Police Files

Not so fast, reckless driving leads to drugs and stolen gun charges

On Monday, March 12, an LBPD officer saw a group of about 10 vehicles driving recklessly on South Coast Highway at Legion Street at 12:47 a.m. An Aston Martin Vantage left the pack, as it turned west onto the 100 Block of Cleo Street. After noticing the vehicle didn’t have front or rear license plates, a traffic stop was initiated.

Aaron Joseph Vasquez, 29, Irvine, was identified as the driver. Vasquez consented to be searched. A small amount of cocaine and approximately $650 cash was found in his pants pocket. Vasquez was placed under arrest for cocaine possession.

The officer then saw a backpack in plain view on the passenger floorboard. Vasquez initially admitted the backpack belonged to him. The arrest search found a scale, approximately $1,600 in cash, a stolen .25 caliber handgun, and a large amount of cocaine in the backpack. Vasquez then denied ownership of the backpack after the illegal items were discovered.

The passenger was identified as Alex J Klein, 29, of Anaheim. Klein, who refused to cooperate with the investigation, had about $2,600 in cash on him.

Because the backpack was near both Vasquez and Klein, they were both taken into custody for possession of cocaine for sales, possession of a controlled substance while armed, and carrying a loaded stolen firearm.

An on-duty Newport Beach Police department canine unit responded and conducted a sniff of the vehicle. The canine alerted to the trunk area, where three large bags of marijuana were found (approximately two pounds) and cash. As a result, Vasquez and Klein both received an added possession of marijuana for sales charge. Additional charges are pending.

Vasquez, who stated he is unemployed, and Klein, who stated he is self-employed doing eBay sales, were both taken into custody and transported to Orange County Jail. Bail amounts have not been listed yet.  

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of LBPD

Cocaine, cash, a stolen gun and marijuana were found by LBPD during a traffic stop early Monday


LBPD is calling for vandals who damaged red telephone booth

On Monday, March 12 at 4:50 p.m., the red telephone public art piece on Forest Avenue was reported to be vandalized.

The piece, Nine Billion,” created by artist Douglas Turner, was found with broken windows, including the door.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Dianne Russell

Vandals will be calling from the other side when they say hello to jail time

According to LBPD Spokesperson Sgt Jim Cota, “The phone booth door was slightly ajar, and a small piece of the phone booth window was cut out. The phone booth door is normally nailed shut, as it is not normally meant to be opened.”

A nearby store had video surveillance but their system was inoperable, said Sgt Cota. “The extent of the damages is unknown to LBPD.”


LBPD extends a big welcome back to officer Rock Wagner

On Thursday, Laguna Beach Police Officer Rock Wagner received a warm welcome back by the police department. Officer Wagner is back on the job, after he was exonerated of any wrongdoing inconnection to an investigation by the Fullerton Police Department.

He was placed on paid administrative leave while both the criminal and internal investigations took place.

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy LBPD Facebook

Officer Rock Wagner is welcomed back to the LBPD after being on paid administrative leave since November

On the department’s Facebook page, kind sentiments were posted: “Welcome back dayshift briefing for Ofc. Wagner. We are proud to have you back.”

Incident Reports

Wednesday, March 14

Glenneyre Street | 300 Block | Trespassing

12:28 a.m. Terry Dwayne Sanders, 40, no fixed address, was arrested for trespassing. Bail was set at $500.

Tuesday, March 13

Park Avenue & S. Coast Hwy | Warrant

11:40 p.m. William John Lovelace, 43, no fixed address, was arrested on a West Court warrant.

Cliff Drive | 100 Block | Possession of a Controlled Substance & Drunk in Public

10:16 p.m. Timothy Libby, 32, Maine, was arrested for possession of a controlled substance (bail was set at $500), as well as for being drunk in public (bail was set at $500).

Lower Cliff Drive | 200 Block | Fraud

3:11 p.m. Charges were made in the RP’s name in excess of $10,000.

Broadway Street | 300 Block | Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Trespassing & Parole

2:02 p.m. Ralph Bowers, 47, Huntington Beach, was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia, trespassing, and for parole. No bail was issued.

Coast Hwy | 31000 Block | Grand Theft

11:32 a.m. $3,000 worth of jewelry was stolen.

Monday, March 12

S. Coast Hwy | 300 Block | Felony Vandalism

10:44 p.m. The RP stated that a man threw something at the building, breaking one of the windows. After confirming with video footage showing the incident, the suspect was positively identified and located hiding under the boardwalk at Main Beach. Michael Pattrick Cowan, 47, no fixed address, was arrested for felony vandalism. Bail was set at $20,000.

Ocean Avenue | 200 Block | Assault

10:01 p.m., The RP stated that he was assaulted by two males while he was talking to women inside the bar.

Coast Hwy | 30800 Block | Petty Theft

8:44 p.m. Credit cards were stolen and used from a grey 2014 Honda Accord Sport.

Forest Avenue | 500 Block | Fraud

5:28 p.m. The RP stated that upon making a deposit at their bank, they noticed that the account was negative due to fraudulent checks being cashed in their name. It was discovered that checks had been stolen and had been used to make purchases against their authorization.

Alta Laguna Boulevard | 3100 Block | Burglary & Possession of a Controlled Substance

5:42 p.m. A neighbor observed a suspect enter a residence that was under construction, walk out with items, and load them into a vehicle. Upon inspection, police found Karl Nels Swanson, 51, Aliso Viejo, to be in possession of a box of 25 hangers with a shipping label of the residence that he took it from, as well as a Makita power drill. A meth pipe and methamphetamine were also found in the individual’s backpack. He was arrested for burglary (bail was set at $50,000) and possesion of a controlled substance (bail was set at $500).

S. Coast Hwy | 400 Block | Petty Theft

5:09 p.m. The RP left their $500 iPhone 6S behind on a table. The RP stated that they believed that a member of the staff at the location had recovered and stolen the item.

N. Coast Hwy | 400 Block | Fraud

3:29 p.m. Fraudulent checks were made out using the RP’s name.

S. La Sendra Drive | Petty Theft

3:14 p.m. A wallet was taken from the RP’s vehicle sometime between 8:30 p.m. the night prior and 6:30 a.m. the same day. The loss was $30, a credit card, and a driver’s license.

N. Coast Hwy & Ledroit Street | Property Found

2:58 p.m. A syringe was found in a planter on the southeast corner of the location.

Cozumel | 300 Block | Burglary

2:52 p.m. The boyfriend of the owner of the location stated that mail and other items were taken sometime the same day.

High Drive & Linden Street | Vehicle Burglary

9 a.m. The RP received a call from the police stating that their vehicle had been burglarized. Items were later reported to be missing.

Coast Hwy | 30800 Block | Vandalism

5:55 a.m. Graffiti was reported by the RP.

Cypress Drive & Linden Street | Vehicle Burglary

12:39 p.m. The RP stated that the window to her white Mercedes Benz CL500 was broken out. The total loss was unknown, but the RP supposed that the only item possibly missing was a pair of shoes.

Sunday, March 11

Laguna Canyon Road & S. Coast Hwy | Warrant

11:07 p.m. Ahmad Bassam Alsmadi, 27, Laguna Beach, was arrested on a Harbor Court warrant.

Sunset Terrace | 100 Block | Burglary

2:23 p.m. Upon returning home, the RP noticed that their door was open slightly. An Apple computer, watches, jewelry, Gucci and Cartier sunglasses, and expensive art were reported missing. The estimated total loss was $32,000. It was supposed that the suspect of the theft either gained entry due to a malfunctioning door latch, or that the door was left open.

Ocean Avenue | 200 Block | Petty Theft

9:16 a.m. The RP’s jacket, wallet, and keys were stolen from the location sometime on March 10.


UPDATE: Last month, the police log indicated that Barbara Lynn had been arrested for suspicion of DUI on February 9. We want to update this story because while we always say there is a presumption of innocence with Police Beat entries, in this case she is actually innocent. Testing, subsequent to the arrest, proved that she was not guilty of the offense.

Police Files

Laguna Beach Police Officer Rock Wagner is exonerated of any wrongdoing

On November 28, 2017 Laguna Beach Police Officer Rock Wagner was arrested by the Fullerton Police Department in connection with an elder abuse and fraud investigation. Since that time, Officer Wagner was placed on paid administrative leave while both the criminal and internal investigations took place.

Both of these investigations have concluded and after thorough review of the evidence produced, it has been determined that allegations of misconduct could not be supported. It has also been determined by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office that evidence of a crime did not exist.

“I am happy to report that Officer Rock Wagner will return to full duty and is a valued member of the Laguna Beach Police Department,” stated LBPD Chief Laura Farinella.

--From a press release 


Door to door solicitor who tried to get money from residents arrested on metal knuckles warrant

On Friday afternoon, March 9, a Laguna Beach resident called LBPD to report a group of men that were going door to door soliciting people in the Skyline/Mystic Hills area. According to the resident, the men were riding in an “older white panel van with no windows” with a female driver, when one of them – described as “well dressed with a gold chain” – got out and came to his door to ask him for money on behalf of what the man said was a non-profit called Excellent Sales. 

LBPD approached and stopped the man in question on Pitcairn Place. According to LBPD Spokesperson Sgt Jim Cota, he possessed a notebook with “customer names”, including multiple Laguna Beach residents with their addresses identified.

The man, identified from his Missouri identification card as Jearl Perry, 34, was stopped as a result of the city’s municipal code section on door to door solicitation, which makes such behavior illegal. 

“It is against the law to solicit door to door in Laguna Beach,” said Sgt Cota.

Perry had an outstanding Orange County warrant (possession of brass knuckles) out for his arrest and was taken into custody.

Incident Reports

Sunday, March 11

N. Coast Hwy | 200 Block | Battery

6:47 a.m. The RP stated that a transient subject was disturbing and being verbal with an employee, and then spat in their face. The subject had last been seen walking southbound towards the beach from the stairs. A search for the subject was conducted, but the subject was not found.

St. Ann’s & S. Coast Hwy | Drunk in Public

1:58 a.m. A-45-year old man from New Hampshire was arrested on suspicion of being drunk in public. 

Laguna Canyon Road & El Toro | Traffic Collision

1:41 a.m. Three 19-year-old occupants of a Honda Accord from Santa Ana and Tustin were involved in a rollover traffic collision. The vehicle had drifted off the road, struck a speed limit sign and a small tree, and rolled over. The driver and the rear passenger sustained minor scrapes and bruises. The front passenger was transported to the hospital for a cut to their head. Alcohol was not a factor in the collision.

Ocean Avenue | 200 Block | Drunk in Public

1 a.m. A-37-year old man from Laguna Beach was arrested on suspicion of being drunk in public.

Saturday, March 10

Ocean Avenue | 200 Block | Drunk in Public

11:41 p.m. A 41-year-old man from Laguna Beach was arrested on suspicion of being drunk in public.

Bluebird Canyon Drive & Glenneyre Street | DUI

11:41 p.m. A 26-year-old man from Menifee was arrested on suspicion of DUI (bail was set at $2,500).

S. Coast Hwy | 400 Block | Drunk in Public

11:26 p.m. A 23-year-old man from San Juan Capistrano was arrested on suspicion of being drunk in public.

S. Coast Hwy | 400 Block | Warrant

2:31 p.m. William Nollner, 61, no fixed address, was arrested on a Harbor Court warrant.

Ocean Avenue| 200 Block | DUI

2:07 p.m. A 23-year-old woman from Orange was arrested on suspicion of DUI (bail was set at $2,500).

La Mirada Street | 900 Block | Citizen Contact

11:18 a.m. The RP stated that someone had attempted to steal their address and have his mail diverted. His mail carrier was the one who notified the RP.

Sun Valley Drive | 20300 | Trespassing

9:33 a.m. The RP stated that a homeless man kept on coming on to their driveway and was loitering between the RP’s house and another section of property.

Oak Street | 300 Block | DUI

1:51 p.m. A 22 year old man from Rancho Santa Margarita was arrested on suspicion of DUI (bail was set at $2,500).

Montage & Coast Hwy | DUI

1 a.m. A 35-year-old woman from Dana Point was arrested on suspicion of DUI (bail was set at $2,500).

Friday, March 9

Solana & Coast Hwy | DUI

10:10 p.m. A 30-year-old woman from Ladera Ranch was arrested on suspicion of DUI (bail set at $2,500).

Forest Avenue | 500 Block | Vandalism

8:05 p.m. the RP stated that the driver of a Porsche punched his vehicle 30 minutes prior, causing damage to the RP’s vehicle.

Brooks Street | 100 Block | Drunk in Public

6:42 p.m. A 42-year-old man with no fixed address was arrested on suspicion of being drunk in public.

Thalia Street  & S. Coast Hwy | DUI

1:51 a.m. Oscar Osorio Soto, a 30-year-old man from Laguna Niguel, was arrested for DUI (bail was set at $10,000). The individual had one prior DUI arrest.

El Toro Road & Northbound State Hwy 73 Laguna Beach | DUI

4:16 p.m. A 43-year-old woman from Laguna Beach was arrested on suspicion of DUI (bail was set at $2,500).

San Joaquin Street | 200 Block | Fraud

4:31 p.m. The RP gave two adult subjects her bank account information for them to deposit a fraudulent check to split the funds.

Mystic View | 600 Block | Grand Theft

10:02 a.m. The RP stated that $7,000 worth of equipment including power tools and rolls of wire were stolen sometime between 4:30 p.m. on March 8 and 6:45 a.m. on March 9.The approximate loss including loss of labor was $7,000. There were no surveillance cameras on the site.

Thursday, March 8

Laguna Canyon Road | 2900 Block | Petty Theft

6:49 p.m. After returning home, the RP noticed that someone had entered their house through an unlocked door. $60 worth of food was stolen from the refrigerator.

Coast Hwy | 31700 Block |  Fraud

12:56 p.m. The RP feels that they were being defrauded by two customers using various methods of fraud. An outside agency was contacted for follow up.

Noria Street | 1000 Block | Assault

12:35 p.m. The RP stated that two delivery workers pushed him over ten days prior. The deliver company was contacted, and stated that the RP had assaulted his drivers and threw the cushions, and had a prior history of being aggressive towards their employees.

S. Coast Hwy | 700 Block | Drunk in Public

12:40 a.m. A 55-year-old man from Laguna Beach was arrested on suspicion of being drunk in public.

Wednesday, March 7

Egan Road and Rock Way | Patrol Check

4:23 p.m. The RP stated that they had video recording at 1:27 a.m. the same day prio of a young man in his 20’s walking through the neighborhood lifting door handles of parked vehicles.

Florence Avenue | 31500 Block | Petty Theft

2:54 p.m. A $300 item was taken from the location sometime prior the same day.

Forest Avenue | 500 Block | Battery

10:34 a.m. The RP stated that a vehicle drove past them and threw an egg which hit them in the face.

Baja Street | 900 Block | Patrol Check

9:12 a.m. The RP stated that there were several items (including notebooks) thrown out into the street. 

Summit Drive | 700 Block | Grand Theft

8:44 a.m. A laptop was reported stolen from an unlocked vehicle

La Mirada Street | 900 Block | Vandalism

8:42 a.m. The RP’s trailer was vandalized the night prior.


UPDATE: Last month, the police log indicated that Barbara Lynn had been arrested for suspicion of DUI on February 9. We want to update this story because while we always say there is a presumption of innocence with Police Beat entries, in this case she is actually innocent. Testing, subsequent to the arrest, proved that she was not guilty of the offense.

DUI Arrests

Wednesday, March 7

Ocean Avenue | 200 Block

12:07 a.m. A 26-year-old male from Laguna Hills was arrested on suspicion of DUI.

Incident Reports

Tuesday, March 6

S. Coast Hwy | 100 Block | Providing False Identification, Minor in Possession of Alcohol

5:55 p.m. A juvenile was arrested for providing false identification (bail was set at $500), and for being a minor in possession of alcohol (bail was set at $500).

Alta Laguna Boulevard | 3200 Block | Vandalism

5:40 p.m. The RP stated that juveniles were using red and blue spray paint to graffiti the rocks on the walkway up to the water tank.

Coast Hwy & Aliso Circle | Traffic Collision

11:33 a.m. One vehicle was turned upside down as a result of a traffic collision on Coast Hwy. One occupant was seen exiting the overturned vehicle. One southbound lane of traffic was closed until 12:22 p.m. the same day.

Lower Cliff Drive | 200 Block | Fraud

11:11 a.m. The RP had an account taken out in his name and he was defrauded of $10,000.

Monday, March 5

Coast Hwy | 30800 Block | Traffic Collision

4:31 p.m. A white car was seen hanging off a cliff with one occupant inside. The occupant exited the vehicle safely. A vehicle tow service was called to the scene, removing the vehicle from the scene.

S. Coast Hwy | 1400 Block | Petty Theft

10:18 a.m. The RP had her $1,200 phone stolen on February 26 at approximately 5 p.m.

Glenneyre Street & Park Avenue | Petty Theft

10:07 a.m. A report was taken for the theft of two flag poles.

Forest Avenue | 500 Block | Petty Theft

9:39 a.m. Timothy Austfjord, 54, Laguna Beach, was arrested for petty theft, receiving stolen property, vandalism, and for violently resisting an officer. Bail was set at $25,000.

Brooks Street | 100 Block | Stolen Vehicle

9:01 a.m. A 2015 Mercedes Benz C300 that had been reported as stolen was found. The victim was contacted, and met with an officer at the station.

N. Coast Hwy | 1400 Block | Criminal Threat, Destroying Jail Property, Violently Resisting Arrest

8:08 a.m. Andrew Martin Farias, 38, no fixed address, was arrested for felony criminal threat. Bail was set at $50,000. Additional charges included destroying jail property (bail was set at $20,000), and violently resisting an officer (bail was set at $25,000).

Coast Hwy | 30800 Block | Petty Theft

7:50 a.m. The RP stated that a guest at the location wants to file a report for a missing passport.


UPDATE: Last month, the police log indicated that Barbara Lynn had been arrested for suspicion of DUI on February 9. We want to update this story because while we always say there is a presumption of innocence with Police Beat entries, in this case she is actually innocent. Testing, subsequent to the arrest, proved that she was not guilty of the offense.

Police Files

UPS store gets unexpected delivery – and it could have been tragic

On Saturday morning at approximately 8:30 a.m. a Porsche crashed through the UPS Store on Coast Highway. Early reports suggest that the driver was cut off, resulting in this accident.

While LBPD has yet to release details, it is clear that if this had happened just a few hours later, someone – or several people – could have been killed or severely injured at this popular location.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Lorraine Hornby

Porsche crashes into UPS store

Terri Meisberger, who owns the UPS Store with her husband Mark, told Stu News:

“We’re just so grateful that the store was closed [at the time of the accident] and that nobody was injured. That’s all we could really ask for. It could have been so much worse. It’s a little inconvenience, but everyone is ok. We’re ok.”

“The copier that’s in the front went flying into the back mail boxes and is demolished. We had to get [the site] boarded up that day, right away, because it was completely open. It’s temporary. We’re hoping to get a banner made that says we’re still open.”

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Marshall Aren

This car was also involved in the accident

“We can rebuild, the store can be repaired. We appreciate everyone’s understanding during our “remodel.”

Stu News is following up with LBPD and will provide more details about the accident as they become available. 


Food delivery man caught on video stealing resident's Nikes

On Friday, March 2, a Laguna Beach resident living on Cliff Drive had his Nike sneakers stolen – he had left them outside his front porch, most likely to dry out because of the rain, and because that’s what you do when you live in a small town like ours.

But sadly, even if you live in a small town, you’re not immune from thieves. 

Someone took his Nikes…

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

Now you see them, now you don’t

Fortunately for the resident, he had a doorbell camera set up, and caught the thief red-handed on video stealing his shoes.

The sneaky suspected sneaker thief, as seen here, was delivering take-out food to the victim’s next-door neighbor when he brazenly snatched the victim’s shoes on his way out.

“I can confirm that this happened and that detectives will follow up and see where it leads us,” said LBPD spokesperson Sgt Jim Cota.

Police Files

“Well-dressed bandits” are now wearing stripes: LBPD detectives arrest second suspect in last summer’s five-business burglary

Laguna Beach detectives have connected the final piece of the puzzle in last summer’s jewelry heist at The Shops at The Cliffs, which resulted in the loss of over $200,000 in merchandise for five Laguna Beach businesses. 

On Wednesday, LBPD Detectives traveled to Oceanside and arrested 26-year-old Alexander Kenneth Joe Aguirre, after arresting 30-year-old Edward Torrison, also in Oceanside, in September 2017. Detectives from LBPD believed early on that the burglaries were related to a series of thefts that occurred in South Orange County. 

Submitted photo

Thanks to LBPD detectives’ thorough and awesome efforts, these “well-dressed bandits” have both been arrested: on the left, Alexander Kenneth Joe Aguirre; on the right, Edward Torrison

Early on in the investigation, detectives identified one of the suspects, Edward Torrison, 30, a resident of Oceanside. On September 26, 2017, detectives from LBPD went to Oceanside and after a short foot pursuit (which also resulted in the suspect severely injuring a gecko), Torrison was placed under arrest. Torrison was subsequently convicted and sentenced. He is currently in prison, serving a 32-month sentence.

Detectives continued the investigation in search for the second suspect, later identified as 26-year-old Alexander Kenneth Joe Aguirre.

On February 28, LBPD detectives arrested Aguirre in the city of Oceanside on two counts of burglary and one count of conspiracy to commit burglary.

Detectives located stolen jewelry hidden inside of a bedroom belonging to Aguirre. All of the found jewelry was confiscated and held for evidence. Aguirre was booked and later transported to Orange County Jail.

“Laguna Beach Police detectives had an unwavering determination to apprehend both offenders and their hard work resulted in another arrest of someone who tried to victimize our business community,” said Captain Jeff Calvert, LBPD.


Have Coffee with a Cop…and lifeguards…and firefighters…and emergency personnel…on March 10

The community is invited to join neighbors, officers and emergency personnel for coffee and donuts on Sat, March 10 from 8 a.m. – 11 a.m. at Mission Hospital Laguna Beach (31872 Coast Hwy). 

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Firefighters, police and emergency personnel want to talk to YOU

Personnel from Mission Hospital, Laguna Beach Police Department, Laguna Beach Fire Department, Laguna Beach Lifeguards, OC Parks, OC Lifeguards and Doctors Ambulance will be present. There will be a vehicle display and photo opportunities. 

The purpose of this event is to open lines of communication and build relationships with citizens. There are no agendas or speeches, just a chance for citizens to ask questions, voice concerns, and get to know the emergency personnel in their community. 

The police officers, lifeguards, firefighters and paramedics hope for a great turnout so that they can meet plenty of members of the community.

Police Files

Local homeless man is arrested more than 30 times in three years

At 6:43 p.m. on Saturday, Feb 24, officers responded to 2442 S Coast Highway following a report of a possible burglary in progress. 

“The property manager reported that a man was seen on the surveillance system entering a vacant but furnished apartment building...which is set to rent for $5,000 per month,” said LBPD Spokesperson Sgt Jim Cota.

“Officers arrived and established a perimeter around the property. After speaking with the property manager, officers checked the building and found an unlocked door to apartment #2. LBPD K-9 Ranger led the search, which resulted in the discovery of a subject hiding in a bathroom.”

The suspect, Reese Westenberger, 53, a local homeless man who has been arrested “in excess of 30 times since 2015” according to LBPD, had broken into the furnished rental home and admitted to the police that he had been living there for one week. 

According to LBPD, there were no drugs or alcohol found on the scene.

Westenberger was taken into custody and later transported to OCJ. His bail was set at $50,000.


Scammer pretends to be a high-level City employee with thousands in grant money to give to businesses

Last week, Ruben Flores, owner of Laguna Nursery, was thrilled to hear that he might be eligible for thousands of dollars in grant money from the City. But only for a moment. 

“On one hand, as a small business, you’re like ‘thank goodness, we need this. And then as a rational person you say, this doesn’t sound right,’” Flores says.

Flores’s instincts were spot on. He explains what happened. 

“Through Facebook messenger, [the scam artists] messaged me from a high-level City employee’s Facebook page, representing to be that person. They said they could help get me a federal grant.”

“They kept texting back and texting back, and they were fairly persistent in telling me how we could get up to $200,000 and that we needed to fill out this form with different personal information.”

Sgt Cota says, “This is a one-hundred-percent scam. The scammers ask for money upfront, in this case $1,000, in order to get the transaction to move forward for payment.”

Ruben told Stu News that the scammer, using the City employee’s Facebook account, told him to message a person by the name of Russell Miller to get the details about the supposed grant.

“Then he said, if you give me $1,000 within the next 30 minutes, I can get you $40,000. That’s when I knew for sure it was sketchy.”

Flores reported the incident to the LBPD, who are now investigating. The “Russell Miller” Facebook page has since been taken down.


Heroin bust on Canyon Road after early-morning search of Mercedes – and then an unexpected find 

Sunday morning at 12:41 a.m., officers at the intersection of El Toro Road and the southbound off-ramp of the SR-73 observed a grey Mercedes stopped beyond the limit line (approximately three feet), a violation of California Vehicle Code 21453(a). 

Officers pulled behind the vehicle and noticed the car’s registration tabs were also expired.

Inside the vehicle, officers found twelve individually packaged baggies of heroin. 

“The driver of the Mercedes, Matthew Erik Logan, 45, and passenger Gloria Renee Reid, 49, both of Fountain Valley, were charged with three drug related charges and possession of counterfeit money,” said LBPD spokesperson Sgt Cota.

Logan had $1,300 in his possession, $1,100 in counterfeit bills. 

A search by a woman jailer revealed four unused hypodermic needles and a Skittles bag of heroin in and around Gloria Renee Reid’s genital area.

Police Files

“Armed and dangerous” felons arrested after midnight in North Laguna, after “blacking out” their car and fleeing on foot

At 12:42 a.m. on Thursday morning, Feb 22, Laguna Beach Police Dispatchers received a license plate alert about an armed and dangerous felony vehicle, a 2017 Chevy Equinox, travelling inbound on Laguna Canyon Road. 

Nighttime patrol officers were alerted and the vehicle was located on the 600 Block of Laguna Canyon Road. 

According to LBPD spokesperson Sgt Jim Cota, the Chevy then turned onto 100 Cliff Drive, where it “blacked out” – in other words, the driver turned off the headlights in an attempt to evade detection.

But the fleeing felons fortunately were detected.

“The vehicle was abandoned at the intersection of Rosa Bonheur and Cypress Drive and the felons fled on foot,” Sgt Cota said. ”Two men were eventually located. Clifton Young Jr (34) was found on Cedar Way. He was in possession of a stun gun. Rylan Robinson (24) was located on Cliff Drive while trying to enter an Uber.”

“Both men are from Long Beach and have criminal records. LAPD was contacted and responded to take custody of the men.”

Several masks, beanies, and hoodies were found inside the vehicle, which was impounded and placed on an evidence hold for LAPD.


London man is TASERED in the buttocks after hitting Hennessey’s staff

On Sunday, Feb 18 at 9:27 p.m., officers responded to Hennessey’s (213 Ocean Ave) after a report about a combative man, later identified as Luke Ewers, 34, from London, who was refusing to leave the premises.

“When officers arrived, Ewers was physically fighting the manager and security staff of Hennessey’s,” LBPD spokesperson Jim Cota said. 

“An officer deployed his TASER in an attempt to control Ewers’ violent actions. The probes connected with Ewers’ lower back and buttocks area and effectively stopped the attack. Ewers was taken into custody for disturbing the peace and being drunk in public.”

Ewers was transported to Mission Hospital Laguna Beach, where the TASER probes were removed by the medical staff.

The men he attacked with punches and elbows are doing fine. In fact, they’re sitting pretty, which is probably more than can be said for Ewers, who was transported to LBPD jail after Mission Hospital.


Head-on collision at Solana and S Coast Hwy results in cut-and-rescue: Driver suspected of DUI

On Wednesday, a head-on traffic collision occurred at Solana and S Coast Highway resulted in a cut and rescue operation. 

Preliminary reports from LBPD’s Sgt Jim Cota indicate that one vehicle was headed southbound in the #1 lane and collided with another vehicle that was headed northbound in the #1 lane. 

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Ryan Keller

Head on traffic collision believed to be caused by DUI

The person believed to be at fault is a 53-year-old man from Riverside, suspected of being under the influence of alcohol.

A 2000 White Chevy Blazer and a 2004 Black Volvo S60 were involved. Both vehicles sustained major damage. 

The driver who was not at fault, a Dana Point resident, is still in the hospital with internal injuries. 

The investigation is ongoing.

Police Files

Update on officer-involved shooting: audio and video recorded the interchange between cops and distressed woman

The 36-year-old Huntington Beach woman who was shot by police on Sunday after emerging from her vehicle with a gun in her hand, has been medically upgraded from critical to stable condition, said LBPD spokesperson Sgt Jim Cota on Wednesday. 

“LBPD will seek charges against the female suspect,” said Sgt Cota.

An investigation is currently underway by both LBPD and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office to determine the exact circumstances surrounding the incident. Video and audio recordings from patrol vehicles and residences are being reviewed, which will shed light on the interchange between cops and the distressed woman, who is reported to have threatened to take her own life, as well as the number of bullets fired.

 “Officers verbally attempted several times to let them help her with her ongoing issues,” said Sgt Cota. “(They) were very patient and attempted to help her.”

Stu News will continue to follow and report on this story in the coming weeks.


Three suspects arrested and charged in connection with assault at The Saloon

On August 11, 2017, at 1:30 a.m., Laguna Beach Police Officers responded to a fight in progress in the 400 block of South Coast Highway. Officers contacted two separate victims of an assault and began an investigation into who committed these acts of violence. 

At the conclusion of the initial investigation, it was determined that three male subjects assaulted two male Laguna Beach bar patrons and a Good Samaritan female who tried to intervene. Both male victim sustained injuries, including broken bones and lacerations. The female victim sustained minor injuries.

Laguna Beach Police Detectives began a lengthy investigation in the search for the individuals responsible for the assault. Over a dozen interviews were conducted during the investigation and hours of video reviewed. At the conclusion of the investigation, three male suspects were ultimately arrested for Assault with a Deadly Weapon and Battery with Serious Bodily Injury.

The three males were identified as City of Ontario resident Jeremy Bishop (pictured here), Daniel Little (not pictured), and Joshua Little (not pictured). Both Daniel and Joshua Little reside in Prescott Valley, Arizona.

“This lengthy and time-consuming investigation serves as a reminder that our police department will pursue any individual(s) who commit acts of violence in Laguna Beach. Our Investigations team did an outstanding job identifying, locating, and arresting these three suspects,” said LBPD Captain Jeff Calvert.

--From a press release


Laguna Beach enjoys an overall reduction in crime for 2017, although burglary is up 10 percent

The Laguna Beach Police Department is happy to report a reduction in crime for 2017. The Police Department tracks crime and a number of other statistics on a yearly basis in an overall effort to evaluate their effectiveness as well as identify areas of community outreach and enforcement.

While larcenies have dropped significantly, there has been an increase in residential burglaries. These burglaries are attributed to unlocked doors and open garage doors. “This is a reminder that we can prevent a majority of property crime by taking the time to properly secure our homes,” said Chief Farinella. The decrease in larcenies are directly related to the increased staffing of Beach Patrol Officers which were funded through Measure LL and the Strategic Plan. These once part-time positions are now full-time, providing a much-needed added layer of presence on the beach, which is where we saw the decrease in the crimes.

Other highlights:

No fatal traffic collisions: Second year in a row

Traffic collisions are down 12%

Total calls for service are up 4%, equaling 1,919 additional calls

Citations are up almost 100%, which is attributed to the additional Beach Patrol Officers enforcing local municipal codes such as no alcohol and glass on the beach.

CERT is now over 300 members strong, CERT Academy graduated Class #9

Citizen Academy participates are now over 400 strong with the graduation of Class#24

The below are Laguna Beach statistics for 2017 Part I Violent Crimes, as compared to previous years. 

Tables courtesy of LBPD

The below are Laguna Beach statistics for 2017 Part I Property Crimes, as compared to previous years. 

Every police department is mandated to report Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) statistics to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on a yearly basis, so that increases and decreases in crime can be tracked and evaluated on a national level. The reporting of crime is separated into two classifications, Part I and Part II. Comparing these statistics year-to-year can tell a story both locally and nationally, and help police agencies strategically focus their resources. Part I crimes are the only crimes that are mandated to report. Reporting of Part II crimes is not mandated, and include crimes such as forgery, vandalism, and drug abuse violations. The Laguna Beach Police Department does track these crimes in an effort to identify trends.

--From a press release

Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

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