HAVANA TIMES — Anyone who rides a JAWA-brand motorcycle here in Havana should exercise caution these days, for there are reports of a band of thieves who have been stealing their electrical systems (and the police have not yet been able to capture them).
Martha, a neighbor of mine whose company motorcycle had just been overhauled, was recently a victim of this band of thieves. The poor thing had been riding the bike, which was an old piece of junk before the repairs, for seven years, taking money out of her own pocket just to keep the thing moving.
“The thieves didn’t even give me a chance to enjoy the repaired bike one day. I don’t know how I’m going to replace all of the pieces they stole, which cost around 100 CUCs ($115 USD),” Martha told me the day of the theft.
An overhaul consists in replacing all of the bike’s pieces. All except the chassis. The end result is a new motorcycle which, for all relevant legal purposes, is the same vehicle. I don’t know whether this whole procedure is cheaper than buying a new bike, but I am certain it entails plenty more work.
I was told motorcycle mechanics pay good money for the electrical systems of JAWA bikes, for they can re-sell them to people who ride electrical motorcycles, quite popular because of their simplicity, efficiency and lightness.
The day of the theft, the police paid Martha’s house a visit, but were unable to find any clues. The police dog sniffed his way to a spot near the neighborhood mechanic’s house, but the man had an alibi: he had been at Martha’s building the day before.
Martha frequently complains of having things stolen from her apartment, but this never seems to happen to any of her neighbors. It’s really quite suspicious.