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Tempe PD shuts down takeover of parking garage by street racers

Tempe PD shuts down takeover of parking garage by street racers

At least five people were criminally cited for driving recklessly, doing burnouts and donuts at a private parking structure.

TEMPE, Ariz. — Tempe police broke up a gathering of 1,000 people and over 500 cars who took over a private parking garage Saturday to race and drive recklessly, the department said.

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

RELATED: Valley car enthusiasts don’t want to be confused with street stunt drivers

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

Miller said he responded to the scene and activated an operation plan he designed nine months ago for those types of takeovers.

Officers set up a perimeter, blocked the garage entrance, and watched the crowd until they located the organizer of the event.

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

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

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

“This becomes an ongoing issue throughout the night because we have say, 500 extra race-type cars in the City of Tempe that night, so some of them might have had encounters with law enforcement later in the night,” Miller said.

Saturday’s takeover comes a day after 12 News reported on street “stunters” driving recklessly at a Lowe’s parking lot near Baseline and Rural roads.

RELATED: Street stunt drivers taking over parking lot in Tempe neighborhood

Residents in that community reported seeing a group of “young teens” doing donuts at least three times at that specific spot, less than 20 feet from their backyards.

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

“When people are committing a crime in one city and that city does really good enforcement on it, they may go to different cities to continue those activities,” Miller said.

People caught driving recklessly can face a criminal citation of a class 2 misdemeanor and get their car impounded.

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

“It could have been much worse,” said Sergeant Hector Encinas. “This is not something that essentially is going to end overnight, this is something that we have to be vested in to deter that behavior.”

VERSIÓN EN ESPAÑOL: La policía de Tempe disuelve una reunión ilegal de hasta 500 autos que se apoderaron de un estacionamiento

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