PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Members of the Rhode Island State Police arrested three motorcycle club members this weekend – and officials say the situation is alarming.
According to police, the incident started as a routine traffic stop along Route 95 in West Greenwich. The three men, all from Philadelphia, found themselves behind bars on weapons charges, police said. The charges include carrying a pistol without a permit and possession of a handgun by a convicted violent criminal.
All three men belong to the Outlaws Motorcycle Club, police said.
Major Joesph Philbin of the Rhode Island State Police said the club seems to be making an effort to establish a presence in New England.
“The outlaws are one the of biggest motorcycle clubs or gangs in the country, and the fact that they are establishing a presence in Rhode Island is alarming to us because sometimes they can bring forth some violence and criminal activity. I’m not saying all the time but sometimes they can,” he told Eyewitness News.
Major Philbin said the club is considered to be a criminal enterprise, both on a local and federal level. Right now, they have a clubhouse in Woonsocket and according to their website, an effort is underway to create a group in Fall River.
Historically, New England is considered to belong to the Hell’s Angels, officials say.
“The Hell’s Angels have had a presence in RI as long as I’ve been on the state police, the last 20 to 25 years,” Philbin said. “So the fact that the outlaws are trying to maintain or create a presence here could create a problem.”
According to Philbin, the problem has the potential to become violent.
“Take what happened in Waco, Texas last year between the Banditos and Costics… Within a matter of minutes, there’s nine people shot and killed out there,” he said. “You don’t want to see that happen here and you don’t want any innocent bystanders caught up in the fight between the two clubs.”
Major Philbin said he couldn’t detail how the police are monitoring the movement and presence of the clubs.
Officials said two of the men arrested did make bail. The third man, identified as Thomas Severns, is being held without bail and is expected to be in court on Monday.