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“Help MPD Identify close to 250 Reckless ATV Operators in DC”

by Prince Of Petworth April 8, 2016 at 9:45 am 60 Comments

Photo by Rob Sheldon

From MPD:

“The Metropolitan Police Department’s (MPD’s) Criminal Intelligence has gathered close to 250 photos of individuals recklessly driving dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) on the streets of the District of Columbia. These types of vehicles are dangerous to pedestrians and other motorists and are illegal to operate on DC’s streets.

The MPD is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying the operators of these vehicles as well as any locations where the vehicles are being stored. A reward of $250 is being offered for information on each person identified.

All Terrain Operators (PDF)

To share a tip, contact the Command Information Center at (202) 727-9099 with your information. The tip must lead to a successful confiscation and identification of the driver/operator of the vehicle.”

  • [rrrrr]

    Props to the cops for this. Not the most convenient way to look through them, but hopefully they’ll take other actions with this information. I also hope it gives the breathless commenters of popville a chance to relax, at least for a moment, with the assurance that a full-scale Mad Max scenario might still be avoided.

    • ANC

      We are one hair’s breadth away from that scenario at any given moment. ATVs? Mad Max. Guns? Mad Max. Long lines at Giant? Mad Max. That blind guy on my street with a flamethrower guitar? Mad Max.

  • Nathan

    This was even on the NBC Today show this morning.

  • DC1

    Those are some good quality pictures, should be able to identify most of them.

    • DC1

      …specially with a $250 incentive pp.

  • cakelyn

    Who’s gonna be snitching for $250 though?

    • phl2dc

      $250 per ID though I think.

    • navyard

      I would in a heartbeat. not for the money.

    • CapitalDame

      I’d do it for FREE if I knew if I knew any of these idiots. Holding up an ambulance with a child inside? Why should anyone protect them? If you know one of these people and they end up really hurting someone with their antics and you do nothing, its on you too.

    • transplanted

      I’d do it for a $5 Starbucks gift card, if I knew who any of these guys were. I’ll be videotaping and sending it in to the tipline if it happens in front of me again. I feel the same way about “no snitching” as I do about the “thin blue line,” – it’s BS. Everybody on both sides needs to sort the wheat from the chaff and keep it moving.

      • cakelyn

        I have no doubt about y’all, I just don’t think anyone who knows them well enough to give info will do so :)

        • the bourgeoisie

          Ha ha. So true. I love that commentariat interpreted your question as, “why even pick up the phone for $250? Chump change!” not “it’s probably not worth $250 for anyone who knows these folks to piss them off. These are obviously not people who exhibit much care for others’ health or well-being.”

          • DupontDC


          • Anon

            You can know where someone lives without “knowing them well”. Furthermore, I’m fairly certain (at least I would hope) that the identity of the “snitch”/good citizen would never get back to the scofflaws.

            A few riders swing through my neighborhood from time to time. They seem to know one of my neighbors. If they ever park their bikes, there is 100% chance I’m calling it in.

  • logan

    I hate to criticize the actions of the police, but Subject 3 and Subject 10 are clearly the same people. It just makes the whole thing look sloppy.

    • Eric Luntz

      So do I get $500 if I can identify that guy?

      • anon

        Or $250 for identifying Subject 3 as Subject 10?

        So close together in the lineup. If they didn’t catch that, I can’t imagine they checked for duplicates across the different rides.

    • eggs

      We also skip from Suspect 10 to Suspect 12.

    • stacksp

      There are several duplicates. Guess they took the approach of simply posting every picture they had and see what happens. Really no harm in doing so.

    • mdtodc

      I have not checked but could it be from two separate incidents?
      Ya they still should have said they were the same one but dealing with this volume of suspects I see how the slip up may have occurred.

  • Philippe Lecheval

    Considering the very low quality of the typical surveillance camera footage, I’m very surprised in how clear these shots came out. I wonder if there’s a way to use facial recognition software to compare these photos with DMV photos from area agencies.

    • Anon

      Needs more ENHANCE!

  • Truxton Thomas

    If the police would like better photos, they could just post up with a camera outside Sursum Corda on M Street and wait for these guys to start their ride. There might even be a way to cut out the middleman.

    • Anon

      A lot of those photos look like they were taken from the NYA overpass over North Cap. The police know this town much better than many seem to think.

      • anon_photo_geek

        Only a few of the images show the kind of compression issues and slow shutter speed typical of surveillance video cams, but most of these look way too sharp on moving subjects to be from stationary surveillance cameras. I’m guessing there was somebody in a good spot with a DSLR and a long lens. Just like a stakeout scene from a TV crime drama.

  • stacksp

    So MPD has apparently been tracking this contrary to popular belief.

    • jcm

      According to the Post, in the past year “police in the District said they confiscated nearly 400 dirt bikes, ATVs and other similar vehicles, and made about 100 arrests. Authorities said they plan to destroy 86 of the seized vehicles next month. “We want to turn these into scrap,” said Kevin Donahue, the District’s deputy mayor for public safety.”

      • Anonymous

        This I don’t get. Why are they not auctioning these vehicles? If they have the legal power to destroy them, they have the legal power to auction them off.

        • GBinCH

          In an auction, they don’t have the ability to control who buys the vehicles So this could end up with just putting the same bikes back on the street. Also, items at police auctions can be ludicrously cheap compared to buying something second hand. If I had my bike stolen, it would be easier to buy it back (or have a friend buy it back for me) then buying a new bike. Destroying the bikes, however, is a surefire way to keep those bikes off the street.

  • ParkViewneighbor

    if it is another catch-and-release BS, they could have saved themselves the hassle of putting that pdf together

    • marybindc

      Well, it will be catch-and-release because there’s no law against being an irritating dumbass. Blocking an ambulance may be more of a crime, but otherwise what do you have? Running red lights. Illegal vehicle type. Maybe reckless endangerment.

      That said, even catch-and-release (or one could hope for big fines) shows that there are *some* consequences. Make them take the time and expense for court dates and such. It’s better than nothing.

      • GBinCH

        Technically this isn’t true. Operating a dirt bike or ATV on city streets can result in 30 days in jail under current laws (there have been attempts to increase this to six months). The catch-and-release aspect is more that DC has a bad track record of prosecuting and/or obtaining convictions for these types of crimes.
        The police do a pretty good job of seizing and destroying vehicles though, which at least costs the riders some money.

  • anonymous

    This is a solid and creative way to change the equation. Major props to the cops. That said, these close up shots of smiling men and women of diverse white, black, and Latino, background, atop machines often showing some level of individual expression, have me hoping that the next step involves somethings equally creative. I have no respect for people that put others at risk, but I have to say that after seeing these people as individuals, I hope that we can offer them something other than jail time, fines, and crushed biked. If this were rural Virginia, these guys would be riding the power lines, maybe finding other places for them to ride is the real answer here. Oh, and letting them know that there are more impressive tricks than the wheelie.

    • Anon

      I agree – many look like they’re just out for a ride enjoying themselves. I don’t see much malice. What about dedicating some of the RFK land to a small dirt park for off-roaders?

      • Thunder

        nope. nope nope. Then DC will be liable for their injuries and damages to vehicles. These things are not street legal.

    • anon_1

      the ambulance incident is inexcusable.

      However, think of this another way. I’ve seen these groups being no more disruptive than creating noise and brief traffic delays where the only real threat was to the riders themselves. I’ve seen plenty of critical mass bike rides with equal nuisance level — whistles and air horns < motors & blocked traffic = wash. If this is nothing more than minor civil disobedience why are critical mass rides acceptable but street bikes aren't? Yes bicycles are street legal and most of these motorized vehicles are not. Is that where the line is drawn? Seems like a harsh punishment to criminally charge someone and confiscate expensive property if there's nothing connecting them with an actual crime against person or property. In a few months the Rolling Thunder bikers will arrive and create even greater nuisance with a free pass from local government. At least these are home grown civil disobedients.

      • ParkViewneighbor

        you said it. These bikes aren’t legal on streets.

        • textdoc

          And aren’t Critical Mass events fewer in number AND announced in advance?

          • madmonk28

            Also, after those events, there are plenty of people posting here about wanting to be able to run them over.

          • Ryan

            And the DC Bike Party ride coordinates with MPD for a police escort, which steps in to warn or ticket any aggressive riders.

      • elbeech

        The line is also that even if they are “only” creating noise and traffic delays, they are still menacing. Critical mass riders are not. Also, it’s “civil disobedience” with no constructive purpose. How is that positive for anyone?

      • Eric

        I don’t see any comparison to Critical Mass here. Huge difference in velocity and mass, the two main determinants of injury in a collision. Critical Mass is also extremely slow moving, maybe 5-10 mph on average, and a bicycle weighs 30 lbs. And not many participants in Critical Mass are riding as unsafely as the people riding ATVs here. Finally as it’s been pointed out, every second of an ATV ride is illegal behavior, whereas the majority of a Critical Mass ride is within the law.

      • anon

        I think a lot of commenters here are probably too young to remember CM as a social protest movement that staryed in Berkeley in the early 90s. It was done without social media, through word of mouth and deliberately snubbed law enforcement (like parade without permit). That was largely the point.

        What’s the bigger difference between participants aside from conveyance mode?

    • houseintherear

      There are different groups of riders. The group that went down RIAve Sunday was a large group, with older riders (20-somethings, from my best guess) of both sexes and many races, and had traffic control at both front and back of the pack. I watched them go by. There are smaller groups of young men, like teenagers, who are extremely reckless and dangerous… those kids are less about creative individuality/expression and more about anger, destruction, and disruption. I don’t wait to watch them go by because they come onto sidewalks and try to hit my dog (which happened in Petworth 8+ years ago) or smash car mirrors, etc.

    • anon

      I think it’s interesting that the diversity of the folks atop the bikes changed your mind. Why? In particular, what does that say about the motives we ascribe to the same behavior exhibited by, say, a group of black men?

      • textdoc

        I too found this interesting (and a bit troubling). Lawless behavior is lawless behavior.

      • On Capital Heels

        Not so much interesting as it is typical. Sigh… There is always a different set of rules applied (and different motives ascribed) to those with melanin and those who lack it. It’s an inexorable and inescapable part of the American experience, shaping everything from how we deal with bikers to how we treat the President. It’s tiding, frustrating, and, frankly, pathetic.

        • On Capital Heels


  • Anonymous

    half these idiots have public instagram accounts… there goes my afternoon. (hypothetical) PAYDAY!

  • LMatt_in_NE

    I’m not cop and I know zilch beyond what I see on Law & Order but could MPD locate places where these ATVs and dirt bikes are likely to be sold, go there, check camera footage (if it’s available) against the sales that day and the faces in these images?

    Also, how can the show Catfish do image searches and come up with facebook and myspace profiles but DC has to ask the public if they know who these people are?

    • textdoc

      “Also, how can the show Catfish do image searches and come up with facebook and myspace profiles but DC has to ask the public if they know who these people are?” Haha, good question!!

      • anonanon

        IIUC, image search looks for the exact same image, not for an image of the same person.

        • LMatt_in_NE

          Thanks for the clarification. *Shakes fist at technology*

  • navyard

    With the idea of making gasoline sales illegal to these bikes,
    a: how can the gas stations enforce this without someone outside pumping for every sale; and
    b. doesn’t this just encourage these jerks to store gasoline in their rowhouses?

    And finally, I would really like to understand the logic behind “no snitching” when it’s used as a moral boundary. I get that you might be afraid of repercussions, and I cannot fault anyone for that. But when it’s used as a badge of honor, you sir, have NO honor.

  • blindbible

    Couple thoughts:
    -Is facial recognition not a thing? Or is it just another one of those over-glorified, CSI type elements that television shows exploit?
    -this just means that they all are going to just cover their faces
    -looks like they have a watching post since the angles of the pictures are about the same and the same lamp-post pops up in a lot of the pictures. I’m pretty sure someone could figure out where this is and they would just avoid this area

    • Anon

      Facial recognition is a thing, but you have to have something to compare it to. Much like if you’ve never been fingerprinted, the cops having your fingerprints means nothing.

  • Anonymous

    I gotta be honest – The one-handed wheelie by the dude in the German helmet in the photo at the top of this thread is just sweet. Say what you want, but some of these fools have talent.

  • John B.

    Anybody else notice that many of these vehicles have numbers on them? Does that mean they’ve been involved in organized races or competitions?

  • js

    why are motorcycles legal but dirtbikes arent? that said, subject 71 is on a motorcycle

  • That One Guy

    It’s nice to see MPD promoting the use of full helmets. Safety first, right? HA.


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