Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Watsonville, CA, USA
HA vs Vagos from SC Sentinel
Motorcycle club members fight in downtown Santa Cruz during lunch
By Jennifer Squires
Posted: 01/28/2010 01:30:02 AM PST
SANTA CRUZ -- Rival motorcycle gang members armed with hammers and crowbars fought in a downtown parking lot during the lunch hour Wednesday, though authorities said violence involving the clubs is unusual in the county.
Hells Angels were fighting with Vagos near Front Street and Soquel Avenue around 12:45 p.m., according to 911 callers. But the fight had broken up and the participants had fled by the time officers arrived, Santa Cruz police spokesman Zach Friend said.
One man, a Vagos member, was arrested across the San Lorenzo River near Mike Fox Park.
Live Oak resident Thomas Robert Froberg, 37, was stopped on Riverside Avenue after police pulled over a vehicle that witnesses had seen fleeing the fight. Officers found a hammer in the car, Friend said. Froberg was booked into County Jail on suspicion of possessing a deadly weapon and a gang allegation, according to police.
No Hells Angels members were found, though officers searched the area, Friend said. No injuries were reported.
The motorcycle clubs are not new to Santa Cruz or the county, though criminal activity is uncommon.
"They don't pop up as much," Friend said of the motorcycle groups.
Other county law enforcement officials agreed.
"I can't think of a serious incident in the last 10 years," said sheriff's Sgt. Ian Patrick, who oversees gang investigations in the unincorporated area of the county.
Motorcycle club members have been arrested for personal issues, but no club events have caused problems in recent memory, Patrick said.
The Sheriff's Office doesn't keep track of "outlaw motorcycle gang" membership in the county, Patrick said. A chapter of Hells Angels claims Santa Cruz County, but Patrick said he wouldn't classify them as a criminal street gang under state law based on the contacts, or lack thereof, sheriff's deputies have had with members.
Patrick also said he hadn't heard of a local Vagos group, but added that some Vagos members hang out in the county.
He noted not all motorcycle club members are gangsters: "People have a right to meet and congregate and be part of groups, and we want to be careful about allowing people to do that within their constitutional rights.'