the Investigative Technical Department of the Interior Ministry said in the press report that the three implicated confessed to the facts and are being processed for the “alleged crime of ongoing robbery with force.” He also said that the investigation is continuing because the criminal chain could expand and they might find similar occurrences.

In October of last year the Facebook group Electric Moto Cuba reported that one of its members was assaulted by two youths who sprayed something in her eyes and took her motorina. “She stopped because supposedly other people needed help and it was all a sham to assault her with blows,” the report detailed.

As of June 2019, it was reported in the official press that there were an estimated 210,000 mopeds in Cuba. Between the time that the stores that accept only convertible currency opened in 2019 and this October, the State  sold 10,000 electric units, of different 21 models, including motorcycles, bicycles, motorbikes and motorized tricycles.

The report of fires affecting this means of transport has skyrocketed. According to a report by the Ministry of the Interior, in 2019 there were 208 fires involving electric motorcycles with lithium batteries, 164 of them serious and 44 minor. Most of these accidents occurred in homes or garages and also caused serious damage to nearby vehicles or buildings.

This year, at least 186 fires have occurred in homes, causing the death of one person and injuring more than ten.


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