The Outlaws Motorcycle Club, incorporated as the American Outlaws Association or its acronym, A.O.A., is a one-percenter motorcycle gang andorganized crime syndicate[1][5][6] that was formed in McCook, Illinois in 1935.

There is a one-percenter motorcycle club called the “Outlaws” in New Zealand, but they are not part of the international club. It only shares the name and has a different patch design.[7]

Membership in the Outlaws is limited to men who own American-made motorcycles of a particular size,[8] although in Europe motorcycles from any country are allowed so long as they are in the chopper style. Their main rivals are the Hells Angels, giving rise to an acronym used by Outlaws members, “ADIOS” (Angels Die In Outlaw States).
The club’s first Iowa chapter was founded in 1978 when Diablo Knights MC became an Outlaws associate. A member not belonging to the Mother Chapter in Chicago became the club’s National President for the first time[citation needed] in 1984, and in 1989 the abbreviation “MC” (Motorcycle Club) was added to the backpatch. The Outlaws’ first European chapter was established in France in 1993, and the following year an Australian chapter was founded.[citation needed] MC 44 of France also became a chapter. In 1995, the club’s Chicago chapter was split into three groups: Mother Chapter (Southside), Westside and Northside. A second European chapter was also opened in Norway. In 1999, the Belgian Outlaws MC, which already existed independently for 25 years, became a member of the AOA. The 2000s saw the Outlaws expand rapidly in Europe. The English and Welsh Outlaws MC, until then independent MCs, joined the AOA in 2000. Ghost Riders MC of Germany joined the AOA and chapters were opened in Sweden and Thailand in 2001. In 2002, the Outlaws’ first support club, the Black Pistons, was founded in Germany.[verification needed]The Outlaws Motorcycle Club was established out of Matilda’s Bar on old Route 66 in McCookIllinois, a southwestern suburb of Chicago, in 1935.[9] The club stayed together during World War II, but like most organizations at that time, their activities were limited. In May 1946, the Outlaws attended the first major post-war motorcycle event in the Midwest, which was held at Soldier Field, Chicago.[citation needed]

By 1950, the Outlaws had expanded rapidly, and most of their members were now from the Chicago area.[citation needed] The club re-established itself in Chicago and changed their logo; a small skull replaced a winged motorcycle, and Old English-style letters were adopted. This design was embroidered on a black shirt and hand painted on leather jackets. In 1954, the Crossed Pistons were added to the original small skull. This design was embroidered on a black western-style shirt with white piping. The movie The Wild One with Marlon Brando influenced this backpatch. The Skull and Crossed Pistons were redesigned in 1959, making them much larger with more detail. The A.O.A. logo was adopted as an answer to the A.M.A. logo.

In 1960, the American Motorcycle Association, an organization which supervises all official races in the United States, banned the word “Outlaws” from all race clothing.[citation needed] Therefore all racing club members wore the sign O.M.C. (Outlaw Motorcycle Club) on their outfits until 1963. The Outlaws became an official member of the 1%er Brotherhood of Clubs in 1963, making it the first official 1%er club east of the Mississippi River.[citation needed] On July 4, 1964, the Cult MC from Voorheesville, New York were patched-over by the Outlaws. During the Springfield Motor Races in August of the same year, they became associates of the Gypsy Raiders from Louisville, Kentucky. A Milwaukee chapter was then established, and the “Outlaw Nation” was founded with Chicago as Mother Chapter. On January 1, 1965, the American Outlaws Association (A.O.A.) was founded. The insignia of the club, a skull and crossed pistons, is named “Charlie”. In July 1967, the Outlaws National President and a number of other members travelled south from Chicago and sanctioned the club’s first chapter in Florida. “God Forgives Outlaws Don’t” (“G.F.O.D.“) became the club’s motto in 1969.

There are now Black Pistons (BPMC) chapters in the United States, Canada, Belgium, Great Britain, PolandIceland and Norway. Poland, along with Italy, also opened its first Outlaws chapter that year. By 2003, the Outlaws were represented in 19 US states.[citation needed] In late 2004, the first Outlaws chapter was opened in Russia and in 2005, the club celebrated the 70th anniversary as a motorcycle club and the 40th anniversary of the AOA. A Japanese chapter was opened in 2006, and in 2007 the club opened a chapter in the Philippines. The Black Pistons also started its first chapter in Australia[when?]. A Serbian chapter was opened in May 2010.

[edit]Famous and infamous members

The FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitive #453Taco Bowman, known World Leader of the AOA, in prison since 1999 for three murders, was the international president of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club. During the time that Bowman was a fugitive in 1998, it had chapters in more than 30 cities in the United States and some 20 chapters in at least four other countries. Richard Meyer was sentenced to 10 years in prison for beating a boy in Daytona Beach, Florida, and spent 5 of the 10 in a cell. According to Florida records, Meyer is the recognized leader of the Orlando chapter and is an Outlaw affiliate, former skinhead and current Hammerskin Nation leader in Florida and most of the United States’ Southeast region.[10]

[edit]Legal prosecutions

[edit]United States


On the morning of August 15, 2007, Federal agents along with the Daytona Beach SWAT Team raided the Outlaws clubhouse on Beach Street in Daytona Beach, Florida[11] looking for drugs, weapons, contraband, paraphernalia, etc.; they tore the Daytona Beach clubhouse apart for the better part of the day and found nothing, but removed as many of the club’s pictures and any other possibly identifying information as they could find. Federal agents also raided a home in Ormond Beach and two other clubhouses around the state. The search of the Jacksonville clubhouses netted federal agents 60 weapons including pocket and kitchen knives. U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced a Detroit grand jury indictment of 16 of the Outlaws National Club’s members.[12]The Detroit grand jury indictment included various charges, including assault and drug distribution. Eleven Outlaws leaders and high-ranking members of the gang were arrested after a five-year investigation. The FBI said several gang members were charged with conspiracy to commit assault on members of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club in Indiana.


Frank Rego Vital of Roberta, Georgia, an Outlaws MC member, was shot and killed in an early morning gunfight June 24, 2007 in the parking lot of The Crazy Horse Saloon strip club in Forest Park, Georgia by two members of the Renegades MC in what has been described as a self-defense shooting after Vital and other Outlaws members followed the men from the club. Both Renegade members were shot several times but survived.[13]


On July 30, 2008, several facilities associated with the Outlaws in the Chicago area were raided by agents from the FBI and the ATF.[14] The FBI brought in a SWAT team and an urban assault vehicle to the clubhouse in the west side of the city in case violence were to break out.[15]


On June 15, 2010 the ATF surrounded the home of Thomas “Tomcat” Mayne. Gunfire was exchanged with the ATF, ultimately killing Mayne. The ATF was there to serve a federal search warrant for an indictment that included Mayne and 26 other members of the Outlaws, for RICO charges and for the shooting of a member of the rival Hells Angels.[16][17][18]


On July 31, 2007 the FBI raided the Brockton, Massachusetts Outlaws.[citation needed] The Taunton, Massachusetts club house was raided, but due to immunity of the Brockton club house nothing happened. Many people were arrested, including Joseph Noe, former President of the Taunton chapter.

[edit]New Hampshire

On June 27, 2006 Christopher Legere of Raymond, New Hampshire, an Outlaws member, was arrested in the murder of a man who was wearing a Hells Angels shirt.[19] The victim, John Denoncourt, 32, of Manchester, New Hampshire, was shot and killed outside the 3-Cousins Pizza and Lounge in Manchester on Sunday June 25, 2006 after he was spotted hugging the bartender, who was Legere’s girlfriend. Denoncourt, according to friends and family, was not a Hells Angel member himself but had friends who were. Legere had been involved in another incident in Connecticut in early 2006 when he was charged with illegal possession of body armor by a convicted felon.


On March 17, 2009, 22 people—including a correctional officer—were charged in connection with a $3.6 million cocaine distribution ring operated by members and “wannabes” of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.[20]

On August 24, 2009, 15 members of the Outlaws Philadelphia chapter were arrested in connection with a methamphetamine ring. Those arrested included chapter president Thomas “The Boss” Zaroff, Jr., and Charles “The Panhead” Rees. According to Pennsylvania District Attorney Tom Corbett, the gang sold methamphetamine in PhiladelphiaBucksMontgomeryChester, and Delaware counties in Pennsylvania and in Camden and Burlington counties in New Jersey.[21]

[edit]South Dakota

On August 8, 2006, four Outlaws members were wounded, three seriously, in an ambush in Custer State ParkSouth Dakota, among bikers gathered for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.[citation needed] A woman acquaintance was also wounded. Two men arrested and charged with attempted murder were said to be Canadian members of the Hells Angels. A statement posted on the Outlaws’ web site had announced Outlaws members would attend Sturgis but not make any “display of power,” and claimed that they had given prior notice to federal law enforcement of their intention to sightsee and enjoy the rally.


On January 1, 2010, the Knox County Sheriff’s Office in conjunction with the Knoxville Police Department raided a house located at 205 Clifton Road to serve two arrest warrants and execute a search warrant on the property alleged to be an Outlaw clubhouse. Officers, including members of the SWAT team, raided the facility just before midnight but found only a handful of elderly club members, who surrendered quickly and peaceably. Knox County Sheriff James Jones acted on information from an undercover informant that many of the members of the club would be present at the informal celebration of New Year’s Eve. Arrest warrants had been issued for Mark “Ivan” Lester and Kenneth Foster for their alleged roles in a confrontation with the undercover informant earlier in December 2009, who had infiltrated the organization over 14 months ago. According to Sheriff Jones, Lester and Foster allegedly threatened the informant with a pistol and demanded his colors. The informant, who claimed to be in fear of their safety, submitted to the men’s demands. Mark Lester is alleged to be the Regional President in charge of the clubs operations in the states of Kentucky and Tennessee. Kenneth Foster is alleged to be the local Knoxville chapter Outlaw Motorcycle Club President.

Both Lester and Foster were arrested at the residence and were charged with aggravated robbery and aggravated kidnapping. Upon search of the residence the officers found a few legally owned handguns, small amounts of marijuana, and alleged they had evidence of other illegal activities. Both men were jailed and held in lieu of 3 million dollar bonds.[22] Other than the charges stemming from the club’s unmasking of the undercover officer, however, no other charges have been filed. [22]


On June 15, 2010, a grand jury in Virginia indicted 27 Outlaws members on various charges related to participating in a criminal enterprise (RICO) that engaged in assaults, kidnapping, drug dealing, illegal gambling, and attempted murder.[23]


On June 10, 1997, US Attorneys indicted 17 members of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club for racketeering, murder, narcotics trafficking, and bombing. Members were from WisconsinIllinoisIndiana, andFlorida chapters. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms completed a 2 ½ year investigation sparked by a war between the Outlaws and Hells Angels for control over areas of Chicago andMilwaukee.

On December 19, 2000, Kevin (Spike) O’Neill, president of the Wisconsin/Stateline Outlaws chapter, received a sentence of life in prison after being convicted on racketeering charges.

On May 31, 2001, Edward Anastas, one-time president of the Milwaukee chapter of the Outlaws motorcycle club, was arrested after being named in a sealed indictment charging him with racketeering conspiracy, cocaine conspiracy, and participating in a bombing.

[edit]United Kingdom

In England and Wales the group has around 30 different chapters.[24]

On August 12, 2007, Hells Angel Gerry Tobin, a Canadian living in Mottingham, London, was shot dead returning from the Bulldog Bash festival held near Long MarstonWarwickshire. He was singled out at random by members of the Outlaws. In November 2008, seven men, Sean Creighton, Simon Turner, Dane Garside, Dean Taylor, Malcolm Bull, Karl Garside and Ian Cameron, the entire Warwickshire Chapter, were convicted of his murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. The minimum terms before consideration of parole were between 25 and 30 years – a total of 191 years.[25]

On January 20, 2008, there was a brawl between up to 30 of the rival gangs at Birmingham International Airport. Police recovered various weapons including knuckledustershammers and a meat cleaver. Seven Outlaw members and five Hells Angels faced trial as a result.[26]


In summer 2006, Outlaw members of the Mosbach chapter attacked two members of the Hells Angels in Heilbronn. In the following trial, most Outlaw members were convicted for attempted manslaughter. The Mosbach Chapter was closed thereafter. At the same time, an Osnabrück section’s member was shot by trying to enter the Bandidos president’s house in a small village near Osnabrück. After that, Bandidos’ president was convicted to nine months on probation on charges of illegal weapon ownership. Bandidos claim they have acted in self-defense.

On March 5, 2008, fighting ensued at a motorcycle meeting in Germany between Outlaws and Hells Angels members and several people were arrested.


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