Police Files

Call the right play for Super Bowl 51 – pass the keys to a sober driver before the big game begins 

On Sunday, Feb 5, football fans across the country will tune in to watch Super Bowl 51. For many of them, the game experience will include alcohol. The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) is teaming up with law enforcement agencies across the state for a special Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk campaign, urging all football fans to call the right play on Super Bowl weekend and pass the keys to a sober driver before the drinking begins. 

As part of the Super Bowl Sunday enforcement efforts, police, sheriff and the CHP will be on heightened alert ready to stop and arrest any impaired driver. 

Fans don’t let fans drive drunk

Impaired driving can be deadly. A driver is considered alcohol-impaired with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher, but even a small amount of alcohol can impair judgment and reaction times enough to make driving unsafe. Many medications (prescription and over-the-counter), marijuana, and illicit drugs can also lead to impairment and unsafe driving, resulting in a DUI. 

 “Volunteer to be a designated driver to help your family and friends get home safely,” said OTS Director Rhonda Craft. “Impaired driving only leads to disaster and tragedy. It is never worth the risk. If you do plan to drink, and/or are taking medications or using marijuana, plan now to pass the keys to a sober driver before kickoff.” 

For those who plan to drink, leave your keys at home. For those who do plan to drive, refrain from consuming any alcohol. Instead, enjoy the game with food and non-alcoholic drinks. 

Download an app for a designated driver

Drivers can also download OTS’s Designated Driver VIP, or “DDVIP,” free mobile app to get connected with free designated-driver incentives at local establishments or to order a sober ride from Uber, Lyft, or Curb. 

This enforcement effort is funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration who reminds everyone to be alert and ‘Report Drunk Drivers – Call 911’ if you see a dangerous driver call immediately!


Police Files

Man, 24, left a trail of crimes along Park Avenue

Police dispatch received a 9-1-1 call early last Wednesday evening reporting that a man was walking in the roadway near the high school on Park Avenue carrying a stick and swinging it at people’s cars. Traffic, the caller said, had stopped and was backed up on both sides of the street.

Officers arrived on scene and had him detained four minutes after the initial call. Alexander Steven Tracy, 24, Laguna Niguel, was soon in custody for being drunk in public. Among his possessions was a Head tennis racquet.

Meanwhile, another officer responded to the 900 block of Park Ave to take a report for a residential burglary.

LBPD Sgt. Tim Kleiser said, “The resident arrived home and found his front and rear doors open. Officers checked the house and found property that belonged to Tracy. The victim noticed two Head tennis racquets had been taken, one of which was in Tracy’s possession and also a bottle of tequila was missing.”

A little while later, an officer responded to the 800 block of Park Ave for a report of vandalism Sgt. Kleiser added, “The resident arrived home around 6:45 and noticed the mailbox had been damaged and broken glass on the driveway. The glass was from the bottle of tequila taken from the residence where the burglary was reported.”

Tracy ended up going to jail for residential burglary, a felony, vandalism and being drunk in public. He was also on probation leading to his status being changed to being a probation violator and he was held without bail.

A man left a watermelon at the front door of the PD

At 10:24 Friday morning, the surveillance camera at the front door of the Police Department revealed a man described as being in his late 40s or early 50s placing a watermelon in front and then walking away.

Police are enhancing the video in the hope of being able to identify the man.

Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD said, “We don’t know what the purpose of this was, but we think it maybe in regards to the high school incident.”

Remember, for a complete listing of crimes and arrests in town, scroll down to Police Beat at the bottom of our second front page


Police Files

Sounds as if this burglary may been an “inside job”

When we think of burglaries, we rarely consider them to be an inside job, i.e., someone who had or has knowledge of where the money is and the best time to go for the taking.

There’s no evidence from the LBPD that we are correct in our deduction, but we want you to see what “fake news” can be.

A woman left her Laguna Beach from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. When she got home, she saw that an outside door to her laundry was open and upon looking around, she saw that an office desk drawer was open.

$15,000 in cash was missing.

Laguna Beach PD detectives are on the case. 

Tree outside Urth Caffe is benched by the storm

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Dianne Russell

No, this is not the controversial tree in North Laguna


Police Files

Greeter’s waving hampered by a set of handcuffs

Michael Minutoli, 57, no fixed address, aka “The Greeter”, was arrested last Wednesday afternoon in North Laguna.

A local hotel called police reporting that a known suspect had taken a cable TV box and damaged the TV set from a room.

After taking the report, the officer saw him at the Stop ‘N Go in North Laguna. When Minutoli saw the officer, according to the police log, he ran into a restroom and refused to come out for sometime.

Police were eventually able to get him to come out of the restroom – after they had located the cable box where it had been thrown as Minutoli ran through a backroom on the way to the restroom.

He was arrested for theft and vandalism.


Police Files

Woman, 25, beats on man near Taco Bell – gets jailed 

Police responded to a reported fight by Taco Bell on S. Coast Hwy at 1 p.m. Sunday and made contact with a man and a woman.

After an interview by police, it was determined that the woman, Stephanie Nichole Mancuso, 25, Ohio, had been trespassing on the man’s property. Their argument continued to the area where the call originated and Mancuso allegedly began to physically assault the man and pushed him according to LBPD Sgt. Tim Kleiser.  

She was subsequently searched and a quantity of methamphetamine and a pipe were found on her. She had also given police a fake name. When her real name was checked, she had a $2500 warrant with misdemeanor drug charges.

She was arrested for possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, providing false information to an officer and the warrant.   

Clarification of details of man arrested at Mission Hospital

On Tuesday, we reported the arrest of Dana Point resident Ian Keegan, 55, after, according to the police log, “…walking around with a bottle of vodka and got in an SUV to leave…” the parking lot at Mission Hospital. Keegan was arrested for DUI and held for parole violation.

We want to clarify that any indication from our report that Keegan had been a patient at Mission Hospital Laguna Beach would be an erroneous conclusion.  He was, according to the caller who notified the police, dropped off at the hospital, but he never checked in or was seen there.

We regret any wrongful conclusions our readers may have drawn.


Police Files

Man arrested at Mission Hospital after OC Sheriff’s deputies had dropped him off there for detox

While details are sparse, according to Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD, a Dana Point man, Ian Keegan, 54, who was on formal parole was arrested last Wednesday night outside of Mission Hospital, Laguna Beach after deputies from the OC Sheriff’s Dept. had earlier dropped him off to detox.

Sgt. Kleiser said Monday that the police report had not been completed and that he had no details as to the Sheriff’s deputies.

The police log said that the caller who reported the incident had said that a man who had been dropped off at Mission by OC Sheriff’s deputies was, from the log, “…walking around with a bottle of vodka and got in an SUV to leave…”

Officers stopped Keegan and after an investigation, arrested him for DUI, driving on a suspended or revoked license due to a DUI conviction and driving on a suspended or revoked license due to a DUI conviction without an interlocking device.

After contacting Keegan’s parole officer, he was ordered to be held without bail for violation of his formal parole conditions. He was transported to Santa Ana for Department of Corrections pick up there.


Police Files

City Council gadfly and son arrested in alleged plot after the son threatened councilmembers and city manager

Police said that on Wednesday, Jan 4, city hall employees led department detectives to a Craigslist posting titled, “Going to Laguna Beach city council with My Gillie suit.”

Robert Mason Ross, 75, and Michael James Ross, 33, were arrested that night. The elder Ross is a recognizable city council gadfly who has made veiled and open threats against the city over the past several years. He threw his hat into the political ring in 2012 as a candidate for the council and received over 750 votes. 

A press release from LBPD this week added, “The posting contained five different photos of a man with an automatic rifle hiding in the brush while wearing a Ghillie suit (camouflage clothing). The posting by the author stated, ‘I am warning the city council that I am going to show up with my gillie [sic] suit, to remove these tyrants from office, in 2017.’ The post also stated, ‘Call the police and the city, council and tell them I am coming to end this corruption, from the Laguna Beach City Council, once and for all. Hahahahahaha, you are going down now.’”

A search warrant was secured and served on their Treetop Lane residence that night.

LBPD joined the OC Sheriff’s SWAT team and made their first knock at about midnight without the door opening. The SWAT team used “flash bang grenades” according to the police log and there were lights on inside the house at 12:17 a.m. for about six minutes. Police continued to announce their presence to no avail before making a final call out to the occupants and entered at 1:17 detaining both men.

The press release continued: “Inside the home, investigators located six rifles, a semi-automatic handgun, and over 100 boxes of ammunition.

“At the conclusion of the search warrant, investigators arrested Michael James Ross for Criminal Threats and Threats to Public Officials. His father, Robert Mason Ross was arrested for being a Convicted Felon in Possession of Firearms. 

Bail was set on Jan 6 at $250,000. Michael Ross posted bail and was released earlier this week. The elder Ross was still in county jail as of Tuesday night.

Woman injured in traffic crash had a surprise bindle in her bra  

A woman was slightly injured in a rollover traffic crash on S. Coast Hwy Tuesday afternoon. Paramedics transported her to Mission Hospital Laguna Beach for medical observation.

Two dogs inside the vehicle were also transported for observation by animal services officers.

At hospital, San Clemente resident Dellia Ledwidge, 53, was found to have a bindle of methamphetamine in her bra – and that led to her being charged with felony possession of a controlled substance for sales and felony transportation for sales.

Her bail was set at $25,000.

Reminder: DUI enforcement operations planned this weekend

Officers from the Laguna Beach Police Department’s DUI Enforcement Team will be deploying this weekend to stop and arrest alcohol and drug-impaired drivers in the Department’s ongoing traffic safety campaign. 

DUI Saturation Patrols will deploy on Saturday, Jan 14, between the hours of 8 p.m. and 3 a.m. in areas with high frequencies of DUI collisions and/or arrests.

In California, this deadly crime led to 1,155 deaths and nearly 24,000 injuries in 2014 because someone failed to designate a sober driver. Officers will be looking for signs of alcohol and/or drug impairment. When possible, specially trained officers will be available to evaluate those suspected of drug-impaired driving, which now accounts for a growing number of impaired driving crashes.


Police Files

Jaywalking led to arrest for a dagger and meth sales

Last Thursday night at 10:49, a patrol unit made contact with a man and a woman who crossed S. Coast Hwy near Cleo Street. They were not near a crosswalk and hence, jaywalking.

When it was learned that Richard Wayne Owens, 42, San Clemente, was on formal probation, a search was started. People on probation are subject to search and seizure at any time, any place.

Police said the officer searching Owens found a dagger in a sheath around his neck and over an ounce of methamphetamine, a digital scale and a hypodermic needle inside his backpack.

Owens went to jail without bail for probation violation, felony possession of dangerous and felony possession of dangerous drugs for sales.

His companion, Pamela Bowers, 45, no fixed address, was arrested on a Harbor Court warrant for being drunk in public.


Police Files

Tesla stolen on Glenneyre lot – keys were left inside the unlocked car

A man left his 2013 Tesla parked on the Glenneyre lot Monday night around 7:50. It was unlocked and the keys were inside, police said.

When the owner came back to the parking structure a little less than an hour later his Tesla was – gone.

The car’s owner used the Tesla app on his cell phone with the police nearby and immediately located the car at a Dana Point gas station.

OC Sheriff’s deputies were at the gas station in a jiffy and took one man into custody while another man was able to elude deputies on foot for a short while.

Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD said Laguna officers responded to Dana Point and questioned the two men. One, Jacob Lee Davis, 31, La Habra, was arrested for a no bail warrant with a charge of two prior offenses for stealing vehicles. 

Further charges may follow according to Sgt. Kleiser.

The other man was released.

The case is still under investigation.


Police Files

Two more drug dealers busted for routine traffic violations

Perhaps we’re condescending when we compare some persons who have been arrested to the old Jay Leno segment of “stupid criminals”. Stupid may not be the operative word – more to the point: how about a lack of common sense.

Two different drug dealers must have felt especially lucky while driving on Laguna streets this past week for they definitely showed a lack of common sense.

In the first instance, an officer noticed that a car’s brake lights weren’t working properly. As is usual the officer ran the plate and it came back with expired registration. The car nonetheless displayed a current registration sticker.

In another situation, an officer wondered why a car was parked in a red zone and partially blocking a traffic lane on S. Coast Hwy. On top of that, when the officer approached the car, he found the driver fast asleep at the wheel.

The first scenario happened last Thursday night shortly after nine o’clock in the 700 block of S. Coast Hwy. The officer spoke with the driver, Miguel Pacheco, 51 of Costa Mesa and searched him.

Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD said Monday, “The officer found a bag that contained several pills. The driver was unable to provide a valid prescription to the officer. A total of 201 pills of Methylone, 1 pill of Alprazolam, 1 pill of Valium, and 1 pill of Viagra were seized from the suspect.”

Pacheco was arrested for felony sales of a controlled substance, felony possession of a controlled substance for sales and misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance. 

The second incident occurred at 3:20 a.m. on Dec 31 in the 2300 block of S. Coast Hwy. Sgt. Kleiser explained that the officer was heading northbound on the highway when he saw a VW partially blocking a southbound traffic lane and parked in a red curb zone. Looking closer, it was apparent that the driver was sound asleep.

“The officer contacted the driver and during a search found a small plastic baggy in his pants pocket that contained methamphetamine. During a search of the car, the officer found three pills of Xanax, additional methamphetamine, a scale and a baggie of marijuana. The marijuana weighed 25.48 grams and a total of 36 grams of methamphetamine was found. 

“The driver, 28-year-old Phillip Jackson from Long Beach, was arrested for felony sales of a controlled substance, felony possession of a controlled substance for sales and misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance.”

Woman decided it’s better to kick a cop rather than sign a citation

The city of Laguna Beach prohibits smoking on the beach.

One morning last week, an officer stopped Rhonda Metoyer, 57, no fixed address, on Main Beach for smoking a cigarette.

The officer wrote a citation and Metoyer allegedly refused to sign it. It was explained to her that if she didn’t sign promising to appear in court, that she would have to be taken into custody and to jail.

Sgt. Tim Kleiser said, “When the officer stepped forward to hand her his pen, she grabbed the pen from him and kicked him on the shin. Another officer arrived and the woman was arrested for felony resisting a police officer.”

Of note here: Under California law, when someone is being issued a citation, they are technically under arrest/detention by the police officer. Signing the citation and thus promising to appear in court at a specific time and date becomes a “get-out-of-jail-free” card since the person cited is sent along their way without posting bail.

 

Shaena Stabler and Stu Saffer are the co-owners. Shaena is the Publisher and Stu is the Editor-in-Chief.

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The Webmaster is Michael Sterling.

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Allison Rael, Barbara Diamond, Diane Armitage, Dianne Russell, Laura Buckle, Maggi Henrikson, Marrie Stone, Samantha Washer and Suzie Harrison are staff writers.

Barbara Diamond, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Laura Buckle and Suzie Harrison are columnists.

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