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Law enforcement, UTV group report rise of side-by-side thefts in northern Utah

Posted at 10:02 AM, Jul 26, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — An unusually large number of Utility Terrain Vehicles (UTVs) have been reported stolen in Utah, according to law enforcement and a group for avid side-by-side users.

“Anybody that owns a machine, if it’s parked in your driveway at night, you should be concerned that it might be stolen,” explains Bud Bruening, founder and president of UTV Utah.

Over the last 90 days, Bruening says UTV thefts have skyrocketed among his off-road community.

“We’re seeing, you know, 2-3 stolen per night, on any given weekend, and then typically one machine stolen a night during the week,” he said.

Bruening has seen this happening everywhere from West Jordan to Eagle Mountain. He adds that Eagle Mountain has been a hotbed for side-by-side thefts as of late. Just this month, four have been reported stolen between July 10 and July 13, according to reports received by the Utah County Sheriff’s office.

“It seems mostly likely that the ones that have been happening more recently are part of an organized ring that’s trying to resell them because they’re taking multiples," said Sgt. Spencer Cannon with the Utah County Sheriff’s Office.

Cannon says the sheriff's office currently have no leads and is not aware where and how the UTVs are being sold. They have obtained some surveillance video from the homes where thefts have occurred, but because they’ve occurred at night, the culprits’ identities are more hidden.

For now, Bruening advises UTV owners do what they can to make their property harder to steal. He uses a GPS tracker on his personal vehicle. He also recommends a detachable steering wheel, a parking boot, or an emergency parking break.

To keep the cost down, Bruening says Airtags and/or parking your UTV in a hard to access area at your home are solid options, too.