Similar ... yes, it's blue
The stolen bike, if it is indeed a Model U, will look similar to the bike pictured, but only in loose terms.
The pictured bike is a Model E or Model F with OHV heads, 'panhead' rocker covers and telescopic forks, but the U is a sidevalve with springer forks.
Don't want to piss on anyone's chips, but they also stopped making the Model U in 1948, so it could actually be a 1949 Model E that they're looking for, in which case the pictures right but the story's wrong ... it is blue, isn't it?
Echoing 'numb fingers', yes: Scumbags.
But it's as likely to be heading to a private collection in the US in one piece as to a black market in Eastern Europe: that's where the money is for this. Very easy to sell to someone who wants it, and as it predates VIN numbers, it'll be hard to track across international boundaries.
Don't know how the hell they'd do it, but customs and excise should be checking all exported bikes and cars against a list of missing vehicles. Sadly, seeing as the DVLA won't even allow the LVLO or Post Offices to check details on the central insurance database for road tax purposes, I don't hold out much hope that anyone's bright enough to devise a system that might work.