• 20th-annual Biketoberfest kicks off


    VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - The 20th annual Biketoberfest is underway.

    Tourism officials said they usually expect between 100,000 and 125,000 bikers, but Daytona Beach Police Chief Michael Chitwood said there could be as many as 250,000 this weekend.

    This year police said they are watching closely for biker gangs.

    Rival members of a biker gang were recently responsible for a deadly shooting at a VFW post in Seminole County.

    Daytona Beach police said they don't expect gangs to show up, but they are still watching.

    According to police, even federal agents are working the streets, watching for anything unusual.

    "What everybody needs to remember is whether it's Hells angels, the Warlocks, the Outlaws; they are domestic terrorists," said Chitwood.

    Chitwood doesn't hesitate to label any group that even pretends to be a gang. He says his officers will pick them out from among thousands of bikers rolling down the streets or walking from bar to bar.

    At Biketoberfest, a lot of bikers dress in similar clothes; so it can be difficult to find somebody who stands out; but police say they know exactly who and what to look for.

    "If you come here and you bring attention to yourself; you can expect us to jump on top of you like white on rice," said Chitwood.

    Biketoberfest is the first major motorcycle event since a deadly shootout in Winter Springs.

    It was the result of a disagreement between two different chapters of the Warlocks motorcycle club.

    It ended with two men dead and four behind bars.

    Chitwood says retaliation in Daytona is unlikely.

    "We are working closely with our federal partners and we are pretty confident that our plan we have in place is going to reduce or eradicate that problem," said Chitwood.

    So far there have not been any reports of gang problems, but officials said every local, state, and federal agency will be in the crowds.

    Biketoberfest runs through Sunday.


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