Police say it’s happening a lot this time of year.
“Once the spring and summer months come it’s an ongoing problem in the city,” said Lt. David Silverio of the Waterbury Police Department. “The riders either driving up and down the streets or driving through the streets to get to a block of woods or driving through property that’s not theirs.”
That’s what led to the arrests of seven ATV riders last weekend in Waterbury. Police say they were riding illegally on private property — property that belongs to the Pontelandolfo Community Club. It’s a place where many people go to have outdoor weddings or elegant outdoor events. Workers there say ATV riders caused damage to the turf.
Officers had received complaints coming into the department’s ATV Tipline and went out patrolling the area when they came upon the riders.
The ATV operators now face various charges ranging from criminal trespass, to not having registration or a driver’s license, and one of the operators is facing a reckless endangerment charge. That’s because police say he had a 5 year-old child riding unsecured on an ATV.
“Best of intentions trying to do a positive activity with the child, but it wasn’t safe,”said Lt. Silverio. “They (officers) took the appropriate action and stopped it from occurring.”
Lt. Silverio says the ATV crackdown isn’t meant to show disrespect to something many people enjoy. However, he says it is becoming a nuisance issue because dozens of people are calling in to complain. He also says in Connecticut, the only places where you can legally operate an ATV is on your own property and land that is designated for it. He understands many people who love riding ATV’s say Connecticut does not have many areas designated for such usage.
“For the citizens of Waterbury, our taxpayers, for the people who call us and complain, their property isn’t for the ATV’ers to use,” he said.
Folks at the Pontelandolfo Community Club are happy police are keeping watch.
“We want to thank Waterbury Police for doing a good job trying to stop this for us, you know?” said Tony Rubbo, president of the club.
Free download: Access Connecticut breaking news, weather, stream newscasts live and more on-the-go with News 8 alerts directly to your phone.