FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Ronnie Schneider knows bikes and bikers. Not only does he manage the motorcycle dealership Wheels, he's also been riding for 30 years. Schneider says most riders just enjoy the companionship and being out in nature.
"I just like getting out there with my friends on the open road, experiencing the different areas, driving through lakes country - just kind of freedom," Schneider says.
Unfortunately, that isn't the case for everyone. Fargo Police say criminal biker gangs are here, and the warmer weather is drawing them out.
"The Sons of Silence do - they claim North Dakota as their state. We have some Hell's Angels who live here," says Lt. Shannon Ruziska with the Fargo Police Department. "The gangs have always been here. There are some that pass through, there are some that live in our area."
Now, officers want residents to be on the lookout.
"These guys are in a criminal gang. They always pose somewhat of a danger," Lt. Ruziska says. "They do bring in drugs, they do a lot of prostitution."
Fargo Police say witnesses are especially important when it comes to prosecuting biker gangs. Gang members normally won't turn on each other or cooperate with police - even when it comes to their rivals. So officers say, if you see something - say something.
Officers say gang members typically wear patches that show which gang they belong to. Also, most biker gang members are older because it can take up to 15 years to get into the gang. police say if you see a biker who is acting suspiciously, give them a call.
"I would really tell people not to ever take anything physical with these folks. They're always armed with some type of weapon," says Lt. Ruziska.
But residents should also keep in mind, not everyone who rides is dangerous. "99% of all motorcycle riders are just like you and me. But 1% aren't," Lt. Ruziska says.
"Men and women that are in college, all the way up to doctors and lawyers that are riding and enjoying a motorcycle and the freedom. And also law enforcement to just your normal guy who works in a factory everyday. So pretty much, any span of people you can think of is going to be on motorcycles nowadays," says Schneider.