San Marcos police warn downtown businesses of biker gangs

Police say Bandidos have been seen twice in the downtown area in the past month. (KXAN photo)
Police say Bandidos have been seen twice in the downtown area in the past month. (KXAN photo)

SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) – The San Marcos Police Department says more motorcycle gangs are making their way into downtown San Marcos.

Brandon Winkenwerder, the San Marcos Police assistant chief, says the department has received calls on two occasions involving large groups of Bandidos visiting downtown bars.

“Parking has always been an issue downtown and when you go and start parking 20 or 30 motorcycles on a sidewalk, it becomes an issue with anyone wanting to move around down there,” said Winkenwerder.

The assistant chief says each time police have been called, the group has moved their motorcycles without causing any problems.

After learning of an increased presence, the Downtown Association sent out an email to local businesses. “To avoid issues that come along with a gang’s influence and control in a community, police are recommending that downtown establishments keep an eye out and consider implementing strategies to make their space unwelcoming to this group,” the Downtown Association said.

The email continues by suggesting businesses could enforce a dress code and post signage at the door. “If members of the gang try to enter, staff can say ‘sorry, policy says we can’t have you here.’ If they still enter, police can arrest them for criminal trespassing because the signage and staff has provided notice that they are not allowed, thus meeting the requirements of the law.”

According to police local businesses have enforced dress codes in the past due to gang activity. “It’s kind of been something that has happened in the past and these guys are here and once they are gone another group will come in. Every few years it seems to happen again and it raises everyone’s awareness and questions to be asked,” said Winkenwerder.

But it’s those kind of questions that one local business owner hopes won’t turn other bikers away from visiting downtown. “I want bikers in here; I would love to see more bikers here. Like I said, we do sale biker stuff and I’m totally against it,” said Kristan Alvarez, owner of KnDs in downtown San Marcos.

“I know a lot of bikers, Bandidos specifically and I just feel like they aren’t all bad people, they shop here all the time and I want to welcome them here,” said Alvarez. “I was a little upset that they were kind of pushing them away, I lose sales because of that.”

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