EXCLUSIVE: Ride along with NYPD commander during crackdown on ATVs, illegal motorcycles

Monday, May 16, 2016
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Tim Fleischer has more from the Bronx.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Teams of NYPD officers are looking for roving bands of motorcyclists and individuals who they say could possibly pose a danger to the public. In recent months, they have sought to end what they describe as 'reckless driving' by individuals and groups.

"Riding on sidewalks, disregarding traffic signals with no regard for pedestrians, and intimidating other motorists," says Inspector Brian Mullen.

They are also pulling record numbers of illegal motorcycles off the streets.

"You couldn't conduct a pursuit of anyone on a motorcycle in this area. No. Way too dangerous...too many people on the street," adds Mullen.

As Commanding Officer of the 44th Precinct, Inspector Brian Mullen took Eyewitness News on an exclusive ride-along as he oversees teams of officers.

"We do not pursue. What we try to do is tactically deploy to areas where we can block them," he says.

Officers then confiscate their bikes. Most, they say, are stolen.

"ATVs, mini bikes, dirt bikes and motorcycles - all unregistered, uninsured, unlicensed and being driven in a reckless manner," adds Mullen.

Many of the bikes are in dangerous condition. Some vehicles police confiscate are inherently dangerous. One confiscated item had a bicycle frame that was converted to a motorcycle with a gas tank and a muffler. In the wrong hands, this bike can be the most dangerous.

Another effective tool in the crackdown is support from the aviation unit overhead.

"One of the persons abandoned an ATV. They went under the train tracks trying to elude us, so they are aware we are observing them from the air," says police officer Lester Sanabria.

"Aviation up above in the sky with eyes above telling us which direction they were heading," adds Mullen.

Hundreds of bikes have been confiscated in the South Bronx, Upper Manhattan, and in Brooklyn. Inspector Mullen believes the crackdown is having an impact, saying that it is only making the streets safer.

The NYPD plans to continue their crackdown, and just to show how serious they are, the department will crush all the confiscated bikes in a public display later this week.