Feb. 5, 2024 By Bill Parry
While the use of scooters and mopeds have proliferated in recent years, so too has their use as a tool for criminals in armed robberies and drive-by shootings—including a bloody rampage in July that left an 86-year-old grandfather dead in Richmond Hill, authorities say.
On Monday, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced that more than 40 illegal motorized scooters were seized as part of a joint operation between her office and several police precincts across western Queens on Roosevelt Avenue and Long Island City.
The bikes are also notorious for being involved in traffic collisions and other mayhem, officials said, which also prompted the operation.
“The often careless and dangerous operation of motorized scooters on our roads, and even our sidewalks, has become an urgent concern,” Katz said. “Their use to commit violent crimes and escape will not be tolerated and requires immediate action.”
A total of 43 scooters were seized for being illegally parked on sidewalks along busy commercial strips with high pedestrian traffic.
Detectives from the district attorney’s office working with officers from the 110th Precinct in Elmhurst, the 115th Precinct in Jackson Heights and the 114th Precinct in Astoria focused on 10 locations. Of the 43 scooters confiscated, nearly all were unregistered.
“This latest operation in the NYPD’s citywide efforts to curb the illegal use of motorized scooters has undoubtedly made the people of Queens safer,” NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban said. “New Yorkers see it every day: People putting others at risk by recklessly operating unregistered scooters, speeding through red lights, and riding on sidewalks. In addition to blatant traffic violations, some riders commit shootings, robberies, and other violent acts.”
The use of an illegal scooter to commit a crime garnered headlines last year when 25-year-old Thomas Abreu of Cypress Hills was indicted for murder and five counts of attempted murder for randomly firing from a motorbike at pedestrians and a fellow motorist during a shooting spree in Queens that left an 86-year-old married father of six dead and two others wounded.
Additional operations are planned across Queens as part of an effort to get illegal motorized scooters and other vehicles off the road.
“We are partnering with the NYPD to do proactive enforcement to make our streets and communities safer for law-abiding New Yorkers,” Katz said.