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West Hartford Man’s Stolen Dirt Bike Was More Than Just a Motorcycle

Travis Marks celebrates his 2017 UMass graduation with his dad, Joel. Courtesy photo

A West Hartford man had his dirt bike stolen out of his locked garage – and is heartbroken because he was planning to sell it to fund a very special trip with his father.

By Ted Glanzer, West Hartford Press

Travis Marks thought he was following proper protocol, locking the door to his apartment’s garage, which housed the 23-year-old’s Mazda Miata and his Honda CRF250 dirt bike.

But Marks, who has been living on Fairview Street in West Hartford since December, still had his dirt bike stolen. The thieves – there were likely more than one of them – were industrious, having to lift the dirt bike over the Miata to get away with it.

Though he filed a police report and has been particularly diligent about checking Craigslist, Marketplace, and other resale sites where the dirt bike might be fenced, Marks isn’t hopeful that he’ll see his dirt bike again.

This normally would be an unfortunate story, but it takes an even more heartbreaking turn because Marks intended to sell the dirt bike, which he estimates was worth about $4,000, to fund a trip with his father and two other brothers. Marks’ father, Joel, has been battling brain tumors for the past 10 years, according to Travis’ mother, Darlene Marks.

Joel Marks appeared to be on the road to recovery when he had a successful surgery in April.

“The surgeon was happy in April because [a tumor that had been removed] came back benign,” Darlene Marks said. “We always work off latest pathology.”

Shortly thereafter, Joel Marks began to “not feel quite right,” Darlene said. After another surgery, the doctor said Joel Marks had a glioblastoma, the aggressive type of cancer from which Sen. John McCain died.

Travis Marks, in a telephone interview, said he was told his father had a year-and-a-half to two years to live.

On the drive back to West Hartford from Boston, Travis tried to figure out how he was going to raise the money to go on that trip with his father and two brothers. That’s when the plan to sell the dirt bike came up.

“I don’t use it anymore,” Travis recalled saying. “I can sell it and take them somewhere. We could do something with that money.

“Literally the next morning, it was almost comical, it was just gone.”

Travis continues to check the websites, changing locations to New York and other New England states in hopes of finding the dirt bike on sale.

“I’ve been doing that every day,” he said. “I’d love to find this guy and let him know what he’s taken from me.”

What Travis is not doing is asking for donations or setting up a GoFundMe site. He said he’ll try to cobble the money together some other way.

“We’re going to try to put some money together,” Travis said. “But I think there’s other people out there who could use the money more than for us to go on vacation. I feel weird trying to gather funds for a vacation.”

Travis is an engineer at Pratt & Whitney with student loans and rent, but he said he will manage to find a way to go on that vacation.

“It’s just the symbolism as seeing that trip, we had it there and ready and then losing that and knowing I had to start from scratch. But it’s worth it,” Travis said.

And Travis, who grew up in a small town in Massachusetts, says he unfortunately learned a cynical lesson.

“Don’t ever get too comfortable,” he said. “It was a wake-up call for me. Unfortunately for me in this scenario it happened. I’ve become friendly with my neighbors, who said they will look out for any suspicious activity.”

The West Hartford Police on its website offers advice to people to protect their possessions. Here is a condensed list.

Suggestions to protect your home:

  • Light up your residence, lock your doors and call the police when you see something suspicious.
  • Lock all outside doors and windows before you leave the house or go to bed. Even if it is for a short time, lock them.
  • Install window locks that prevent your windows from being raised more than a few inches.
  • Keep your garage door closed and locked.
  • Do not leave your valuables in plain sight or near a window or door.
  • Install sensor lights around any outside door. Motion sensitive lights are recommended for backyards.
  • Use light timers in your home if you are going to be away for a length of time.
  • Stop you newspapers and mail while you are away. Arrange for your lawn to be mowed.
  • An alarm system is excellent for home security.
  • Tell your trusted neighbors when you are going away on a trip. Ask them to keep an eye on your home and offer to do the same when they are away.
  • Tell your family when you are going away and let them know where you are going.
  • If you come home to find an unexplained open/broken window or door:
  • Do not enter – the perpetrator may still be inside.
  • Use a neighbor’s phone to call police.
  • Do not touch anything or clean up until the police have inspected for evidence.
  • Write down the license plate numbers of any suspicious vehicles.
  • Note the descriptions of any suspicious persons

Suggestions to protect your car:

  • Do not leave anything valuable in your car. Examples include your wallet, purse, laptop computer, cameras, or your cell phone.
  • If you must leave a valuable possession in your car make sure to lock it in a trunk, out of public view.
  • Lock your car.
  • Do not leave the garage door opener in plain view.
  • Install a sensor light for your driveway or park in a lighted area of your apartment. If you lease your residence, inquire with your landlord about the installation of a sensor light.
  • Install a car alarm.

“The most important thing you can do is to call the police to report a crime or any suspicious activity at 860-523-5203 or 911 if an emergency,” the website says. “You must be the eyes and ears of your neighborhood.”

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1 Comment

  • i’m praying for you and your father and that your bike is located…you sound like a wonderful person…gofundme is warranted to undo this wrong !

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