The press releases that announce the apprehension and prosecution of biker gangsters usually read like fiction – bad fiction – or the ravings of a drug addled lunatic.
Four cases spring immediately to mind: The Zach Tipton murder in Jacksonville Beach in June after which the confessed shooter was set free because his motorcycle club has branded itself as “law abiding;” the Georgia Outlaws case in which three men were indicted, for all practical purposes, because they refused to be entrapped; the recent murder conviction of a strange and pathetic man named Caius Veoivis – who did not own a motorcycle and who probably couldn’t fit a helmet over his skull implants – but who prosecutors said murdered in hopes of becoming a Hells Angel; and another Angels fiasco called “Operation Red Harvest” in which 34 people were hit with 226 criminal complaints that eventually turned out to be almost entirely imaginary.
That is not mention the limitless racketeering prosecution of the Mongols Motorcycle Club, many of whose members were convicted of “crimes” such as being a club officer, legally possessing ammunition or posing with a gun in a photograph that was reproduced in a book. Or the never ending questions of prospective jurors in biker cases about whether those good citizens understand that the television show Sons of Anarchy is a work of fiction.
So in that context it might be realistic to wonder how the United States Department of Justice intends to twist the strange tale of Keith Ditmore’s very bad day into a predicate offense in some future prosecution of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club.
Ditmore, the owner of a motorcycle shop in Alto, New Mexico was arrested Monday and charged with aggravated burglary, aggravated assault, shooting from a moving vehicle and possession of a controlled substance after defending himself against an unknown number of imaginary Bandidos.
Ditmore told police that the Bandidos were dressed like Swat.
His strange ordeal began about four Monday afternoon when he noticed people dressed like Swat members on his property and called police. Lincoln County Sheriffs responded but were unable to find the intruders.
Ditmore Tries To Escape
Five hours later Ditmore saw two more Swat intruders with assault rifles standing outside his door. He confronted the two men who refused to answer him. So, Ditmore loaded his AK-47 and killed a Swat Bandido in his garage then shot at a woman who seemed to be accompanying Diotmore’s tormenters.
In a panic, he tried to escape, crashed his truck into a ditch and shot at a Swat Bandido perched on his rear fender before running to the nearest house. “He gained entry claiming the Bandidos were after him,” Lincoln County Sheriff Robert Shepperd said in a report. “He shot six times inside the residence while the home owner and daughter had retreated into a bathroom and locked the door. After a brief standoff he was talked out of the house and taken into custody and transported to jail.”
After being convinced to leave the house, Ditmore told Sheriffs that Bandidos were on the roof of the house and wanted to kill him. Sheriffs found the engine of Ditmore’s truck still running with a bullet hole in the rear fender. Additional bullet holes were found in the rear of the house in which Ditmore had sought refuge.
According to the Sheriff’s statement, Ditmore admitted injecting methamphetamine and taking six Xanax before he realized he was being attacked.
Ditmore was later released on $71,000 bond.