Police arrest California restaurant owner for third time in COVID compliance battle

BURBANK — The co-owner of the Tinhorn Flats restaurant in Burbank was home Wednesday morning after being arrested by police for removing sandbags the city had put in place to block the front doors of the restaurant.

Lucas Lepejian, 20, was taken into custody about 9:40 a.m. Tuesday after Burbank police said he was seen removing the bags, which were placed in front of the building to keep anyone from entering.

Lepejian was cited and released about 2:15 p.m., Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department jail records showed. Lepejian has been arrested three times this month on suspicion of misdemeanors.

Officials say the restaurant and bar located on Magnolia Boulevard has repeatedly defied coronavirus health orders to close, including its refusal to stop offering outdoor dining when all in-person was banned in Los Angeles County.

A post Tuesday afternoon on the restaurant’s Instagram page said: “This is the kind of Police Enforcement we are dealing with … they are coming in heavy handed afraid that Tinhorn Flats will make burgers and serve beers. Lucas is back out of jail for the 3rd time. What a truly sad time in Burbank CA. We will not comply.”

About 3 a.m. Wednesday, another post read: “CALIFORNIA Government Has Declared WAR on it’s Small Businesses and It’s Common Sense Citizens. They are Releasing Over 17,000 Criminals While They Call in their SWAT Team to Stop my Family From Selling Burgers and Beers. THIS IS ALL ABOUT FEAR AND CONTROL. IT HAS NEVER BEEN ABOUT PUBLIC SAFETY. THIS IS NOT GOING TO END WELL FOR THE FAR LEFT TRYING TO DESTROY OUR COUNTRY.”

The restaurant owners and the city of Burbank have been in a months-long dispute. The city has a civil suit in court against the restaurant.

Last week, a judge ruled he was leaving a temporary restraining order in effect pending another hearing scheduled for later this month. The next hearing is scheduled for Friday.

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Author: Steve Rosenberg

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