Miata Driver Charged With Felony for Doing Donuts in Empty Parking Lot

Police claim the driver caused over $3,700 worth of damage to the parking lot's painted lines.
Irvine Police Department Facebook

Of all the fun things you can do in a car, whipping some Miata donuts in a huge, empty parking lot are some of the more harmless ones. Apparently, the Irvine Police Department in California, and at least one dirty tattle t…. “concerned resident” don’t see things that way. According to a Facebook post from Irvine PD, a first-gen Mazda MX-5 owner was arrested last week after said concerned resident emailed police a video of him doing sick donuts in what looks like a very big and very deserted parking lot.

The charge? Felony vandalism. “Irvine Public Works determined the dangerous maneuvers caused over $3,700 in damage to the parking lot and painted parking lot lines.”

What’s more, they impounded the Miata and later discovered “multiple illegal modifications.” For reference, this is the same State that once used a helicopter and five squad cars to track down a kid who was doing donuts at the end of a rural cul de sac back in 2019.

“This case is an excellent example of the importance of community partnership, and we thank the resident who brought this incident to our attention,” the post reads.

As a journalist who is supposed to report this sort of thing with professionalism and objectivity, I’m not gonna say that this was an excellent example of Killjoy Karenism and poor use of police resources. Why? Because everyone else chiming in Irvine PD’s Facebook post has done it for me.

“Would be nice if cops cared as much about shutting down the weekly sideshows that do this in public intersections with hundreds of people around as they seem to care about slapping a FELONY on one kid by himself just doing a few donuts in a totally empty parking lot,” reads the top comment.

“Thank god you are out there protecting and serving that parking lot. I hope those felony charges stick and ruin that kid’s life. Good job!” reads another.

“This is a felony but if someone backs into my car in a parking lot it’s ‘not a police problem’. Laws are amazing.”

“Thank god, he could have hit a ghost or something.”

“This is a ridiculous waste of police time.”

The court of public opinion, however, only goes so far. Per California Penal Code 594 PC, felony vandalism is classified as maliciously damaging, destroying, or defacing another person’s property if that property happens to be worth more than $400. Under $400 and it’s a misdemeanor. This means that every disgruntled significant other or parent who has ever destroyed their loved ones’ PlayStation 5 in anger is technically guilty of felony vandalism. It’s the same charge police leveled at that dude who did donuts in the outfield of San Diego’s Petco Park in his new Ford Bronco earlier this year. What’s more, felony vandalism is punishable by a jail sentence of one to three years and a fine of up to $10,000.

One last tip for Irvine PD’s social media intern: The meme is actually “how it started… how it’s going,” not “how it ended.” And even that’s very 2020, you might wanna update your meme database.

Got a tip or question for the author? You can reach him here: chris.tsui@thedrive.com