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Bel Air's 'Evel Knievel' jumps fountain in front of courthouse

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Local police are looking for Bel Air's version of Evel Knievel.

Posted Oct. 27, a Saturday night, the video titled "Evil Kenevil lives in Bel Air" shows a person on a bike that looks more like a dirt bike than a motorcycle preparing for and jumping the fountain in front of the Harford County Courthouse on Main Street in downtown Bel Air, directly across the street from the Harford County Sheriff's Office headquarters.

Despite a fairly large crowd along Main Street cheering on the trickster, Bel Air Police didn't know about the incident until three days later, when a town officer who is a motorcycle enthusiast got a link to the YouTube video of the jump.

In one minute and 13 seconds, the biker, complete with a cape and helmet, drives the wrong way on Main Street, rides on the sidewalk and checks out his surroundings before attempting his feat.

It begins with a four-wheeler pulling up to the fountain and a board set up as a ramp over it and the fountain. The biker cruises around briefly on the sidewalk between Office and Courtland streets, then drives back toward Office the wrong way in the middle of Main Street.

The videographer is standing across the street in front of the sheriff's office and cars go by throughout. Once back at Office Street, he picked up a little speed and starts his jump. Then he lands it successfully, much to the delight of cheering fans on the street.

Police suspect the incident happened late the night of Oct. 27, and it was posted on YouTube shortly thereafter.

While it may seem funny, whomever is on the bike is breaking several laws and when he's caught, the driver will face several charges, police said.

First is reckless driving for riding a motorized vehicle on a sidewalk. That charge carries a $500 fine and three points on a driver's license.

Besides driving the wrong way on Main Street, he was also driving an unauthorized motor bike.

A Bel Air Police Department officer tried to pull over the driver of the dirt bike around 1:15 a.m. that night, unaware of his earlier antics. That he was wearing a cape didn't strike Sgt. Robert Pfarr as odd.

"Yes indeed he had his cape on," Pfarr said Tuesday. "That night was the night most of the taverns and bars in town were having costume events. It didn't strike me as odd because everyone else was in costume."

Pfarr was in his unmarked patrol car behind the dirt bike and tried to pull him over, in the same area where the jump occurred, when Pfarr realized the bike was unregistered. The driver didn't stop. Pfarr said it was in "everyone's best interest if I didn't chase him," he said.

Bel Air Police Chief Leo Matrangola said most of the people who witnessed the event had probably been drinking and weren't inclined to call police.

"I'd probably enjoy seeing it too," Matrangola admitted.

Enough is enough, however, the chief said. People who ride dirt bikes have designated places where they can practice tricks like the fountain jump.

"He's putting him and the other two guys in a lot of danger," Matrangola said.

Officers have an idea who the trickster might be and they're hoping to positively identify him. Once they do, he will be charged.

Until then, Matrangola has a message for the masked rider: "We're coming after you. Don't do that in Bel Air anymore."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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