NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Illegal motorcycles, dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles came into the crosshairs for the NYPD Sunday evening.
As CBS2’s Brian Conybeare reported, there were a few dozen owners with empty space in their garages after the crackdown.
We see them every summer – rogue motorcycle, dirt bike, and ATV riders terrorizing neighborhoods.
In extreme cases, bikers are even seen attacking other drivers.
In an infamous September 2013 incident, Alexian Lien and his wife and daughter were terrorized on the Henry Hudson Parkway in Washington Heights by a biker gang. Lien was pulled from his SUV and beaten in front of his family.
But even in less dire situations, the neighbors are no fans of rogue dirt bikers.
“You can stand on the corner and you’ll see them all summer long going, ‘Zoom zoom!’” said Janice Nunez. “It’s crazy, but it happens all the time!”
Nunez said it is especially a problem in her Bronx neighborhood. She was happy to see the NYPD confiscating illegal motorcycles on Sunday, towing away a total of eight bikes.
But at the 44th Precinct on 169th Street in the Bronx, many were taken out of commission.
Patrol confiscated eight motorcycles – including Yamahas, Hondas and other vehicles. So far, the unit has gotten more than 40 illegal bikes off the street – some of them stolen or unregistered with no plates or insurance.
Two bikers were also arrested and charged with reckless endangerment Sunday, after they were allegedly caught speeding through the streets of the Bronx.
“The challenge is, how do we get them without pursuing them?” said NYPD Lt. Brian Mullen.
To avoid high-speed chases, the 44th Precinct, located in the Highbridge section of the Bronx, brought in a helicopter to help spot the bikers from above, and direct units on the ground to block off streets and box the suspects in.
“We try to block them into a certain street, and then we’ll be able to apprehend them when they have nowhere to go,” Mullen said, “but we definitely do not want to pursue them and endanger people walking on the sidewalk and other motorists on the road.”
The helicopter pilots said it has become a game of cat and mouse. One ATV on Gerritsen Beach in Brooklyn appeared to take off when the chopper arrived overhead, and some bikers tried to hide from the eye in the sky.
“They went under the train tracks trying to elude us, so they are aware that we are observing them from the air,” said NYPD chopper pilot Officer Chris Sanabria.
Already this spring, the 44th Precinct has confiscated more than 40 illegal bikes, and even a bicycle outfitted with a makeshift homemade engine.
“We see these motorcycles, these ATVs being operated in a reckless manner, endangering pedestrians, and intimidating other motorists on the roadway,” Mullen said. “They disregard traffic signals. They don’t have any control at intersections. They’ll ride on sidewalks.”
Many of the illegal unregistered bikes will wind up being crushed by the NYPD in a public crushing ceremony as a way to send a message to these rogue bikers.
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton announced the plan for the event last month, calling the dirt bikers “knuckleheads” and “clowns.”
“These bikes that are so near and dear to them – they’re not going to be too happy when we take those damn things and crush them so that they can’t be used,” Bratton said last month.
The plan to crush the bikes is music of the ears to people like Nunez.
“Are you serious?” she said. “That would be amazing, yes! Less people will be getting hurt.”