CMPD targets aggressive bike riders causing ‘havoc on the streets of Charlotte’
“This issue is one that the Department takes very seriously.”
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police discussed efforts to target aggressive bike riders who, they say, have endangered drivers and pedestrians throughout the city.
Since January 2021, CMPD says, 28 subjects, ages 11 to 27, have been charged; and officers have seized at least eight bicycles, three dirt bikes, and 2 ATVs for crimes they say are connected to riding recklessly in the street.
During a Wednesday morning news conference, CMPD officials said officers were called to an assault with a deadly weapon involving children with bicycles on April 17.
According to police, two of the kids were armed and one punched a victim in the back of the head and later fired bullets into the individual’s car.
A bullet lodged in the victim’s spine and he will likely be paralyzed for life, police said. According to the CMPD, Jermaine Walker Jr. and Makahi Alfayad, who’s accused of pulling the trigger, were both arrested and charged.
CMPD officials said teams of officers took part in a round-up on April 24, showing a large presence in areas where the bike groups frequent. Police focused on aggressive riders on bicycles, dirt bikes and ATVs, often riding in groups of five to 30 in various locations.
According to CMPD, officers seized two ATVs and two dirt bikes. Additionally, North Tryon Division officers saw several individuals storing ATVs and dirt bikes in the shed behind a home and conducted a “knock and talk,” officials said.
One rider, identified as 24-year-old Joe Colombo Nguyen, allegedly threw a Molotov cocktail at officers and led them on a high-speed chase, attempting to make officers crash, department officials said.
Nguyen was eventually arrested and remains in custody. According to the CMPD, during the execution of a search warrant, officers seized another dirt bike as well as 40 pounds of marijuana, 22 grams of suspected fentanyl, a handgun and an assault rifle.
“So now we’ve got a young man who’s driving recklessly, recording it on his GoPro on his helmet, you know, active on social media, and after he fled police, he was seen on social media mocking the police,” CMPD Capt. Bret Balamucki said.
Police say this kind of behavior is happening across Charlotte, and people who live, work and play in uptown are noticing.
“They all ride in one big pile, and they try to take up the road,” Thomas Holmes, who spends time in Uptown, said.
Police say they are seeing young people on bikes, dirt bikes and ATVs driving dangerously and endangering those on the road.
“Perhaps what’s very troubling is the ages of those involved,” CMPD Officer Stephen Fischbach said. “The ages of people getting charged are as young as 11 years old.”
CMPD is working within the Juvenile and Adult Criminal Justice System to ensure offenders don’t repeat behavior.
“This issue is one that the Department takes very seriously. Officers are taking both proactive and reactive measures, taking dangerous offenders off the streets so they can no longer cause havoc on the streets of Charlotte,” a CMPD tweet stated.
“If we need to, we are going to need to start coordinating with the District Attorney and hold parents accountable as well for this type of behavior on such young, young adults,” Balamucki said. “As a department, our stance is going to be very limited tolerance for this type of behavior.”
CMPD is asking your help with reporting.
If you see these groups and reckless behavior, you’re asked not to engage but to call 911.
You can also leave an anonymous tip with Charlotte Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.
Officials said incidents involving aggressive riders have escalated.
Last year, police targeted Interstate 485 and Prosperity Church Road, where they did more than 2,000 traffic stops and issued nearly 3,000 citations.
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