Laguna Niguel teen nabbed for burglaries in Three Arch Bay – another boy got away

 

A man was awakened in the wee hours Wednesday morning when he heard sounds coming from his garage on N. Stonington inside the gated community of Three Arch Bay. Police said the resident went into his garage where he confronted two teenaged boys stealing things from cars parked inside. The homeowner was able to get between one of the boys and the side door and tried to grab the second suspect.

According to police, the boy nearest to the door attacked the man with a bottle and managed to escape. Police said there were no serious injuries. The homeowner detained the other suspect, a 15-year-old boy from Laguna Niguel, until police and Three Arch Bay security officers arrived at the residence to assist him.

It appeared to police that the pair had entered the garage after finding an unlocked side door. They began removing items before entering the house itself where they found car keys. Both locked cars were entered and ransacked.

The investigation is on going but police did say that the pair may have entered other homes. The police log referenced a report from thirty minutes earlier where a witness said it was suspicious seeing two boys pushing a Vespa scooter down the street. There was also a report taken later Wednesday at the home next door. No details were immediately available.

The 15-year-old who was caught was charged with robbery, three felony counts of burglary, and a count of assault with a deadly weapon. He was interviewed and booked at the local jail then transported to the OC Juvenile detention center.

The other teenaged suspect faces the same charges.

This woman managed to get a cop’s attention

A police officer stopped a blue GMC Yukon SUV at S. Coast Hwy and Thalia Street at 11:35 last Thursday night and eventually arrested Anthony Romeo, 18, of Rowland Heights for drunk driving.

As is normal protocol, field sobriety tests were performed prior to Romeo being hooked up with handcuffs at midnight. The officers locked the Yukon and left it parked at the location of the stop. A female passenger elected to fend for herself after police offered to call a taxi.

As the arresting officer got close to the police station with Romeo in the rear seat, he realized that the Yukon was behind him being driven by the female.

She followed the officer to the station where she began honking her horn and continued doing it as she drove past city hall along Forest Avenue to Broadway where she turned left. That drew the attention of another police officer that made a car stop near Broadway and Beach Street at 12:13 a.m.

You guessed it – she was also arrested. Elizabeth Monique Luna, 18, also of Rowland Heights, was charged with DUI.


Crime in the OC is no different than what
we see on television

I’ll admit it – I can’t get enough of the Law and Order shows, Cold Case and the CSI programs. Every night, you can watch hours of such programs on cable and it usually doesn’t matter to me if I’ve seen an episode a year or two before. That said I am able to also say with certainty that many others in Laguna, male and female, young and old, have told me they’re hooked as well.

Long before cable TV, the “whodunit” was always a top selling genre of books, magazines
and movies.

Most readers know that I have been covering the cops, fire and courts relating to Laguna Beach far longer than anyone else doing so in town. Before that, the law was second only to baseball as my passionate hobby.

OC District Attorney Tony Rackauckas’ Public Affairs Counsel provides press releases filled with the details about important cases that have been or are being prosecuted by his office. I have always read them but only when they have a direct bearing on Laguna Beach have I written anything.

What always stood out is how the OC has crimes of all types that mirror the whole country – and cable TV. And, many of the crimes are closer to home than I believe most Lagunans realize.

Press releases from the DA’s officer will be printed here without much editing and without comment – just for readers’ knowledge awareness and entertainment with the caveat that the DA’s office isn’t interested in presenting the side of the accused.

Stu Saffer

This week from the OC DA’s office…


Parolee arrested for kicking and slapping puppy after swinging it by the neck using leash as a lasso

July 13 – A parolee was taken into custody for abusing an 8-pound puppy by using a leash as a lasso to swing it by the neck during an argument with his girlfriend in a Wal-Mart parking lot.

Verne Joseph Strong, 56, Newport Beach, was charged today with one felony count of animal abuse by a caretaker and a sentencing enhancement for a prior prison conviction for second degree commercial burglary, for which he is on parole. He faces a maximum sentence of four years in state prison if convicted.

Strong’s girlfriend, Angel Marie Holmes, 37, Newport Beach, is charged with one felony count of accessory after the fact and faces a maximum sentence of three years in state prison. Her arraignment date is to be determined.

At approximately 6:45 p.m. on July 11, 2010, Strong is accused of getting into a verbal argument with his girlfriend, Holmes, in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Westminster. During the argument, he is accused of opening the trunk of his Chevrolet sedan and pulling out an 8-month-old Chihuahua-dachshund mix puppy, which had been locked inside.

Strong is accused of swinging the 8-pound dog by the neck several feet off the ground using the leash in a lasso motion before throwing him to the ground. He is accused of then kicking the dog with force that caused the puppy to slide across the asphalt under the car.

Strong is accused of retrieving the dog and getting into the car with Holmes. Witnesses in the parking lot called 911. Westminster Police Officers arrived to find Strong and Holmes still parked in the Wal-Mart parking lot, sleeping in their car.

As an officer approached the car window to make contact with the defendant, the puppy began to bark from inside the car. Strong is accused of slapping the dog in the head with a full swing of his arm, knocking the dog over and rendering him temporarily stunned and motionless as the officer watched from the other side of the window. Strong is accused of slapping the dog a second time before getting out of the car to speak with the officer.

Strong was arrested at the scene. When interviewed at the scene by officers, Holmes is accused of helping Strong avoid prosecution by denying that Strong had swung or kicked the puppy and lying about the crime.

The puppy, Meanie, was taken to the humane society in Westminster for evaluation and treatment. Deputy District Attorney Katherine David is prosecuting this case.

Stanton man arraigned on charges of possessing child pornography and annoying a 12-yr-old girl at public library

July 15 – A man was arraigned today on charges that he possessed child pornography and annoyed a 12-year-old girl at a public library.

Alejandro Lorenzo Contreras, 24, Stanton, is charged with one felony count of possession of child pornography and one misdemeanor count of child annoyance. He faces a maximum sentence of three years and six months in state prison and one year in Orange County Jail if convicted. He is being held on $20,000 bail.

At approximately 4 p.m. on July 13, 2010, Contreras is accused of going to the Stanton Public Library located near Katella Avenue and Beach Boulevard. The defendant is accused of following three young girls inside the building and making the girls feel uncomfortable. He is accused of following the girls out of the library and asking for a picture of 12-year-old Jane Doe to be sent to him via cell phone.

Jane Doe notified police. When he was detained by the police Contreras is accused of possessing pornography depicting an image of an unknown child on his cell phone.

Anyone with additional information or who believes they have been a victim is encouraged to contact Supervising Investigator Randy Litwin of the Sexual Assault Unit at (714) 347-8794.

Deputy District Attorney Nikki Buracchio of the Sexual Assault Unit is prosecuting this case.

 

Cops release bank robbery video – ask for public’s help in identifying suspect

 

Laguna Beach police released a video of the actual June 23 robbery of U.S. Bank downtown. The suspect entered the bank at about 12:40 p.m. and, as the video shows, presented a note to a teller and left with a bundle of cash.

He was last seen heading out Second Street toward Mermaid.

Police said they are asking the public to help in identifying the suspect. If you have information, call 497-0701 anytime.


Temper tantrum comes without cigarettes and leads to jail for two 19-yr-olds from San Marino

 

Three guys were denied the purchase of cigarettes when they could not provide ID for a clerk at the Circle K on Glenneyre early Tuesday morning.

According to police and a surveillance video, two of the three went into a rage with the clerk’s decision. Once outside, they both grabbed bricks and heaved them at the store’s front window.

The first brick, police said, bounced off the plate glass causing a scratch. The next brick went through the glass shattering the big window.

Two of the three ran off but responding officers soon found them and placed them under arrest for felony vandalism since the cost of the window is over $1000.

Both are 19 and from San Marino. They were identified as Joseph Myles McMahon and Simon Si Yen Zhang. They were booked and taken to county jail.


Boys, 13 & 14, arrested on commercial burglary charges for stealing candy in downtown store

 

The manager of the Candy Barron on Forest Avenue downtown saw two young teen boys stealing candy last Friday. He called out and chased the pair after they ran out of the store but was unable to catch them according to police.

“The manager didn’t make a report then. However, he was amazed when the two boys paid a return visit to the store later that afternoon and once again stole some candy. That time the manager caught the boys, one 13 and the other 14 and both are from Laguna Beach,” said LBPD Lt. Jason Kravetz.

The manager called police and officers went to the store. Kravetz explained, “They were brought to the station and detained for burglary because they went back twice and allegedly planned what they were going to do.”

Police will refer the case to Family Court for final disposition.


Local man’s bank account bilked for $500K

A Laguna Beach man walked into the police station last Thursday afternoon saying he needed to make a police report. He said B of A had informed him that $500,000 had been withdrawn from his accounts.

The victim told police that he has multiple accounts with B of A. An unknown suspect somehow managed to learn the victim’s personal and banking information well enough to open an additional account in the victim’s name.

Police said the suspect drew funds from the victim’s equity line and had the bank deposit them into one of the real accounts. After a short time, money was then transferred into the false account, which the suspect had opened. Apparently, police said, the suspect pulled off multiple such transfers. Soon after the funds had been transferred, police said, the suspect would go into another branch and make a withdrawal.

The victim did a thorough check of his bank statements and realized that a large amount had been drawn on the equity line, deposited into his existing accounts and then somehow withdrawn. He contacted the bank.

The false account was discovered and the victim learned that some one half million dollars had been bilked from his bank accounts.


Crime in the OC is no different than what
we see on television

I’ll admit it – I can’t get enough of the Law and Order shows, Cold Case and the CSI programs. Every night, you can watch hours of such programs on cable and it usually doesn’t matter to me if I’ve seen an episode a year or two before. That said I am able to also say with certainty that many others in Laguna, male and female, young and old, have told me they’re hooked as well.

Long before cable TV, the “whodunit” was always a top selling genre of books, magazines
and movies.

Most readers know that I have been covering the cops, fire and courts relating to Laguna Beach far longer than anyone else doing so in town. Before that, the law was second only to baseball as my passionate hobby.

OC District Attorney Tony Rackauckas’ Public Affairs Counsel provides press releases filled with the details about important cases that have been or are being prosecuted by his office. I have always read them but only when they have a direct bearing on Laguna Beach have I written anything.

What always stood out is how the OC has crimes of all types that mirror the whole country – and cable TV. And, many of the crimes are closer to home than I believe most Lagunans realize.

Press releases from the DA’s officer will be printed here without much editing and without comment – just for readers’ knowledge awareness and entertainment with the caveat that the DA’s office isn’t interested in presenting the side of the accused.

Stu Saffer

This week from the OC DA’s office…


Drunken driver to be arraigned for killing friend and injuring two others after crashing into tree at 70 mph

July 8 – A speeding drunken driver was arraigned for killing one friend and injuring two others after slicing his car in half by crashing into a tree.

Andrew Stueber, 25, a Marine stationed at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, is charged with one felony count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated with sentencing enhancement allegations for causing bodily injury to two additional victims. Stueber is also charged with an infraction for failing to maintain insurance. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 12 years in state prison. The People will be requesting $150,000 bail at Stueber’s arraignment tomorrow.

At approximately 2:10 a.m. on Aug. 1, 2009, Stueber is accused of driving in a Ford Mustang while under the influence of alcohol after a night of drinking with friends at Goodys Tavern in San Clemente. He is accused of speeding on Avenida Vista Montana at approximately 70 mph in a 35 mph zone with friends Edmund Vandecasteele, 22, Robert Nichols, 22, and Kyle Nance, 21, as passengers in the car. Stueber is accused of losing control of his car while driving at a high rate of speed and crossing over onto the wrong side of the road. He is accused of crashing into a tree, severing his car in half.

He was transported to the hospital to be treated for head trauma. Approximately two hours after the crash, he is accused of having a blood alcohol level of .09 percent.

Vandecasteele, who had been riding in the front passenger seat, was pronounced dead at the scene due to multiple traumatic injuries. Nichols and Nance, who had both been riding in the back seat, were transported to the hospital to be treated for cuts and bruises.

Deputy District Attorney Jason Baez of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.

 

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