Richmond, VA – Richmond police fended off approximately 300 vehicles that came from outside areas over the weekend with the alleged intention of carrying out an organized takeover of the city.
Police said hundreds of drivers converged on Richmond beginning at approximately 9 p.m. on Feb. 19, WRIC reported.
Some had traveled from Maryland, while others were from multiple other areas of Virginia.
Motorists met up in various locations throughout town and wreaked havoc, blocking intersections, spinning donuts, driving recklessly, and doing burnouts, among other illegal activities, according to the Richmond Police Department (RPD).
“I use the term ‘car club’ loosely because this is not a traditional car club,” RPD Chief Gerald Smith told WRIC. “This is not a group of friends admiring their cars — retro vehicles, classic vehicles — at all. This is a group of individuals who are coming together to disrupt and do illegal activities on the streets of Richmond.”
But astute RPD officers had been monitoring social media posts about the planned “takeover” and established a plan to quickly break up the organized effort with the help of Henrico County police, the Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, and Virginia State Police (VSP), according to Chief Smith.
“We watch social media quite a bit, mining for illegal activities and things that could help us in investigations, and we came across it and we started to monitor it very closely,” he told WRIC. “It always is a concern it could happen again. But we will be ready and standing by for something like this to happen.”
Police said they stopped an "organized takeover" Saturday night in Richmond by approximately 300 drivers. Police said hundreds of people met up at various locations throughout the city beginning at 9 p.m. to perform burnouts and doughnuts in intersections, police said. pic.twitter.com/U4Urkb4GkQ
— WTVR CBS 6 Richmond (@CBS6) February 21, 2022
Officers positioned themselves at various key locations, including the Southpark Mall, the Circle Plaza Shopping Center, and Regency Square, and intercepted the reckless criminals as their illegal antics got underway, WRIC reported.
The groups would move to other locations after police cleared them out, only to find additional officers posted at the next spot.
A VSP helicopter helped track the group’s movements from overhead, WWBT reported.
The attempted “takeover” of the city dissipated by about 12:30 a.m. on Sunday, according to police.
“What could have been a potentially deadly gathering of individuals fueled by large spectator crowds, was prevented by RPD officers who issued 45 summonses for various offenses,” RPD spokesperson Tracy Walker told WRIC.
The Henrico Police Department (HPD) issued an additional 53 summonses.
“They’re taking their life into their own hands, and not only their life, but [also] an innocent pedestrian who may not know exactly what’s taking place and may end up being a victim of their foolishness,” Chief Smith said of the reckless drivers. “There’s no other way to put it. This is foolishness that’s just not going to be tolerated in the streets of Richmond.”
“Our message is clear and simple, we will not tolerate this activity on the streets of Richmond and we will strictly enforce the law when it comes to potentially endangering the lives of others,” he added. “I’m proud of how our officers stopped efforts to wreak havoc on the city of Richmond, they prevented what could have been a very tragic event.”