WALNUT CREEK (BCN) – Walnut Creek police are trying to track down the people involved in the sideshow early Saturday morning at the downtown intersection of Olympic Boulevard and Locust Street that caused $11,000 worth of damage to city streets and sidewalks.
Chief Jamie Knox told the City Council on Tuesday night he expects warrants to be issued, allowing police to impound involved vehicles.
"We do not take this crime lightly at all," Knox said. "It's a serious offense and a lot of damage was done to our city and we will prosecute suspects to the fullest extent of the law."
Local social media was abuzz over the weekend with video of several incidents, not only in Walnut Creek, but in Antioch, Pittsburg and Concord.
It was a warning from Concord police at 1 a.m. Saturday that scrambled Walnut Creek police to the Ygnacio Valley Road and Treat Boulevard areas to intercept vehicles headed south.
While police searched the northeastern part of the city, vehicles gathered downtown. Police got a call from someone outside Century Theater that people gathered outside to watch cars take over the intersection, spinning donuts and driving recklessly.
Police said they responded quickly and cut off three sides of access to the intersection, forcing cars to exit through the only available direction. A few were pulled over and cited, but the rest got away before mutual aid could arrive from neighboring police departments. At the time, area units not sent toward Concord were deployed on other calls.
Lt. Drew Olson told the council officers gave dispersal orders and deployed smoke devices to encourage people to exit. They also collected license plate numbers.
"We are following up," Olson said. "Our investigations bureau is actively writing warrants to try and follow up on this and hold anybody responsible that we can."
Knox said the law allows police to impound offenders' cars for 30 days.
"We will seek charges for restitution and will hold the offenders accountable," Knox said. "And make no mistake, if you come to Walnut Creek and participate in sideshow activity, not only will we tow your car, we will impound it for 30 days. If we can arrest you, we will and we will book you."
Knox said, though the offenses appeared to be misdemeanors, the law gives police "good teeth, if you will."
"Because nobody wats to lose their car for 30 days," Knox said. "On top of it being gone for 30 days, the fees can be upward of $2,500."
Though usually associated with bigger urban areas like Oakland and San Jose, sideshows are become more frequent in Contra Costa County. Walnut Creek police got another warning about sideshows in East County early Sunday morning. One such incident in Antioch around 12:40 a.m. Sunday reportedly involved 60 to 80 cars taking over the intersection at 18th and A streets, where some in an estimated crowd of 200 also set off fireworks.
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