Reporting Kurtis Ming
A Naval officer from Antelope hired a company to move his motorcycle cross-country, but the bike never showed up. When he learned there might be criminal activity involved he called Kurtis.
Petty Officer Second Class Daniel Clifford bought the bike from a friend and found an online broker to take it to Virginia, where he’s stationed. A couple weeks later, the cops called with bad news.
“I got a call from a Texas police agency telling me that the bike was wrecked,” said Clifford.
Clifford was on leave in September of 2011 when he bought the Honda bike.
“Three of my buddies had just bought bikes and two more friends already had bikes. We were all going to go out riding together,” said Clifford.
But first he had to get the motorcycle from his Antelope home to his base in Virginia. He found online broker Zip Ship, which hired Cheyenne Transport, of South Carolina to do the move. Clifford’s mom, Sharon says Cheyenne Transport demanded the $750 shipping fee up front.
“We should have stopped right there and said, ‘Forget it, you can leave, you don’t need to take the motorcycle,” said Sharon.
“I was like, ‘Alright, just pay the guys, I want to get it out here,’” Clifford recalls.
The bike was supposed to show up in about a week but it never did. Then he learned from a Texas agency someone crashed his bike in South Carolina. Since then no one has been able to tell him what happened to it and no one will cover the loss.
“For all I know it could be sitting in a junk yard somewhere in South Carolina, or it could be being ridden right now by someone in the Midwest because it was sold off as a salvage,” said Clifford.
We started investigating and learned a Cheyenne Transport employee, Johnny Drew was arrested for having a number of stolen vehicles, shortly after his son crashed Clifford’s bike in South Carolina.
Another employee, Ricky Sims was also arrested for conspiracy.
Now Cheyenne Transport is out of business and the broker, Zip Ship which arranged the whole transport, quit returning our calls.
So why doesn’t Clifford just turn the case over to his own insurance company? It turns out he didn’t have any insurance on the bike yet.
“I only had it like a very short while, and I didn’t take it out anywhere, so I didn’t need the insurance yet,” said Clifford.
“Any time you do make a major purchase, you do want to make sure that it will be covered by an insurance policy,” said United Policyholders Executive Director, Amy Bach.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which says it investigates these types of problems, says it’s received a dramatic increase in complaints against auto movers and brokers.
Clifford, now back on duty, can file a complaint with the agency but at this point has lost hope he’ll see his bike again.
“I would have been out the money either way, but at least I would have had a bike to show for it when i got back instead of nothing,” said Clifford.
It appears Cheyenne Transport did have insurance at one time but their policy expired just before Clifford’s bike was moved. CBS13 was unable to determine the location of Clifford’s bike, as state troopers in South Carolina were only able to tell us it was towed away from the crash scene.
For more information on how to safeguard a cross-country move, head to the U.S. Department of Transportation website.