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Annoying ATVs, bikes buzz off after roundup
Deputies arrest 15, including three parents of juvenile offenders, in a crackdown on Brooksville off-roaders.
By AUSTIN BOGUES
Published June 30, 2007
BROOKSVILLE - Police chases, a staple of television true-life crime programs, were becoming a problem in parts of south Brooksville, and the authorities were getting fed up.
The problem was that the culprits were using all-terrain vehicles and dirt bikes, which are legally prohibited on streets, and distressing residents.
The drivers also were frustrating deputies, who could not chase them off the paved roads and into people's back yards.
But deputies took a covert route, and the Sheriff's Office on Friday reported the arrest of 15 people for ATV-related offenses, among them three parents of juvenile offenders who were arrested for allowing an unauthorized person to operate a motor vehicle.
Authorities had first tried a diplomatic approach, talking to the residents, showing up at community meetings and distributing fliers.
That didn't work very well, and the chasing and the complaints continued.
Deputies began videotaping the ATV and dirt bike drivers May 3 in an area roughly bounded by Twigg, Leonard and School streets and Martin Luther King Boulevard.
May 25, using the information gleaned from the cameras to secure arrest warrants, a swarm of officers from the Sheriff's Office started rounding up the wayward drivers and many others.
Other citations included driving with a suspended or revoked license, trespassing and drug offenses.
Before the operation, the Sheriff's Office reported 30 complaints of people buzzing through the neighborhoods on ATVs and dirt bikes.
Since May 25, there have been two complaints. Because of the success of the operation, the Sheriff's Office said it would continue to keep an eye out for illegal activity in the neighborhood.