The Colony Police are cracking down on car shows amid allegations of criminal activity

'It's going to be the wild wild West': car show promotor warns of what's to come after being shut down by police in The Colony amid allegations of criminal activity

NBC Universal, Inc.

Police in The Colony are pumping the brakes on car lovers swarming the city to catch a glimpse of some multi-million-dollar cars.

The department sending popular promoters ParkUpFront notice TCPD will no longer approve permits for their monthly car shows, claiming criminal activity that has gone unchecked by the promoter.

“I definitely feel blindsided,” said Stephen Levin, co-founder of ParkUpFront. “I just assumed if there were any issues we would hear from [police.] We have had a good relationship with them with mutual respect.”

ParkUpFront is a mobile platform for car enthusiasts, explained Levin.

Among other functions, it allows classic and luxury car owners to register for organized car events with off-duty police officers and staff members on hand.

Two events are held in The Colony: in the parking lot of Lava Cantina and LSA next door with permission from the owners and at Nebraska Furniture Mart.

Levin says his goal was to create a safe family-friendly environment for car enthusiasts to converge, avoiding reckless street takeovers while also attracting big crowds to local businesses.

“It’s actually creating a safe space,” he said. “You have a guy with a $3 million car talking to a kid with an old truck. It’s just beautiful to see people just come together under one love and passion of cars and to take that away from the community when we’re doing something responsibly, I think that’s setting a bad precedence.”

The monthly events have grown from 150 registered cars on display five years ago to allowing 500 cars to register for the June 3 event, said Levin. The latest car show attracted "several thousand" spectators, he said.

Police declined an on-camera interview but said the car shows have "evolved the event to attract numerous street races of all types," according to a The Colony Police news release. The police department says officers have made arrests for stolen vehicles, weapons, drugs and active warrants.

TCPD also says officers have encountered drivers who have led officers on high-speed chases, up to 120-130 miles per hour.

TCPD provided NBC 5 videos found on YouTube, some from three years ago, purportedly showing drivers at the event spinning out and driving recklessly. NBC 5 was not able to independently verify the videos and has not received permission to broadcast the video without permission.

"We asked the company several times to address the issues," stated the press release. "When the show creates a nuisance and takes all our police officers away from our neighborhoods, we will ask them to move on and find a more appropriate venue... The company does not believe it should be held accountable for the type of crowd they attract or what participants and patrons do when they are not in the car show parking lot itself."

“None of that has ever happened or been brought to our attention at our events,” said Levin. “If any of that has happened, it’s happening outside the event in what we would call the spectator parking area.”

Levin said he works closely with a TCPD lieutenant and has never been told about any of the criminal activity police are reporting, though he admitted there was a car chase last weekend involving someone who was not registered for the event.

Levin also pushed back on how far his responsibility goes when it comes to the spectators his events can attract and what they do during or after his events, pointing to fans tailgating for games or concerts and whether the Cowboys organization or performers are responsible for their actions outside of such events.

Still, ParkUpFront is willing to make changes to keep the show going including drastically cutting down on the number of cars showcased and ticket prices. The money could go toward one of the many charities they work with, said Levin.

When it comes to spectators, Leveeen says he’s willing to drastically cut down on the number of spectators allowed into their events, requiring them to register and pay a fee to attend.

Why not make these changes earlier?

“We would’ve if we knew there was an issue, 100%,” said Levin. “If we knew there was an issue and the chief of police wanted to work with us we would say: here’s the fix. We didn’t realize the spectators were causing issues.”

Levin stressed 99% of their spectators are good people, calling the other 1% "bad apples" who ruin it for everybody else.

Not only is Levin disheartened pointing to the charities they’ve helped, including food drives and Make a Wish, but he fears the police department’s move sets a dangerous precedent in The Colony and beyond.

He says he’s already heard of a nearby city looking to follow in The Colony’s lead and ban car shows.

“You’re going to start seeing takeovers and unorganized pop-up events,” he warned. “People are going to be lashing out because this event serves as an outlet to a lot of people. You take that away from them, something we can control, and we can keep safe, it’s going to be the Wild Wild West.”

Contact Us