Sparks Police Department able to deter sideshow Saturday night
RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - SUNDAY MORNING UPDATE: Sideshow participants showed up near downtown Sparks Saturday night, but the Sparks Police Department had already closed Victorian Avenue between Pyramid Way and 14th Street.
Sparks police had several officers respond and police threatened the use of force over the loudspeaker and sideshow participants left the area.
The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office RAVEN helicopter was in the air for about four hours Saturday night locating sideshows and relaying information to police officers on the ground.
The Reno Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for information about incidents overnight.
Social media accounts, however, indicate there were incidents in south Reno, Lakeside Drive and McCarran Boulevard and Keystone Avenue and Seventh Street.
ORIGINAL STORY: Police from Reno and Sparks responded to several sideshow incidents overnight, facing attacks from participants and using riot tactics to disperse crowds. Participants were estimated to be in the thousands.
The Reno Police Department on Saturday reported two felony arrests, 10 misdemeanor arrests, 33 citations and 14 cars towed. Statistics are still being compiled, police said.
Offenses include reckless driving, hit-and-run causing injury, weapons violations including recovery of a stolen gun from a sideshow participant, and several traffic offenses.
Police beefed up nighttime staffing after social media posts urged people from San Francisco and Portland, Oregon, to come to the “sideshow” in Reno, Police Lt. Michael Browett told The Associated Press.
Browlett said Reno is just the latest city to see late-night takeovers by auto enthusiasts who ignore law enforcement efforts to stop the illegal and dangerous activity.
“I don’t (what) know the underlying movement is with this group, but it goes a little beyond cars,” Browlett said. “They’re very anti-authoritarian and they basically just show up and do whatever they want.”
Cities across the country have been dealing with similar issues in recent years, including Phoenix, San Francisco and Chicago. Last weekend, three people were killed and several others badly hurt in crashes related to a pop-up sideshow in Wildwood, New Jersey.
The initial disturbance was at 10:30 p.m. at the Walmart at 250 Vista Knoll Parkway in the North Valleys, police said.
“There, several hundred vehicles and likely thousands of participants arrived in the parking lot intermixing with patrons of the still open store,” police said in a statement. “Officers utilized a variety of tactics to keep the crowd from growing and to disperse those gathered.”
The group then made its way to Mount Anderson Street and Echo Avenue in Stead, police said.
“Hundreds of individuals on foot encircled the intersection and drivers began engaging in reckless driving in the intersection,” police said. “Officers again utilized a variety of tactics to deny access to the area and to disperse the crowd as quickly and safely as possible.”
The groups then moved to industrial areas in Reno and Sparks, Reno police said.
They included Packer Way in Sparks and Trademark Drive in South Reno. Reno police said officers again dispersed these crowds.
Then it moved to downtown Reno at North Virginia and Fifth streets.
“Hundreds of participants took over the intersection and drivers began to engage in reckless driving in the intersection,” Reno police said. “Several large fights within the crowd were observed and numerous assaults were directed towards responding officers.”
Police used a “variety of tactics” to disperse the crowds and make arrests, but police did not offer details.
Then the crowds went to Target at 6845 Sierra Center Parkway in south Reno and did a sideshow in the parking lot. Police again dispersed them.
“The Reno Police Department will continue its zero tolerance stance towards individuals who choose to engage in these unlawful activities and assemblies,” Reno police said. “Our focus will continue to emphasize the safety of the public and officers.”
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