This Suzuki GSX-R 600 was recovered after being stolen by bikies. Source: Supplied
A NOTORIOUS bikie gang is suspected of going online in search of motorbikes to steal from under their owners' noses.
The Bandidos-linked suspects are believed to be behind a rebirthing racket with more than 150 motorbikes stolen in the past 12 months across the south-eastern suburbs after they were located on internet sites such as Gumtree and eBay.
Police targeting the rebirthing racket have launched an operation codenamed "Gillis", which is also investigating whether motorcycle auto shops are also tipping off outlaw bikies and associates to addresses where they can find desirable bikes.
Prime targets for the team of offenders are late model Japanese and American motorcycles valued at more than $10,000.
Many sellers are divulging their addresses, making them easy targets for the organised racket.
Sources have told police the motorcycles are stolen and stripped at a suspected Bandido-operated Dandenong factory before being rebirthed at an unknown location believed to be in the western suburbs.
The Herald Sun understands the thieves are paid in cash and drugs. Although detectives working on operation Gillis have been told the thefts are linked to the Bandidos, but they are still piecing together where the machines are rebirthed.
The Monash area has been hardest hit around Monash University, Mulgrave, Glen Waverley and Clayton.
Motorcycle thefts have been stemmed since a crackdown last year, with 40 motorbikes stolen since last June.
But thefts have risen in neighbouring south-eastern suburbs. In numerous thefts the culprits use the base of a shopping trolley to cart the motorcycle to a ute and then lift it inside.
At one premises, two large men lifted a Japanese motorcycle over a fence before putting it in a ute.
Recovered motorcycles have been found with forged numberplates which are almost identical to VicRoads plates.
Riders have also been able to speed without fear of being fined. Det Sen Sgt Nathan Kaeser is warning people selling their motorcycles to keep them locked in garages and to meet prospective buyers at a neutral locations.
"Another problem we've found is people leaving their bikes on nature strips and main roads. They're just an easy target."
He said many of the victims have not insured their motorbikes for theft and have been left struggling to get to work.