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ATV rider speaks out after roundup arrests from crackdown operation in central Ohio

There have been over 700 complaints about ATVs and bikes riding around the streets of Columbus.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — There have been over 700 complaints about ATVs and bikes riding around the streets of Columbus. Neighbors don't like the noise and are concerned about the safety from drivers going on sidewalks and lawns.

That prompted several departments to join together to crack down on illegal riding. So far, there have been 11 arrests and 11 ATVs and bikes were confiscated after the round-up.

From the ground and from the sky, Columbus police, the Franklin County Sheriff's Office and Whitehall police worked together on Operation 52 to stop illegal bike and ATV riders from hitting the streets.

“We took a casual Saturday ride, just like we did any other Saturday or day of the week, just had a lot more police presence than normal,” said B.K.

For fear of retribution, B.K. did not want us to show his face or use his real name.

He admits police chased him for a couple of hours and he drove through a field to try to get away.

10TV asked B.K. why he didn’t stop.

“Their methods of apprehension do not allow for us to stop for the most part,” B.K. said

He says he was one of those who were arrested with a gun but has a legal CCW permit.

“The firearms found on us have nothing to do with the homicides that have been going on in the city at the moment. We were just legal gun owners just trying to protect ourselves,” B.K. said.

B.K. admits his ride is not street-legal but says police resources should be used elsewhere.

“I think the focus should be more on the 127 homicides that continue to rise,” B.K. said.

Columbus Police Deputy Chief Jennifer Knight says officers have to enforce all laws and that no officers were taken from investigating violent crime. She said Columbus police worked with outside agencies for additional resources and argues these riders put many people's lives at risk.

B.K. admits the crackdown may have him thinking twice about hitting the streets again.

“It definitely puts caution into the situation. I definitely feel like there's a common ground we can come to because this didn't become a thing until now. We've had these out here for a year,” he said.

City Council passed legislation on July 26 that created an offense for reckless operation of an ATV or dirt bike, carrying a minimum penalty of $500 and a maximum penalty of $1,000.

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