How a nice, middle-class boy became a Hells Angel—then an informer

Dave Atwell became the highest-ranking member of the Hells Angels ever to co-operate with the law

For 18 months, between 2005 and 2007, Dave (Shaky) Atwell acted as a police informer,

“ratting” on his fellow members of the notorious Hells Angels motorcycle gang in downtown Toronto. Wearing a wire, he gathered evidence that helped convict 15 men, mostly on drug trafficking charges.

Still alive to tell the tale and living under a different name, Atwell relives his harrowing ordeal as an informer and gang member in The Hard Way Out: My Life with the Hells Angels and Why I Turned Against Them, co-written with Jerry Langton. It’s part exposé, part confessional, explaining how a middle-class kid from a loving family in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough ends up joining an outlaw motorcycle gang.

In his teens, Atwell was known around town as a scrappy bouncer, working the door at bars. That led to a career in security, where he was mentored by a former British Royal Marine. Atwell quickly rose through the ranks, flagged as a “natural.” By the age of 21, he was a bodyguard for Toronto’s business and media elite. However, his enthusiasm for riding motorcycles led him into another world. This book describes that world, replete with drugs, fear, betrayal and revenge.

 Atwell eventually became a sergeant-at-arms (in charge of discipline) of the Angels’ downtown Toronto chapter—and, later, the highest-ranking member in in the world to co-operate with the law. His information helped lead to 169 charges against 31 people linked to the Hells Angels, as well as the seizure of $3 million in drugs, plus cash and property. Atwell says those who were convicted are now out of jail.

In a phone conversation organized by a third party, Atwell, now 52, called Maclean’s contributor Joanne Latimer. They spoke about his double life as a biker and a police informant, as well as the grim reality of living under the witness protection program.

Q: You grew up playing hockey in Scarborough. Your dad was an executive with a paper company. How did you end up being a member of the Hells Angels?

A: My way in wasn’t typical. I was working for a security firm doing VIP protection in 1998 when I bought a Harley-Davidson. I loved riding, so I joined the Toronto chapter of a motorcycle club called the Para-Dice Riders—who became Hells Angels. I’d met some of the Para-Dice Riders at the Falcon’s Nest [bar] where I was a doorman. They invited me back to the clubhouse one night. I joined the club as more of a social venture, not a career. I didn’t know the guys as gang members, but as motorcycle enthusiasts, hockey players, neighbours, dads and drinking buddies.

Q: Were the Para-Dice Riders selling drugs and breaking the law?

A: At the individual level, yes, some. But not everyone. My sponsor for the Para-Dice Riders told me that I didn’t have to do anything illegal. At the time, I held a private investigator licence with the Ontario Provincial Police. Several club members were federal employees with security clearance to handle mail and air cargo. They were all characters who liked to ride and have a good time, but criminal activity wasn’t across the board and it wasn’t Hells Angels’ calibre.

Q: Did joining the Para-Dice Riders jeopardize your job?

Not at first. My boss at Intercon Security said I could join a motorcycle club as long as I didn’t do anything illegal or get arrested, and as long as I didn’t join the Hells Angels. The Hells Angels weren’t in Toronto yet, but they moved into the province a year later.

Q: In December, 1999, your motorcycle club “patched-over”—meaning, changed the crests on your vests—to become one of the 14 new Hells Angels chapters in the province. How was the transition?


The dyno couldn’t even handle the torque of this custom creation

What do you get when you cross a Lotus Evora body with a Tesla Model S drive unit and the battery from a Chevy Volt? A whole mess of torque. 4,057 lb.-ft. to be exact.

Sasha Anis, OnPointDyno founder, brought these pieces together for his “Blue Lightning” project, which he’s been tinkering with for the last year, and he’s finally gotten around to showcasing its power on a dyno.

Now before you ask, yes, Anis thought ahead and got in front of all the tricky business with electric cars and dynos. To get a reliable reading, he hooked the machine directly to the rear axle. Problem solved. The extra work was worth it, because the pieced together Lotus/Tesla/Chevy abnormality registered 440hp and maxed out the dyno when it soared past its 4,000 lb.-ft. limit.


This critical dyno failure is what happens when a diesel has had enough

Look out! This very large turbo diesel apparently has had enough of this dyno run. After just a short run, although at very high RPM, the entire top end explodes skyward.

The smoke maybe should have been a hint at what was to come but no one ever expects this catastrophic of a failure in the sterile conditions of a lab.

These technicians sound like they jumped out of their skin.

The WEIRDEST Hit And Run Situation Ever!!

According to Saskatoon police, a white Dodge Ram was heading eastbound on Taylor Street when it struck a parked Ford F-150. Investigators said the white truck was reported stolen from the Clavet area.

Police said the driver of the white truck attempted to drive away but then abandoned the vehicle and took off on foot. Police deployed their canine unit but couldn’t track down the suspect.

The video owner said that the white truck was seriously damaged. There was hardly any rubber left on the front tires and it appeared to have a broken axle.

He explains: “I don’t know if he was scared or what was happening, but he looked confused and the thing that he was trying to do was crazy,” “He probably didn’t know that he didn’t have no tires at the front and trying to get away, but it was crazy.”

Watch the video!


Cop-Zilla is here to take you down

Many questions run through your mind when you get pulled over by the police. What did I do? Do I have my insurance card on me? Did they see how fast I was going a couple exits ago? Is that a GT-R? Wait, what?

That’s right. If you are in New York later this month you might just see Nissan’s one-off 2017 GT-R Pursuit 23. Interestingly the 23 refers to the pronunciation of Nissan. Two being “ni” and three being, you guessed it, “san.” Created by Nissan for the New York Auto show this very special GT-R has received just a few slight modifications. And by slight, I mean ridiculously extensive.

Nissan’s vision for this car is a pursuit vehicle for the Skyline Metro Police. Sure, that’s all made up but as someone who always dreamed of being pulled over by a B4C Police Camaro I’m going to let my imagination run wild with this one.

Sporting a large push bar up front, wide-body fenders, massive rear wing, lights galore and some scary looking wheels this screams “guilty until proven innocent.” And with the front message board and loud speaker system the lucky officer behind the wheel can literally do that.

Not many mechanical enhancements were needed to brand this beast “Copzilla.” The latest version of Nissan’s awesome Twin-Turbo 3.8 litre V-6 packs a wicked punch with 565 horse-power and to set the GT-R on the floor, a coilover suspension was utilized.

Also, being shown with Copzilla will be the new GT-R Track Edition. The track edition will fit nicely in-between the GT-R Premium (which is basically the base model now) and the GT-R Nismo which is the top of the line, $175,000 version.

Although the GT-R Pursuit 23 won’t be used by any real police departments, it sure does look promising for, I don’t know, a future Robocop movie? Hint, hint Hollywood.


She is the hottest bike racer in the world!!! That’s amazing to see such a beautiful girl on a bike.

Elvira Karlsson, an 18 year old bike racer involuntarily waggles while she’s on the raceway. It’s really scary and exciting to watch it.

It may end up in a hospital but she’s making it well at the end. Check this spectacular video and leave a comment below!!!

Cute Girl Exerts Her American Rights Tells Off Border Patrol Police

The Supreme Court recommends that you DON’T talk to police officers before or after you’re arrested, but you must say out loud “I’M GOING TO REMAIN SILENT.”

To the Police: You Are NOT the Enemy (Unless You Choose to Be.)

As long as “We the People” have in hand the U.S. Constitution and a gun in the other, the government will always consider American Citizens a threat


Want to see the worst fight of all time?

If you’re drunk enough to pick a fight with someone you don’t know then you probably should start looking at cutting back a little, unless you just feel like embarrassing yourself in front of your friends, then go for it.

Just make sure you’ve got the humility to walk away afterwards, which is something the younger guy did.

Mickey would be proud of that part at least!