They post their exploits nearly every weekend to social media.
Proud, it seems, of their sliding and screeching, the police chases, and the injuries that play out for all to see.
“Go that way. Go that way,” one driver says on an Instagram post as they try to outrun police.
Alpha News rode along on a recent weekend with an undercover law enforcement team to record what’s become an all too predictable and dangerous pattern, as street racers and law enforcement seem to be set up on a collision course of sorts, stuck on repeat.
“There’s not much in Minnesota that’s going to deter them,” one deputy said.
A metro-wide problem
It’s just after 10 p.m. on a Saturday in May when we take off with the undercover Carjacking Auto Theft team from the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office.
While it’s Minneapolis that sees most of the meetups and intersection takeovers by street racers, it’s law enforcement from all across the metro monitoring their movements.
“You kind of wait for the activity and base your enforcement off that,” Ramsey County Deputy Thomas Segelstrom explains.
Deputy Segelstrom notes that tonight, that activity will begin at the Minneapolis Farmers Market.
A recent documentary entitled “Meet the Musty Boyz” explains the draw to that space.
“This is the meetup spot. You’ve got a nice view of Minneapolis right here,” the racer tells the photographer in that video.
It’s 11 p.m. now on our ride along when we count more than 50 cars in the Farmers Market lot, waiting for the location of their first takeover.
We’re asked to keep our cameras down as we drive in the middle of the pack to be able to blend in with the lineup.
“Theoretically, they shouldn’t jump on the freeway to get to this place,” Segelstrom’s partner riding in the squad car says as they strategize the best way to get there.
That place is less than two miles from the Farmers Market: the 2200 block of North Second Street.
“They’re obviously looking where no heat is,” Segelstrom says, referring to law enforcement.
His partner says they visit industrial places that are not very visible without a lot of lights.
“Spotters” are the first to set up at a location to keep people out who aren’t a part of the group.
“See, that’s a spotter,” Segelstrom says, pointing out a car blocking our view with their headlights.
It takes just a few minutes for the cars to take their positions around the intersection.
We see the view from a law enforcement drone flying overhead undetected.
Deputy Segelstrom is holding his phone as we watch the drone video live from a nearby parking lot.
For nearly two minutes, one car burns rubber as tires smoke for the crowd.
Then, State Patrol squads move in to push the cars out.
We then walk over to see what property owners tell us is thousands of dollars in damage to the road.
The thrill of the chase
A security camera from February rolled as racers poured gasoline on Cedar and Franklin and set it on fire — just one example that displays how much damage this can do.
As this has dragged on for two years on such a large scale, the sliders maintain they’d like a legal track to do this. Law enforcement doesn’t seem convinced it would change behaviors. Many believe the thrill of the chase is what many are after.
“You could have two locations with well over 100 cars at each one. Then it becomes hectic once they leave because they’re not following the driving conduct of a normal person. They’re speeding, running red lights, driving in packs, and driving with no regard for public safety at all,” Deputy Segelstrom said.
Alpha News obtained a never-before-seen chase from April that unfolded from a State Patrol helicopter.
A well-known street racer, driving on a revoked license, was spotted at a McDonald’s drive-through close to 1 a.m. on a weekend in April. It was the weekend the street racers advertised as their “season opener” on social media.
At one point, Ramsey County’s CAT team has the driver pulled over in St. Paul on the street after he exits that drive-through. But the driver then takes off.
For more than a half hour, the helicopter stays with him.
We asked Deputy Segelstrom to recall that specific chase.
“He had to have been going in excess of 120, 130 miles per hour at one point in his Charger. He took us all the way from St. Paul down past the airport into Minneapolis, downtown Minneapolis,” Segelstrom said.
You see on camera that the driver eventually ditches his car when he runs out of gas in the North Loop.
He bails and tries to hide, running to different locations as squads try to get into position.
“I believe I have him in a dumpster here,” someone in the chopper says.
Eventually, the driver runs to hide under a Jeep Wrangler off 4th Street in Minneapolis.
When a deputy pulls up on scene, Devonte Eaton comes out with his hands up.
“He very well could have struck and killed somebody. He was released shortly after that,” Deputy Segelstrom said.
In fact, it’s two days later and Eaton is out without bail.
He’s seen in the recent documentary trying to justify his behavior.
“They make it seem like we’re a bad thing. This is our outlet to let our anger out, stuff like that,” he tells the photographer.
“I’m not part of that system. All I can do is enforce the laws that are made. And you just deal with it. If he’s out there doing that type of illegal activity again, all I can do is be there to catch them,” Deputy Segelstrom commented.
‘It’s all about numbers’
Back to our ride-along in May, over the next few hours, we see at least five drivers connected to the group pulled over at different scenes — some for going more than 100 miles an hour, others for fleeing police, and another is in a stolen car.
“Being an officer, it’s all about numbers for safety. Getting caught in the mix with 100 people that are not happy to see you, we try to avoid that,” Deputy Segelstrom said.
The entire night of our ride-along is a series of five stops, all a few miles apart and all in Minneapolis.
“Ramsey County, they’re not allowed here. It’s been very clear they’re not going to set up and do that type of stuff in Ramsey,” Segelstrom said.
We head back when the group breaks up at 2 a.m., our team relieved to see a larger police presence than in weeks past.
“It’s gotten to the point where it has to end. Now you have metro wide teams trying to combat this,” he said.
Street racers have been behind deadly crashes in the last two years.
Last summer, two teenagers lost their lives from stray bullets connected to the events. Minneapolis police told Alpha News that both of those cases are considered open and active but that no arrests have been made in the deaths of Nicholas Enger or Vanessa Jensen.