The collection was the end result of a monthlong campaign against the scooters, which police said are noisy, unsafe and forbidden on the streets.
"Nice little haul, right?" said the 104th Precinct's commander, Capt. Scott Shanley, proudly eyeing the machines that ranged from push scooters rigged with gas motors to sleek replicas of Japanese street bikes.
When he assumed command of the 104th in May, Shanley promised to crack down on quality-of-life issues that have been plaguing the area for years. The scooters, he said, were on the top of the list.
Officers from the 104th Precinct have seized about 50 of them in the past month, stopping riders every time they see one.
"I like to call them 'motorized nuisances,'" Shanley said in an interview in May. "They are not to be operated on city streets and sidewalks. Only on private property."
The scooters cause a litany of problems, he said. First, they are unsafe because most riders do not wear helmets or padding.
"A 12-year-old kid riding 40 miles per hour - it's an accident waiting to happen," he told a civic meeting in May.
They are also incredibly noisy, he said, with gas engines that howl like a weed-whacker.
Getting them off the streets has proved popular with residents. Several of them praised the captain at the Juniper Park Civic Association meeting on June 16.
"How many people have seen fewer scooters in the past month?" civic member Bob Doocey asked the crowd. Dozens of people raised their hands. "Now put your hands together and say thank you, Captain."
The room erupted in applause.
"He's only been in office six weeks and he's already collected 45 of them (scooters), " said Lorraine Sciulli, vice president of the civic. "That's very good."
In conjunction with the seizure campaign, Shanley said officers visited five scooter retailers to ensure they were in compliance with the city Department of Consumer Affairs. Two of the stores, he said, were cited for violations associated with the scooters. Shanley could not comment on the retailers' names or specific nature of the violations.
He said the scooters will soon be shipped to the police Property Clerk Division in Manhattan, where some riders may go through the drawn-out process of reclaiming them. If they do not have proof of ownership, however, Shanley said they cannot reclaim their scooters.
This is just fine with him.
"We're not very willing to give them back," he said.
Reach reporter Matthew Monks by e-mail at email@example.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.
©2004 Community News Group
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