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Charlotte police say there's an uptick in crime among young people on bikes

CMPD HQ
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Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say there’s been a recent uptick in crime among kids on bicycles, dirt bikes and ATVs.

In a news conference Wednesday, CMPD Capt. Bret Balamucki described behavior that ranged from doing wheelies in the road to pulling out real and fake guns.

In one instance, a group of kids got into a fight with a man, shot him and fled on their bikes, Balamucki said.

“We used to get a lot of complaints about kids riding wheelies and disrupting traffic, and now we’re starting to see emboldenness with our younger groups getting more aggressive with people that confront them,” Balamucki said. “And now suddenly we have weapons being involved.”

CMPD said officers have made 28 arrests related to these activities since January of 2021, with charges ranging from reckless driving to assault with a deadly weapon. Those charged range from their mid-20s to as young as 11.

Balamucki said it’s not always the intent of the child to cause any harm.

“He may not understand the danger he’s putting himself in cause he’s getting clicks on TikTok,” he said. “You know, ‘Hey, follow me, watch as I almost collide into a CATS bus,’ not realizing that they’re putting the public in danger as they ride around.”

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Jeanne is a producer for All Things Considered on WFAE. She previously worked at NPR member station WUGA in Athens, Georgia, where se graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in journalism. Jeanne originally grew up outside of Atlanta, Georgia.