WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. (KDVR) — Police Chief Chris Murtha is hoping to send a message: drive dangerously in Wheat Ridge, and you could lose your car.

This week, the department seized a woman’s Chevy Camaro, months after police say they found the car engaged in street racing behavior. 

It’s the first time they’ve exercised an ordinance passed in June, allowing police to seize cars involved in this behavior.

“This vehicle was doing donuts in a parking lot and one of our officers got behind it and the vehicle fled.” says Murtha. “We obviously don’t pursue for that, but this is obviously the type of behavior this ordinance was carved out to prevent.”

Murtha says catching street racers in the act is extremely difficult because the drivers regularly don’t stop for police and are often in large numbers. 

The ordinance allows officers to identify cars involved, and take them later as evidence in a crime.

“We want to make sure we’re doing this right.” says Murtha. “We want to make sure the government isn’t perceived as just taking a car because we can, we want to go through all the proper steps and procedures and make sure we get it right.”

Murtha says the department has received some negative comments on social media, some calling it a government overreach. 

“It’s much like if you had a copier at home and you were printing fake hundred-dollar bills, we want to seize that copier,” he says. “If you were abusing your animal, we’d take it from you. This is taking that away. And even if it isn’t in the moment, it prevents that behavior in the future.”

FOX31 will continue to cover this story as more information is released.