Police Shut Down Flash Mob On Wheels

BURBANK (CNS) - Police in Burbank were out in force today at the Burbank Empire Center, where a flash mob was anticipated at a Krispy Kreme doughnut store, although organizers of the event said the gathering is only a meeting of car enthusiasts.

"The Burbank Police Department will always respect and recognize the rights of individuals to peacefully and lawfully assemble," according to a police statement issued Sunday. "We also respect and recognize the need for area residents and businesses to safely utilize city streets and services."

Mass gatherings like the one being planned can create a public nuisance, disturb the peace and adversely impact the safe and efficient flow of traffic, police said.

"To that end, the Burbank Police Department will be fully deployed in the area to enforce all applicable laws, including those involving illegal engine/vehicle modifications," according to police.

Signs have been posted at the Krispy Kreme store announcing that the business will close at 4 p.m.

A similar gathering at the center on Aug. 13, 2013, drew as many as 3,500 people and 1,100 cars. While no arrests were made, officers issued more than 100 citations for motor vehicle code and moving violations, police said.

A similar event held in November 2012 largely caught police by surprise.

The event was billed on social media as a "Krispy Kreme Tuesdays" gathering of car enthusiasts displaying their sometimes-modified vehicles. A posting on Facebook by organizers said the 9 p.m. gathering is not a "flash mob car show."

"We do not condone public damages and/or road blocking at Krispy Kreme/Empire Center," according to the post.

Some additional online postings indicated that due to the stepped-up police presence in Burbank, some car enthusiasts might divert to a Krispy Kreme in Azusa. The primary organizer even hinted that the event was being scrapped, saying if anyone shows up they will be doing so of their own volition.

Krispy Kreme officials issued a statement insisting that it has no connection with the event or the organizers.

"The Krispy Kreme name has been used without our approval or corporate consent," according to the company. "While we support the right to gather, we believe it should be done so in accordance with the laws that protect public safety and private property rights."

The owners of the Burbank Empire Center said participants in the event in the past have shown they are "unable to respect private property and behave in an orderly manner." The owners said that led them to work closely with Burbank police to "control access and egress into our lot and to limit the number of available parking spaces in an effort to protect our tenants and customers."

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