SANTA ROSA (BCN) — Police in Santa Rosa on Tuesday arrested seven people suspected of promoting and organizing illegal sideshows, the department said.

According to police, the department’s Property Crime Team has been focusing for two years on illegal sideshows — dangerous impromptu gatherings of cars in intersections driven recklessly, perform tricky maneuvers, clog traffic and take up police time and resources that could be spent elsewhere.

Police claim that the illegal gatherings have cost tens of thousands of dollars in damage to roadways and have brought violence to the community such as stabbings, assaults, shootings and even homicides.

Police served arrest warrants for 14 people at 14 different locations, according to a department announcement, including in Santa Rosa, Petaluma and Rohnert Park. Taken into custody were seven, with the rest remaining outstanding. During the arrests, 11 firearms were also seized with thousands of rounds of ammunition.

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The arrestees ranged in age from 17 to 32, with most being booked on suspicion of felony vandalism, conspiracy to commit a crime, and waterway pollution. One 24-year-old woman was arrested for alleged child endangerment for having an unsecured firearm in the presence of children.

The Santa Rosa Police Department has been attempting to tackle sideshows in earnest and even stopped one before it started last year. Chief John Cregan pushed for an ordinance that was passed in 2022 that allows police to arrest or cite spectators at sideshows, not just participants.

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