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Illicit Car Meet-up in CVS Parking Lot in Belle Mead Draws 250 Vehicles

By Barbara A. Preston | Posted April 17, 2024 (Updated at 2 pm)


A large gathering — approximately 250 vehicles — were involved in a street car takeover in the CVS parking lot on Tuesday night, April 16, police said.


Montgomery Township patrol officers responded to the parking lot, located off Route 206 in the Belle Mead section of Montgomery, at 8:30 pm and found car owners and enthusiasts showcasing their cars. 


While on scene, the lot continued to fill with additional cars and bystanders. Officers from Hillsborough, Princeton, Somerset County Sheriff’s Department, and New Jersey State Police responded to the scene for mutual aid due to the large crowd. 


Street Car Takeover

Police officers remained on scene, where they monitored the gathering for the safety of the local businesses, public, and participants of the event, as well as patrolling the surrounding roads for the safety of the motoring public. 


At the height of the street car takeover, there were an estimated 250 vehicles and hundreds of participants present, police said.

During the event no injuries were reported or observed, no property was damaged, no arrests were made and all participants were peaceful. 


The event came to an end at approximately 10 pm. 


“The only incident that occurred was the report of several vehicles seen racing on Belle Mead-Griggstown Road after they left the event,” according to a press release from the Montgomery Township police. Officers located and stopped the vehicles on Green Avenue. One of the vehicles, a silver 2004 Nissan was observed by officers to be driving in a reckless manner. The driver was identified as Andrew Hobbs out of Kendall Park. He was issued summonses for reckless driving, careless driving, and disregard of a stop sign.


While the incident may not have been illegal, it did cost taxpayers to police the event.


For example, the Princeton Airport on Route 206 in Montgomery Township sponsors occasional car shows. The airport owners hire off-duty police officers at a cost of $95 per officer per hour (includes a $10 per hour administrative fee), plus $125 for each police vehicle needed, according to Montgomery Police Information Officer Jason Larsen.


"Last night, we had five on-duty Montgomery police officers, plus we called in seven additional off-duty officers to help manage the crowd," he said. There were also officers from Hillsborough, Princeton, the Somerset County Sheriff's Office, and New Jersey State Police. Larsen could not comment on the number of officer from the assisting departments.


Larsen added that the pop-up car show folks were respectful of the police.


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Van Harlingen Historical Society

The Montgomery News has learned that pop-up car shows are legal. CVS or the property management firm would have to file a paper with the Montgomery Police Department that would ban unauthorized gatherings. It appears that cars are allowed to park in a parking lot as long as there is no drinking, no performing of dangerous stunts with the car, and basically following the law. So, if customers of Paris Baguette Montgomery, NJ or other shopping center stores cannot use the parking lot because it is full, there is nothing that can be done. Luckily, things were peaceful, and did not get out of hand.


The Montgomery News made a correction to the headline at 12 noon, and it how reads "illicit" rather an "illegal."


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