Four Baltimore teens have been arrested in Howard County for stealing dirt bikes from an Ellicott City dealership.
The biggest gripe is that more often than not their bikes end up illegally on Baltimore City streets creating a nightmare of traffic and police.
Frustrated owner Mike Johnston says it’s the second time it’s happened at his shop in recent days. He’s one of three area dealers reporting five break-ins in the past 10 days.
Johnston did get the bikes back but some of them are in bad shape.
“The dirt bike theft in this area is at an epidemic proportion. They are all getting stolen, they end up at the city impound,” he said.
For years now, there have been reports on the continuing crackdown of the City’s illegal and at times even dangerous dirt bike culture, especially as riders often perform death defying stunts close to cars.
“It’s a little hectic, nerve racking. They pull up you’re not sure what they’re going to do,” Vincent Kush said.
Last year, City police created a task force to tackle the criminal element.
“Cutting through streets, running red lights. We’ve seen them last year possessing handguns and loading the handguns up,” said Baltimore Police spokesman T.J. Smith.
Shop owners say it’s a problem that goes beyond stores to quite literally customers homes.
“People getting followed home from tracks and stuff like that and getting their garages broken into. We hear it usually at least once a week,” said Wayne Barry Floyd Jr. of Glen Burnie Motorsports.
Shop owners are also critical of the juvenile court system they say doesn’t do enough to prevent it from occurring in the first place.
“These 15, 16 year olds get in front a judge and they get their hands slapped,” Johnston said.
Howard County Police say the four suspects: three 16-year-olds and a 15-year-old were arrested following the incident, which happened at around 6:30 a.m. Saturday at Ellicott City Motorsports in the 3200 block of Bethany Lane.
All four teens are being charged as juveniles and their names are not being released by police.
According to police, the suspects were seen taking dirt bikes and loading them into a van, which was also stolen, broke down as they tried to speed off.
Police say the juveniles tried to run before being arrested.
Detectives are investigating whether the suspects were involved in an April 14 burglary at the same business.
In total, some 150 dirt bikes have been stolen from nearby dealers in the last year or two, Johnston, owner of Ellicott City Motorsports said.
Management at Glen Burnie Power Sports says that they suspect it was the same group of teens who stole from their store as well.
Anne Arundel County Police have arrested a 19 year old for dirt bike theft from that deal in Crofton. It’s unclear if all the crimes are connected.