What's In A Name? Depends Whom You Ask

A Canyon Country, Calif., motorcycle dealer is having problems with the law, and he says the local deputies are targeting him unfairly because of the business name: 5150 Custom.

The number in the name refers to the California Welfare and Institutions Code section law officers cite to take potentially insane people into temporary custody because they are considered dangerous to themselves or others.

It's also been adopted by extreme riders to describe their bravado and rebellious spirit.

And unfortunately for 5150 Custom owner Haik Avagyan, it's also part of the name of a violent Riverside biker gang based two counties away.

"My main concern is that I've noticed a loss in business" because of the unwelcome attention from law enforcement, he says.

The shop fixes motorcycles and sometimes augments them to enable riders to perform stunts, according to the Santa Clarita Signal.

Haik says deputies are picking on him and members of his club — who wear vests emblazoned with Haik's personally designed "51-50" logo or have stickers with it on their bikes or gear.

Sheriff's Capt. Anthony La Berge, who heads the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station told the Signal deputies are targeting motorcyclists at the shop but not because of the name.

La Berge says Haik's customers often ride crotch rockets, performing dangerous acts on city roads and, in some cases, getting killed doing them.

A recent meeting between the two didn't move either side.

"I know it's because of the stickers," Haik said. "They think I'm teaching these kids how do these stunts." Although he would like to break into motorcycle stunt work for movies, his repair business is the whole show right now.

La Berge says he and his deputies are targeting motorcyclists who ride vehicles that do not meet legal standards. As Santa Clarita Valley's top local law enforcement figure, La Berge unveiled 2008 crime statistics last week indicating an overall reduction in almost all crimes.

But the statistic most vexing to La Berge is the number of motorcycle deaths.

"We've had six motorcycle fatalities in the past year and a half," he told the Signal. "Four of those six were young adults on crotch rockets, all speed related."