STATELINE (WIFR) – Expect the roads to be a lot noisier tonight and for several days to come. Hundreds of Hells Angels are rolling into town for their convention. Local law enforcement agencies are on high alert and officers aren’t the only ones prepared to handle the motorcycle gang.
“I’m here if they need me.”
Some people aren’t thrilled about Hells Angels riding into Rockford, but Mike Nelson welcomes them. As owner of Mike’s Motorcycles on Kishwaukee, he’s prepared to handle any Angel and their bike.
“I put a sign out there just t let them know that there’s a motorcycle shop close to them so if they haven any needs or problems with their motorcycle, I’ll be more than happy to fix it for them.”
Nelson believes having the motorcycle group in town will boost business, not crime.
“You have to anticipate that, then hope it doesn’t occur.”
Yet most local law enforcement agencies aren’t taking any chances.
Hundreds of Hells Angels will be at Lyran Park starting tomorrow. They’ll stay until next Sunday. Like Rockford, the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department is upping their street patrol and putting two deputies to a car.
Lieutenant Pat Hoey with Rockford Police says he still wants to be prepared, however he believes most people shouldn’t worry about an uptick in crime.
“They have a reputation of being a criminal organization and being involved in criminal activity for several years, the majority of them are working class citizens and they just want to have a gathering.”
Hoey says they don’t believe Hells Angels will cause any problems because the group usually expects more of a police presence during their conventions.
Police aren’t sure what route the group will take, however they found out that some past issues with Hells Angels have involved residents. We’re told most members will stay at Lyran Park. If they do go out, it will be to bars near there. Officers say the group isn’t as rowdy as some might expect them to be.