07-18-2016 BALTIMORE

Baltimore Dirt Bike Gangs Under Heavy Surveillance By Police

Baltimore police announced the creation of a four-officer dirt bike task force Thursday, arguing that the riders are more than just a dangerous nuisance on city streets and have links to gun crime.

Police Commissioner Kevin Davis called the riders "gun-toting criminals who travel throughout the city recklessly, lawlessly and with impunity."

The task force is charged with investigating any crime connected to dirt bikes, law enforcement officials said. The detectives, who have experience investigating car thefts, will seek to bring charges for riding the bikes - which in itself is illegal in the city — and associated crimes like destruction of property or gun offenses. Officers also will try to seize bikes they find.

Officers are not allowed to chase dirt bikes through the streets, and that policy remains unchanged, Davis said. So officials want people to call or text police with tips about where investigators can find stashed bikes and fueling locations.

The task force has been working for two weeks and has seized several guns, Davis said.

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