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Lathrop Police impound cars doing donuts
skid marks

Spinning donuts at intersections or in parking lots in Lathrop may be fun momentarily, but it could also become very costly.

In an effort to crack down on what was seen as a public nuisance Lathrop Police Services has impounded a number of vehicles over the last month that were spotted spinning donuts at red lights and in what drivers thought were remote parts of town – part of an ongoing effort to stamp out sideshows and activity that damages public roadways and jeopardizes public safety.

According to Lathrop Police Chief Ryan Biedermann, the dangerous activity is – contrary to popular belief – not a victimless crime.

“It messes up new streets and parking lots and it’s not like you can just power wash that stuff off – you have to basically resurface the top layer of the roadway, and you can’t do that in just one little section so it becomes very costly to try and clean up,” Biedermann said. “A momentary lapse in judgement for a little bit of fun can end up being very costly – it’s a 30-day impound of your vehicle if we catch you, and I don’t know very many people can afford to be without a vehicle for an entire month.

“And it’s not cheap when you’re paying every single day to keep it in impound and adding on the processing fees to finally get it back. It just isn’t worth it.”

After a highly-publicized incident of vandalism at one of Lathrop’s premier parks resulted in thousands of dollars in damages – a vehicle drove into Mossdale Landing Community Park and tore up grass and damaged irrigation lines – the police began cracking down on violators in earnest and so far have impounded several vehicles and cited several drivers.

The city has also said that they will pursue felony vandalism charges when applicable – when the amount of damage exceeds the legal threshold – to send a message that such activities will not be tolerated inside of the city limits.

So far, Biedermann said, word appears to be spreading.

“People know now that if you get caught doing this – having a little fun at the city’s expense – that it’s going to come back to you,” he said. “Hopefully it gets somebody to think twice before they think that nobody is watching.

“We can’t be everywhere all at once, but when we see it, we’re absolutely going to enforce it.”

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.