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 He said B of A had informed him that $500,000 had been withdrawn from his accounts.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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