Back to Top


Police Files

Man in critical condition after staggering into traffic and being struck by vehicle

On Wednesday, Dec 26, at 7:21 p.m., LBPD and LBFD responded to an injury traffic collision involving a vehicle versus a pedestrian on S Coast Hwy between Laguna Avenue and Legion Street, in the southbound lanes. 

“After speaking to witnesses and the driver involved in the collision, it was established the pedestrian, William Hemphill, was heavily intoxicated,” said LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota. According to witness reports, “Hemphill staggered into the roadway and was struck by a vehicle. Hemphill was not responsive at the scene and was transported to Mission Hospital, Mission Viejo.”

Hemphill’s injuries were critical, including a laceration to his spleen and fractures to his face, spine, pelvis, hip, and ribs. 

“Hemphill was unconscious upon arrival at the hospital and was kept sedated,” Sgt Cota said. “The driver of the vehicle did not display any signs or symptoms of alcohol intoxication.”

The traffic collision investigation is still ongoing.

Three days prior, on Monday, Dec 23 at 6:46 p.m., at the 500 block of S Coast Hwy, William Hemphill, 68, was arrested for disorderly conducted related to alcohol. 

According to Sgt Cota, he was released once he was deemed sober.

“When someone is arrested for public intoxication, they remain in our detoxification cell until they are sober,” Sgt Cota said.

Parking Services Officer threatened in alleged robbery

Police Files DiotteOn Sunday, Dec 23 at 4:11 p.m., at the 200 block of Broadway Street, a Laguna Beach Parking Services Officer (PSO) broadcasted that “an aggressive male homeless subject approached her, demanded money, then verbally abused and intimated her when she refused to comply,” Sgt Cota said.

The PSO provided the male’s description and he was located in the parking lot of Broadway Liquor. 

“The male was identified as Matthew Diotte. After further interview of the PSO, it was determined the elements of attempted robbery were met,” Sgt Cota said.

Mathew David Diotte, 38, was subsequently arrested for attempted robbery and an outstanding warrant.

Bail was set at $110,000.

Grinch steals Christmas presents from car

On Sunday, Dec 23, at 12:27 p.m., an LBPD officer was dispatched to a residence in the 100 block of St Ann’s Drive in reference to a theft from vehicle report. “Christmas presents that were left in the car are all gone,” reads the report.

According to Sgt Cota, several items were stolen from an unlocked vehicle. The loss totaled approximately $900. 

“A hat possibly belonging to the suspect was located inside the vehicle. It was collected and booked into evidence,” Sgt Cota said. “The suspect may have been recorded on video. This case will be submitted to the Investigations Division.

Read more Police Files on our Front Page II – click here


Incident Reports

Tuesday, Dec 25

S Coast Hwy | 1500 Block | Domestic Violence, Assault with a Deadly Weapon

4:45 p.m. Catherine Anne Harris, 44, Las Vegas, was arrested for domestic violence (bail was set at $50,000) and assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm (bail was set at $50,000).

McKnight Drive & Via Majorca | Violating Parole, Appropriating Lost Property

11:01 a.m. Ralph Francis Bowers, 48, Huntington Beach, was arrested for violating parole (no bail was set) and appropriating lost property under $400 (bail was set at $500).

S Coast Hwy | 1500 Block | Possession of a Controlled Substance, Controlled Substance Paraphernalia

6:57 a.m. Casey Lee Schafer, 27, Peoria, AZ, was arrested for being in possession of a controlled narcotic substance (bail was set at $500), a controlled substance without a prescription, and controlled substance paraphernalia (bail was set at $500).

Monday, Dec 24

Laguna Canyon Road | 1100 Block | Disturbance

5 p.m. LBPD received a report of a man wearing a black biker jacket ripping out their neighbor’s Christmas decorations. When LBPD arrived the suspect was gone.

Glenneyre St | 900 Block | Warrant

3:26 p.m. David Malik Kurney, 23, Laguna Beach, was arrested on an undisclosed warrant. Bail was set at $5,000.

Sunday, Dec 23

Ocean Ave | 200 Block | Vandalism

10:43 p.m. Craig David Marston, 47, Murrieta, was arrested for vandalism. Bail was set at $500.

S Coast Hwy | 700 Block | Indecent Exposure, Trespassing, Criminal Threats

4 p.m. Braden Elliot Bolton, 39, Laguna Beach, was arrested for indecent exposure (bail was set at $500), trespassing (bail was set at $500), and making criminal threats with intent to terrorize (bail was set at $50,000).

N Coast Hwy & High Drive | Shoplifting

8:46 a.m. Brian Kieth Michael O’Connor, 56, Laguna Beach, was arrested for shoplifting. Bail was set at $500.

Forest Ave | 500 Block | Domestic Violence

12:37 p.m. Anthony Philip Ianozzi, 38, Laguna Beach, was arrested for domestic violence with minor injury. Bail was set at $50,000.

Legion St | 200 Block | Warrant, DUI

1:51 am. David Pak, 42, Las Vegas, was arrested on an undisclosed warrant (bail was set at $500) and on suspicion of DUI (bail was set at $2,500).


Police Files (Cont.)

Dove release owner with 57 guns, practice bomb, and Nazi paraphernalia arraigned today

According to a press release issued by the OC District Attorney’s Office on Thursday, Mitchell Ralph Todd, 51, of Huntington Beach, is scheduled to be arraigned today, Friday, Dec 28, at 8:30 a.m., for felony criminal threats against a customer, a Laguna Beach resident. 

Todd is charged with one felony count of criminal threats. The maximum sentence is three years in state prison.

At the time of the alleged crimes, Todd was the owner of OC Doves and was hired by the victim to release the doves at his son’s funeral. Based upon a dispute on the day of the funeral involving scheduling and payment, Todd did not render his services nor was he paid. 

On Monday, Nov 10, Todd is accused of requesting payment from the victim. The next day, he is accused of leaving the victim a series of threatening text messages and voicemails and further demanding payment.

Police Files arsenal

Click on photo for a larger image 

Courtesy of LBPD

Arsenal found at defendant’s house includes 57 firearms, 30,000 rounds of ammunition, and practice bomb

“Todd first threatened with court proceedings, but quickly appeared to become upset and further threatened to have specific people come to his work and to his relatives’ home until he was paid,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said.

In the last voicemail left for the victim, Todd is accused of recording the sound of a handgun slide being pulled back and released as if chambering a round.

During a search of Todd’s house, LBPD, who investigated the case, located 57 firearms, nearly 30,000 rounds of ammunition, over 100 magazines, a practice bomb, several body armors, swords, and Nazi paraphernalia.

Police Files Todd mugshot

Courtesy of LBPD

Todd will be arraigned today for alleged criminal threats against a customer, a Laguna local

LBPD arrested the defendant on an arrest warrant on Thursday, Dec 13. 

Deputy District Attorney Laila Nikaien, Special Prosecutions Unit, is the prosecutor on the case. The arraignment will take place at Department H-7, Harbor Justice Center, 4601 Jamboree Road in Newport Beach.

Read more Police Files on our Front Page I – click here


Police Files

Man allegedly pulls out his private parts, makes lewd suggestions and threatens Ralphs manager

On Sunday, Dec 23, at 4 p.m., LBPD officers responded to Ralphs grocery store, at 700 S Coast Hwy, in reference to a male subject allegedly causing a disturbance. The male was identified as 39-year-old Braden Bolton. 

Police Files BoltonAccording to LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota, “The manager advised Bolton to leave the store. Bolton refused, removed his male genitalia from his pants, and instructed the manager to ‘suck it.’” 

An independent witness told Bolton he was calling 9-1-1.

“Bolton then aggressively followed the witness and threatened his life,” Sgt Cota said. “Bolton was taken into custody for trespassing, indecent exposure, and terrorist threats.”

Bail was set at $51,000.

Man allegedly goes on spree cutting city X-mas lights

On Sunday, Dec 23, at 9:43 p.m., LBPD officers responded to Hennessey’s Tavern for a report of a male subject who was allegedly throwing condiments and creating a disturbance. Officers arrived in the area but did not locate the subject right away. 

Police Files Marston“A short time later, LBFD firefighters located a male, later identified as Craig Marston, who matched the description cutting the lights wrapped around the trees on Forest Avenue at Glenneyre Street,” Sgt Cota said. “Firefighters confronted Marston and he quickly tossed a box cutter on the ground.”

Officers arrived on scene and LBFD firefighters told the officers they had witnessed Marston, 47, cutting the lights with the box cutter.

“Officers noticed the lights did not work and noted the wires had been cut. A box cutter was found next to the tree,” Sgt Cota said. “Marston then spontaneously admitted to cutting the lights with the box cutter because he was upset. Officers arrested Marston for vandalism.”

Bail was set at $500.

Bike vs. car accident, rider transported to hospital

On Sunday, Dec 23, at 6:17 p.m., LBPD officers responded to a traffic collision with injuries, involving a vehicle versus a bicyclist. 

“The driver of the vehicle was making a left hand turn from Catalina Street onto Graceland Drive when the bicyclist, who did not have any lights on her bicycle, rode in front of the vehicle,” Sgt Cota said. “The bicyclist sustained no visible injuries, due to it being a slow speed crash, but was transported to Mission Hospital Laguna Beach due to a complaint of pain to her hip.”

 The driver of the vehicle was able to drive her vehicle from the scene.


Incident Reports

Saturday, Dec 22

S Coast Hwy & 3rd Ave | Appropriating Lost Property

11:47 a.m. Japa Goins, 31, Tennessee, was arrested for appropriating lost property valued under $400. Bail was set at $500.

Ocean Ave | 200 Block | Disorderly Conduct – Alcohol 

1:59 a.m. A 21-year-old Dana Point man was arrested for disorderly conduct related to alcohol. Bail was set at $500.

N Coast Hwy | 100 Block | DUI

12:30 a.m. A 21-year-old Newport Beach man was arrested on suspicion of DUI. Bail was set at $2,500.

N Coast Hwy | 1300 Block | Bench Warrant, Possession of Controlled Substance Paraphernalia

2:23 a.m. Samantha Elizabeth Langas, 25, Fairfield, PA, was arrested for being in possession of controlled substance paraphernalia. Bail was set at $500.

Friday, Dec 21

Ocean Ave | 300 Block | Warrant

11:49 p.m. Trevor Harrison Martin, 27, Dana Point, was arrested on a felony out-of-jurisdiction warrant for larceny. Bail was set at $20,000.

S Coast Hwy & 3rd Ave| DUI, Driving with a Blood Alcohol Content 0.08% or Higher 

11:47 p.m. A 40-year-old Dana Point man was arrested on suspicion of DUI (bail was set at $2,500) and driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher (bail was set at $2,500).

N Coast Hwy & Crescent Bay Drive | DUI

10:17 p.m. A 39-year-old Santa Ana woman was arrested on suspicion of DUI. Bail was set at $2,500.

Zell Drive & Zurich Ct | Suspicious Person

4:42 p.m. LBPD received a report of a suspicious man, described as a white male with a fake British accent wearing a neon safety vest, “banging on doors to homes asking for the homeowners.” According to police reports, the man looked like he had fake tar on him like a road worker but he didn’t smell like it. The suspect stated that he works with an aggregate road company. He reportedly walked all the way down the RP’s driveway, but never told him why he needed the homeowner. The RP said they thought the suspicious man might have been “casing the house.”

St Ann’s Drive | 200 Block | Possession of Controlled Substance Paraphernalia, Receiving Stolen Property

4:30 p.m. Reese Mitchell Westenberger, 53, Laguna Beach, was arrested for being in possession of controlled substance paraphernalia (bail was set at $500) and receiving stolen property valued at $950 or less (bail was set at $500).

S Coast Hwy | 100 Block | Warrant

10:35 p.m. Daniel Paul Schneider, 53, Laguna Beach, was arrested on an undisclosed warrant. Bail was set at $5,000.

Forest Ave | 200 Block | Warrant

8:49 a.m. Neilesh Bhikhu Chauhan, 47, Mission Viejo, was arrested on an undisclosed warrant. Bail was set at $10,000.

Park Ave & Temple Hills Drive | Violating Parole

8:33 p.m. Maria Yessenia Lovato, 55, Laguna Niguel, was arrested for violating parole. No bail was set.

Thursday, Dec 20

S Coast Hwy | 100 Block | Disorderly Conduct – Alcohol 

2:08 p.m. A 56-year-old Laguna Beach man was arrested disorderly conduct related to alcohol. Bail was set at $500.

Moulton Pkwy | 23500 Block | Suspicious Person

12:06 p.m. LBPD received a report of a suspicious man in the area “possibly dumping 12 baby snakes near the creek.”

Bonita Way & Fontana Way | Patrol Check

12:46 p.m. LBPD received a report of two white males inside a white Ford Expedition. The reporting person said they thought the subjects “were casing homes under construction” and that they saw the men drive by two of his job sites slowly.

Wednesday, Dec 19

S Coast Hwy & Cleo St | Disorderly Conduct – Alcohol 

10:28 p.m. A 53-year-old Laguna Beach man was arrested disorderly conduct related to alcohol. Bail was set at $500.

N Coast Hwy | 600 Block | DUI, Driving with a Blood Alcohol Content 0.08% or Higher 

6:37 p.m. A 63-year-old Laguna Beach man was arrested on suspicion of DUI (bail was set at $2,500) and driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher (bail was set at $2,500).

Glenneyre St & Forest Ave | DUI, Driving with a Blood Alcohol Content 0.08% or Higher 

2:37 a.m. A 54-year-old Charleston, SC, man was arrested on suspicion of DUI (bail was set at $2,500) and driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher (bail was set at $2,500).


Police Files

Man dies following self-inflicted vehicle fire at Aliso Beach

On Tuesday, Dec 18, at 9:09 a.m., at the 31100 block of S Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach Emergency Services received an emergency call about a vehicle fire. Local residents, including those dining at nearby Lost Pier Café, also reported the sound of a large explosion.

Sadly, according to LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota, “This was self-initiated and so far appears to be an attempt of suicide. There was no bomb, but an excessive amount of gas was located, so it appears the sound of an explosion was the gas and fire igniting the vehicle.”

 The man involved in this tragic incident is described as a 56-year-old man from Lake Forest. Sgt Cota said no drugs were involved.

The man was pulled from his vehicle by emergency personnel after at least one local resident was unable to extricate him on their own due to the significant car damage sustained.

The man, who was still alive as of Thursday after being transported to Orange County Global Hospital in Santa Ana by Mercy Air, died this morning (Friday, Dec 21), according to a message from Sgt Cota.

Police Files Car

Click on photo for a larger image 

Photo by Scott Brashier

A 56-year-old Lake Forest man who was saved from his burning vehicle by emergency personnel on Tuesday has died

LBFD Division Chief Api Weinert said the man sustained “Head to toe burns, all the way from the head to the toe. I would say the gamut from first, second and third-degree burns.”

Chief Weinert reiterated Sgt Cota’s statement that a bomb was not responsible for the vehicle fire.

“It was not a bomb. Although bystanders did report hearing a loud explosion,

anytime you have confined combustion, you can hear what sounds like an explosion or a pop,” LBFD Chief Weinert said.

The event was hard to fathom and to experience.

“Even though we see horrible accidents throughout our careers, it doesn’t mean they don’t accumulate over time or just that one accident that some of our members haven’t seen before won’t affect us,” Chief Weinert said. “We reached out to Trauma Intervention Program (TIP), not just for ourselves but for bystanders. They are an incredible organization. TIP made contact with the civilians, police officers, firefighters, and first responders that were there.”

Holidays are a particularly rough time of year for depression and death.

“A lot of people think we’re really slow, but we’re actually really busy,” Chief Weinert said. “The holidays can be an intense time for people.”

Suicide prevention help is available. If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please reach out to www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In Orange County, you may also visit this site.

Know the warning signs. Some warning signs may help you determine if a loved one is at risk for suicide, especially if the behavior is new, has increased, or seems related to a painful event, loss, or change. If you or someone you know exhibits any of these, seek help by calling the Lifeline. Behavior includes:

--Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves

--Looking for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun

--Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live

--Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain

--Talking about being a burden to others

--Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs

--Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly

--Sleeping too little or too much

--Withdrawing or isolating themselves

--Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge

--Extreme mood swings

Read more Police Files on our Front Page II – click here


Incident Reports

Tuesday, Dec 18

S Coast Hwy | 31800 Block | Disorderly Conduct – Alcohol 

10:11 p.m. A 32-year-old Laguna Niguel woman was arrested for disorderly conduct related to alcohol. Bail was set at $500.

Laguna Canyon Drive | 20600 Block | Trespassing

7:07 p.m. Pejman Abdolali Zanjane, 40, Laguna Beach, was arrested for trespassing. Bail was set at $500.

S Coast Hwy | 100 Block | Resisting Arrest

9:26 a.m. Terry Dwayne Sanders, 41, Laguna Beach, was arrested for resisting arrest by an executive officer (bail was set at $20,000) and resisting arrest by a peace officer (bail was set at $500).

Laguna Canyon Road | 3000 Block | DUI

10:08 a.m. A 23-year-old Anaheim man was arrested on suspicion of DUI. Bail was set at $2,500.

El Paseo & Laguna Ave | Battery

2:37 a.m. Nicolas McNeil Kelley, 22, Laguna Beach, was arrested for battery with serious bodily injury. Bail was set at $25,000.

S Coast Hwy | Center St | DUI, Driving with a Blood Alcohol Content 0.08% or Higher

2:12 a.m. A 24-year-old San Clemente man was arrested on suspicion of DUI (bail was set at $2,500) and driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher (bail was set at $2,500).

Laguna Canyon Road | 20600 Block | DUI

12:56 a.m. A 25-year-old San Juan Capistrano man was arrested on suspicion of DUI. Bail was set at $2,500.

Monday, Dec 17

S Coast Hwy | Cleo St | DUI with One prior, Driving with a Blood Alcohol Content 0.08% or Higher

11:41 p.m. David Jerod Tolbert, 47, Foothill Ranch, was arrested on suspicion of DUI with one prior (bail was set at $10,000) and driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher (bail was set at $10,000).

S Coast Hwy & Victoria St | DUI

9:12 p.m. A 57-year-old Carlsbad man was arrested on suspicion of DUI. Bail was set at $2,500.

S Coast Hwy | 2000 Block | Domestic Violence with Serious Injury

8:33 p.m. Mark Kosta, 55, Laguna Niguel, was arrested for domestic violence with serious injury. Bail was set at $50,000.

S Coast Hwy | 100 Block | Fighting in Public Place

9:47 a.m. Donald Douglas Kramer, 47, Laguna Beach, was arrested for fighting/challenging a fight in a public place. Bail was set at $1,500.

Canyon Acres Drive & Laguna Canyon Road | DUI, Driving with a Blood Alcohol Content 0.08% or Higher, and Unlicensed Driver

1:33 a.m. Antonio Francisco Catarino, 22, Lake Forest, was arrested on suspicion of DUI (bail was set at $2,500), driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher (bail was set at $2,500), and driving without a license (bail was set at $500).

N Coast Hwy & Jasmine St | DUI, Driving on a Suspended License

12:17 a.m. Miguel Angel Garcia, 30, Santa Ana, was arrested on suspicion of DUI (bail was set at $2,500) and driving on a suspended driver’s license (bail was set at $500).

Sunday, Dec 16

Forest Ave | 200 Block | Warrant

10:45 p.m. William Edward Hemphill, 68, Laguna Beach, was arrested on an undisclosed warrant. Bail was set at $5,000.

Unknown | Resisting Arrest

5:51 p.m. Nellie Ann Day, 36, San Diego, was arrested for resisting arrest. Bail was set at $500.

Unknown | DUI, Driving with a Blood Alcohol Content 0.08% or Higher

1:21 a.m. A 61-year-old San Diego man was arrested on suspicion of DUI (bail was set at $2,500) and driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher (bail was set at $2,500).


Police Files (Cont.)

Man hits three parked cars, light pole and fire hydrant in cut & rescue in the canyon, DUI suspected

On Tuesday, Dec 18, at 3:55 a.m., LBPD officers responded to a traffic collision on Laguna Canyon Road at Big Bend. The traffic collision was a single vehicle rollover, cut and rescue, with the driver trapped in the vehicle. 

“Officers arrived on scene and attempted to pull the driver, later identified as Anaheim resident Tyler Tripp, from the vehicle, but the damage was too extensive. LBFD arrived on scene and began rescue efforts to extricate Tripp from the vehicle,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said. 

The outbound lane was closed for approximately one hour, but due to the early morning hour, traffic was not a factor. 

“Tripp was eventually rescued from the vehicle and transported to Mission Hospital, Mission Viejo. Prior to being transported, Tripp submitted to a Preliminary Alcohol Screening test and his BAC exceeded .08 percent,” Sgt Cota said. “Tripp was ultimately arrested for DUI.” 

The collision involved Tripp’s vehicle, three parked vehicles, a light pole, and a fire hydrant, according to Sgt Cota. Edison and the Water Department arrived on scene to make the necessary repairs. Fortunately, the fire hydrant capped itself upon being sheared off and no flooding or water damage occurred as a result of the collision. 

Tripp was released from the hospital later in the day after receiving medical treatment.

Tyler Mitchell Tripp, 23, of Anaheim was arrested on suspicion of DUI, his first.

Bail was set at $2,500.

Man asleep at the wheel of idling car wakes up to a DUI arrest, charges for cocaine and loaded Glock 

On Sunday, Dec 16, at 8:34 a.m., LBPD officers responded to the Laguna Drug parking lot, at 239 Broadway St, to check on the welfare of a man reportedly passed out inside of a black Toyota RAV 4. 

According to police reports, the man was “slumped over the wheel and the vehicle [was] idling.” The reporting person knocked on the window and the subject didn’t respond.

“The male was identified as Mission Viejo resident Charles Furis. It was determined he was under the influence of alcohol and a stimulant,” Sgt Cota said. “He was subsequently arrested for DUI. A loaded Glock handgun and cocaine were located inside the vehicle.” 

Charles Alexander Furis, 31, Mission Viejo, was arrested on suspicion of DUI, possession of a narcotic controlled substance, and possession of a controlled substance while armed with a loaded gun. According to Sgt Cota, booking information shows he is employed by Whittier Hospital doing lab work.

Bail was set at $3,500.

Scroll down to bottom of page for Police Beat


Police Files

Email bomb threat hits North Laguna resident

On Thursday, Dec 13, at 11:43 a.m., at the 1000 block of N Coast Hwy, a person that lives in the same building as the Guitar Shoppe reported receiving an email bomb threat sent to her personal email, extorting money.

According to police reports, she said, “They are trying to extort money from [me] – if the subject does not receive the money, he is going to blow up the building.”

The woman reported that she didn’t believe the email was legitimate but wanted to report it just in case. The woman rents an apartment at the location and works out of her home.

The email read, “Explosive device petrol has been carried into your building. If any unusual activity is noticed my mercenary will activate the bomb.”

The person demanded $20,000 by the end of the day or the building would be blown up. 

The threat also stated, “We are not terrorist [sic] and do not assume responsibility of other explosives at other buildings. A mercenary is in the area watching. He will be called off when the payment is made in full.”

According to LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota, “This was the day people and places all over the US were receiving bomb threats. This was a scam and sent to a personal email with no direct affiliation or threat to the specific business.

Kidnapping threat by caller from Mexico thwarted

On Friday, Dec 14, at 12:48 p.m., at the 1200 block of Park Ave, a Laguna Beach resident received a phone call from a Mexico based phone number claiming her child was kidnapped and a demand for money was made. 

“The reporting party stated she could hear a child crying in the background but knew the child’s voice did not sound like her children’s voices,” Sgt Cota said. “SRO Corporal Ashton was able to confirm that the reporting party’s kids were actively in school: Thurston and TOW.”

Sgt Cota explained that this phone call was a scam consistent to the recent ones that have been ongoing in our country. LBPD investigations was advised of the incident and a report was taken.

As reported in Police Files last spring, for over three consecutive weeks spanning from the end of April to mid-May, several women in Laguna were targeted in a virtual kidnapping scam, a billion-dollar crime that continues to stalk the country. 

“If anybody receives a telephone call or email that they find suspicious in the least, please call the police department and we will verify the information you are receiving or the person that is calling you,” said Sgt Cota. “Don’t give credit card information, don’t give your social security number, and if at any point, you don’t recognize the number, the person or the company contacting you, call us to verify they are legit. One of our staff will personally call that number to make sure they are who they say they are.”

In most cases, the best course of action is to hang up the phone and call 9-1-1. For more tips and information, contact Sgt Cota at (949) 497-0701 or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Read more Police Files on our Front Page II – click here


Police Files (Cont.)

Husband & wife busted for alleged thefts and meth

On Thursday, Dec 13, at 8:10 a.m., LBPD officers responded to Hillcrest Drive and Louise Street for a suspicious unoccupied vehicle. Upon the officer’s arrival, it was determined the registered owner of the vehicle, a Lincoln Continental, was on probation.

Police Files Elizabeth FulcePolice File John Sparks“A probation search of the interior of the vehicle revealed several stolen wallets and other items. During the investigation, Laguna Hills resident John Sparks walked back to the vehicle and was contacted by officers,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said. 

John James Sparks, 31, of Laguna Hills, was arrested for possession of stolen property, petty theft, and a probation violation. 

“A probation search of Sparks and his wife’s residence revealed several other stolen items,” Sgt Cota added.

His wife, Elizabeth Dawn Fulce, 27, of Laguna Niguel, was also arrested for possession of narcotic paraphernalia and possession of methamphetamine.

Sparks and Fulce did not receive bail.

Fight at Main Beach – drugs and altered flare gun found

On Thursday, Dec 13, at 10:40 a.m., LBPD received a call regarding two male subjects who were reported to be pushing and arguing with each other at 312 Broadway St.

“Officers made contact and after searching the subjects they found homeless subject, Kenneth Koestler, to be in possession of a small amount of heroin,” Sgt Cota said.

Kenneth Lee Koestler 43, of Laguna Beach, was cited for possession of a controlled substance and trespassing. 

“The second subject, homeless subject Kelly Smith, was also found to be in possession of a methamphetamine, hypodermic needles, and four pills,  Alprazolam/Xanax, a schedule IV benzodiazepine, without a physician’s prescription,” Sgt Cota said.

“Additionally, a flare gun that was altered to resemble a firearm was located in his duffle bag,” Sgt Cota continued. “Smith was arrested and ultimately cited out from the station for possession of a controlled substance, possession of prescription pills without a physician’s prescription, trespassing, and possession of narcotic paraphernalia.”

Bail was set at $1,000 for Koestler. Bail is unknown for Smith.

Scroll down to bottom of page for Police Beat

Page 2 of 32