Mountain Bikers in Limbo After Feds Confiscate Bikes | NBC 7 San Diego

Mountain Bikers in Limbo After Feds Confiscate Bikes

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The wheels of justice can move slowly - all too slow for a group of local mountain bikers, whose bikes were confiscated in January after the military says they trespassed on federal property. Those bikes still have not been returned to them. NBC 7’s Artie Ojeda reports. (Published Friday, March 4, 2016)

    It’s been 49 days since a group of San Diego County mountain bikers had their expensive bikes confiscated by federal police.

    “They just don’t seem particularly interested in arriving at a resolution. They’ve got our bikes and they’ve got no specific incentive to resolve it,” said mountain biker John Frazier.

    Frazier says he’s purchased a new bike in the interim because he doesn’t know “how long the corps is going to have my bicycle.”

    He’s one of at least 45 mountain bikers who had their bikes confiscated on Jan. 15 near Sycamore Canyon. At the time, a spokesperson for MCAS Miramar said the bikers were repeatedly warned and signs were posted, saying they were not allowed to be on federal property.

    Many of the bikers dispute the signage, but now are focused on getting their bike returned. The question, though: When is that going to happen?

    The citations they’ve received imply a court date would be issued in 45 days. If not, they’re told to call a number on the back of the ticket. But the 45 days have since passed, and those who’ve called the number say they’ve been told to try back in a few weeks.

    Michael Crowell owns North of the Border Bike Shop in Sorrento Valley. He had a bike worth almost $7,000 impounded.

    “It’s absolutely ridiculous that it’s taking this long,” said Crowell.

    A spokesperson for MCAS Miramar told NBC 7 to contact a federal magistrate regarding the citations. But the citations are not yet listed on a system used to track federal cases, so technically there is no case number to track.

    A lawyer representing some of the cyclists says state law requires a citation to be filed in 25 days. But this is a federal case, where legally the citation must be “promptly filed,” according to attorney Richard Duquette.

    Duquette plans on filing a motion, arguing there was no legitimate basis to impound the bikes in the first place. He says it typically takes 60 to 90 days for misdemeanor trespassing cases to be processed.

    Meanwhile, the bikers frustration grows.

    “Once it’s in the feds’ hands, dealing with the military, we’re not getting anywhere with them. It’s seems like it’s in absolute limbo,” said Crowell.