Durham, Raleigh police team up to crack down on illegal dirt bike operation

Josh Chapin Image
Thursday, September 7, 2023
Durham, Raleigh police crack down on illegal dirt bike operation
EMBED <>More Videos

A widespread investigation into illegal dirt bike activity across Durham and Raleigh yielded 43 arrests and more than 1,000 charges.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- A widespread investigation into illegal dirt bike activity across the Triangle has led to dozens of arrests.

The Durham Police Department tag teamed with the Raleigh Police Department among other agencies to charge more than 40 drivers with 700 charges in Durham alone and more than 1,000 total.

"It has been made quite clear that their actions are specifically designed to disrupt daily operations in our various cities and towns in a manner that increases criminal activity and has had a dramatic effect on our residents and entire community on overall feeling of safety and security," said Patrice Andrews, chief of police in Durham. "We will not stand for this behavior and it will not be tolerated."

Chief Andrews and Raleigh Police Chief Estella Patterson spoke Wednesday as the results of "Operation Dismount" were revealed.

The task force was created in June to address reckless and unlawful dirt bike activity.

The operation focused on one weekend in June when nearly 200 of the ATVs met in southern Durham and tore all over Raleigh including down Glenwood Avenue and onto Creedmoor Road.

Police say they disobeyed traffic lights and showed reckless disregard for other drivers.

Investigators say the dirt bike riders were also responsible for driving into a gas station, stealing items from a store, and trying to retake a bike after it had already been recovered by officers.

"We want everyone and anyone in the Raleigh area to know that if you're coming here to create problems, we're going to be there," said Chief Patterson. "We're going to stop you from doing that. We will use all of our resources to prevent this type of behavior and activity in our city."

On June 4, in Durham, police said they responded to a call of more than 200 dirt bikes in the area of Garrett Road and Hope Valley Road.

DPD said the riders attempted to surround responding officers, damaged a police vehicle, and threw rocks at another vehicle, spit on a uniformed officer, and ran over one officer's foot.

Patterson said her detectives poured over 600 hours of video from social media as part of their investigation.

The Chapel Hill Police Department, Durham County Sheriff's Office, and the Wake County District Attorney's Office also helped in the multi-jurisdictional investigation.

"We're not going to tolerate it," said Damon Williams, chief of police at NC Central. "If you come to Central, we're going to take a much more aggressive approach. We will engage these individuals and we will use the tools and technologies that we have at our disposal to prevent them from causing harm to our students."

In all 43 people were charged, including a juvenile. Charges are still pending against another minor. Only seven of the people charged were Durham residents. Many live in other parts of the state.

READ MORE: Click here to see the names of those arrested and the charges (.pdf)

The Durham Police Department urges residents with concerns about illegal biking activity to fill out this form and attach any photos or videos you have.

Durham residents can also call Sgt. J. Wagstaff at (919) 560-4582 ext. 29559 or call the non-emergency number at (919) 560-4600 or 911.