City of Hartford, PD crush seized ATVs, dirt bikes as part of ongoing enforcement efforts


HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The City of Hartford destroyed 31 ATVs and dirt bikes Tuesday afternoon at Corona’s Auto Parts as part of law enforcement’s efforts to target the illegal operation of these motorized recreational vehicles on city streets and parks.

Police Chief Jason Thody reported in a statement Tuesday, the illegal operation of ATVs and dirt bikes is “one of the most common complaints we hear from residents, and today we want to send the message that these vehicles have no place on our streets and in our parks.”

RELATED: New Haven forms regional coalition to crack down on illegal street ATVs, dirt bikes

Chief Thody added that law enforcement sometimes finds the illegal use of these vehicles “is associated with other, more serious crimes.”

Mayor Luke Bronin’s office said the city’s police department will continue to work “to reduce the hazardous operation” of these vehicles “which pose a threat to public safety and which is prohibited by City ordinance.”

According to the city, the department has seized more than 30 of these vehicles over the last month. Police attribute the uptick in use in the last month to the COVID-19 lockdown and shutdowns.

“Residents are tired of having loud ATVs and dirt bikes tear through our neighborhoods, but this is more than a quality of life issue — it’s a public safety issue,” said Mayor Luke Bronin. “These vehicles are dangerous, and we’re not going to tolerate them on our streets or in our parks. Through highly visible enforcement operations we’ve made progress deterring people from coming from outside of Hartford to ride, but we’ve seen an uptick in joyriding since the coronavirus lockdown.  The police department will continue to take these vehicles off our streets safely, and we will confiscate and destroy every vehicle we can. I want to thank all of the officers involved in these operations for their careful, professional work to protect our community.”

The vehicles crushed Tuesday were all collected by Hartford PD prior to the last few months, and “the City received permission to destroy them following legal proceedings.” 

Hartford PD emphasized, when they recover stolen vehicles, they are returned to their rightful owners, but the vehicles destroyed Tuesday were modified in an illegal fashion and/or had their VINs obliterated or manipulated, so it made auction impossible.

We put a lot of time, effort and thought into auctioning these units off.  A few of the units could only be identified by running the engine/transmission numbers due to manipulated VINS.  Lots of these were heavily modified, and most of it was shoddy work.

First, we wouldn’t feel comfortable selling them in their current state, and secondly, the time transporting them, posting them, and auctioning them for the small number the city would intake wouldn’t be worth the time, resources, and effort.  

We also wanted to avoid the potential for these units to be purchased and recycled onto our city streets and in our parks.

– Lt. Paul C. Cicero, Major Crimes Division & Media Relations, Hartford Police Department

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