NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - For the second time this week, Prince George's County police have issued a warning to all illegal dirt bike and ATV riders in the county – stay off the streets or else.
Police said the riders are putting themselves and others in danger. On Friday, they released photographs of the some of the riders they are trying to identify. (Click on photo gallery to see photos)
Last Sunday night, a group of illegal riders swarmed the streets of National Harbor in Maryland. They drove their two and four-wheelers against traffic, popping wheelies and whizzing down sidewalks, with seemingly no regard for people in their path.
"At various community events, we are getting a lot of feedback, so the citizens do not want this in Prince George’s County,” said Prince George’s County Police Deputy Chief Chris Murtha. “They reiterate time and time again. We worked hard to bring this county to a place where it is much better than it used to be.”
One of their first aggressive tactics is to release high-quality photos of some of the riders. Some photos of the riders at National Harbor were taken by citizens, surveillance cameras and police dashcams.
Murtha said they asked for help to identify the riders and they are getting it.
"They are giving us a lot of tips on people who are storing bikes, where they are being stored, the names of people who are riding the bikes,” he said.
The deputy chief said many of the vehicles used by these riders have been stolen. To drive the point home, police have produced pictures of three men investigators say stole a dirt bike from a teenager this week in Fort Washington.
"The victim posted this for sale on social media,” said Prince George’s County Police Lt. Craig Winegardner. “They responded to the ad. They took pictures of the money they were going to use to purchase it. They showed up at his house in this vehicle. That is the tag number of the vehicle. Once they arrived on scene, this gentleman pulled out a handgun.”
In addition to the warnings, police have deployed ATVs of their own along with bicycles and motorcycles as they try to end what police say is a very dangerous game.
"We never want to be engaged in a pursuit or anything like that,” said Murtha. “We will not meet their behavior with our own bad behavior, but we will be able to follow them with our helicopter. They will not be able to outrun that.”
He said police will not publicize all of their tactics in order to keep an element of surprise, and they are ready if the pack hits the streets again.
Also on Friday, D.C. police released photos of 54 people who were seen on video riding illegal vehicles last Sunday on city streets and are also seeking help from the public in identifying them.