The co-owner of a Burbank restaurant was arrested Thursday for allegedly violating a court order closing the business due to safety violations in the latest development in a protracted battle over pandemic restrictions.
Lucas Lepejian, 20, was arrested on a misdemeanor about 8 p.m. Thursday and was released about 10:30 p.m., according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Inmate Information Center.
The restaurant was red-tagged by the city of Burbank on Wednesday after city officials said they sent a task force to inspect the business and found several ``fire and safety violations.'' City officials said they first issued a yellow tag as a notice that the building would be red-tagged on March 31.
Lepejian's arrest came shortly after the restaurant reopened. He spoke with reporters outside jail.
"They were really cool and all, but they handcuffed me, put me in the back, told me I was getting arrested for the restraining order violation," Lepejian said. "I've been served, like, tens of thousands of papers. I donm't exactly know what sin all those papers. It's all these exhibits and stuff like that, so we'll see."
The papers are likely documents served by the city in connection with a long-running dispute over pandemic restrictions. Crews were back at the site on Magnolia Boulevard early Friday to board up the building once again.
A handwritten sign on a board read, "Enter through the side gate." It was not immediately clear who posted the sign.
"There are multiple fire/life safety violations that have been brought to the business owner's attention. These violations may create life safety hazards to any occupants in the structure," Burbank Fire Chief Eric Garcia said in a statement..
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, April 9.
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. When the restaurant's doors were padlocked last month, the doors were removed.
"We found out a judge signed off on padlocking our doors, so we took maters into our own hands," Lepejian said. "If you don't have doors, there's nothing to padlocks. We will continue to operate."