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About 1,000 cars show up in Burbank for parking lot 'flash mob'

August 14, 2013|By Alene Tchekmedyian
  • A photographer takes a picture of of a custom car at the Empire Center in Burbank on Tuesday night. The event forced police to close surrounding streets and turn away hundreds more cars.
A photographer takes a picture of of a custom car at the Empire Center in Burbank… (Tim Berger / Times Community…)

Roughly 1,000 vehicles flooded the Empire Center in Burbank on Tuesday night for a car “flash mob” organized through social media, snarling traffic as crowds swarmed the parking lot.

More than 20 police officers from Burbank, Glendale and San Marino were assigned to patrol after a similar event in November also caused traffic headaches.

Earlier in the evening, police closed the parking lot to cars, shut down surrounding streets because of traffic congestion and warned motorists to avoid the area, the Burbank Leader reported.

Still, more than 3,000 people, from families to car enthusiasts, perused a litany of vehicles, from customized muscle cars to a rare lime green, 1969 Subaru Sand Bar 360 van.

The crowd, though, was largely peaceful, police reported.

"I've seen families out here with their kids looking at the cars," Burbank Police Sgt. Darin Ryburn said.

Police did issue several tickets for vehicle code infractions, such as missing a front license plate or having headlights that were dimmed too low.

The event organizer, a Burbank native who declined to be identified, said Tuesday's "Krispy Kreme meet” would be the last of its kind. The event, organized through social media, is not affiliated with the doughnut chain.

Zach Lamb, 31, of San Bernardino arrived at 3 p.m. to secure a parking spot because at the November meet, he said it took him four hours just to get off the freeway.

"We're not here to cause a problem, do burn-outs or cause a scene, we're just here to relax and see all the cars," Lamb said.

Many were drawn to the meet because of the wide spectrum of cars it attracts. 

"You see low-riders here, you see classic cars here, you see imports, you see domestics," said 35-year-old Alhambra resident Danny Meijer. "Southern California has a car culture that you can't find in any other city…because our personalities are reflected in our cars more in Los Angeles than any other city."

That sentiment was echoed by Chris Cazun, owner of the 1969 Subaru van, which he picked up a year ago in Idaho. And Juan Esqueda, 25, who spent $30,000 to customize his bright yellow 2006 Altima.

"We just share the joy and love of cars," said event-goer Chris Trimble, 21. "We came out to share that experience with other people."


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Twitter: @atchek

Tchekmedyian is a Times Community News staff writer.

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