Photos shared of some ATV, dirt-bike riders who allegedly caused chaos
Less than a week after nearly 100 dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles caused chaos at National Harbor and in downtown Washington by flooding streets and ripping across sidewalks, police released images of some riders suspected of operating the vehicles illegally.
The pictures, captured from surveillance cameras, cellphones and dashboard-camera video, will be the first wave of images police plan to release as they seek the public’s help in identifying the people who roared through the Washington region on June 25.
“We need you to help us identify these individuals responsible for creating this malicious behavior down at the harbor,” Prince George’s County Police Deputy Chief George Nichols said.
The riders, who choked the streets of National Harbor, rode against the flow of traffic, buzzed sidewalks and wove in and out of traffic, police said. It’s the same group that was reportedly seen rolling through downtown Washington earlier in the evening.
On Friday, D.C. police released 54 images related to the dirt-bike and ATV riders from the weekend.
D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham termed the event “terrorizing” and “illegal and reckless” at a news conference Friday and said “the behavior is not going to go unchecked.”
Newsham said his agency has gathered images from surveillance cameras and social media and that “those efforts have paid off.”
D.C. police have arrested 21 people and recovered 10 ATVs and dirt bikes in connection with illegal rides this year, the department said.
County police said they will ramp up enforcement around National Harbor and in other areas over the holiday weekend to avoid a repeat performance of rogue riders.
“We will have our aviation unit down here,” Deputy Chief Chris Murtha said. “They will be on standby to monitor and follow these ATVs should they decide to show up.”
At National Harbor on Friday, flashing signs around the area warned that authorities were enforcing rules banning off-road vehicles on public streets. The area has about 150 surveillance cameras to capture illegal activity, authorities said.
All-terrain vehicles are illegal to operate on public roads in Maryland and the District. But every summer, police in the Washington region battle swarms of joyriders who disrupt traffic. Enforcement against illegal riders is tricky for police, who for safety reasons don’t chase those who often ignore attempted traffic stops and can easily thread through traffic or onto sidewalks with pedestrians.
“We’re not talking about individuals engaged in recreational behavior,” Nichols said. “We’re talking about people who are engaging in deliberate endangerment.”
In a separate incident, county police are investigating the attempted robbery of a 17-year-old who was trying to sell his dirt bike using social media on Wednesday.
The teenager, who legally owned the bike, had invited someone he believed to be a prospective buyer to his grandparents’ home for a sale. But when the person who responded to the ad arrived Wednesday night, he and two other men robbed the teen at gunpoint.
The men tried unsuccessfully to get the dirt bike into the back of a car before one of them simply hopped on the bike and sped away.
Police said they’re aggressively pursuing arrests in the robbery and National Harbor incidents to send a message.
“We intend to change the culture of the ATV dirt-bike-riding folks in Prince George’s County,” Nichols said.
Police are asking anyone with information about individuals in the photos released or the illegal riding over the weekend to call D.C. police at 202-727-9099 or Prince George’s police at 866-411TIPS (8477).
Prince George’s County Police Department have released photos of some of the ATV and dirt-bike riders who were seen in the National Harbor area on June 25. The large group of riders was recorded illegally operating in the area, including on the sidewalks.