CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — It’s a story Queen City News continues to stay on top of: Groups of teens on bicycles terrorizing drivers in and around Uptown Charlotte. Now, more victims are coming forward to share their stories of encounters with the bicycle gangs.
“It’s just gotten progressively worse and worse,” one man told Queen City News Tuesday.
For people who live in South End or Uptown, it is probably a common sight. A sea of teens or young adults riding their bicycles in the middle of the road, oftentimes antagonizing drivers and even kicking cars.
“If you drive on the street and they’re performing their street stunts, they expect you to turn around and go in the opposite direction or just stop in the middle of the road and wait for them,” the man said.
He, like so many others, is now afraid to show his face after he says the group attacked him while he was riding his bicycle through Uptown.
“Two of them came charging at me, said we’re going to ‘F this dude up’ and I pulled out my OC spray and sprayed both of them in the face,” he said.
That’s not the only encounter he’s had with the group.
“I’ve had my car surrounded by them as well and I’ve had my side-view mirror kicked,” he listed.
Last week, Queen City News asked CMPD if they knew about the issue and are doing anything to put the brakes on scenes like this.
“Yes, we’re aware of that. We know it’s a problem. We have made some arrests in some instances,” said CMPD Major Brian Foley.
Tuesday, the department sent QCN the following statement:
“The CMPD is aware of the ongoing problem involving juveniles operating bicycles in an erratic manner in the Uptown and Southend area. Members of the Central Patrol Division have conducted both proactive and reactive work in response to this behavior, charging 8 subjects and seizing at least 8 bicycles for crimes connected to riding recklessly in the street.
The ages of the charged offenders range from 14 to 27 years old. This continues to be a challenging situation as these offenders are highly mobile when taking part in this behavior, and officers with the CMPD must take into account everyone’s safety when taking enforcement action. The CMPD continues to work within the Juvenile Criminal Justice System in finding ways to manage this problem.
A recent event involving juvenile subjects known for this type of behavior turned violent, in which the subjects were riding erratically in the roadway in the Eastway Division and a vehicle collided with one of the bicycles. When the motorist got out to check on the juvenile bicyclers, the juveniles beat the motorist, stole personal items from the motorist, and then stole the vehicle. Through a collaborative effort on the part of the Real Time Crime Center, the Helicopter, and patrol the juveniles were arrested and the car was recovered. “
The age range listed by police is around the same age of the ones described by a couple QCN interviewed two weeks ago, “One of the youngest ones actually got off his bike and started picking up rocks off the side of the road and at his full strength started hurling them at the car.”
“And I’m just like, ‘Where are your parents?’”
Just two days after we spoke to that couple police say a man hit one of the cyclists riding erratically in the road. When the driver got out to check on the juvenile, others in the group beat him, and stole his car.
“I don’t want to see that. I don’t want that to be the catalyst for change to happen.”