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Tempe PD stops street runners’ takeover of parking lot

At least five people have been cited in criminal cases for reckless driving, burnout and donuts in a private car park.

TEMPE, Ariz. — Tempe police broke up a gathering of 1,000 people and more than 500 cars that invaded a private parking lot on Saturday to run and drive recklessly, the department said.

“This is the biggest takeover we’ve seen,” Lt. Tony Miller said. “We started shutting it down because they were starting to do burnouts and the ‘what vehicles can do’ kind of competition.”

The department around 8 p.m., an officer was patrolling near loops 101 and 202 when he noticed hundreds of cars gathered in a nearby parking lot.

Miller said he responded to the scene and activated an operation plan he devised nine months ago for these types of buyouts.

Officers set up a perimeter, blocked off the entrance to the garage, and monitored the crowd until they located the event organizer.

Miller said that person was pushed aside as officers used an intercom to alert people to go home.

The organizer and attendees cooperated, and with the help of the Phoenix Police Department task force, the party was disrupted within an hour.

Officers used the departments drone to identify cars doing burnouts, donuts and driving recklessly. Five people were cited, including the organizer.

“It becomes an ongoing issue throughout the night as we have, say, 500 additional race cars in the city of Tempe that night, so some of them may have had encounters with the forces of the order later that night,” Miller said.

Saturday’s takeover comes a day after 12 News reported that street ‘stunts’ were driving recklessly into a Lowe’s parking lot near basic and rural roads.

RELATED: Street Stunts Take Over Tempe Neighborhood Parking Lot

Residents of this community said they saw a group of “young teenagers” making donuts at least three times at this exact location, within 20 feet of their backyard.

Lt. Miller said the department has seen an increase in street takeovers for about a year. He thinks strict enforcement in other cities, like Phoenix and Glendale, has pushed drivers beyond those limits.

“When people commit a crime in one city and that city is very good at enforcing it, they can go to different cities to pursue those activities,” Miller said.

Those caught recklessly driving can face a criminal citation for a class 2 misdemeanor and have their car confiscated.

Police said no cars were towed during Saturday’s incident.

“It could have been a lot worse,” Sergeant Hector Encinas said. “It’s not something that’s essentially going to end overnight, it’s something we need to be invested in to deter this behavior.”

VERSION EN ESPAÑOL: The police of Tempe disuelve an illegal meeting of hasta 500 cars that are apoderaron of a parking lot

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Deena S. Hawkins

The author Deena S. Hawkins