Mayor: Antioch hit by quite a few sideshows, police arrest eleven people, stolen vehicles seized

Antioch police arrested 11 people after town was hit by an “unprecedented” variety of carnival rides screeching tires on Saturday, Mayor Lamar Hernandez-Thorpe said.

Ten sideshows – events that typically feature young people smoking tires and performing driving stunts in souped-up cars surrounded by cheering crowds blocking streets or intersections – took place in Antioch after 2 p.m. Saturday, Hernandez-Thorpe said in a Facebook video posted around 10 p.m. Saturday.

“It's very disappointing,” Thorpe said. “It's unfortunate to see so many young people wandering around these streets.”

The mayor promised that the drivers and a few of their parents could be held accountable.

By early Sunday afternoon, 11 people had been arrested for attending a good or possessing stolen cars, the mayor said in a second Facebook post. Two stolen vehicles had been seized and 6 cars had been impounded, he said.

Hernandez-Thorpe said he expects more arrests.

Antioch has installed security cameras and automatic license plate readers. After a big fireworks sideshow blocked an intersection in April, Hernandez-Thorpe said police used drones to capture images of license plates.

The mayor also took aim on the parents of the sideshow participants on Saturday. “In many of these cases, the cars are registered to parents, so when we finally find you and hold you accountable for these actions, you will also have to pay heavy fines,” he said.

The California Highway Patrol helps Antioch crack down on the events, which Hernandez-Thorpe said have the potential to affect public safety because they eat police resources. “You may see helicopters over the city of Antioch … as we continue to crack down on these sideshows,” he said.

“Nobody is immune. I got several calls today from my neighbors telling me about a sideshow that was taking place… at my house.”

In February, the Antioch City Council unanimously passed on first reading an ordinance that might impose fines of as much as $1,000 and as much as six months in jail for organizing or promoting illegal street racing, carnival parades and reckless driving events. But on second reading, which is often a formality, the brand new regulations were repealed.

Hernandez-Thorpe said Saturday's sideshows were an example of the importance of the regulation and announced he would reinstate it.

“It’s not fair that we have to live with such nonsense in our community,” he said.

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