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Updated: ‘Car Enthusiasts’ Hold Large Flash Gathering At Rutgers Plaza

Update: The group showed up again on July 2, but township police shut the meeting down shortly after it started.

FTPD Lt. Phil Rizzo said the department “received several complaints about the group including loud music and ‘rowdy’ behavior. Upon arriving and speaking with the group they left without incident.”

Original Story: A large gathering of self-described car enthusiasts suddenly appeared in Rutgers Plaza during the evening of June 29, lasting until late in the night.

Drivers parked their cars in the lot in front of the former K-Mart building. At its height, there were some 100 cars parked in the lot, their owners mingling, taking pictures and socializing.

Franklin Township Police spokesman Lt. Phil Rizzo said officers on patrol happened upon the gathering, adding that there were fewer than 250 people in attendance, the threshold set by Gov. Phil Murphy in his Executive Order on outside gatherings.

Face masks are not required in those instances, and very few were being worn by attendees. The Executive Order does require that social distancing measures be taken, but were not during the event.

None of the several people who were asked who organized the event could answer, saying they saw the event advertised online and showed up.

Lt. Rizzo said the event did not have a township permit, and that the township had no advance notice of it.

But, Rizzo said, the group was not technically trespassing.

“Parking lot such as that are considered quasi-public areas,” Rizzo said in an email. “There was no complaint from the owners or proprietors of the property so therefore it would not be deemed as trespassing.”

A spokesperson for Rutgers Plaza managing and leasing agent Levin Management said the company did not give its permission for the event to be held on its property.

“Levin Management Corporation neither authorized or had advance knowledge of this gathering,” the spokesperson said in an email. “Approvals for group events – of any size or type – currently are suspended at LMC-managed properties.”

The Franklin Reporter & Advocate captured some video of the meetup (video by PJ Parker):

Happening now…impromptu Car Meet in the former Kmart parking lot in Rutgers Plaza…Easton Ave. Somerset…lots of cars, loud music, teens, occasional fireworks…now ‘til….???

Posted by The Franklin Reporter & Advocate on Monday, June 29, 2020

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