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Police Files

Two times is a charm – off to jail twice in four days

Richard Alan Hendrickson, 67, was arrested twice in a four day stretch in the 600 block of Bolsana Drive – both times for violating the same restraining order (RO). 

On Monday at 6:52 p.m., police were called by a woman living there who said the suspect was parked in her driveway. She had driven by and was parked down the street, police said.

LBPD Sgt. Jim Cota told us, “She had called him, told him to leave, he refused and claimed the RO is not valid.”

His bail for the arrest on the valid restraining order was $15,000, the same amount that had been set on May 4 when he was also arrested. That evening, he knocked on the door of the home.

LBPD assisted CHP and Sheriff with felony car stop downtown

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Jeff Fernandez - Facebook

Laguna officers assisted CHP and OC Sheriff’s units at a felony car stop on Broadway at Coast Hwy Wednesday morning. The suspect above had led the agencies on a high- speed chase in South County. Details were not available at press time.

Woman arrested for stealing candy worth $3 from man

Police officers responded to the 300 block of Ocean Avenue late Tuesday morning after callers reported that a woman was out of control and had been yelling and screaming at people.

On scene, a man complained that Irene Marchell Garcia, 50, no fixed address, had grabbed candy worth $3 from him and then ran off.

Police located her and took her into custody for petty theft with bail of $500.


Police Files

Third time DUI offender battles cops and gets tased 

A 9-1-1 caller alerted Laguna police about a Honda Accord headed into town on Laguna Canyon Road shortly before 7 o’clock last Thursday evening. A patrol unit saw the Honda parking in a Broadway retailer’s parking lot.

Zackary Andrew Gillenwater, 22, La Mirada, allegedly threw trash from the car before getting out. 

LBPD Sgt. Jim Cota said Monday, “As the officer contacted him, the driver refused to stop and stated he would not comply. The officer attempted to get him to comply repeatedly but Gillenwater refused to cooperate. The officer reached out and grabbed him to detain him. 

“Gillenwater resisted the officer’s efforts and pulled away. He was tased and then handcuffed. Even after being handcuffed, Gillenwater threatened officers and medical personnel.  

“Gillenwater was arrested for DUI (third offense), and felony resisting arrest. He also had an outstanding North Court warrant for his arrest and his driver’s license was suspended. Gillenwater was booked and transported to OCJ with $20,000 bail.”


Police Files

Detectives solve multiple vehicle burglaries at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park lots with arrest this week

Stu News Laguna learned last night that LBPD detectives used exhaustive reviews of evidence to solve multiple vehicle burglaries over the past two months in the parking lots of Laguna Coast Wilderness Park on Laguna Canyon Road.

Michael Krier, 40, Anaheim, was arrested late Tuesday and charged in some of the cases, police said. The investigation is ongoing.

In several cases, the suspect smashed windows and grabbed valuables that had been left in plain sight during daylight hours.

A review of digital evidence from the area led detectives to Krier, who, we have learned, confessed when interviewed.

Speeding Toyota chased on Coast Hwy at 100mph until crashing

A black Toyota Camry whizzed past an officer traveling at a high rate of speed headed northbound on Coast Highway from West Street just before midnight Tuesday. The driver, later identified as Eric Balderas, continued northbound hitting speeds in excess of 100 mph between Thalia and Legion Streets. 

Balderas, 25 of Rancho Santa Margarita, crashed his Camry in the 200 block of S. Coast Highway. He was charged with felony evading and DUI with two priors. Police took him directly to Orange County Jail for booking. 


Police Files

Copter used to rescue “heavily intoxicated” teenager

Click on photo for a larger image

An OC Sheriff’s helicopter was needed to rescue a 17-year-old Rancho Santa Margarita boy below the 31500 block of Bluff Drive above Table Rock Beach in South Laguna Saturday afternoon. The boy was unconscious. Sgt. Jim Cota of the LBPD said he was “heavily intoxicated…[and]… transported from the beach to Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo for advanced medical treatment. The juvenile has since regained consciousness.” Thanks to John Thomas for the photo.  

Laguna cops chase car stolen in SoLag to Santa Ana with speeds hitting 100. Suspect arrested there

A resident on Virginia Way in South Laguna heard his 2016 Hyundai Genesis start up at 2:29 a.m. Saturday…the keys were in the car.

A LBPD patrol unit spotted the car outbound on Laguna Canyon Road and the chase was on with speeds hitting 100 mph on the 405 Freeway. The suspect exited at Dyer Road into Santa Ana where Santa Ana PD units joined the pursuit.

The suspect bailed on foot in an apartment complex according to Sgt. Jim Cota of the LBPD. “He hopped a fence into a backyard and broke into a garage. The suspect was taken into custody at 2:53 a.m. and charged with auto theft and felony evading.”

He was identified as Felix Ezequiel, Jr., 26, of Santa Ana.

Intoxicated couple fought with cops on the sidewalk

Brian Flick, 27, Laguna Hills and Santa Figueroa, 50, Anaheim, were arrested after they fought with officers in the 1100 block of S. Coast Hwy at 2 a.m. Saturday.

Sgt. Jim Cota of the LBPD said, “Officers contacted a male subject exiting the Sandpiper Bar who was visibly intoxicated. He was identified as Laguna Hills resident, Brian Flick. As officers attempted to arrest Flick, he resisted their efforts and a struggle ensued. A charge of felony resisting was added due to the fact that Flick fought with officers preventing them from conducting their duties. An officer was injured in the altercation. Flick was arrested for public intoxication, battery to a police officer, and resisting arrest. He was taken directly to Orange County Jail. 

“A female, Santa Figueroa of Santa Ana, was also arrested for public intoxication and interfering/resisting arrest.”


Police Files

Teenagers learned a lesson at Thousand Steps Beach

Three teens were enjoying a nice Sunday morning at Thousand Steps when they decided to go into the water. They left their “don’t get it wet” items on the sand and jumped into the ocean.

Naturally, their three iPhones and wallets containing credit cards and cash were gone. A witness said a male and a female went through their property and left with the wallets and phones. 

Police did an area search but were unable to locate the suspects,

Working together to stop distracted driving

April is recognized as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. In California, the Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), Laguna Beach Police Department, CHP, local law enforcement, and community partners throughout the state are working together to make the roads safer by highlighting the dangers of being distracted while driving, especially by cell phones. 

“Law enforcement would rather see everyone off their cell phones than hand out a lot of tickets,” said Rhonda Craft, director of the Office of Traffic Safety. “Take care of calling, texting, setting your GPS and everything else before you hit the street.” 

Assembly Bill 1785 went into effect on Jan 1, requiring all drivers in California to keep their cell phone out of their hands while operating a motor vehicle. Under the new law, a driver may activate or deactivate a feature or function of the cell phone or wireless communication device by swiping or tapping its screen only if it is properly mounted. Specific information on the new law can be found at www.ots.ca.gov

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 3,477 people were killed and an estimated 391,000 injured in motor vehicle collisions involving distracted drivers in 2015. That is a 9 percent increase in fatalities as compared to the previous year. 

Officers from the Laguna Beach Police Department will join other law enforcement agencies throughout the state to provide educational experiences as well as zero tolerance enforcement efforts to discourage distracted driving. 

This campaign is funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

For further information, contact Lieutenant Tim Kleiser at (949) 464-6655 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Police Files

Driver of stolen Honda evaded cops Sunday afternoon

Neighborhoods near S. Coast Hwy and St. Ann’s Drive were abuzz late Sunday afternoon by police officers and a circling helicopter. Police issued alerts to the area informing residents that the search was on for a suspected driver of a stolen 1998 black Honda CRV. Officers had stopped the SUV at 4:53 p.m. on St. Ann’s.

Sgt. Jim Cota of the LBPD explained Monday: “The driver exited the vehicle and fled on foot west to the beach. The officer pursued the suspect on the sand for approximately 100 yards. The suspect then accessed a set of private stairs and ran east towards Gaviota Dr. A perimeter was established containing the 700 Block of Gaviota. A helicopter from Anaheim PD and a canine unit from Newport Beach PD responded for assistance.” 

Photo by Louis Weil

Beach access stairway to Gaviota used by the suspect to escape police

Cota added, “Several announcements were made from the helicopter and the PA system of the police vehicle before a search was initiated. The suspect was not located. The outstanding suspect was described as a bald male white with black pants and a gray shirt. The vehicle was recovered and processed for evidence at the scene.” 

15-year-old Huntington Beach girl was very fortunate

A 15-year-old girl from Huntington Beach was hit in the southbound lane of Coast Hwy at Camel Point Dr at 20 minutes before 10 Saturday night. 

Sgt. Cota said Monday, “Police and fire personnel responded to Coast Highway and Camel Point Drive for a reported vehicle versus pedestrian hit and run traffic collision. Emergency personnel arrived and found that a 15-year-old girl from Huntington Beach had stepped into the southbound #2 lane of Coast Highway to walk around a legally parked car. She was struck by the side mirror of a passing car. 

“She was knocked against the parked car and was able to move out of the roadway. The passing car did not stop and fled the scene. The suspect car was described as a newer model silver four-door sedan with tinted windows. The pedestrian was transported to Mission Hospital-Mission Viejo for a laceration to her arm.”

Passenger in stolen Jetta danced in the street when stopped

According to the police log, a female passenger inside a stolen 2013 VW Jetta got out when the car was stopped by police at 1:33 a.m. Saturday at S. Coast Hwy and Nyes Place and began dancing. She was eventually released without charges.

The driver, Markus Dante Cash, 28, San Juan Capistrano, was charged with felony possession of a stolen vehicle and possession of methamphetamine. 

Bail was set at $20,000.

Working together to stop distracted driving

April is recognized as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. In California, the Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), Laguna Beach Police Department, CHP, local law enforcement, and community partners throughout the state are working together to make the roads safer by highlighting the dangers of being distracted while driving, especially by cell phones. 

“Law enforcement would rather see everyone off their cell phones than hand out a lot of tickets,” said Rhonda Craft, director of the Office of Traffic Safety. “Take care of calling, texting, setting your GPS and everything else before you hit the street.” 

Assembly Bill 1785 went into effect on Jan 1, requiring all drivers in California to keep their cell phone out of their hands while operating a motor vehicle. Under the new law, a driver may activate or deactivate a feature or function of the cell phone or wireless communication device by swiping or tapping its screen only if it is properly mounted. Specific information on the new law can be found at www.ots.ca.gov. 

The Office of Traffic Safety will begin a new public awareness campaign throughout the state in April emphasizing how the new law makes virtually all hand-held cell phone activity illegal – talking, texting, and using apps. The campaign aims to end distracted driving through education and raise awareness about the associated dangers. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 3,477 people were killed and an estimated 391,000 injured in motor vehicle collisions involving distracted drivers in 2015. That is a 9 percent increase in fatalities as compared to the previous year. 

Officers from the Laguna Beach Police Department will join other law enforcement agencies throughout the state to provide educational experiences as well as zero tolerance enforcement efforts to discourage distracted driving. 

This campaign is funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

For further information, contact Lieutenant Tim Kleiser at (949) 464-6655 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Police Files

Woman arrested for felony assault at Skyloft

On March 10, a woman was hit in the face with a glass at Skyloft and taken to the hospital for her injuries.

After reviewing video footage of the incident and conducting an investigation, Laguna Beach Detectives identified and arrested the suspect on Tuesday, April 18.

Detectives located and arrested Sherida Angelica Arias, 38, Anaheim, for assault with bodily injury, assault with a deadly weapon, and mayhem.  

Man arrested for threatening police officers and their families

On Monday, April 17, at 3:56 p.m., officers responded to Alta Laguna Park after receiving a call of a man sitting in his vehicle for over an hour.

“When officers contacted the man, he was threatening to them and continually spoke about the violence he would do to them and their families if they did not leave him alone,” said Sgt. James Cota, LBPD spokesperson.

The man, identified as Anthony Tabarsi, 51, Costa Mesa, was taken into custody shortly thereafter and charged with making threats to deter officers from performing their duties and challenging officers to a fight. 

He was taken directly to Orange County Jail.


Police Files

18-year-old caught in a stolen car with two juveniles on board

At 5:33 a.m. on Friday, April 14, officers were notified that a Honda Odyssey that had been stolen in Costa Mesa a week earlier had entered Laguna Beach.

Officers stopped the vehicle near Anita Street and Coast Highway and detained its three occupants. 

The driver, Spencer Hastings Jr., 18, Costa Mesa, was arrested for felony vehicle theft with $20,000 bail.

The two female juveniles were transported to the police station.


Police Files

Tesla sideswipes semi-truck while on autopilot

Tesla started equipping its Model S vehicles with self-driving hardware in October 2014, to “relieve drivers of the most tedious and potentially dangerous aspects of road travel,” according to their website. The Autopilot function works like the same systems airplane pilots use – the driver is still responsible for and in control of the car.

This function didn’t work out too well for the driver of a Tesla S70 on Laguna Canyon Road Monday afternoon.

“The Tesla was headed outbound on Laguna Canyon Road when it collided into a semi-truck that was stopped on the side of the road just past Raquel Road,” said Sgt. James Cota of the LBPD. “At the time of the collision, the Tesla was in the autonomous mode.”

Neither parties were injured, but according to the police log, a tractor and trailer needed to be towed from the scene due to rear axle damage. 

Homeless man caught driving stolen car

On Monday at 9:40 a.m., officers were alerted to a 1990 Volvo stolen in Laguna Woods making its way down Coast Highway.

The car was stopped near El Paseo and Laguna, and its occupants detained shortly after 10 a.m.

The driver, Christopher Paul Mack, 49, no fixed address, was arrested for felony vehicle theft and possession of a stolen vehicle. 

Motorcyclist sustains head injury after hitting curb on Park Ave

Shortly after 11 p.m. on Tuesday, Laguna Beach Police officers arrived at Park Avenue and Tahiti Avenue following reports of a traffic collision.

“Officers on scene determined that a motorcyclist had collided with a curb and into the guardrail,” said Sgt. James Cota, LBPD spokesman. 

The rider sustained a head injury and was taken to Mission Hospital Mission Viejo for care.


Police Files

Drug dealer busted with Ecstasy & Adderall

Thursday at 2:33 a.m., an officer stopped a vehicle in the 700 block of Cliff Drive for failing to stop at a stop sign. The vehicle was searched.

“Officers found 30 Ecstasy pills, one clear pill containing powder MDMA (Ecstasy), and 10 Adderall pills,” said Sgt. James Cota, LBPD spokesperson. 

Rodrigo Padillo, 22, Irvine, was arrested for possession and transportation of a controlled substance for sales.

Man throws pizza at woman after she offers him free food

On Saturday afternoon, a woman offered food to a man on Ocean Avenue.

The man, identified as Michael Moody, 36, did not like this very much. A verbal altercation ensued, culminating in Moody throwing the pizza at her.

After officers contacted both parties and witnesses, Moody was arrested for assault against the woman. 

Laguna Beach PD is hiring

The City of Laguna Beach is now hiring men and women who have an interest in law enforcement. Come join the great team at LBPD!

The application deadline for Police Recruit & Academy Graduate is Monday, April 24, at 4 p.m.

You do not have to have been through the Police Academy to apply, but if hired you will be required to complete the 6-month intensive training.

Watch the Laguna Beach Police Department recruitment video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EO1_8xNZ3M.

For more details and to apply, visit http://www.lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/personnel/opportunities.htm


Police Files

Homeowner and cops catch a burglar in the act

On Monday at 4:35 a.m., Laguna Beach police officers responded to a residence on Monterey Street after the homeowner called to report a man trying to break into a window on his property.

According to the police log, the suspect was clawing and crying on the ground before entering the residence’s garage.

Officers made contact with the man shortly after arriving and arrested him after the homeowner positively identified him. 

Stephen Michael Cobb, 24, West Hills, was taken into custody for burglary, trespassing and vandalism.

Couple of car thieves caught by cops

Laguna Beach Police officers helped return two stolen cars to their owners this week.

On Tuesday, officers were alerted that a vehicle stolen from a local rental car agency was entering the city via Laguna Canyon Road. The Kia Soul was supposed to have been returned in February.

Officers located the car in a parking lot on Laguna Cyn Rd, and followed the driver once he drove off. He ultimately stopped near the 73 onramp and El Toro Road.

The driver, Thomas Nordberg, 38, of Manhattan Beach, was arrested for possession of a stolen vehicle.

On Sunday, officers were alerted to a stolen car near Ledroit Street & N. Coast Hwy. The Hyundai Elantra had been reported stolen out of San Diego, and was ultimately stopped in the 700 block of S. Coast Hwy.

The driver and sole occupant, Vladimir Feldman, 37, of San Diego, was arrested for possession of a stolen vehicle. 

Laguna Beach PD is hiring

The City of Laguna Beach is now hiring men and women who have an interest in law enforcement. Come join the great team at LBPD!

The application deadline for Police Recruit & Academy Graduate is Monday, April 24, at 4 p.m.

You do not have to have been through the Police Academy to apply, but if hired you will be required to complete the 6-month intensive training.

Watch the Laguna Beach Police Department recruitment video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EO1_8xNZ3M.

For more details and to apply, visit http://www.lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/personnel/opportunities.htm


Police Files

High-risk traffic stop on Saturday – guns drawn and an AR-15 in the vehicle

On Saturday afternoon around 2:45 p.m., the Laguna Beach PD received a call about a man and a woman seen in a vehicle with a gun. Officers located the vehicle and conducted a high-risk traffic stop in the 400 block of Forest Avenue.

The vehicle’s occupants were detained and an AR-15 rifle was found on the front floorboard of the vehicle, plus about 20 rounds of ammunition. 

The man, 20-year-old Sir West from Las Vegas, was arrested for misdemeanor possession of a loaded firearm.

The female, 27-year-old Saffire Wallace, also from Las Vegas, was arrested for misdemeanor possession of a firearm, misdemeanor driving on a suspended license, and felony child endangerment. 

The vehicle’s third occupant, a five-year-old child, was taken to Child Protective Services. 

After argument about birds, man punches and kicks officers

Saturday at 5:07 p.m., officers responded to Main Beach in response to two men who had been loudly arguing about feeding birds, according to the police log. The two men had been swearing at each other as well.

While driving to Main Beach, officers saw a man on a bicycle who matched the description of one of the men who had been arguing.

“When officers attempted to detain the man, he struck one of the officers with a closed fist in the face,” said Lt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD.

The two officers present struggled to detain the man, who managed to kick the other officer. A third officer arrived, but the man continued to resist.

“The officers were eventually able to place handcuffs on him and place him in a patrol car,” said Kleiser.

The man, identified as Daniel Delrosario, 24, no fixed address, was arrested for felony resisting arrest and misdemeanor assault on a police officer.

Business burgled overnight

A delivery driver pulled up to the 200 block of Ocean Avenue on Saturday at 5:14 a.m. and noticed that all was not right with a neighboring business – a window was broken.

Officers arrived and checked the interior, where they found several open boxes and empty display cases.

Surveillance footage revealed four suspects, all hooded and wearing gloves, at the location around 4:49 a.m.

“The owner responded to the location and estimated the loss at $70,000,” said Lt. Kleiser, LBPD spokesperson. 

The case is under investigation.


Police Files

Van with several teens inside rolls over Laguna Canyon Road

Tuesday at 4:27 p.m., the outbound lanes of Laguna Canyon Road were blocked after a vehicle struck a dirt embankment and rolled over.

According to the police log, it was reported that the vehicle appeared to have several teenagers inside.

“It is suspected that the vehicle was driving on the shoulder to pass other vehicles when it struck a dirt embankment,” causing it to roll over, said Lt. Kleiser, LBPD spokesperson.

Two people were taken to the hospital for minor injuries.

The driver, 21-year-old Kimarra Fields from Cypress, was arrested for DUI, reckless driving, and driving without a license. 

More trees cut in SoLag

On Tuesday afternoon, the Public Works Department reported that someone had cut trees in the center median in the area of Blumont Street and Virginia Park Drive.

Two tops of the trees were trimmed, according to Lt. Kleiser of the LBPD. 

No further information on the incident was available.


Police Files

Helicopters didn’t find car thieves Saturday night but cop on patrol did next morning

On Sunday morning around 7 a.m., an officer saw two men in dirty, wet clothing walking on the sidewalk of Park Avenue. Noticing that one matched the description of the driver of a stolen car Saturday night, the officer stopped to talk to the two men.

One gave a false name and was arrested for resisting arrest. When his real name was discovered, Braulio Pulgarin, 18, from Whittier, was also arrested for his outstanding no bail warrant from Whittier.

The other man, alleged to be the driver of the car, was 18-year-old Alexander LopezTavira from Downey. He was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon, child endangerment, possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of stolen property, hit and run, and evading police officers.

This all came about from a stolen Lexus that entered Laguna Beach from Laguna Canyon Road on Saturday at 11:47 p.m.

“Officers found the vehicle near Forest Avenue and Broadway and attempted to stop it,” said Lt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD. “The vehicle fled and struck a delivery truck in the Village Mart parking lot.”

The driver put the car in reverse after hitting the truck, proceeding to then hit the officer’s vehicle.

“The vehicle ultimately crashed on Park Avenue near Tahiti, and the occupants in the car fled on foot,” said Kleiser. 

By 12:23 a.m., thanks to helicopter support, the LBPD had detained two 15-year-old boys from Whittier. According to the police log, one was taken to UCI Medical Center with a broken leg. 

LopezTavira’s child endangerment was because two of the occupants were underage. 

Single vehicle car accident yields no serious injuries

On Saturday evening, the juvenile driver of a black Audi rolled the vehicle on the 1700 block of Park Avenue.

Photo by Scott Brashier

First responders said that the young driver had no life-threatening injuries

The driver was taken to the hospital for neck pain and bleeding hands, but there were no life-threatening injuries.

The cause of the collision is under investigation.


Police Files

The Art of the Steal: Painting purchase leads to arrest

On Monday evening, a customer used a credit card to purchase a painting for $1,512.00.

Only problem was, it wasn’t his credit card that he used.

“The owner of the credit card received an email alert about the transaction,” said Lt. Kleiser of the LBPD.  She called the gallery and told them she hadn’t made any purchases. She also talked to officers and informed them that the card was also fraudulently used at the Montage Laguna Beach.

Officers went to the Montage Laguna Beach and located the man who had made the purchase. After checking the room he was staying in, they found 12.41 grams of methamphetamine and a credit card skimmer.

Xilong Wang, 29, Riverside, was arrested for felony burglary, felony defrauding an innkeeper, felony theft of a credit card, felony possession of stolen property, and felony credit card fraud. Misdemeanors included possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Kramer vs. Kramer?

Laguna Beach man in fight, warrant for vandalism leads to arrest

On Monday at 5:25 p.m., officers received a call about a physical altercation between two men at the ASL. Neither man had a weapon, and both were still fighting when officers arrived.

Both men were detained soon after the LBPD’s arrival.

Details were limited, but 45-year-old Donald Kramer from Laguna Beach was arrested for an outstanding $2,500 Central Court warrant for vandalism.


Police Files

Female drug dealer arrested early Sunday on Fairview

An officer saw two people seated inside a vehicle in the 200 block of Fairview Sunday morning at 3 a.m. The vehicle was searched.

“Officers seized a total amount of 38.65 grams of methamphetamine and 1.34 grams of heroin,” said Lt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD.

Christine Ann Wright, 46, Fullerton, was arrested for felony possession of a controlled substance for sales.

 

Juveniles leap from the roof of Laguna Royale

On Saturday around 11:54 a.m., a witness reported two juveniles jumping off of the fourth-floor roof of the Laguna Royale complex in the 31400 block of Coast Hwy to land in the pool on the ocean side of the building. 

Beach Patrol officers contacted the two sixteen-year-old boys, one from Lake Forest and one from Rancho Santa Margarita, and issued citations for trespassing, since neither live in the complex.

They were later released to their parents.

Photo by Scott Brashier

 

False name leads to second arrest

On Friday night, officers conducted a routine traffic stop for a vehicle violation. The female occupant was arrested for possession of prescription pills without a prescription, providing officers with her information during the booking process.

After her release, she returned to the police station Saturday evening and informed officers she had given a false name and age during the previous arrest.

This led to a second arrest for 19-year-old Tyler Lattenhauer of Yorba Linda, this time for providing a false name


Police Files

Motorcycle chase ends at the 405

Tuesday night around 11:14 p.m., an officer witnessed a traffic violation by a motorcycle. A stop was attempted in the 2700 block of Laguna Cyn Rd.

The motorcyclist didn’t yield until he was past the 73 freeway, before the 405. 

Once stopped, officers learned that the driver, 26-year-old Ross Hamera from Costa Mesa, formerly from Laguna Beach, was on probation for DUI.

“The officer conducted a DUI investigation and arrested Hamera for DUI and violation of a court order,” said Lt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD.

Hamera also had an outstanding Harbor Court bench warrant for DUI, failure to comply with an officer, and driving on a suspended license.

 

Don’t depend on the luck of the Irish tonight

St. Patrick’s Day has become one of the nation’s favorite holidays to celebrate and party. Unfortunately, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 252 people lost their lives in drunk driving-related crashes during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday period from 2011-2015. 

More than a fourth of them were killed in drunk driving crashes that occurred in the early morning, post-party hours (midnight to 5:59 a.m.). 

Drugs including many prescription medications, marijuana or illicit drugs can also lead to impairment and unsafe driving. When mixed with even a small amount of alcohol, the effects can be compounded.

Hand over those keys if you are planning to drink tonight 

Additional officers from the LBPD will deploy this weekend to stop and arrest drivers showing signs of alcohol or drug impairment. In addition to this St Patrick’s Day enforcement effort, all police, sheriff and the CHP will be on heightened alert ready to stop and arrest any impaired driver throughout the weekend. 

Planning a sober ride home before the party begins is the first step in staying safe on St. Patrick’s Day. Don’t wait until you’ve already been drinking to make your transportation decision. 

Designate your sober driver in advance, and never get behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking. 

Don’t depend on the luck of the Irish, that’s the bottom line.


Police Files

Age and wisdom don’t always go hand in hand

It’s commonly thought that age and wisdom go together, but this duo is the exception to the rule.

On Friday evening around 6:30 p.m., officers stopped a Ford Taurus for a vehicle code violation. The two older male occupants were found to be in possession of drugs.

Officers arrested 62-year-old Remlow Blevins from Laguna Beach for misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia and 59-year-old Richard Goodman from Mission Viejo for misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

High-risk traffic stop comes with drugs

On Saturday at 9:16 a.m., officers were alerted to a stolen Honda CRV that had entered the city on Laguna Canyon Road. It had been reported stolen in Santa Ana on March 3.

“Officers found the vehicle in the 600 block of Laguna Canyon Road,” said Lt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD. “They stopped the vehicle on the 200 block of Cliff Drive and since it was a high risk stop, traffic was stopped in each direction.” High-risk traffic stops involve multiple patrol units with guns drawn. 

The driver, Juan Gutierrez, 22, of Laguna Hills, was arrested for vehicle theft. 

Officers also found a glass pipe on his person and a total of 6.98 grams of methamphetamine in his pocket and in the vehicle, adding on the charges of possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. 

This St. Patrick’s Day, plan before you party!

Impaired driving, drugs and alcohol can kill

St. Patrick’s Day has become one of the nation’s favorite holidays to celebrate and party. Unfortunately, too many people are taking to the roads after drinking, making the holiday one of our most dangerous. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 252 people lost their lives in drunk driving-related crashes during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday period from 2011-2015. More than a fourth of them were killed in drunk driving crashes that occurred in the early morning, post-party hours (midnight to 5:59 a.m.). 

That’s why the Laguna Beach Police Department and the California Office of Traffic Safety are teaming up to reach all drivers with an important life-saving message and warning: Don’t Drive Impaired by Drugs or Alcohol. 

Drugs such as many prescription medications, marijuana or illicit drugs can also lead to impairment and unsafe driving. When mixed with even a small amount of alcohol, the affects can be compounded. 

Additional officers from the Laguna Beach Police Department will deploy this weekend specifically to stop and arrest drivers showing signs of alcohol or drug impairment. In addition to this St Patrick’s Day enforcement effort, all police, sheriff and the CHP will be on heightened alert ready to stop and arrest any impaired driver throughout the weekend. 

These needless deaths can be prevented. Planning a sober ride home before the party begins is the first step in staying safe on St. Patrick’s Day. Don’t wait until you’ve already been drinking to make your transportation decision. Designate your sober driver in advance, and never get behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking. 

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 9-1-1’ if you see a dangerous driver.

For further information, please contact Lieutenant Jeff Calvert at (949) 464-6655 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

From a press release


Police Files

Drugs, a dog and danger

On Sunday at 11:07 p.m., officers stopped a vehicle in the 200 block of Ocean Avenue. A search of the car was initiated.

Inside, they found a Chihuahua puppy, a young child, and 42.09 grams of methamphetamine.

The driver, Whitney Michelle Martin Wilkes, 40, Orange, was arrested for possession of a controlled substance for sale and transportation of a controlled substance with intent to sell.

The child was taken to Orangewood and the pup taken to a shelter.

Throwing chairs off a roof? Bad idea

On Tuesday around 12:10 a.m., officers responded to the 1500 block of S. Coast Hwy in response to a male on a roof throwing chairs down onto the beach.

“Officers detained three people and arrested one of them, 19-year-old Wrackkie Quiogue from Orange, for false identification to a peace officer and minor in possession of alcohol,” said Lt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD. 

The other two, juveniles, were released at the scene. No other information was available.

Woman jumps off balcony at Surf & Sand

Last Saturday, March 4, at 9:38 p.m., emergency personnel went to the Surf & Sand to render aid to a woman who fell from a fourth story balcony.

“It appears the woman may have intentionally jumped off the balcony,” said Lt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD. “The woman landed near the pool and there were doctors nearby that immediately tended to her.”

The 33-year-old San Juan Capo resident was taken to the hospital. No updates were available. 


Police Files

Fob him off: This cat burglar might have 9 lives

On Sunday around 7:30 a.m., officers responded to a residence on the 900 block of Glenneyre Street for a residential burglary.

“The resident was home and heard a noise coming from the front room,” said Lt Tim Kleiser of the LBPD. “When he went to investigate the noise, he saw a man inside.”

The man told the resident he was looking for the owner of a key fob he had found, which he handed over to the resident and left. The reporting party didn’t know the man.

The resident later noticed his wallet was missing.

The man was not found by officers. 

Man kicks a trolley, brandishes a stick, kicks an officer

On Thursday around 1:30 p.m., officers responded to the 300 block of Broadway in response to a man who had threatened the trolley driver and also kicked the trolley.

The two officers who initially arrived saw him kicking the trolley and holding a stick. After being repeatedly asked to drop the stick, he complied. 

“The man continued to walk toward the officers and one of them took a hold of the man,” said Lt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD. “He pushed one of the officers, causing the officer to fall. The other officer was still attempting to place handcuffs on the man. The other officer got up and assisted him.”

While they were attempting to put the man in the patrol car, he kicked an officer in the chest and began pulling on one of the officer’s holsters. After a brief struggle, he was secured inside the vehicle.

Both officers received minor injuries from the incident.

The man, identified as Dennis Hagan, 44, Adelanto, was arrested for felony resisting arrest and battery on a peace officer.


Police Files

Six teens detained in stolen vehicle at 4 a.m.

On Tuesday, Feb 28, at 4:08 a.m., officers were notified of a Honda Civic that had been reported stolen in Aliso Viejo earlier in the morning entering Laguna Beach from Laguna Canyon Road. 

Officers found the vehicle near Canyon Acres and stopped it in the 300 block of Broadway. All six of its occupants were detained.

The driver, 18-year-old Cedric Campbell from Aliso Viejo, was arrested for felony vehicle theft.

One passenger, Aldous Aaron Manasala, 19, Aliso Viejo, was arrested for false identification to a peace officer, felony vehicle theft and conspiracy.

The other four passengers, all 15 years old, three from Aliso Viejo and one from Irvine, were issued citations for curfew, detained and released to their parents.

 

Would-be car thief has Cadillac tastes – but unlocked car door leads to her lockup

On Monday Feb 27 on the 500 block of Forest Ave, at 11:53 a.m., a woman was seen checking door handles on parked vehicles, and entering a silver Cadillac. An officer detained her while she was trying to start the Cadillac, which was not hers. They also found .96 grams of methamphetamine and .33 grams of heroin on the woman. 

Lindsey Patterson, 35, Los Angeles, was arrested for felony vehicle theft, misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance, and misdemeanor possession of narcotics. 

Another drug dealer busted – and ID theft is involved also

At 2:15 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb 28, an officer stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation in the 200 block of N. Coast Hwy. While conducting a search of the vehicle, officers found drug paraphernalia, credit cards, driver’s licenses, and mail that did not belong to either occupant. 

The driver, 23-year-old Anthony Aparicio from Fullerton, was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia. The passenger, Silvia Dominguez, 26, Tustin, was arrested for theft of a credit card. But that wasn’t all for Dominguez.

“When Dominguez arrived at the station, officers found a glass methamphetamine pipe and a total of 14 grams of methamphetamine,” said Lieutenant Tim Kleiser, LBPD spokesperson. She was then charged with possession and transportation of a controlled substance for sales.

Continuing their investigation at the station, officers located other evidence pertaining to identity theft which was determined to belong to Dominguez. Possession of personal identifying information was added to her list of charges for the morning.


Police Files

Vehicle crashes into La Sirena Grill, Gelson’s also involved

On Sunday at 6:32 p.m., emergency personnel responded to the Gelson’s shopping center in South Laguna for a vehicle that had struck the building of La Sirena Grill. No injuries were reported, and alcohol and drugs were not a factor. Initial fears of terrorism appear on social media, are unfounded, to everyone’s relief.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Art Z of Sawdust Festival

A crash that was frightening for everyone, but fortunately there were no injuries

“Initial investigation appears the driver was attempting to park the vehicle, but pressed on the accelerator instead of the brakes,” said Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD. 

 

Two arrested in stolen vehicle – chase ends on Balboa Island

On Thursday, Feb. 23, officers were alerted that a Honda CRV reported stolen out of Santa Ana the previous day had entered the city. Officers located the vehicle near Forest Avenue heading north on Coast Highway.

When the vehicle turned into a gas station lot, a male passenger exited the vehicle and attempted to flee on foot. Officers detained and arrested Ryan Shelton, 34, San Juan Capo, for resisting arrest. 

Ryan Shelton                           Logan Carson

“The vehicle fled north on Coast Highway and officers continued to pursue the vehicle into Newport Beach,” said Kleiser. “The vehicle stopped on Balboa Island and the driver fled on foot, but was quickly found by the officers.”

The driver, Logan Carson, 33, Newport Beach, was arrested for felony vehicle theft, felony evading, and possession of a controlled substance. 

 

Stuck truck on Summit causes traffic headaches after crane fire

Summit Drive was closed for about an hour last Saturday afternoon when a tow truck that had been called in to remove an inoperable crane got stuck. The crane had caught on fire while working on a home the previous day. 

Click on photo for larger image

Photo by Michelle Bentcliff

Stuck truck on Summit Drive


Police Files

Vigilance is the key this weekend – as always!

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. 

Don’t drink and drive – and don’t use drugs and drive – choose a designated driver

DUI Saturation Patrols will deploy on Saturday, Feb 25 between the hours of 8 p.m. and 3 a.m. in areas with high frequencies of DUI collisions and/or arrests. 

Be vigilant, for yourself and others! Make sure you have a designated driver.

Another reason to be vigilant

Another reason to be vigilant: Recent package thefts have been reported, including one taken from the front porch of a home in the 700 block of Gaviota. 

“Neighbors should continue to be vigilant and call the police when they see something or someone suspicious,” recommended Sgt. Kleiser of the LBPD. 

Speaking of odd behavior…

On Sunday at 7:56 p.m., officers responded to the 1300 block of S. Coast Hwy for a verbal dispute between a male and a female.

“While officers were on scene, the male told the officers the shelter was hiding the female friend of his,” said Kleiser. “Officers had earlier responded to the location in regards to the man’s claims about the female, which was determined to be untrue by the officers.”

What was true was that the male was intoxicated, and that he got into a van and drove away.

Officers located the van in the Ralph’s parking lot and arrested Eric Hertle, 60, no fixed address, for driving under the influence. 

Drive carefully!

On Tuesday evening, emergency personnel responded to High Drive & Myrtle Street for a traffic collision – a moving vehicle had collided with a parked vehicle.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Patrick Gallis

Accident on High and Myrtle – no one injured

No one was injured and the cause of the collision is under investigation – but the vehicle had to be towed away from the scene.


Police Files

Man attempts to spring his car from tow lot – but instead he’s locked up…

On Saturday at 5:32 p.m., officers responded to the tow lot on Laguna Canyon Road following a report about male who had entered the tow yard without permission.

“The RP also told our dispatcher the male got into a vehicle and was trying to drive it away,” said Sgt. Tim Kleiser. “The officers found out it was his car.”

The tow truck driver who originated the call blocked the vehicle from leaving. At one point, the male exited the vehicle and attempted to open the motorized gate, causing it to become inoperable and causing approximately $500 in damages.

Officers arrested the male, 23-year-old Miles McGlothlin from Texas, for felony vandalism and misdemeanor trespassing. 

Lots of storm damage on Friday

Friday’s storm brought at least 45 reports of downed trees or tree branches, one report of the roof blown off a house, and one report of a hillside coming down, requiring a geologist to declare the area stable before residents were allowed to reenter their home. 

Trees damaged at least six vehicles and there were several reports of downed wires. 

“The Emergency Operations Center was open from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. and our dispatchers received a total of 192 calls for service,” said Kleiser. “Compare that to the previous Friday; during the exact same hours we had 70 calls for service.”

  Hats off to the police department, fire department, public works, and all other emergency personnel who helped us get through the storm.


Police Files

A fly-by-night scheme?

Seems like it’s been the calm before the (literal) storm…no major criminal incidents reported this week…except for a theft of 100,000 frequent flyer miles: Is the perpetrator a flight risk? We await the outcome with high anxiety.

Stay safe in the storm, everyone.


Police Files

One helicopter and 100 motorbikes: so much for a pleasant valley Sunday in the Canyon

On Sunday around 11:45 a.m., Newport Beach Police notified Laguna Beach that there were about 100 motorcycles heading in to the city on Coast Hwy.

“Officers followed and monitored the motorcycles up to Alta Laguna near the park,” said Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD. “Our officers did issue one citation to a rider who failed to stop for a stop sign.”

Newport also told the LBPD that one of their officers got into a pursuit with one rider who fled the area, but the outcome of the pursuit was unknown.

Meth-busters: Officers arrest mule

On Wednesday night at 10:22 p.m., Laguna Beach Police officers approached a vehicle, making contact with its occupant – who happened to be carrying meth.

Heather Tiffany Pflug, 41, Laguna Hills was arrested for possession of a controlled substance, but it wasn’t long before the officers found the rest of the meth, 7.92 grams in total. Pflug’s charges were upgraded to transportation of a controlled substance for sales with $25,000 bail.


Police Files

Bong bang could have been bad for butter-fingered burglar but burgled bong-seller declines to prosecute

On Monday, officers responded to a business on the 600 block of S. Coast Hwy regarding a robbery. Earlier, while a store employee had temporarily stepped outside the business, a male had gone behind the counter, taken a large bong and placed it under his shirt.

According to the police log, as the employee tried to stop the male from fleeing, “he used the bong to hit her.” Officers were unable to locate the suspect, but the employee did find a piece of paper that the man had dropped, which included his name.

Social media can be a bummer if you burgle

“The employee was able to locate the male with an online social media account and sent him a message the next day that a police report had been filed,” said Sgt. Kleiser of the LBPD. 

“The male replied back and apologized for the incident and agreed to pay for the item he had taken,” – a $560 bong.

The employee agreed to handle the incident civilly and not seek prosecution. The suspect’s name was not available once the business declined to prosecute.

Thanks to the civil arrangement the male and the employee agreed upon, the contrite suspect avoided a major felony. Lucky bong burglar!


Police Files

Pair of bad girls went to jail

In two separate incidents just an hour apart this weekend, Laguna Beach police officers arrested two women.

The first was on Saturday at 11:32 p.m. An officer stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation and while he was speaking to the driver, he saw an open can of beer on the rear floorboard and a vape pen with marijuana. After conducting a DUI investigation, Arianna Medicina, 23, Oceanside, was arrested for DUI. But that wasn’t all.

“During a search of the car, the officers found 13 pills of Alprazolam, a bottle of nitrous, and 3 pieces of candy laced with LSD,” said Sgt. Tim Kleiser. She was also charged with felony transportation of a controlled substance for sales, felony possession of a controlled substance, and felony possession of a controlled substance for sales.

Sunday morning at 12:41 a.m., officers stopped a woman for public intoxication. 

“When the officers were searching her, she kicked one of the officers on the leg,” said Kleiser. “When they were escorting her to jail she spit at two other officers.”

Nicole Adams, 25, Mission Viejo, was charged with being drunk in public and violence to prevent an officer from doing their duty.

Stolen Prius leads to arrest

On Friday evening at 8:59 p.m., officers were alerted to a Toyota Prius entering Laguna Beach via Laguna Canyon Road that had been reported stolen to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

The vehicle was stopped on S. Coast Hwy at Cleo Street. The driver, 19-year-old Jason Plunkett-Salvador from Huntington Beach, was arrested for felony vehicle theft. 


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.


Police Files

Burglar enters occupied home on Rivera Drive in Irvine Cove

A woman called 9-1-1 at 7:50 Wednesday night reporting that she was hiding in the kitchen with her child and housekeeper. An unknown man had come into their home and she knew he had seen her.

According to the police log, she told the dispatcher that the front door had been locked and she was uncertain how the man had gotten inside the home. She described the man as appearing to be “zoned out.”

The dispatcher had the three people leave the house via the front door as officers responded to the area.

Police searched the home and it was clear. A helicopter did a flyover to check for anyone in the backyard or nearby.

The suspect wasn’t located.

Surveillance video showed the man, described as being white, about 5-10” with a thin build and short hair.

The victim checked the home and determined the burglar had taken about $1300 in unspecified property from the residence.

Angry 24-year-old drunk man fights four cops on Ocean Avenue

At 1:35 Sunday morning, a patrol officer was flagged down by security outside of Hennessey’s in the 200 block of Ocean Avenue. The officer saw that two men were aggressively challenging the security staff to a fight, Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD said Monday.

“The officer intervened and told the two to leave, which they did. As the officer was leaving the scene, he saw that one of the males continued to act aggressive. When he turned around and returned, the officer saw the same man standing in the middle of the street in front of another police vehicle.”

The man was later identified as Adam Shapiro, 24 from Rio Ranch, New Mexico.

Both officers made contact with Shapiro.

Kleiser explained, “Both officers approached the man and asked him to sit down and he refused. The officers attempted to place him under arrest and he began to pull away from the officers and struggled with them. Two other officers arrived and after a continuing struggle, they were able to place him in handcuffs.”

Two of the officers sustained minor injures, Kleiser said.

Shapiro was arrested for public intoxication and felony resisting a police officer.


Police Files

Citizen tells cops a drug deal might be taking place

An alert 9-1-1 caller reported in the wee hours Monday morning that what appeared to be a drug deal was happening then and there.

The call was made at 2:52 a.m. and the location was a parking lot in the 400 block of N. Coast Hwy. According to the police log, the caller said three vehicles had come together and one person handed something to another through the window.

The first patrol unit was on scene within two minutes and detained all three drivers and began questioning them.

LBPD booking photos

Officers conducted vehicle searches and found 21 Sublingual tablets, 28 Diazepam pills, two pills of Alprazolam, and heroin.

Mariah Michelle Burnett Gallette, 24, Ladera Ranch and John Jack Latko Jr., 33, Mission Viejo, were both arrested for possession of drugs.

Deven Thomas Clark, 24, Aliso Viejo, was also arrested for possession of drugs but he was also on formal probation and was ordered to be held without bail for violating the terms of his post release agreement. 

Laguna Beach man arrested for arson in connection with hillside brush fire off Laguna Canyon Rd Nov 18

LBPD detectives and LB Fire Department arson investigators arrested Laguna Beach resident Thomas Dylan Richeson, 27, on a charge of felony arson Wednesday for intentionally setting a brush fire on Nov 18. The fire was on a hillside above the dog park off Laguna Canyon Rd and burned about an acre.

Laguna Beach and Orange County Fire Authority firefighters and a helicopter put the fire out in about two hours.

Laguna Beach Police Sgt. Tim Kleiser said in a statement released Thursday, “During the incident, a witness provided investigators with information about a man seen running from the area shortly after the fire started. Investigators used nearby video footage to identify the male. 

“He was interviewed and subsequently arrested for the arson.”

This will not be a good weekend to drink and drive

DUI saturation patrols will be out just about everywhere in California this weekend as the holiday party season hits its peak.

Here, officers looking only for the telltale signs of alcohol or drug impaired drivers will be on the city streets from 9 p.m. Saturday to 3 a.m. Sunday.

Get your designated drivers in place before you drink and drive.


Police Files

Woman breaks bad in TI Park – threatens to kill cop

At about 9:20 Thursday morning, an officer made contact with Toni Nelson, 54, no fixed address out of Arizona in Treasure Island Park. 

She had been causing a disturbance and the officer was trying to calm the situation along with Montage Laguna Beach security. After a few minutes, the officer had the dispatcher contact city public services to have them send a pickup with “several trash bags to dispose of transient property…” according to the police log.

Within a few minutes of that being done, Nelson allegedly became uncontrollable and refused to follow the officer’s commands. She began throwing trash all around the area and refused to stop.

The officer used a contact taser that had no effect, the log stated.

She threatened to kill the officer and said she wanted the police to “blow her brains out…” She was controlled and seated after a few more minutes.

She was taken into custody at 9:55 and arrested on charges of making criminal threats of bodily harm, a felony, threatening an officer, resisting an officer and threatening a fight in a public place. 

Her bail was set at $50,000.

Woman, 28, charged with felony DUI after Glenneyre crash

Sarah Rebecca MacDonald, 28 of Laguna Niguel, crashed into a pole in the 500 block of Glenneyre after veering off the roadway at 4:18 Saturday afternoon.

She was able to get out but her injured passenger was trapped inside.

Laguna Beach firefighters were able to extricate the passenger, who was hospitalized after being stabilized by paramedics.

The extent of injuries was unknown as of press time.

MacDonald was arrested for felony DUI causing bodily injury and possession of dangerous drugs.

Bail was set at $100,000 after being booked here.


Police Files

Woman confronted a man getting into her car as she stood nearby – when she did, he swung a knife at her 

A woman called 9-1-1 from a driveway on Camel Point Drive at 3:53 Tuesday afternoon reporting that a man she didn’t know had swung a knife at her.

The caller said she had pulled into a friend’s driveway and had left her doors unlocked and the engine running while she talked with a friend about 25 feet away.

The woman told police that she had seen the man, later identified as Michael Cowan, 45, no fixed address, open a car door and begin to get inside.

LBPD Sgt. Tim Kleiser said Thursday, “The victim confronted the man and asked why he was going into the car. The man became upset and pulled out a folding knife from his waistband and swung it toward the victim. He had told the victim that he was a former Marine and military.”

The knife did not strike the woman. 

Officers did an area search located Cowan within five minutes at the Aliso Beach parking lot where he was arrested for felony assault with a deadly weapon. 

Pedestrian Safety Enforcement Operation on Tuesday 

The Laguna Beach Police Department will step up Pedestrian Safety Enforcement Operations on Dec 6, with focused enforcement on collision causing factors involving motorists and pedestrians. 

The department will be focusing on locations, since January 2012, where pedestrian involved accidents have occurred along with the violations that led to those crashes. Officers will be conducting directed enforcement at those locations looking for traffic offenses made by drivers and pedestrians alike that can lead to life-changing injuries. Special attention will be given to drivers speeding, making illegal turns, failing to stop for signs and signals, failing to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks or any other dangerous violation. 

Additionally, enforcement action will be taken against pedestrians committing violations such as crossing the street illegally or failing to yield to drivers who have the right of way. Pedestrians should cross the street only at marked crosswalks or at corners.

In 2013, California witnessed 701 pedestrian deaths accounting for over 23 percent of all roadway fatalities, much higher than the national average of 15 percent. A national study reveals that pedestrians and drivers do not obey laws and signals consistently, and many often use cell phones, text and listen to music while walking or driving. Only 60 percent of pedestrians said they expected drivers to stop when they were in crosswalks, even though they have the right-of way. 

The Laguna Beach Police Department would like to remind both drivers and pedestrians to be alert and share the roadway. Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.


Police Files

Two men, woman, arrested for strong-armed robbery

Officers were called to the parking lot at Mission Hospital just after 6 o’clock last Tuesday night for a report of a robbery.

Sgt. Tim Heisler of the LBPD said the victim called 9-1-1 and told officers when they arrived on scene that he “…was walking in the parking lot and two males exited a Ford Mustang and called him a narc and snitch. The two males then struck the RP several times and took his wallet and fled in the Ford. The victim sustained swelling to his left eye and complained of pain to his head. He was taken to the hospital for his injuries.”

LBPD stopped the Mustang heading northbound on Coast Hwy near Wesley Drive. There were two male passengers and a female driver, police said.

Sgt. Kleiser said the four people knew each other and there had been contact between them a few days before the incident.

 Derek Schmalle, 21, and Timothy Solomon, 28, both from San Clemente, and Shanoa Mitchell, 27 of Capistrano Beach, were all arrested for felony robbery and felony conspiracy and held on $100,000 bail each.

Man with two dogs struck on S. Coast Hwy – one dog was killed

A man walking across S. Coast Hwy at Brooks Street with two dogs in a crosswalk was struck by a vehicle heading northbound. Police said the Laguna Beach man, 45, was crossing Coast Hwy toward the inland side when the collision occurred.

He was hospitalized with a broken leg, police said. One of the dogs died at the scene as a result of the collision and the other was injured.

Police said it did not appear that ether alcohol or drugs were a factor and the driver was not arrested on scene. 

The investigation has not been completed. 

Another eucalyptus cut – across from Montage Laguna Beach

Another eucalyptus tree was cut at the base apparently overnight Friday. It was in the parking lot almost directly across Coast Hwy from where the trees with the same cuts were discovered on Montage Laguna Beach property.

Montage told police that an arborist was uncertain about the ability of their trees to survive the cutting. An arborist will look at the tree in the parking lot in the 30800 block this week.

No further details were available.


Police Files

Five 40-yr-old eucalyptus trees cut at base of trunks in front of Montage Resort – arborist not sure if they will survive  

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Two of five 40-year-old eucalyptus trees cut in front of Montage Laguna Beach

Police said that Montage Laguna Beach staff estimates the value of replacing five tall eucalyptus trees cut at the base of their trunks overnight Sunday to be between $400,000 and $500,000.

The cuts were discovered and reported to the LBPD Monday morning. 

Sgt. Tim Kleiser told us, “An arborist advised it would take approximately four to six weeks to determine if the trees would recover from the damage and estimated the trees were 40-45 years old. The case has been assigned to detectives.”


Police Files

Heroin dealer arrested in Glenneyre parking structure

A patrol officer observed a man inside a parked vehicle in the Glenneyre parking structure Monday night at 7:19 and suspected the man of doing drugs.

The officer made contact with Wesley Allen Beebower, 27 of Mission Viejo, and soon placed him in custody for misdemeanor possession of drugs.

A search of his vehicle turned up about a half an ounce of heroin and 2.65 grams of methamphetamine along with a digital scale.

His charges were amended in the field to felony possession of dugs for sales and felony transportation of drugs for sales. 

Bail was set at $30,000.

Laguna cops will be out looking for DUI drivers Saturday

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, Nov 19, between the hours of 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. in areas with high frequencies of DUI collisions and/or arrests.

$25,000 in jewelry taken from an outside storage closet

A resident in the 21700 block of Ocean Vista Drive reported Monday afternoon that 30-40 pieces of jewelry and two silver trays had been stolen from an outside storage unit. Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD said there were no signs of forced entry.

The victim told police that the last time the items were checked was on Sept 18 and estimated the loss at $25,000.  

FBI agents arrest suspect in Oct 27 Union Bank robbery

FBI agents arrested Beverly Hills resident Kyle Jason Korte, 36, in Ventura County late last week in connection with several SoCal bank robberies including the armed robbery of the Union Bank branch here at 229 Broadway.

In the Oct 27 robbery here, the suspect entered the bank with a handgun wearing a full-face mask and demanded money from a teller.

He escaped with an undisclosed sum of money.

The same man is suspected of also robbing a Chase Bank branch in Seal Beach about an hour later that Thursday afternoon. 

Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD said Laguna detectives worked with the FBI Bank Robbery Task Force and the several other agencies where Korte is the suspect.


Police Files

Newport Beach teens smash into 5 cars speeding in Mercedes Saturday

Two Newport Beach teenagers, a 17-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl, drove a Mercedes CLK through Laguna Beach for a little over 15 minutes and collided with five vehicles along the way.

Police were called about a hit and run at Alexander Road and Ashton Drive just before ten o’clock Saturday morning. The boy was driving the black Mercedes when he struck an occupied car and drove away, Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD said Monday.

“The victim followed the Mercedes and confronted the 17-year-old male driver in the area of Rounsevel Terrace. The driver exited the car and while speaking with the victim a 16-year-old female climbed into the driver’s seat and drove away in the Mercedes. While driving away, the Mercedes collided into several parked vehicles,” Sgt. Kleiser added.

The boy then ran to the Mercedes and took over the driving as they fled the area.

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Photo by Janelle Hilton

Police with one of the two girls detained at the Mobil station

Laguna’s 9-1-1 dispatchers received multiple calls about the Mercedes speeding north on Coast Highway in the middle lane. Officers gave pursuit near Bluebird canyon Drive before making a felony car stop in the Mobil parking lot downtown.

A 15-year-old Irvine girl was also in the Mercedes.

All three were taken to the police station and issued citations before being released to their parents.

The charges included possession of alcohol and drugs, hit and run, and driving without a license. 

Two arrested after strong-arm robbery in Gelson’s parking lot

Two men walked up to a man in the parking lot near Gelson’s in South Laguna around 3:45 Thursday afternoon and asked if he had a cigarette. When the man began to speak with them, one of the pair began to repeatedly punch him in the face. His wallet was grabbed out of his hand and the two fled in a Mercedes with paper plates.

Officers spotted the suspect vehicle northbound on Coast Highway and made a felony car stop in the Circle K parking lot in the 800 block of Glenneyre.

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Photo by Mark Nelson

Police search the suspect’s Mercedes in the Circle K parking lot

Police arrested Jose Victor Zuniga, III, 30, Santa Ana and Brannon Morse Hazelrigg, 25, Newport Beach. Both were charged with felony robbery and conspiracy to commit a crime. Hazelrigg was also charged with felony battery causing bodily injury and possession of a controlled substance.


Police Files

Halloween jumper from 5th floor deck to private pool

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Submitted photo

Greg Carpenter, Homeowner’s Association President at Laguna Sands in the 1500 block of S. Coast Hwy provided this photo of a young man who jumped from the fifth floor deck there into the private pool below…“barely missing the edge of the pool”. The incident happened at 5:40 p.m. on Monday.

Carpenter said the HOA will prosecute him for trespassing and a police report has been made.

LBPD Sgt. Tim Kleiser said detectives are investigating the report.

A resident reportedly detained the jumper only to be hit in the face as the suspect ran away with four others who were nearby when he jumped, Carpenter said. 

Laguna Beach woman charged with DUI, hit and run

At 10:52 Sunday morning, a 9-1-1 caller told a Laguna Beach public safety dispatcher that as he was getting into his car in the 200 block of Cypress Drive, another vehicle had clipped his car and “…taken out…” the driver’s side door.

Police located the suspect vehicle and arrested Tania Jane Alexander, 57 of Laguna Beach, for DUI with a second offense and misdemeanor hit and run. 

There were no injuries according to the police log.


Police Files

Armed robbery at Union Bank on Broadway

A masked tall man wearing all dark clothing walked up to a teller inside Union Bank on Broadway on Thursday afternoon, brandished a silver revolver and demanded money.

Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD said officers responded right after the robbery but were unable to locate the suspect. “He was described as being about 6’4” wearing a black long sleeved shirt, black pants, a mask and black gloves.”

LBPD detectives and the FBI are jointly investigating the robbery.

Sgt. Kleiser said that about an hour after Union Bank was robbed, a man with a similar description robbed a bank in Seal Beach at gunpoint.

Car stop in the wee hours nets drug dealer

An officer stopped a vehicle at Third Ave and Coast Hwy early Saturday morning and it resulted in the arrest of Anaheim resident Matthew Kundrat, 20, on felony charges of possession of dangerous drugs for sales and transportation of dangerous drugs for sales.

Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD said details were slim and the case is still being investigated.


Police Files

Serial roof jumper might be wearing orange jump suit

Remember these?

Our July 18 edition

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Photos by John Thomas

The man who jumped off the roof of the home above at Table Rock Beach in July into the ocean was arrested by LBPD Wednesday morning. Anthony Booth Armer, 28, Laguna Niguel, was charged with two misdemeanor counts of unauthorized entry of a dwelling and one of trespassing with intent to interfere with a business. 

Armer is accused of climbing over a retaining wall onto the gated property of the private residence, climbing onto the roof and jumping into the ocean near Table Rock Beach. Armer posted a video of his jump on YouTube. The Laguna Beach Police Department investigated the incident and the homeowner confirmed that Armer did not have permission to access their property. 

On Sept. 29, Armer is accused of climbing over a wall and accessing employee-only areas of the Surf and Sand Hotel. Authorities say he climbed to the fifth floor of the hotel and jumped into the gated, guest-only pool. Hotel employees reported the event to LBPD. 

On Oct. 6, at approximately 9 a.m., Armer is accused of entering Newport Towers, a private residential building on West Coast Highway in Newport Beach. He is accused of running up several flights of stairs and jumping from the building’s roof to the harbor below. Newport Towers security reported the trespassing to the Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD). 

LBPD arrested Armer Wednesday at approximately 7:45 a.m. LBPD and NBPD are investigating this case.

Man, 93, rolled over on High Drive – was still seated when fire dept. arrived   

LBPD photo

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A 93-year-old man was driving this sedan Tuesday afternoon around 4:40 when he lost control at High Drive near Linden Street and rolled over onto the car’s top. The crash remains under investigation. Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD said the man was still seat belted upside down when fire personnel arrived on scene. He sustained unspecified injuries and was taken to Mission Trauma Center.

 

Woman tried to knock down cop as she ran from Gelson’s with vodka

Police responded to Gelson’s Market in South Laguna Tuesday afternoon after a woman who had been told by the manager to stay out of the store forced her way back inside. As an officer approached her, she bolted and tried to push over the officer while holding onto a stolen bottle of vodka.

She was arrested for felony commercial burglary, battery on a peace officer and resisting arrest. The officer was not injured.


Police Files

Criminals really do return to the scene of the crime - sometimes

There’s an old adage that criminals “always return to the scene of the crime.” TV shows are filled with such scenarios.

Research has shown that murderers and arsonists frequently do return to the scene of the crime but most criminals who commit so-called crimes of opportunity usually hightail it away…but, as we learned, not always.

A resident in the 400 block of Cliff Drive found a burglar in his home Sunday morning and managed to chase him off. 

The RP then called police and said the man had broken in through a window after removing the screen.

As he was calling, the suspect came back but when he saw the RP on the phone, he took off running.

Officers located the suspect, identified as Steven Hernandez, 29 of Aliso Viejo, nearby and took him into custody. They found jewelry that belonged to the RP on him. 

Hernandez was charged with felony residential burglary with bail of $50,000.

The 9-1-1 call was received at 7:34 and Hernandez was in handcuffs at 7:45 a.m.


Police Files

Using your driver’s license to scrape drugs is not a smart idea

San Clemente resident Corey David, 29, was pulled over for speeding at S. Coast Hwy and Agate St at 4:10 last Thursday morning. When he handed the police officer his driver’s license, the officer realized that there was drug residue on the license.

David was detained and his car was searched.

8.92 grams of heroin, over a gram of methamphetamine, a small amount of cocaine and 26 hypodermic needles along with an electronic scale were found. 

He was placed under arrest for felony possession of narcotics for sales, felony transportation for sales, misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

Bail was set at $30,000. 

Woman on bicycle injured when hit by car on LCR

An unidentified Laguna Beach woman suffered injuries to her shoulder, hip and ankle when a car struck the rear wheel of her bicycle in the 20600 block of Laguna Canyon Road at 7:07 Thursday morning.

Details were limited but Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD said it did not appear that alcohol was a factor in the collision.

The crash remains under investigation, he said. 

Body found on Cliff Drive Saturday morning

A caller reported that a man appeared to be passed out in a vacant lot in the 1300 block of Cliff Drive at 11:48 Saturday morning. According to the police log, there were several liquor bottles near him.

An officer arrived on scene and realized the man was deceased.

The OC Coroner responded and nothing suspicious was found Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD said Monday.

The 52-year-old man’s name has not been released.


Police Files

Man tried to use a stolen credit card with woman’s photo on it

Paul Ogle, 60, no fixed address, was arrested Tuesday afternoon on three felony charges after a S. Coast Hwy motel told police he had tried to use a stolen credit card with a woman’s photo on it to pay for a room.

LBPD Sgt. Tim Kleiser explained, “We were told that the suspect had put the credit card back into his wallet before leaving the front lobby.

“Officers did an area search and located Ogle a short time later.”

Kleiser said Bank of America had blocked the card after fraudulent use on Sunday after the woman who had the card reported having lost it while visiting in Laguna Beach.

Ogle was taken into custody on felony charges of identify theft, burglary and grand theft and misdemeanor charges of shoplifting and defrauding an innkeeper.

He was booked and bail was set at $20,000.

Man rampages 3 blocks of S. Coast Hwy causing $5750 in damage

Playa Del Rey resident Onigwe Milindo Echikunwoke, 33, was arrested for felony vandalism after he admitted to police that he had smashed windows in businesses and cars and kicked in doors from the 1100 to 1500 block of S. Coast Hwy Wednesday morning.

Police said the rampage started at 5:37 a.m. and went on for about a half hour causing an estimated damage total of $5,750.

Police did not say if Echikunwoke gave them any explanation.


Police Files

Police respond to a minor crash – come away with auto theft suspect

A woman behind the wheel of a black Saab 900 told police officers that she had gotten inside the car then released the emergency brake and it rolled forward and struck a parked car near Carmelita and Cress Street.

This happened Friday night at about 10:30 and officers were suspicious of her overall story – especially when they learned she was not the registered owner.

After a lengthy investigation/interview, Keila Margarita Gamraoui, 31, Newport Beach, was arrested for felony vehicle theft.


Police Files

High-speed chase through town in the wee hours Tuesday saw speeds up to 100 MPH up and down Coast Hwy

An Artesia man, Neehar Thakor, 23, was arrested for DUI and reckless driving at 3:43 Tuesday morning after LBPD units chased him through town at speeds reaching 100 MPH. He was first spotted in North Laguna headed southbound then turned around and went northbound before being stopped at Reef Point.

Sgt. Tim Kleiser said an officer spotted a gray Toyota 4Runner driving recklessly at a high speed heading southbound in North Laguna at 3:37 a.m. The officer tried to catch up with the 4Runner but lost sight near Cleo Street.

Police located the SUV heading northbound from the area of Nyes Place. Kleiser said Thakor sped up at Thalia Street when police tried to make a car stop.

Thakor reached 100 MPH as he sped through town according to the police log.

At 3:41, an officer told dispatch that the SUV “…was all over the road.”

A stop was made at Reef Point at 3:43 where Thakor was arrested.


Police Files

Mississippi driver arrested for DUI after Nyes Pl crash

Photo by Christmas Enright

The white Chevy Impala in the background was driven by a drunk driver heading northbound on Coast Hwy at Nyes Place Sunday night. The driver, Maurice Eubanks, III, 19, from Mississippi, was trapped for a short time. He was taken to the hospital for treatment of a head injury and arrested for drunk driving. He was speeding, police said, when he hit the parked pickup truck and locksmith’s van.

Two charged with assault with a deadly weapon after one charged the other with a knife at ASL Wednesday

Officers responded to the Alternative Sleeping Location at 6:49 Wednesday night for a report of two men fighting. The caller said one man had a knife.

Carlos Robert Noriega, 59, no fixed address and Michael Eric Newman, 53, no fixed address, were contacted by police on scene.

Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD said Noriega charged Newman wielding a knife. “Newman took Noriega to the ground and then struck him with a chair twice,” Sgt. Kleiser said Monday.

Both men were arrested for felony assault with a deadly weapon and bail was set at $25,000 each.

Noriega had been arrested earlier in the day after he allegedly attacked another man in the street at Coast Hwy and Broadway. He was charged with simple assault.


Police Files

Five vehicle crash Friday in NoLag snarls traffic, injures two 

Photo by Mike Nelson

Two of the five vehicles involved in a crash Friday afternoon

Police said two people sustained moderate injuries and were hospitalized late Friday afternoon as the result of a five-vehicle rear end crash in the 1200 block of N. Coast Hwy.

N. Coast Hwy was closed at Chiquita Street for about an hour as police made their investigation and firefighters cleaned up spilled gas and other chemicals.

No other details were available at press time.

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Photo by Jose Delgado

Firefighters sweep up absorbent material used to remove spilled chemicals from the surface of N. Coast Hwy Friday afternoon. A police Sgt. offered assistance.

 

Woman refuses to leave ER, defrauds a restaurant – tries, but fails same thing at hotel – arrested 3 times

Elaine J. Davault, 61, no fixed address, was arrested three times late last week for trespassing and defrauding an innkeeper. 

Police said she ordered food and ate in a restaurant in the 1800 block of S. Coast Hwy and then informed the manager that she was unable to pay her bill. Police were called and she was arrested.

Earlier Friday, Davault attempted to charge items to rooms that she was not staying in at Hotel Laguna. Officers responded and she refused to leave and was soon arrested.

The night before, she was arrested for trespassing at Mission Hospital’s ER after she refused to leave after a doctor had discharged her.


Police Files

This little piggy went for a ride in a police car

We all know the story of the three little pigs – well; this is about another pig.

A patrol unit was waved down at 9:02 Tuesday night at Brooks and Pedro in South Laguna – either by or for a loose pig…the log wasn’t perfectly clear.

A stray potbelly pig was running loose on Brooks and managed to keep some distance from the pursing LBPD officers for over ten minutes before being corralled.

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Photo courtesy LBPD

The 80-pound pig was place in the back seat of a patrol unit and taken to the animal shelter for safekeeping.

Three-car crash involving drunk driver injures pregnant woman

A pregnant woman sustained unspecified injuries Monday afternoon in the 1500 block of S. Coast Hwy when the vehicle she was riding in rear-ended another vehicle that subsequently hit a third. The crash happened at 4:11 p.m.

According to police, Cesar Jonathan Enriquez-Lopez, 25, Laguna Hills, the driver of the car she was in, was determined to be at fault and was also driving under the influence of alcohol.

He was arrested for felony DUI with bail set at $100,000.


Police Files

Knocking on the door of a home where there is a court restraining order against you with your pocket full of drugs isn’t a good thing to do

Ashton Jon Riley, 29, Huntington Beach, pounded on a door in the 300 block of Oak Street at 9:36 last Friday night. It was a door he was prohibited from coming close to by a court issued restraining order.

Police were called and soon had Riley detained as they sorted though things and verified that the restraining order was in effect.

Riley was arrested first for an outstanding Central Court warrant for vandalism and for intentional violation of a court order when its status was confirmed. 

A subsequent search turned up four and a half grams of methamphetamine and over four grams of marijuana leading to a drug possession charge.


Police Files

Capo Beach man arrested for robbery, 3 other felonies at Montage 

Montage Laguna Beach security saw two men attempting to break into vehicles in the valet lot at 6:19 Monday night. 

LBPD Sgt. Tim Kleiser said security was able to detain one man, Capistrano Beach resident Michael Velazquez, 21, on the resort property while the second suspect was last seen running across Coast Hwy toward Gelson’s Market. 

Velazquez struggled with the security officers in an unsuccessful attempt to get out of their custody as police responded. 

According to the police log, Montage security set up surveillance to watch store exits and entrances but the second suspect was never located.

Velazquez was detained and placed under arrest for a $2500 warrant out of Harbor Court for resisting arrest.

Police and Montage security reviewed surveillance tape of the two suspects breaking into vehicles and taking items and also saw that Velazquez attempted to steal at least one of the cars.

The result of those tapes led police to hold Velazquez on a charge of robbery with bail of $100,000 as well as attempted vehicle theft, burglary and felony threats to do harm to a potential witness.


Police Files

Man grabbed backpack from bus rider and took off running – police nabbed the suspect a half-hour later

A 9-1-1 caller reported to police that his backpack containing $1800 had been grabbed out of his hands as he exited a Laguna Beach transit bus on S. Coast Hwy Friday at 6:14 p.m. He said the man that took it just came up, took the backpack and ran off east on a side street.

The victim described the suspect as having dark hair and wearing a maroon shirt.

As officers were discussing the man’s description, a woman told them she had just seen a man with a maroon shirt a couple of block east of the location.

Officers did an immediate area search and located the possible suspect in the 500 block of Flora Street about 30 minutes after the 9-1-1 call. 

The victim was taken to the location and identified the suspect. His money was recovered but the backpack was missing, Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD said.

 Anthony Louis Ulrich, 24, San Juan Capistrano, was arrested for felony grand theft.


Police Files

House rented through Airbnb – safe missing $192,000

Laguna Beach PD detectives are investigating a theft report from last Thursday in the 2700 block of S. Coast Hwy.

Sgt. Tim Kleiser said the homeowner had rented on Airbnb for three days to a known individual.

“The victim checked on the home and noticed that a safe had been accessed,” Sgt. Kleiser said. “Cash and gold coins totaling $192,000 were missing.”

Police did not release any further details.

Store employee follows suspect to retrieve $445 sunglasses

An employee of a retail store in the 200 block of Ocean Avenue saw a man walk out of the store after pilfering sunglasses valued at $445. The employee followed the suspect to a black Honda Fit parked on Coast Hwy.

The employee tried to stop the suspect before he entered the car.

Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD said, “After a brief struggle, the suspect threw the sunglasses into the air and drove away.”

According to the police log, the RP said the Honda had “…lots of…items inside…” 

The suspect was described as being about 40 with graying hair and a mustache.


Police Files

Emerald Bay resident pleads guilty for causing the death of bicyclist John Colvin on June 17, 2014 near Emerald Bay

Dylan Thomas Rand-Luby, 21, Emerald Bay, pleaded guilty to one count of felony hit and run with injury and one count of misdemeanor manslaughter Monday afternoon. He was sentenced to one year in jail and three years of formal probation. 

Rand-Luby was accused of driving a 2005 Toyota Prius northbound on North Coast Highway in the Emerald Bay area. He allegedly veered out of his lane and struck 55-year-old Laguna Beach resident John Colvin as he rode his bicycle northbound in the bike lane adjacent to Coast Highway.

After the collision, Rand-Luby failed to stop to render aid and continued driving northbound. His front windshield was shattered and witnesses said he had to lean out the driver’s side window in order to see the roadway ahead. 

Two witnesses followed the Toyota Prius until Rand-Luby finally pulled over in the El Morro School parking lot and was confronted by them. One detained Rand-Luby while a second called 911. 

After an extremely thorough and exhaustive investigation into the accident, Laguna Beach Traffic Investigators submitted the case to the District Attorney’s Office seeking criminal charges against Dylan Rand-Luby. 

Prior traffic offenses

StuNews did a check of court records after he had been charged in Feb 2015 and found that Rand-Luby was ticketed in Oct of 2012 for using a cell phone while driving; issued a citation in July of 2013 for texting while driving and in April, 2013, for running a red light. He attended traffic school for the latter charge and was released from that obligation on June 13, 2014 – four days before the fatal collision with the bicyclist.

 

Homeless man arrested for robbery of a bike at Main Beach

Police responded to a report of a fight between two men on the cobblestones at Main Beach at 3:30 last Wednesday afternoon. On scene, one man was still there and told officers that a man he didn’t know came up to him as he rode his bike and challenged him to a fight.

The victim said the suspect then pushed him down causing him to fall off of his bike then the other man rode away on the bicycle.

Police did an area search and according to Sgt. Tim Kleiser, Shawn Stover, 38, no fixed address, and the stolen bicycle were located at the Broadway Bus Depot.

Stover was arrested for felony robbery and bail was set at $100,000. 

 

Two more stolen car arrests made in town

Laguna Beach police stopped two more stolen cars in town over the weekend and arrested two people on felony charges.

At 3:42 Saturday morning, a patrol officer stopped a white Kia Optima at N. Coast Hwy and Aster St for a traffic violation.

Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD said the driver made statements that led the officer to suspect that the Kia had been stolen. The registered owner was contacted and it in fact had been stolen earlier in South Laguna.

Kevin Patrick Sheehan, 19, Lakewood was arrested for felony vehicle theft.

Early Sunday morning, an officer spotted a stolen 2017 Hyundai Elantra that had been reported stolen from Hertz on Aug 19 heading into town at 2:42. Sufficient units were able to make a felony car stop at Canyon Acres and Laguna Canyon Road.

Rosalinda Romero, 38, Hemet, was arrested on charges of felony possession of a stolen vehicle, giving false information to an officer misdemeanor possession of drugs.

She was also held for two felony warrants – one from Los Angeles and the other from Riverside with total bail of $45,000 on the warrants. 


Police Files

Drunk driver takes out traffic signal, parking meter at 7:59 a.m.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Torryn Nunyo

Police and fire responded to S. Coast Hwy and Cleo St at 7:59 a.m. for a traffic crash. The SUV above took out a traffic signal pole. Inside the SUV, police found a 12-pack of beer and a city parking meter that came through the hole in the passenger side of the windshield after it had been struck as well.

Sean Hoyland, 49 of Irvine, was arrested for DUI. 

Sgt. Tim Kleiser said Hoyland was taken to hospital for a sore shoulder. 

Crash closed canyon from 7:30 to mid-afternoon yesterday

Police said a single car crash into a pole in the 2600 block of Laguna canyon Road dislodged power lines and closed traffic in both directions from about 7:30 Thursday morning until SC Edison made repairs at mid-afternoon.

The driver was not injured, police said.

Line up your designated driver – DUI checkpoint Saturday night

The LBPD will be conducting a DUI/Driver’s License Checkpoint on Aug 20 at an undisclosed location within the city limits. The Saturday checkpoint will be operational between the hours of 8 p.m. to 3 a.m.

The deterrent effect of DUI checkpoints is a proven resource in reducing the number of persons killed and injured in alcohol or drug involved crashes. Research shows that crashes involving an impaired driver can be reduced by up to 20 percent when well-publicized DUI checkpoints and proactive DUI patrols are conducted routinely. 

In California, this deadly crime led to 867 deaths and over 23,000 serious injuries in 2013 because someone failed to designate a sober driver. 

Nationally, the latest data shows over 10,000 were killed by an impaired driver.

Officers will be looking for signs of alcohol and/or drug impairment with officers checking drivers for proper licensing, delaying motorists only momentarily.


Police Files

Suspect fled police – careened off 11 cars on Coast Hwy

On Saturday, Laguna police investigated a report of credit card fraud reported by an out of state cardholder who told them about $1,000 had been charged at a North Laguna hotel. The victim said he had spoken with the front desk and was told that the person who had charged the room was there now.

Officers spoke with the front desk and knocked on the door at about 12:45. Four people inside ran out of the room onto the second floor balcony when the saw the cops. Two were detained and two others, a man and a woman, jumped to the ground, Sgt. Tim Kleiser said Monday. They managed to get away as the officers dealt with the two who had been detained on the balcony.

He added, “A male and female were detained in the room and the female, Lauren Rivero, 20, from Anaheim, had an outstanding $3,000 warrant for theft from Los Angeles. She was arrested for the warrant.”

As the officers were leaving the hotel at about 2:09 p.m., a hotel employee told them that the woman who had rented the room was in a tan SUV outside. Officers, on foot, managed to get to her before she drove away only to have her take off.

An area search was launched in North Laguna and a patrol unit spotted the tan Cadillac Escalade heading south on Coast Highway near Aster Street.

Sgt. Kleiser provided the following: 

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Dennis Rooney

This is one of the first five vehicles struck north of Broadway by the Cadillac Escalade Saturday afternoon. Note the wheel in the foreground, which fell off the Escalade. The driver continued on Coast Hwy before turning onto Park Ave after crashing into five more vehicles traveling in both directions on Coast Hwy.

“The officers attempted to stop the SUV, but it immediately drove over into the opposing lanes of traffic and collided with two vehicles in the 300 block of N. Coast Highway. The Escalade continued south on Coast Highway and struck three more vehicles north of Broadway in heavy traffic. Two people, an adult female and female child, complained of pain as a result of that collision. 

“The Escalade continued south and collided with five other vehicles in the 100 and 200 blocks of South Coast Highway. She then turned east on the 200 block of Park Avenue and struck a parked vehicle there. The car finally stopped in the library parking lot after it ran into a cement pillar. 

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Dennis Rooney

Photo by Kelly Viszolay

“The driver fled on foot and was not located. Two passengers in the car were detained and later released.” 

Detectives are working on identifying and locating the driver.

We hope to have added details in our Friday edition.   

Body discovered on Heisler walkway Sunday morning

A person walking in Heisler Park at 6:21 Sunday morning called 9-1-1 reporting that a man was lying on the walkway near the picnic tables.

Police and fire units responded and discovered that a man was deceased from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The OC Coroner will perform and autopsy and release the man’s name later this week.

Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD said the man was 78 and a Laguna Beach resident. 


Police Files

$100,000 in losses from burglarized SoLag home 

Details are few at this time, but a homeowner who had been away for the past two weeks returned to find the home in the 31100 block of Aliso Circle had been burglarized. Police received the call at 11:33 a.m. this past Tuesday.

The police log indicated that the victim spoke of missing collectibles, electronics, furniture and miscellaneous items.

The OC Sheriff Department’s CSI team responded to the scene Tuesday.

Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD said the owner’s preliminary estimate of the losses was $100,000.

Detectives are investigating.


Police Files

LBPD motor officer injured by a passing motorcycle

A Laguna Beach Police motor officer suffered a dislocated arm Sunday night on Thalia Street near Wendt Terrace when a passing motorcyclist the officer was signaling to stop struck his outstretched arm. 

The motorcycle rider was among a group of an estimated 25 bikers that callers had complained about around 8 p.m. for “…revving their engines and speeding…” in the area of Alta Laguna Park in Top of the World.

The motor officer and other LBPD officers were responding to the location when the motor officer encountered five motorcycles near Thalia and Wendt and attempted to detain them. 

After the motor officer was hit, a patrol unit pursued the offending motorcycles and located one of the riders in the 900 block of S. Coast Hwy. Two of the motorcycles had collided on Thalia as they rode side-by-side, according to police.

The second rider was taken into custody inside a nearby restaurant after a 9-1-1 caller reported that a man with a helmet and motorcycle gear was talking on his cell phone, “…yelling, limping, yelling into the phone in a panic…” 

An officer detained him at the restaurant within a minute of that 9-1-1 call.

That man was identified as Luis Antonio Gonzalez, 30, Pico Rivera. The first rider held was Victor Manuel Velazquez, 26, Whittier. Both men were arrested for felony DUI, disobeying a police officer and hit and run, Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD, said.

The extent the officer’s injuries were not immediately disclosed. 


Police Files

Intoxicated woman, 27, grabbed officer’s wrist trying to pull him down

Officers made contact with two women and a man on Crescent Bay Beach at 9:33 last Friday night after seeing them with a bottle of vodka.

While the officers were speaking to the trio, one of the women, 27-year-old Franchesca Jennie Anderson of Alhambra, who appeared to be intoxicated to the officers, began filming them and soon began placing the camera within inches of one officer’s face.

Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD said, “The officer backed up a number of times to avoid having the camera in his face and told her not to do it any longer. When she refused his direction to keep the camera a reasonable distance from his face, the officer reached out to take the camera and hand it to the woman’s husband.’

Sgt. Kleiser added, “Anderson grabbed the officer’s wrist and attempted to pull him to the ground. More officers arrived to assist and arrested her.”

Anderson was arrested for battery on a peace officer and for being drunk in public.


Police Files

Two men and a woman arrested on total of 19 charges including stealing a vehicle 

A car stop on Goff St at a quarter before midnight last Saturday turned out to be a lot more than the vehicle code violation that attracted an officer’s initial attention.

Vanessa Wilson, 24, Colton, Justin Kimbro, 25, San Bernardino and Anthony Flores, 22, also from San Bernardino, were arrested for 19 charges.

Officers learned post haste that the vehicle had been reported stolen on Friday in Riverside and began treating the incident as a crime scene.

Wilson and Kimbro were both charged with felony vehicle theft and possession of a controlled substance when methamphetamine was located. Wilson also was charged with possession of unspecified stolen property. Flores was held for the meth charge.

In addition to the fresh charges above, all three had warrants.

Wilson had eight outstanding warrants including a no bail warrant out of Pasadena for two counts of ID theft. The other seven were from San Bernardino containing charges of grand theft, drug possession, shoplifting and possession of stolen property. The total bail on those warrants was $105,000.

Flores had warrants with charges of drug possession and shoplifting. His total bail was set at $50,000.

Kimbro had three San Bernardino warrants, each with two charges: one for grand theft and possession of stolen property, one for grand theft and petty theft and the third for being under the influence of a controlled substance and utility theft. Total bail: $70K.

All three were booked here and taken to county jail.


Police Files

Homeless man tries to throw rocks and does spit in officer’s face

Joseph Robert Kirkpatrick, 51, no fixed address, was arrested on three felony charges Tuesday afternoon after officers awakened him from trespassing and sleeping in an underground parking lot in the 900 block of Glenneyre.

Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD said that when officers made contact, “Kirkpatrick was agitated and threatened to throw some nearby rocks at the officers. During the conversation, he sat up quickly and grabbed several rocks. The officers were able to quickly grab onto his arms to prevent him from throwing the rocks at them.

  “As the officers were trying to detain him, he spat directly in one of the officer’s face.” Police placed a spit mask on Kirkpatrick’s face as soon as he was handcuffed.

Kirkpatrick was charged with felony resisting arrest, felony assault on a police officer and felony bringing a controlled substance into a jail. Sgt. Kleiser said he had methamphetamine, which was found during his booking at the city jail.

Two arrested at campsite ended up in greater trouble

LBPD officers contacted Jose Enrique Faulmendoza, 57, no fixed address and Dawn Purdy Kuehl, 58, no fixed address at a campsite they shared near the animal shelter on Laguna Canyon Road at 7:28 Tuesday morning.

Kuehl initially gave a false name to the officers leading to an arrest for providing false information. She also had marijuana and methamphetamine among her belongings and was charged with misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance.

During her booking, another quantity of methamphetamine on her, which led to a felony bringing a controlled substance into a jail charge.

 Faulmendoza also gave a false ID to officers and was charged with providing false information. Wants and warrants were checked and he was held on a no bail warrant from Los Angeles.


Police Files

Burglary victim sees suspect – wasn’t easy, but cops nabbed him

Steven Edward Cain, 49, no fixed address out of Oklahoma, was arrested for burglary, possession of stolen property and resisting arrest last Thursday night after police received a call from a burglary victim last weekend.

The victim called police at 9:29 p.m. after spotting a suspect the RP had caught on a surveillance camera when his garage was burglarized on June 25. $300 in cash had been taken from a wallet inside the RP’s unlocked vehicle inside the garage.

Police responded to a parking lot in the 31500 block of Coast Hwy where they encountered and detained the possible suspect, Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD said.

“As they were in the process of investigating the incident, at about 10 o’clock, Cain fled on foot to Table Rock Beach. Other officers responded along with the OCSD’s airship to the area and eventually found him hiding on the rocks. Officers located his car nearby and found several stolen items inside,” Sgt. Kleiser added.

Cain was taken into custody at gunpoint at 10:24.

Copter used to hoist stranded victim from rocks at Thousand Steps

Fire and police responded to Thousand Steps Beach at 7:47 Saturday morning to assist two young women who had become stranded on the rocks offshore. 

Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD said, “Due to difficulty in extracting one patient from the rocks, OCSD’s helicopter/rescue team responded and was able to rope hoist the victim from the rocks.” She was taken to hospital with minor injuries, authorities said.

The other, uninjured, victim was assisted to shore by lifeguards.


Police Files

Witnesses said man hit by car seemed to have walked into oncoming traffic purposefully – police aren’t sure

Police and fire units responded to the 3200 block of Laguna Canyon Road last Wednesday afternoon at 4:16 for a report of a vehicle vs. pedestrian collision.

Two 9-1-1 witnesses, according to the police log, told the dispatcher that “…the man appeared to go into traffic on purpose.” The police investigation is still ongoing and there was no confirmation immediately available.

Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the Laguna Beach Police Department said the vehicle was heading towards town and the pedestrian, a 28-year-old Laguna Beach man, had been standing in the center turn lane before he was struck within the traffic lane.

“He was transported to the hospital for injuries to his neck, knees and had minor abrasions,” Sgt. Kleiser said. 

People who steal stuff from unlocked cars don’t always get away

On June 11, a Saturday, the owners of two unlocked vehicles were victimized by having their wallets stolen on Acapulco Street.

 One of the victims told LBPD that a credit card had been used at a Santa Ana hotel. LBPD contacted SAPD and two persons were arrested.

The total charge made with the credit cards from the one victim was $540. 

Both victims were unaware of the theft or chose not to make a police report for several days.

Drunk driver runs red light – three injured in crash

Wilmon McKeever Gosline, 25, Laguna Beach, was arrested for felony DUI and misdemeanor hit and run last Thursday night when he allegedly ran a red light while headed southbound on Coast Highway at Cleo Street.

He crashed into a car with four occupants at about 11 p.m., police said. Three passengers of the car were taken to hospital for non-life threatening injuries. 

Before that crash, police said he had struck a parked car elsewhere in town.


Police Files

Sheriff’s deputies nab pair casing cars in two Wilderness Park lots

OC Sheriff’s deputies called for LBPD assistance after the deputies had observed a man tampering with parked cars at Nix Nature Center and Laguna Canyon Road on the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park property.

The man left the Nix lot in a car driven by a woman and began tampering with cars in the Laguna Canyon Road lot, police said.

Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD said, “Nothing was taken from either vehicle, but the one at Nix Nature Center had some damage to electrical wires. LBPD detectives searched the vehicle the two suspects were in and found burglary tools.”

There have been several reports of vehicle burglaries at the parking lots recently, but there is no direct connection with this incident.

LBPD detectives interviewed the suspects and arrested them both for felony conspiracy, attempted vehicle theft and possession of burglary tools.

They were identified as Jose Luis Soto-Tobar, 25, no fixed address and Brenda Cansino-Leon, 28, from Florida.

They were both booked at the police station and taken to county jail with bail set at $20,000 each.

Motorcycle Safety Enforcement Operation set for this Saturday

The Laguna Beach Police Department will be conducting a specialized Motorcycle Safety Enforcement Operation this Saturday, June 18, in an effort to lower deaths and injuries. Extra officers will be on duty patrolling areas frequented by motorcyclists and where motorcycle crashes occur. 

Officers will be looking for violations made by drivers and riders alike that can lead to motorcycle crashes. They will be cracking down on both those operating regular vehicles and motorcycles who are violating traffic safety laws.

Motorcycle fatalities jumped dramatically in California by over 28 percent from a decade low of 352 in 2010. In 2013, 453 motorcyclists lost their lives, which is at a five year high. California collision data reveals that primary causes of motorcycle-involved crashes include speeding, unsafe turning and impairment due to alcohol and other drugs by both riders and drivers alike. 

Operations like this are aimed at curbing any more raises in motorcycle deaths and sending the numbers back downward.

Riders are urged to get training through the California Motorcyclist Safety Program. Information and training locations are available at http://www.californiamotorcyclist.com/ or 1-877 RIDE 411 (1-877-743-3411).

Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The message to all drivers and motorcyclists is: share in the responsibility and do your part by safely “sharing the road.”


Police Files

Two different drunk drivers were more than just DUI

Julie Sabol, 54, Fullerton, was arrested for drunk driving and misdemeanor battery on a police officer Saturday afternoon. A cell caller reported that a woman driver was swerving, stopping in the roadway and that she had hit a parker car, according to Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD. She was heading into town on N. Coast Hwy.

A patrol unit saw the car the caller had described in the Shell gas station and made contact with Sabol.

After she exited the car and was being interviewed by the officer, she kicked him.

She was placed under arrest.

At 1:20 a.m. Saturday, a cell caller reported that a car had struck a metal dumpster and a parked car, totaling the car in the 3000 block of Laguna Canyon Road.

Sgt. Kleiser said that when an officer arrived on scene, “…he saw two males walking away from the collision and detained them. The driver, 25-year-old Mamerton Gomez-Juarez from Lake Forest was arrested for misdemeanor evading, DUI with a prior, driving with a suspended license, and resisting arrest. He also had an outstanding $15,000 warrant. 

The passenger, Eliseo Lopez, 22, from Lake Forest, was arrested for resisting arrest.


Police Files

Clerk refused sale of beer to intoxicated man who then pulled a knife

Jorge Gonzalez-Alvarez, 52, no fixed address, walked into the market area of the Chevron station at S. Coast Hwy and Legion St last Sunday night. He wanted to buy beer but the store clerk denied him because Gonzalez-Alvarez appeared to be too intoxicated.

A few minutes later, police received a 9-1-1 call from the store clerk reporting that a man had pulled a knife and verbally threatened to use it on the two clerks there. The clerks were unharmed.

The man took off on foot and police were unable to locate him.

Officers reviewed the in-store surveillance tape and were able to ID the suspect, according to LBPD Sgt. Tim Kleiser.

On Monday afternoon, officers spotted Gonzalez-Alvarez in the 1900 block of Laguna Canyon Road near the ACT V parking lot.

He was arrested and charged with felony commercial burglary, felony criminal threats and misdemeanor carrying a concealed knife. 

Officer sees hand-to-hand meth deal go down – buyer & seller arrested

A patrol officer called for a back up unit after seeing a hand-to-hand transaction take place at S. Coast Hwy and Ocean Avenue at 10:57 Tuesday morning.

The two men who made the transaction were watched until sufficient units were in the area and they were contacted at the Broadway bus depot.

After questioning and an investigation, Jayson Lee McGee, 49, no fixed address, was arrested for felony possession of methamphetamine for sales with $25,000 bail.

Reese Westenberger, 51, Laguna Beach, was arrested for misdemeanor possession of methamphetamine with $500 bail. 


Police Files

Woman investigated for misdemeanor theft was carrying a gun

Police were called to a business in the 300 block of Ocean Avenue Wednesday at 6:15 p.m. when an employee suspected a woman who had been in the store might have stolen an iPhone.

Police located Marjorie Ann Kress, 50, San Clemente after an area search and began an investigation for misdemeanor theft after the caller identified her in the field.

During a search, police found a pistol that had been reported stolen according to the police log.

LBPD Sgt. Tim Kleiser said Monday that Kress had been arrested for carrying a concealed weapon and that other charges could follow.

She was taken into custody at about 7:30. 

North Laguna business victimized by “SC Edison” scam

Another Laguna Beach business fell victim to scammers claiming to represent So Cal Edison last week.

The business received a phone call advising that their power would be cut off that day unless they paid a $1998 past due bill.

Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD said, “The caller requested the victim purchase prepaid cards and call back with the numbers. The victim did this and later became suspicious and learned she had been a victim of a scam.”


Police Files

Laguna cops may have nabbed two ‘baddest’ of the bad 

Police dispatchers received a call from a 12-year-old boy at 10:50 Monday night who was calling from the Treasure Island Beach parking lot. They were able to get his name as a police officer was dispatched to the location.

He was a runaway from a group home in Ventura County.

The boy ended the call before the officer arrived on scene. After checking the area, the officer asked a Montage Laguna Beach security officer if he had noticed the boy. He had and the boy had gotten into gray Audi. As they spoke, the Audi was seen as it began to drive out of the parking lot.

Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD said, “The officer stopped the Audi in the lot and spoke to a female driver later identified as Liberty Rohkar, 39 of Simi Valley. There was also a man, Carlos Torres, 32, San Jose, and a 15-year-old girl in the backseat. Other officers arrived and it was soon learned that the vehicle had been reported stolen by Simi Valley Police on May 25.”

As officers questioned the four occupants, they learned that the girl was also a runaway from the same Ventura County group home.

The officers called detectives to the scene soon after beginning a search of the stolen Audi.

 Sgt. Kleiser said, “They found an unloaded .22 handgun in the trunk and pieces of stolen mail from several cities (none from Laguna residents). They also found 5.84 grams of methamphetamine, 113.26 grams of marijuana, and six glass meth pipes.”

Detectives arrived - their investigation revealed startling revelations

Sgt. Kleiser: “Liberty Rohkar is the mother of the 15-year-old girl and the detectives learned that the female juvenile had been sexually assaulted by the adult male and her mother prior to our officers arriving and detaining them. They also determined that the mother did not have legal custody of her daughter.

“Rohkar and Torres were both arrested for felony child abduction, felony cruelty to a child, felony sexual assault, felony vehicle theft, felony lewd acts with a child, felony possession of a controlled substance, felony transportation of a controlled substance, misdemeanor contributing to the delinquency of a minor, misdemeanor immoral acts in front of a child, and felony conspiracy. 

“Additionally, both of the juveniles had warrants for being runaways and were later taken to a group home in Orange County. 

Rohkar and Torres were taken to county jail.

Sgt. Kleiser added one more comment: “I can tell you the officers and detectives spent several hours on this case.”


Police Files

16-yr-old Laguna Beach boy arrested for robbery Saturday night

Officers responded to the 1400 block of S. Coast Hwy at 7:33 Saturday night for a report of a robbery by fore – no weapons.

A Laguna Niguel man said a teenager had forcibly taken his BMX bicycle and his skateboard then took off.

Police did an area check and located a 16-year-old Laguna Beach boy with the stolen items.

Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD said Monday that the suspect was “…detained in the alley behind the Koffee Klatch and arrested for robbery.

No other details were immediately available, Sgt. Kleiser said. 

Woman suffered leg injury at Tablerock was hoisted out by copter

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by John Thomas

An injured woman and a paramedic being hoisted from Tablerock Beach

Fire rescue paramedics responded to Tablerock Beach at 3 o’clock Monday afternoon after a 9-1-1 caller reported a woman with a leg injury.

She was at Little Cove and unable to walk. Fire personnel called for an OC Fire Authority helicopter to perform a hoist rescue because the tide was rising quickly.

Paramedics stabilized the woman on the beach and the hoist rescue was handled without any difficulties. The copter brought her on board along with a paramedic and she was flown to hospital in less than an hour after the 9-1-1 call was received.

Three young children who were with the woman were taken to the hospital by LB police officers.   

First date was the last date – woman told police

A woman called 9-1-1 at 9:56 Saturday night from a S. Coast Hwy restaurant and said her date had hit her in the face. She added that it was their first date and that she wasn’t sure of his name.

He had left the restaurant on a motorcycle, she said.

A patrol officer stopped a motorcycle a short time later headed outbound in the 600 block of Laguna Canyon Road and investigated and arrested the male rider for DUI.

It didn’t take police too long to connect the rider, Gregory Louis Piazza, 46 from Mission Viejo, to the 9-1-1 call.

The woman who had called said she was sure this was their first and last date.


Police Files

Man robbed at gunpoint in Mobil parking lot

Police responded to the Mobil station at 10:30 last Thursday night after a man reported that he had been robbed at gunpoint as he walked to his car in the parking lot of the gas station.

Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD said, “He told the officers that a black male approached him from the passenger side and had a gun in his hand. The suspect asked for everything in the victim’s pockets. The victim handed the male his wallet that contained credit cards and also gave the suspect some methamphetamine he had in his pocket.”

The victim provided only a sparse description and added that an Asian woman was with the suspect when they fled from the area.

Woman taken for $11,000 by man she met on the web

A woman came to the police station and told an officer that a man she had met on Facebook recently had convinced her to give him nearly $11,000 in three different wire transfer transactions in May.

Sgt. Tim Kleiser said she gave him $1,260.00 to assist him with paying for shipping of some items and later wire transferred $6,289 and $3,000.

When she was unable to make contact with the man, she realized that she had been scammed and came to the police station.

This type of fraud is commonly called the “sweetheart scam”.

Police didn’t release any further details at this time.  

Routine investigation takes a bad girl off the streets

A traffic stop in the 100 block of Brooks Street at 2:57 a.m. Sunday resulted in the arrest of Dava Voss Spears, 46, Irvine, for four Central Court felony warrants – three with no bail.

The charges on the warrants included auto theft, grand theft, three counts of drug possession, false personation of another person when charged with a felony, possession of stolen property from a public entity and possession of drugs while incarcerated in a penal institution.

She was booked at the police station and taken to county jail.


Police Files

Murder conviction overturned in 2009 beating death of Damon Nicholson in his North Laguna apartment

Damon Nicholson was murdered with a baseball bat in his Dolphin Way apartment in October 2009. At the time, the 40-year-old man was the banquet manager at Hotel Laguna and well known around town.

After an investigation, Laguna Beach Police detectives arrested two Lake Forest men, Matthew Dragna and Jacob Quintanilla, both 19, for Nicholson’s murder. Both men had gone to the Dolphin Way residence to have sex with Nicholson.

Dragna had been there on more than one occasion and court records show that he invited Quintanilla to the location on the night of the murder.

Dragna and Quintanilla were convicted of the murder in separate jury trials with Dragna convicted in December 2013 and later sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Last week, a three-judge panel of the Fourth District Court of Appeals reversed that conviction finding that Laguna Beach detectives had continued to question Dragna after he had invoked a request for an attorney. That, the court ruled, was a violation of Dragna’s rights under Miranda v. Arizona. That ruling removed the evidence that had been obtained during the questioning.

California’s Attorney General’s office acknowledged that the detectives made the error but argued that there was other independent evidence sufficient to convict Dragna. That evidence included DNA. 

The Orange County DA is expected to file charges for a new trial but have made no announcement.

A spokesperson for the Laguna Beach PD said they have no comment at this time.   

 

New “Coast to Coast” seat belt enforcement effort starts May 23 and aims to increase Click It or Ticket participation, save lives 

From May 23 to June 5, local law enforcement personnel will participate in the national Click It or Ticket campaign in an effort to save lives through increased seat belt use. This education enforcement period comes ahead of the Memorial Day holiday, one of the busiest travel weekends of the year. 

According to research conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, while 88.5 percent of passenger vehicle occupants buckled up in 2015, almost 50 percent of occupants of fatal crashes nationwide are not restrained. In some states, the rate is as high as 70 percent unrestrained in fatal crashes. In California, more than a half million people travel our roadways at grave risk without proper restraints. These facts highlight the need for increased education, awareness, and enforcement of seat belt use. Law enforcement agencies statewide are joining the Click It or Ticket effort to emphasize the “Coast to Coast” seat belt safety awareness campaign in all 50 states. 

“As law enforcement, we have a special role in helping protect the safety of our citizens,” said Lt. Jeff Calvert. “Time after time, we see the deadly results that come from drivers and passengers refusing to wear a seat belt. Wearing a seat belt is one of the most important steps in increasing survivability in a crash. Our job is to stop those who are not buckled up, and to keep them from repeating this potentially deadly mistake.” 

In 2014, nearly half of the 21,022 passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes nationally were unrestrained, according to NHTSA. During the nighttime hours of 6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m., that number increased to 57 percent of those killed. 

“Hundreds of thousands of citizens will be traveling this Memorial Day weekend, as well as throughout the summer vacation season. We want to make sure that people are buckling up to keep themselves and their families safe. It is the greatest defense in a vehicle crash,” said Rhonda Craft, Director of the California Office of Traffic Safety. 

For more info on the Click It or Ticket campaign, visit http://www.nhtsa.gov/ciot


Police Files

Laguna man, 26, arrested for felon with a gun while he was arrested for stealing a car on Laguna Canyon Rd

A Laguna Beach man, 26, was arrested last Wednesday afternoon for felony vehicle theft and felon in possession of a gun after he was detained about a block away from where a 2006 Mazda SUV had been reported stolen about three hours earlier in the 21000 block of Laguna Canyon Road.

LBPD Sgt. Tim Kleiser said Michael Matekel was observed in the area of the stolen Mazda after a patrol officer had found it in the 20400 block of Sun Valley. 

“The officer watched it from a distance. While the officer was there, a man approached the patrol car from the rear. The officer exited the patrol car and saw a wooden handle of a pistol sticking out of one of his pockets.”

Matekel also had the keys to the stolen Mazda in his possession along with the .22 caliber pistol.

Detectives nab two Inland Empire women trying for a $20K fraud

A plastic surgery center reported earlier in the month that a woman had paid for over $4,500 in surgery after submitting a fraudulent credit application.

LBPD Sgt. Tim Kleiser explained that a detective followed up on the report and while investigating the original fraud, discovered that two other women had pulled off the same type of fraud.

“Those two were approved for their surgery costs after filing the fraudulent application and had charged a total of $20,400 in deposits with the financing firm,” Sgt. Kleiser said.

The two women, both from Moreno Valley, had set appointments for their initial surgical consultation for this coming week, which they cancelled.

Both women, Donicka Baker, 39 and Makeida Blackman, 27, drove to the surgery center last week and attempted to have their deposit amounts returned and credited to their actual credit cards.

They were detained by detectives and arrested on felony charges of grand theft, ID theft, impersonating another person to obtain credit, and obtaining money under false pretenses.


Police Files

Weaving crimes together never ends up as a good thing

Sometimes, people create what police call a cluster @#&} while trying to score big on a crime spree. We have two of those to report today – one that happened way back in March and the other this past Monday and Tuesday. We promise there won’t be a quiz after you read these…

A reader sent us this photo in March

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Jeff Greenough

A woman was arrested on Jasmine Street

An alert officer’s attention was drawn to suspicious occupants, a man and a woman, of a car when the officer saw the man walk away from a parked car near Cypress on Jasmine Street in North Laguna back in March. When the officer spoke to the man, Jason Sacdalan, 45, Costa Mesa, he admitted going into the parked car but hadn’t taken anything.

Sacdalan had been in a car driven by Emily Blaney, 20, of Huntington Beach, which was parked on Jasmine.

Meanwhile, another officer was taking a report on High Drive and Poplar Street for items taken from a vehicle. That officer recognized the description of the car stopped on Jasmine as the same as had been given by the victim on High Drive.

It was also at about that time that the officer on Jasmine arrested Sacdalan for two West Court warrants for drug possession with $20,000 bail.

The officer from the High Drive report assisted in a search of the car that Blaney and Sacdalan had driven, which, it turned out, was also a stolen car.

Property stolen on High Drive was inside the stolen car as was a considerable amount of other property that may have been stolen. Even now, all of it has not been accounted for, which is why we didn’t have the details to write this…before…

When the officers who responded to the scene turned their attention toward Blaney, they soon determined that she was a 10:30 in the morning drunk driver. 

Once sorted through, Blaney was charged with felony auto theft, DUI, and possession of stolen property.

Sacdalan was held for the two warrants, false information to a police officer, felony auto theft, possession of stolen property, misdemeanor possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia. 

Earlier this week…

An officer took a simple shoplifting report at Montage Laguna Beach early Monday evening for a purse valued at $488. Security told police that the suspect had been seen taking the purse by a witness before he drove off.

On Tuesday morning at 10:37, an officer responded to Urth Caffe on N. Coast Hwy about a suspicious man who matched the description Montage security had for the suspect from Monday.

When the man was contacted, according to Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD, “He was standing near a vehicle on Coast Highway in front of the restaurant with a purse that matched the description of the one stolen at Montage. The purse was later confirmed to be the one taken and the man was also identified as the person who took it.”

For good measure, the vehicle the man had driven off from Montage in and he had parked on Coast Highway was a stolen car form LA County.

Lebarr Darell Littlejohn, 34, Imperial Beach, was arrested for felony vehicle theft, possession of stolen property and shoplifting.


Police Files

18-year-old arrested for impersonating a police officer

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo courtesy LBPD

Allan Sauer, 18, Costa Mesa, was arrested at 1:31 Sunday morning near West Street on Coast Hwy in South Laguna after being stopped for speeding.

Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD told us Monday, “The officer initially thought the vehicle (above) was possibly associated with a law enforcement agency as the vehicle was a white Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor model that also had a front push bar. When the officer was speaking with the driver he noticed the vehicle was equipped with a prisoner cage in the rear seating area, a laptop computer mounted in the center console similar to what police agencies have and it had spotlights on both A-pillars.”

A search of the car turned up “…a California Department of Fish and Game citation book, yellow ‘Sheriff’s Do Not Cross’ tape, and several other items that were law enforcement associated. They also noticed the vehicle was equipped with emergency lights and siren,” Sgt. Kleiser added.

The driver was wearing green pants and a jacket that resembled what OC Sheriff’s deputies wear as their regular uniforms.

Sauer denied that he was a police officer.

He was charged with misdemeanor impersonating a police officer.

Laguna Beach man among four charged with bilking investors of over $1 million in development scheme

The OC District Attorney said that Jourdan Tyson Groves, 37, Laguna Beach, and three other South OC men have been charged with 12 felony counts of using an untrue statement in the purchase or sale of a security and one felony count of using a device with a scheme to defraud with sentencing enhancement allegations for over $100,000 loss, aggravated white collar crime over $100,000, aggravated white collar crime over $500,000, property damage or loss over $65,000, and property loss over $200,000. If convicted, Groves and the other men each face a maximum sentence of 24 years in state prison. Groves is out of custody on $1 million bail.

The charges stem from a plan to develop a project to build a miniature golf course, restaurant, and water park in San Clemente.

They are accused of using the money to pay for attorney fees, pay themselves salaries, and taking large cash withdrawals without disclosing it to investors and of misappropriating investor funds by spending investment money on restaurants, gas, hotels, utilities, air travel and at retail stores.

IRS scammers convince Laguna resident to pay $5000 

A Laguna Beach resident received a phone call last Thursday from a female who said she was an IRS employee who demanded that the victim immediately deposit $5,000 into a specified bank account to avoid an immediate arrest.

The victim complied because the $5,000 was the amount actually owed to the IRS in taxes. 

The victim became suspicious when the female called again and demanded that an additional $3,750 be deposited.

According to the police log a call to the IRS by the victim resulted in their being informed that the IRS system had been breached.

The victim then called the Laguna Beach PD and made the fraud report. 


Police Files

Man arrested inside women’s room taking pictures

Jonathan Celis-Sorrosa, 25, of Santa Ana, was arrested for invasion of privacy with a camera and resisting arrest early Sunday morning at the White House.

Police were called after a woman told a security guard that a man had taken photos of her while she was inside a stall of the women’s restroom.

Police responded at 1:51 a.m. and found Celis-Sorrosa still in the restroom and escorted him outside.

Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD said, “He attempted to pull away several times from the officers and after a brief struggle, was placed in handcuffs.”

No further details were available.   

Two stolen cars led to numerous charges and three in custody

LBPD patrol officers successfully stopped two stolen cars on Laguna streets on Thursday and Sunday resulting in three suspects being arrested on felony charges.

Early Sunday morning, a 2016 Nissan Sentra that had been reported stolen in Anaheim on Friday was stopped at S. Coast Hwy and Legion Street.

After clearing the car at gunpoint at 4:49 a.m., officers found burglary tools on board and arrested the two men who had been in the car.

Michael Moran, 27, Santa Ana, was charged with felony vehicle theft, possession of stolen property and possession of burglary tools. Nestor Garcia, 28, also from Santa Ana, was arrested for the same charges plus false ID to a police officer and driving on a suspended/revoked license.

On Thursday at 1:14 a.m., police stopped a red Honda CRV in the 600 block of Laguna Canyon Road. It had been stolen in Bishop on Wednesday.

LBPD Sgt. Tim Kleiser said Monday, “During a search of the vehicle, officers located a methamphetamine pipe and methamphetamine.”

Seattle, WA resident Anthony Wendell Evans, 37, was arrested on charges of felony vehicle theft and possession of a controlled substance.

Laguna resident defrauded by IRS phone scammers

The FBI made a national announcement last Thursday about a phone scam that was being reported all over the country.

That same afternoon, LBPD learned from a North Laguna resident that scammers claiming to be IRS agents had instructed that two Apple gift cards be purchased in the total amount of $800 to satisfy a tax debt.

The victim complied and gave the caller the card numbers and lost $800.

One sure thing, cops will be out in droves on Cinco de Mayo

Fiesta time or jail time?

If you are planning to party this Cinco de Mayo, keep this number in mind: 343 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes over the Cinco de Mayo holiday weekend in 2014. Of those 343 people who lost their lives, 34 percent (116) died in drunk-driving crashes. And the drivers in those crashes weren’t just a little drunk. Sadly, almost one out of five (17 percent) of all the drivers in fatal crashes that weekend had blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) of .15 percent or higher – almost twice the legal limit in every state.

Everyone should be mindful also that if you’re taking medication – whether prescription or over-the-counter – drinking even small amounts of alcohol can greatly intensify the level of impairment.

LBPD will have additional patrol units all over town looking for impaired drivers this Thursday evening with the goal of lowering the number of deaths and injuries.


Police Files

Man swam nude off Aliso for two-plus hours Thursday and refused to allow lifeguards to pull him to safety

South Laguna resident Linda Saville told us Thursday morning that she had shook her head when she saw a man trotting down Coast Hwy near Aliso Beach with only a white towel around his waist. “It was way too chilly for that,” she added.

That was about 9:36.

She arrived at her nearby home and looked toward the beach after she heard a siren. The man had dropped the towel. “He didn’t have anything else on and was swimming out from shore. After about 10 minutes, a lifeguard entered the water and went after him.”

Linda said that she watched the situation and the man constantly put on a burst of speed to avoid whatever the lifeguards tried to get him out of the water.

“He was a very good swimmer against the wind and current […and chilly water],” she said adding that he was out near the mile buoy quickly and still swimming easily.

Meanwhile, the Sheriff’s Harbor Patrol boat and wave runner arrived on scene and made attempts to get to the man – who kept swimming away from them.

At about noon, after he’d been in the water in the buff for two hours, lifeguards had convinced the unidentified man to allow them to pull him from the water and take him to shore. He was loaded into an ambulance and taken to hospital for a 72-hour mental evaluation, police said.


Police Files

Mountain biker tumbled 200 feet down sheer cliff above Laguna Canyon Rd Friday afternoon is still listed to be in critical condition

An unidentified mountain biker in his 50s fell from his bike along Telonic Trail Friday afternoon and tumbled some 200 feet down a sheer cliff to a ledge, fire authorities said. The cliff is located above the 2800 block of Laguna Canyon Road between Alta Laguna and the canyon floor.

The man suffered fractures and internal injuries that included his chest area and was still listed in critical condition at Orange County Global Medical Center in Santa Ana as of late Monday evening. 

Laguna Beach and Orange County Fire Authority firefighters and paramedics along with a fire authority copter responded to the remote rescue after the 4:02 p.m. 9-1-1 call from a friend of the fallen biker. Rescue operations were begun from both above and below the cliff ledge.

The difficult and dangerous terrain made reaching the injured man a challenge and it took about an hour for a paramedic to be lowered to the ledge. The paramedic did what could be done to stabilize the victim and at the same time, made observations as to the safest and best way to extricate the biker who was barely conscious.

Harnesses were established and a stokes basket was lowered that allowed the fire authority copter to airlift the man to Santa Ana leaving the area at about 6:40 p.m.

The biker was wearing a helmet, authorities said.

Capo Beach man arrested for delivering marijuana

Robert Cadman, 57, Capistrano Beach, was arrested Saturday evening for possession of marijuana for felony sales and furnishing marijuana. 

At 5:42 Saturday afternoon, an officer made contact with a man seated in a car in the 200 block of Fairview Street, Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD said, Monday.

“During the conversation, the officer learned the male had marijuana in the vehicle that he claimed he was delivering,” Sgt. Kleiser explained.

Non-profit collectives can make deliveries under current Laguna Beach law.

Sgt. Kleiser added, “The man admitted to receiving money form people he delivers to.” Collectives don’t do that.

Cadman was in possession of a little more than a pound and a half of marijuana.


Police Files

High school acted as soon as it learned of the threats

We have heard concerns from parents that the high school was tardy in notifying them that a student had made serious threats against the safety of the students and staff. Our information would disagree with that conclusion.

The first two sentences of a release by Laguna Beach High School on Tuesday, April 19, may have caused the problem:

“On Monday, April 11, a Laguna Beach High School student reported information to school officials that he overheard a student make suspected threats against the school. LBHS staff immediately notified the Laguna Beach Police Department (LBPD) and the information was thoroughly investigated.”

The student who reported the information that he had heard on Monday waited until Friday, April 15, to inform school officials.

The police department’s log shows a 10:16 a.m. incident on April 15 and it is the only entry in the log from LBHS about the threats.

Police immediately responded to the school and began speaking with the boys involved finally detaining one boy at 2:16 before taking him to the police station where he was questioned.

Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD said the boy’s parents cooperated with police and that they facilitated a search of their South Laguna home Friday, a search as noted in the police log. Sgt. Kleiser confirmed that evidence was found there but would not elaborate or speak to any additional information since the case is under investigation for the possibility of having the OC District Attorney file criminal charges against the boy.

The release from LBUSD also contained the following:

The District’s proactive, ongoing educational programs encourage students to report information regarding threats of violence. From elementary to high school, students are told that if they “See something,” they should “Say something.” The District’s recent programs on social-emotional supports have also improved the staff’s ability to intervene with students who are struggling, and more students are coming forward to share information directly with school officials and through the LBHS Text-a-Tip program.

Student safety is the top priority of the District, and all safety policies and procedures were followed in this case. While the District understands the community’s desire to know details about this specific incident, the District cannot disclose further details about the students involved, nor any proposed or implemented disciplinary action that has or may occur due to privacy laws.


Police Files

Scam alert from the LBPD – their officers never solicit money – but there are scammers claiming to be with the LBPD who are 

Late last week the Police Department was made aware of telephone scam where the calling party identified themselves as a Police Captain with the Laguna Beach Police Department and appeared to be calling from its non-emergency number. The individual demanded that they withdraw $2,000 in order to not be arrested for a supposed warrant for not attending jury duty.

Neither the Laguna Beach Police Department nor any governmental agency will ever call and solicit money for fines and does not solicit warrant information by phone. The Police Department will never ask you to get a money order, gift card, or wire transfer. If you receive this type of phone call, always verify who the caller truly is, do not use a phone number they provide you as verification. Usually, the number provided by the thief will go to a voice recording/message. 

Call the Laguna Beach Police Department to verify any solicitation.

If you have sent money or believe that you are a victim of a crime, please call the Laguna Beach Police Department to report the incident.

Anyone with information regarding this crime can contact Sgt. Tim Kleiser, Public Information Officer, mailto: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 949-464-6671.


Police Files

Video shows man who passed bogus bills at Orange Inn

This month, the Orange Inn and other local businesses have received counterfeit bills – both fifties and hundreds. The Orange Inn was hit with one of each last week.

The restaurant reviewed its surveillance video with the employees who were working when the bills were passed and placed the bogus bills with one man. The images were turned over to the LBPD and a Crime Bulletin was created to ask for any information you may have and to alert other merchants to be on the lookout for the man.

The LBPD Bulletin:

Click on the bulletin for a larger image

 

Animal services “relocates” rattlesnake from fire road

Eileen Moskow took this photo of Animal Services Officer John Thompson as he convinced a rattlesnake to move off the fire road near Moulton Meadows Tuesday.

Eileen wrote, “The snake was sunning itself on the fire road and folks walking almost stepped on it and called the PD. The pesky snake wanted to stay!” 


Police Files

Trio has poor timing for a grab and run burglary from downtown store; a cop was driving up the street as they ran to getaway car 

Photos by STAN NISHIKAWA

An officer was on routine patrol in the 200 block of Forest Avenue at 6:08 p.m. Saturday when he saw a young female and a male running from Robin’s Jean. Both had “…arms full of merchandise…towards a getaway vehicle parked on Forest Avenue,” according to a Thursday afternoon press release from LBPD spokesman Jordan Villwock.

“After a short foot pursuit and with the assistance of additional officers, a total of three suspects were detained at the getaway vehicle and subsequently arrested.”

Click on photo for a larger image

 

A suspect is taken into custody after the female had been apprehended

Click on photo for a larger image

 

A second suspect was removed from the vehicle and arrested

Click on photo for a larger image

 

Officers approach the vehicle to be sure it was cleared per standard protocol

The press release identified the two men arrested as Matthew Morgan, 21 and Geron Funches, 20, both of Los Angeles. The female, 16, also from LA, was held and later released to a parent at the police station. All three were charged with felony burglary and conspiracy to commit a crime.

The two leaving the store dropped merchandise valued at $11,553 in the street where it was recovered and held as evidence. 

Forest Avenue was opened a short time later according to the press release.


Police Files

Teen brandished a handgun when interrupted by the owner of a vehicle he was trying to hot wire Monday

The owner of an El Camino parked at Glenneyre and Park Avenue saw a male teenager inside trying to hot wire the vehicle Monday morning. The owner yelled to the teen to get out and the teen lifted his shirt exposing what appeared to be a handgun, LBPD spokesman Jordan Villwock said.

Villwock added, “While the victim was calling the police the suspect advised it was not a real gun however that was never confirmed and the incident is still under investigation.”

According to the police log, the suspect was last seen running down Ramona Avenue. Police did an area search but were not able to locate him.

Laguna PD joins national campaign to end distracted driving 

Distracted driving is such an important safety issue that April is recognized as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. In California, Police, Sheriff and CHP officials are joining the Office of Traffic Safety, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), as well as law enforcement throughout the country, working together to focus on education as well as enforcement. 

The purpose of the campaign is to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving in an attempt to change behavior and save lives, not just in April but also year-round. The Laguna Beach Police Department will join statewide enforcement campaigns this month, “zero tolerance days,” when all agencies will be especially vigilant for distracted drivers. 

Distracted driving continues to be a problem, especially as the use of Smartphones increases. Although such crashes are often difficult to prove, California had at least 84 fatal distracted driving collisions in 2013, 85 in 2014 and 67 in 2015, with the actual number of cases likely higher. The number of injury collisions for the same three-year period shows an increase: 10,078 in 2013; 10,463 in 2014, and 11,023 in 2015. NHTSA data for 2014 show nationwide, 3,179 people died in distracted driving collisions, which is 10% of all crash fatalities. An additional 431,000 people, or 18%, were injured in motor vehicle collisions involving distracted drivers. 

“As we rely on our cell phones more and more in our everyday lives, we seem to be kidding ourselves in thinking that they don’t affect our driving,” said OTS Director Rhonda Craft. “Crashes are up. The scientific evidence is solid. The dangers are real, and they apply to all of us. We need to silence the distractions.” The problem of distracted driving is significant, and no surprise to drivers day in and day out. 

The California Office of Traffic Safety, Police, Sheriff and the CHP reminds everyone that best way to end distracted driving is to educate all Americans about the danger it poses.


Police Files

Stolen car hits 100 MPH thru Laguna Canyon while being chased by Santa Ana PD; stop made in No Lag

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Tom Crank

Santa Ana PD, OC Sheriff’s units, CHP and LBPD all pursued the stolen Honda in this photograph before it was stopped headed the wrong way on Monterey Drive near Poplar Street in North Laguna last Thursday afternoon. The Honda hit speeds of 100 mph on Laguna Canyon Road, police said. LBPD officers used a spike strip in the 600 block of Laguna Canyon Road flattening the two tires on the left side. The driver managed to keep going until being stopped in North Laguna. Santa Ana officers detained and arrested the suspect at about 3:30 p.m.

If you get drunk, yell and fight in a car, put the top up

9-1-1 callers last Wednesday afternoon reported that a female passenger in a convertible was screaming loudly that she wanted to be let out of the car. The callers said the convertible, with its top down, had left northbound.

Police stopped the car on Hillcrest Drive near Riddle Field at 4:35.

After speaking with the man who was driving and the woman passenger who had been screaming, LBPD officers arrested Newport Beach resident Gemma Johnson, 37, for being drunk in public, violation of a court protective order and felony domestic battery. Her bail was $50,000.


Police Files

Goats escape their enclosure on Bluebird Canyon Dr.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Carter Fraser

It was goats, goats and more goats on Bluebird Canyon Drive late Monday night. Carter Fraser, LBHS senior, wrote that the goats leased by the city to mitigate the potential fuel supply for wildfires had escaped the enclosure by the tennis courts along the creek bed. They meandered down to the intersection of Oriole Drive devouring plants along the way. Oh, that’s at least one thing they’re known for…

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mike Johnson

Cops arrive on scene in time to thwart potential burglar in business complex on Laguna Canyon Rd

At 4:45 Tuesday morning, a 9-1-1 caller reported that a man’s shadow had been seen and the door to the caller’s studio had been nudged. The call came from a business complex that houses a number of artists’ studios in the 3200 block of Laguna Canyon Road.

Once on scene, it didn’t take police long to locate and detain Buena Park resident James Marinow, 31.

Police said Marinow was arrested for felony attempted burglary with bail set at $50,000. His probation officer was contacted per protocol and immediately ordered that he be held without bail for probation violation.

DUI enforcement operations planned Saturday overnight

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, April 2, between the hours of 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. in areas with high frequencies of DUI collisions and/or arrests. 

Over the course of the past three years in Laguna Beach officers have investigated 169 DUI collisions, which have claimed three lives and resulted in another 55 injuries. 

Law Enforcement emphasizes the preventable nature of drunk driving reminding everyone that all it takes is a little planning ahead. Designate a sober driver or call a cab. But whatever you do, don’t drink and drive. The cost of a ride home is cheap, nothing compared to a $10,000 DUI conviction and the ‘inconvenience’ of not driving your car home is nothing compared to the inconvenience of spending time behind bars. 

Funding for this DUI operation is provided to the Laguna Beach Police Department by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, reminding everyone to ‘Report Drunk Drivers – Call 9-1-1’.


Police Files

Yes – that really was an adult sea lion on Coast Hwy

Click on photo for a larger image

Still from a video courtesy

of Danny Rendon of

Stop N Go – North Laguna

An adult sea lion stopped traffic in both directions for several minutes when it tried crossing N. Coast Hwy near Cajon Street Monday morning before 7 a.m. Police responded and held off the traffic until animal services and a rescue unit from Pacific Marine Mammal Center arrived. It was gently coaxed off onto a lot next to Midas where PMMC safely captured it and took it for observation.

Felony hit and run driver pulled over on 405 Fwy

Police and paramedics responded to a report of a hit and run injury crash outbound on Laguna Canyon Road near the dog park at 5:22 p.m. Saturday. One person was injured, police said.

One LBPD patrol unit hurried out Laguna Canyon Road and located the suspect vehicle on the 133 heading onto the northbound 5 Freeway. A stop was made near Jeffrey Road and the 405.

In the process, the hit and run driver, Allan Anthony Bulsiewicz, 68, Seal Beach, was involved in another crash. Details of the second crash were unavailable Monday.

Bulsiewicz was arrested for DUI and felony hit and run causing injury.


Police Files

Suspect arrested in Dana Point Tuesday for rape of unconscious woman here early on Sunday morning

Laguna Beach detectives went to Dana Point Tuesday afternoon to arrest Daniel Stephen Brinton, 29, on charges of felony rape of an unconscious person and misdemeanor sexual battery. 

Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD said Brinton and the 24-year-old female victim were among several people staying the night at a home in the 400 block of Shadow Lane. At about 5 o’clock Sunday morning, according to Sgt. Kleiser, a witness saw Brinton allegedly sexually assaulting the woman who was sleeping.

“The witness yelled at the suspect who stopped what he was doing and left the home on Shadow Lane,” Kleiser said.

The victim reported the incident at 8:24 a.m. Sunday.

Brinton was booked here with bail of $100,000.

Home burglary interrupted on Park Ave Thursday night – cops and Sheriff’s helicopter searched area

From a press statement by LBPD Sgt. Tim Kleiser at 12:15 a.m. March 25:

Last night at 7:16 p.m., officers responded to a residence on the 1900 block of Park Avenue for a residential burglary that was interrupted by the resident when he came home. The RP pulled into the driveway and saw a truck in front of the garage with items from his home in plain sight. 

He then saw someone get in the truck and begin to drive away. The resident tried to block the truck from leaving with his vehicle, but the truck was able to go around his car and flee. The truck also struck the RP’s car when fleeing. Shortly thereafter the resident saw another male run away from his home. 

Officers checked the area with the assistance of an Orange County Sheriff’s helicopter, but were unable to locate the truck or the male that ran. 

LBPD detectives responded to assist with the investigation and the Orange County Crime Lab also responded to process the crime scene at the home. 

The loss is estimated to be in excess of $50,000. The RP is completing an itemized list of the property stolen from the home.

Drunk driver crashed into a house on S. Coast Hwy

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Ryen Caenn

The Ford F250 pickup above crashed into a multi-unit building in the 2700 block of S. Coast Hwy late Thursday afternoon. No one was injured. Before running into the structure, the pickup smashed into the rear of a southbound car.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Torryn Nunyo

This photo clearly shows the structural damage the pickup truck caused hitting the building. The driver, Edgar Angon, 38, Lake Forest, was arrested for DUI.

Woman with 7 warrants nabbed at ASL Monday night

Officers learned that a suspect with seven warrants, one for a felony charge was at the Alternative Sleeping Location Monday evening. They were able to take Leslie Jan Shacklett, 53, into custody for the warrants and added two new charges as well.

The total bail for her was set at $60,000.

The charges on the warrants included felony domestic battery, violation of a protective order (two warrants), DUI, contempt of court, trespassing and battery.

Police added fresh charges of violating a protective order and contempt of a court order at the time of her arrest.

She was taken to county jail.


Police Files

Man arrested in men’s room after pulling a knife on another man

Chad Garcia, 30, Garden Grove, was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon just after midnight Friday after brandishing a knife and threatening another man.

A security guard was also in the Marine Room men’s room at the time and heard the threats. The guard escorted Garcia outside where they awaited the arrival of Laguna Beach Police officers.

Garcia was taken into custody for the felony charge without incident according to LBPD Sgt. Tim Kleiser. 

Bail was set at $25,000. 

Hacienda Heights man arrested after trying to smash store window

Police responded to the 300 block of Forest Avenue at 11:35 p.m. Saturday after a man was seen trying to smash the window of a store with a rock.

Jake Tineo, 20, of Hacienda Heights was detained while still in front of the store window when officers arrived on scene. The witness who had called 9-1-1 verified that the cops had their man.

Sgt. Tim Kleiser said Monday, “The window at the business had marks on it from a rock that the male was using to try and break it. They also saw that a nearby mailbox was opened and mail was scattered on the ground. Some of the mail had been opened.”

Tineo was arrested for felony attempted burglary and misdemeanor mail theft.

He was booked here and taken to county jail with bail of $20,000.


Police Files

Boy, 17, with no license, nabbed for speeding with 5-yr-old in car

A Laguna Beach PD motor officer stopped a car on North Coast Highway near Irvine Cove Drive for speeding at 9:49 Sunday morning.

When the officer spoke to the driver, he learned that he was a 17-year-old without a driver’s license. He had also been reported as a missing juvenile but police were able to confirm that he had returned home but that had not been reported to police.

There were three passengers with the 17-year-old – boys 5 and 13 who were his brothers and a 19-year-old friend.

The officer also detected something else – a definite odor of marijuana. Once an additional officer was on scene, an investigation for pot began. The 19-year-old soon admitted to having more marijuana and a small amount was located in his shirt. He was issued a citation for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana.

Police detained the three juveniles from Costa Mesa and took them to the police station where they were released to an adult family member after further investigation.

It is possible that additional charges might stem from the incident.


Police Files

The details of what happened at Cress Street Friday

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Chris Tomlin

The OC Sheriff’s SWAT Team rescue vehicle at Cress Street Friday

The following is a statement from the La Casa Del Camino Hotel and has been verified through the LBPD by Stu News Laguna as being accurate.

Around 6:45 a.m., several guests reported a perfume-like odor and complained of itchy eyes and sore throats. As a precaution, a member of hotel staff phoned the Laguna Beach Fire Department. 

Firefighters arrived promptly on the scene and began conducting voluntary evacuations as a precaution. Police were requested by the LBFD at 7:15.  

Avila’s El Ranchito and the Surf and Sand Resort stepped in to lend a hand. Michael Avila assured La Casa Del Camino they could move their guests over to El Ranchito even though they weren’t even open yet. The Surf and Sand generously offered a room for the overflow as well.

During these evacuations, a guest on the third floor who appeared to have a negative reaction to the smell, refused to evacuate his room. 

Around 7:30 a.m., the Orange County Sheriff’s Department Bomb Squad and SWAT team, along with the Orange County Fire Authority’s Hazmat unit were called to the hotel in order to investigate the suspicious circumstances and identify the source of the smell. The scene was immediately contained and no threat was present to the Laguna Beach Community. 

“The SWAT team went into the room [at 2:30]. We did not locate the individual. We did not see anything suspicious,” said Laguna Beach Police Department Emergency Operation Coordinator Jordan Villwock. “It’s believed that the subject possibly left before our arrival this morning.” 

After a thorough search of the establishment, no threat was found. The smell was caused by a bottle of cologne being left unattended on a heater. 

Despite complaints of feeling ill, no hotel guests have been hospitalized or reported any injures due to these events. 

“This is a good exercise for us to go through as hoteliers,” said owner Chris Keller. “The Fire Department and the Police Department have been outstanding. Our guests are really amazing and understanding. This is how a community comes together.”

La Casa Del Camino and its restaurant concepts reopened at 4 o’clock and guests were allowed to return to their rooms. 

Details & update on the Arch Beach Heights house fire

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Christina Shook

The home that burned on La Mirada Street Thursday night (and reported in our Friday edition) was completely destroyed according to the Laguna Beach Fire Department. Two firefighters were treated at the scene for minor injuries.

LB Fire Chief Jeff LaTendresse said there were two unusual circumstances about the call that came in just after six o’clock. “Our dispatchers had just received a call about multiple fire alarms in a multi-unit building on S. Coast Highway and a full structure response was dispatched.

“As those units were responding, the La Mirada Street calls came in and it was quickly apparent that we had the probability of a fire there.”

A second structure response was dispatched meaning eight fire engines and three ladder trucks were responding to calls in Laguna Beach at the same time.

Chief LaTendresse redirected the first response apparatus, which included all four Laguna Beach engines, from the alarm call to Arch Beach Heights. 

The call on S. Coast Highway turned out to be a false alarm.

Chief LaTendresse then explained the second unusual circumstance. “The lower levels of the home on La Mirada Street were fully involved almost immediately; probably at the same time the home’s fire alarms went off.

“Our engines could see the flash [of massive flames] quickly as they were responding and we were able to call it a working fire Justas quickly. That meant a second alarm and because of the false alarm call downtown, the second alarm response was already en route.”

Eight fire engines and three ladder trucks were in Arch Beach Heights within minutes of the call and that made a big difference in keeping the massive flames from spreading to any neighboring residences.

There were two people in the residence at the time of the fire. Chief LaTendresse said they were able to get outside quickly. “One of the women decided to go back inside in an attempt to save her pet birds. A neighbor saw that and followed her to extoll that she needed to leave, which she said she was doing because there was too much smoke for her to stay. She did not require any assistance for smoke inhalation.”

The three pet birds perished in the flames. 

The cause of the fire is still being determined.

For the record – police will be looking closely for drunk drivers who over-celebrated St. Patrick’s Day 

Laguna Beach Police will have beefed up DUI saturation units on the streets of town Thursday night – St. Patrick’s Day.

Don’t drink and drive and if you see a suspected impaired driver, don’t hesitate – call 9-1-1 immediately.


Police Files

Blaze destroys hillside home in Arch Beach Heights last night

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LBHS student Beebe Bedell took this photo from her deck across the street shortly after the fire was first spotted by neighbors who began calling 9-1-1

Seven 9-1-1 calls came in at the emergency dispatch center in town shortly after six o’clock Thursday evening all reporting that flames and heavy smoke were seen in the 1200 block of La Mirada Street.

When the first Laguna fire engine arrived on scene, it reported that a hillside structure was “fully involved” with fire. 

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Mary Hurlbut took this from Temple Hills. It shows the hillside home fully involved

Once a command was established and other apparatus arrived, it was clear to firefighters that they needed a defensive approach to protect neighboring homes from the intense blaze. The burning residence was tiered down the hillside with multiple sublevels. All levels were engulfed in flame.

A second alarm was called and the flames were confined to the original residence. It took firefighters nearly an hour to knock the flames down to a point where they felt it safe to enter sublevels and douse the fire inside.

Click on photo for a larger image

 

Photo by Ryen Caen

 

Firefighters scurry to haul hose to an attack point to get water on the flames.

The residents were at home and managed to escape the flames, a witness said.

The cause of the fire was not determined last night. We will update this story when more information is known.

SF man saw the sign and was given ample time to read it

An officer pulled over a car for speeding near Alta Laguna Blvd and Tree Top Lane early this past Saturday morning. When the driver was questioned, it became apparent that he had a suspended license. His passenger, Mary Jane Madrid, 31 of Costa Mesa, had two misdemeanor warrants and she was arrested.

A search of the car led to the discovery of a glass meth pipe and the driver was arrested for two misdemeanor charges – possession of drug paraphernalia and driving with a suspended license.

Both were taken to the police station. Inside the sally port prior to entering the jail booking area, there is a sign that is pointed out to all prisoners who are given plenty of time to read it and they are asked if they understand it.

It makes it clear that it is a serious crime to being any contraband into a jail in the state of California. Dustin Patton, 25, San Francisco, said he understood the sign.

In the jail, officers found a baggy of methamphetamine on Patton and he was charged with misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance and felony bringing a controlled substance into a jail.

The bail on the simple drug possession charge is $500. 

The bail for the felony charge is $25,000.


Police Files

Sherman Oaks couple has a bad night visiting Laguna

Police emergency dispatch received a 9-1-1 call at 1:38 a.m. Saturday from a hotel guest in the 1400 block of S. Coast Hwy. According to the police log, the caller said a woman in the next room was yelling, “Let me out! Help me! Stop!”

Officers responded and arrested Mohammad Jamaal Hussein, 29, of Sherman Oaks for felony domestic battery against the female who had been screaming, with bail of $50,000.

Paramedics treated her for her injuries.

The victim, Aisha Emma Mitrea, 26, Sherman Oaks, ended up under arrest for a felony warrant from the LAPD with two charges of perjury, identity theft and false personation as another real person in a court proceeding with criminal charges.

Bail on the warrant was $150,000.

The couple in this Prius threw away the stereotypes

Toyota has a TV commercial you may have seen where cops are pursuing four suspects in a Prius on city streets. The dispatcher mocks the cop who radios that the Prius is going pretty fast.

If Toyota wants a true crime story for additional images to change the stereotypical Prius driver – an environmentally conscious “thinking” person – they might consider the results of a traffic stop made in the 300 block of Cliff Drive at a little past 11 o’clock Friday night. 

The Prius was pulled over after the officer saw it on the wrong side of the yellow stripes and running a red light.

Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD fills in the rest… 

“The officer spoke to the driver and learned that he had an active restraining order against him with the woman passenger in the car. She also had a restraining order against her – from him. 

“The officers searched the car and found a bag of methamphetamine and an eighteen-inch long baton.” 

Michael Hadipour, 54 from Escondido, was arrested for violation of a protective order, possession of a baton, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia, all misdemeanors. 

Roya Kazemzadeh, 48, Rancho Santa Margarita, was taken to jail for violation of a protective order and possession of a controlled substance, also misdemeanors.

Bail for both was $16,000.


Police Files

Two arrested after fighting cop downtown early Saturday morning

A man and woman were arrested after police responded to a reported melee at S. Coast Hwy and Forest Ave at 1:46 Saturday morning.

By the time the first patrol unit arrived on scene, the fight involved just two men. That officer managed to halt the fighters but when he attempted to detain one man, that one slugged the officer in the face and broke free.

Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD said Monday, “The man ran from the officer, but the officer was able to catch him and after another struggle a nearby Good Samaritan assisted the officer with handcuffing the suspect.”

Dennis Mondragon, 23 of Lake Forest, was arrested for misdemeanor assault on a police officer and felony resisting arrest.

LBPD booking photos

After other officers arrived, they learned that a female with Mondragon had fought with two bouncers at the White House a few minutes earlier. Courtney Ellis, 20, of Rancho Santa Margarita, was arrested for misdemeanor battery.

The officer who fought with Mondragon sustained cuts to his face and legs.


Police Files

Teenage girls rob woman on Anita St at knifepoint in broad daylight

Police said a woman walking alone in the 500 block of Anita Street Wednesday afternoon was robbed at knifepoint by teenage girls. 

Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD said police were not sure if two or three blonde haired teenage girls had approached the woman.

He said the victim called 9-1-1 within minutes of the robbery. “They drove past her on Anita Street as she walked toward the beach and stopped in front of her. The suspects approached her and demanded her purse and cell phone. She gave them $5 and they fled…”

Sgt. Kleiser said they were in a dark grey or black sedan or small SUV and were last seen westbound on Anita Street. The vehicle may have had out of state plates according to police who added that the driver appeared to be a male.

LBPD detectives are investigating the case.

Woman arrested after driving stolen car from the IE to visit the beach 

Police patrol units learned that a stolen white Saturn reported from Riverside had driven into Laguna Beach at the north City limits at 3:03 a.m. Tuesday morning. They searched for the car and located it parked in the 1000 block of Cliff Drive.

As officers watched the Saturn, other officers began an area search nearby, Sgt. Tim Kleiser indicated. They encountered a woman at Shaw’s Cove beach who denied knowledge of the car.

At 5 a.m., they saw her nearby the parked Saturn and questioned her once more. Her answers led them to a search and the keys to the stolen vehicle were discovered.

Tamra Trueblood, 43, from Murrieta in Riverside County, was arrested at 5:15 a.m. and charged with felony vehicle theft.


Police Files

Laguna Niguel man arrested for two attempted robberies Saturday

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Kay Metis

Several police units set up downtown to make arrest of suspect

LBPD officers arrested a Laguna Niguel man, 27, at Glenneyre and Forest Ave at 11:43 a.m. Saturday after he attempted to rob two downtown businesses.

LBPD Sgt. Tim Kleiser said Monday, “Officers responded to Art of Dr. Seuss in the 400 block of S. Coast Hwy for a robbery that had just occurred. The officers located the male suspect near Glenneyre and Forest and he struggled with the officers. They were able to detain the male and learned that he had also committed a robbery at Tuvalu located nearby. 

The suspect had entered Tuvalu and approached the store clerk at the register and ordered the employee to empty the register and give him all the money. The employee ran next door and called the police. The same male had previously run into Art of Dr. Seuss and demanded money an employee there. The employee told the suspect she did not have any money and he left. Nothing was taken from either business.

Joshua Poeske was taken into custody felony robbery, misdemeanor battery on a peace officer, and misdemeanor resisting arrest.

Sgt. Kleiser explained: “While in the booking room at the PD, Poeske kicked an officer and additional officers responded to the jail. After a struggle with Poeske they were able to detain him within the jail. An officer received minor injuries from the altercation.

The combative suspect was immediately taken to Orange County Jail, police said.

Stolen vehicle recovered on El Paseo – arrest made

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Dennis Rooney

Police secured the scene on El Paseo without incident

Police spotted a stolen 2009 Hyundai and managed to perform a felony car stop on El Paseo near the Main Beach cobblestones late Sunday afternoon.

Details were sparse other than it is known that Michael Mitchell, 51 of Orange, was arrested for felony possession of stolen property.


Police Files

Laguna rapist convicted – facing life in prison

Laguna Beach detectives arrested Babak “Bobby” Azadgilani, 28, Laguna Niguel, in May of 2013 after an investigation of a sexual assault here the month before. 

On April 21, 2013, the defendant met the victim at the beach and when she left to walk home, Azadgilani followed her to her front door, despite the victim repeatedly telling him that he was not allowed to enter her home. 

He eventually convinced her to allow him inside. Once inside, Azadgilani sexually assaulted the victim, including forcibly raping her. After he left, the victim called 911 and reported that she had been sexually assaulted. 

The LBPD issued a press release naming the suspect on May 17. Another woman came forward after seeing the news report alleging that he had sexually assaulted her at knifepoint at his Laguna Niguel residence on May 11, 2013.

Azadgilani was found guilty by a jury this week of two felony counts of forcible rape, and forcible oral copulation, with sentencing enhancements and allegations for sexual crimes against more than one victim and the use of a deadly weapon in the commission of a sexual assault. 

He will be sentenced March 25 and faces life in state prison.

Homeless man nabbed for armed robbery using hockey stick

Officers responded to the 200 block of Broadway at 3 p.m. Sunday after a caller reported a fight in progress. When police arrived on scene, they discovered that a man had been beaten by another man using a hockey stick and that the assailant had taken two bottles of prescription meds from the victim’s backpack.

Police were provided with a good description of the suspect by witnesses but were not immediately successful while searching the area.

At 6:24, they spotted the suspect identified as Colby Outlaw, 44, no fixed address, at the Broadway bus depot and after a brief investigation arrested him for felony armed robbery with bail set at $100,000.

Man, 27, arrested for felonies after punching an officer

A 9-1-1 caller reported that an officer was involved in a fight at the Broadway bus depot shortly after nine o’clock Monday morning. The caller said the man had punched the officer.

LBPD Sgt. Tim Kleiser said that Benjamin Allen Farley, 27, Laguna Beach and another man had been fighting and the officer had responded to that call.

“When the officer arrived he saw the two men fighting. One of the two [Farley] attempted to leave and after the officer ordered him to stop he turned around and walked toward the officer. The officer told the male to sit down but he refused and continued walking toward the officer. 

“When [Farley] came close, the officer took hold of him and attempted to sit him down. The man struggled with the officer and the two fell to the ground. Farley continued to fight with the officer and when two other officers arrived they were able to handcuff him. The officer received minor injuries from the altercation,” Kleiser added.

Farley was arrested for felony resisting an officer and felony battery on a peace officer with bail set at $20,000.


Police Files

Police arrest driver in Friday felony hit & run Saturday morning

Photo by Mark Nelson

This Chevrolet SUV was hit head on in a hit and run crash Friday afternoon

Police and fire responded to a head on traffic crash an N. Coast Hwy and Beverly Street at 3:32 Friday afternoon. A 17-year-old girl from Rancho Santa Margarita sustained minor injuries and was taken to hospital according to LBPD Sgt. Tim Kleiser.

On scene, it was learned that a Jeep SUV had left the scene. That vehicle was found parked on Hillcrest Drive shortly after the crash.

Photo by Christopher Kling

The suspect vehicle on Hillcrest Friday

Suzanna Olson, 54, of Laguna Beach, the registered owner of the suspect vehicle, was arrested at her home on Cliff Drive ay 9:48 Saturday morning. She was charged with felony hit and run with bail set at $50,000.


Police Files

Numerous thefts from cars in Temple Hills & TOW Tuesday

At least seven vehicle owners reported to police that items had been stolen out of their cars and trucks in the wee hours of Tuesday morning up and down Temple Hills Drive and on Mountain View Drive. 

A review of the police log indicates that items taken were in plain sight including a backpack and a duffle bag. The owner of a Ford F150 pickup estimated a loss of $1150 of missing items including a laptop.

Three of the seven reports included windows being smashed while the other four had open doors or windows.


Police Files

Five injured, (two critically) in crash near El Morro Monday night

A two-vehicle crash on Coast Highway near the entrance to El Morro Elementary School at about 9:15 Monday night sent five people to area hospitals.

A 20-year-old woman and a 19-year-old man were critically injured when they were ejected from a Ford SUV that rolled over after colliding with a Dodge Caravan.

A 10-year-old girl in the SUV received minor injuries and was transported to Children’s Hospital in Orange. A fourth occupant of the SUV was also injured, as was the only occupant – an older woman – of the Dodge Caravan.

All four adults were taken to trauma centers – two went to Mission Trauma Center in Mission Viejo and the others to OC Global Medical Center in Santa Ana. 

Coast Highway was closed in both directions from Newport Coast to the north city limits of Laguna Beach.

No details about the cause of the crash were immediately available.


Police Files

$180,000 embezzled from local business; ex-employee suspected

A local business reported Tuesday that it was missing $180,000. The RP said he had traced the missing money back from last month to June of 2012, police said.

Police have not made many details available except to say that detectives are on the case.

The police log indicated that the RP provided the name of a former employee who is suspected of being involved in the fraudulent bank activity that led to the discovery of the missing $180,000.

Check back for updates next week.

Drinking & driving is not a good idea on super Sunday

Wherever you might be watching the Super Bowl Sunday, you can rest assured a plethora of police units will be watching too – for drunk drivers.

Extra officers will be on duty Sunday here and for that matter, all over Orange County. Special DUI saturation patrols will be all over the place.

If you’ll be drinking, make a plan to have a way home before you go out to your Super Bowl party or local watering hole whether it’s a taxi, Lyft, Uber or a designated driver.

If you’re out there and see someone you suspect to be impaired, dial 9-1-1 and let the cops know where you are. You could be saving someone’s life.


Police Files

Cops find concealed stolen rifles at Alta Laguna Park

A Laguna patrol officer checked out two men just before midnight in Alta Laguna Park last Wednesday. One of the men took off on foot as the officer detained the other. Additional units responded to the scene.

Eventually, officers connected Kyle Enoka, 23, Fountain Valley, with a parked vehicle and discovered an empty rifle bag behind the back seat. A further search, which encompassed nearly an hour, turned up concealed rifles – a Smith & Wesson M&P 15 (that brand’s AR 15 equivalent) and a Ruger.

The two rifles had been reported stolen in Fountain Valley in mid-January, Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD said.

Enoka was arrested for carrying a concealed stolen firearm, possession of stolen property and possession of methamphetamine.

Power outage, trees down, high wind and rain Sunday

4,000 Edison customers had power outages of up to two hours Sunday when a tree fell on a power line from high winds in the 2100 block of Temple Hills Drive. That caused a transformer to blow up.

The outages covered the downtown area and several blocks south of Thalia Street. No injuries were reported.

Other wires and several trees were knocked down.

Click on photo for a larger image

 

Parking is always a problem in Laguna Beach – but this is taking that truth too far. Municipal Services cleared the tree quickly allowing traffic to suffer only a short time on Broadway. We thank Jason Pannell for posting this photo on Facebook.

Click on photo for a larger image

 

Scott Brashier

Click on photo for a larger image

 

Mary Hurlbut


Police Files

Another drunk driver ended up on Main Beach sand

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo courtesy LBPD

A drunk driver drove down Broadway and across Coast Highway at 11:15 Sunday night. The car hit the curb hard enough to dislocate the motor mounts and damage its front end.

Johanna Rodriguez, 25 of Pico Rivera, was arrested for DUI.

She was surprised but not injured, police said.


Police Files

LB cop punched by intoxicated man – required stitches

An intoxicated man outside of an Ocean Avenue bar punched a Laguna Beach police officer in the face Saturday night. The officer required stitches in his chin.

Sgt. Tim Kleiser said Monday, “An officer saw two intoxicated men walking on the 200 block of Ocean Avenue near Hennessey’s at 9:58 p.m. The officer approached them to let them know they were too intoxicated and one walked towards the officer and tried unsuccessfully to grab his badge.”

Kleiser said the two men then tried to enter the bar but were told by the officer and a security guard that they were too drunk to go inside.

After a few words, the same man (Ben Percival, 29, Huntington Beach) that tried to grab the badge then aggressively approached the officer.

“The officer tried to push the male away, but was struck in the face by the male with a closed fist,” Kleiser said. “The officer was able to take the male to the ground and a security guard from Hennessey’s assisted the officer. Several other PD units arrived on scene and the male suspect was subsequently placed into handcuffs.”

Percival was arrested on charges of felony battery, felony resisting arrest, and misdemeanor battery on a peace officer.


Police Files

15-year-old girl arrested for knife attack on her mother

Police responded to a report of a juvenile with a knife on Laguna Canyon Road at 5:15 Tuesday evening.

LBPD Sgt. Tim Kleiser said, “When the officers arrived a witness spoke to the officers and said he had taken the knife away from the juvenile, a 15-year-old girl. Officers contacted the juvenile and detained her after a brief struggle.”

The girl’s mother said that she and her daughter had argued and the girl became enraged. “She picked up a dive knife from the kitchen…[then]…chased her mother and struck her with the knife at least three times. 

“The mother sustained a wound to her chest that required staples, a laceration to her arm and a cut to her back,” Sgt. Kleiser said.

The girl was arrested and charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon, felony battery causing serious injury and misdemeanor resisting arrest.

She was taken to the police station for booking then transported to juvenile hall.

Man arrested in stolen car also had burglary tools

LBPD officers stopped another stolen car this week.

The felony car stop was made at El Toro Road and Laguna Canyon Road at 10:05 Monday night, police said. It had been stolen earlier in the day from a parking lot at Saddleback Hospital in Laguna Hills. The keys had been left inside the vehicle.

Joshua Michael Peters, 34, Garden Grove was arrested for felony vehicle theft, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of burglary tools.

Police said Peters had a key ring with several keys including many “bump keys”, which are used to open most locks to gain access by burglars.

DUI Enforcement operations set for this Friday night

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 Friday, Jan 22 between the hours of 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. in areas with high frequencies of DUI collisions and/or arrests.


Police Files

Stolen car arrest takes a wanted felon off the streets

Last Thursday night at 10:55, Laguna police stopped a 1994 white Honda that had been reported stolen in Santa Ana at S. Coast Hwy and Nyes Place.

A male and a female were taken into custody during the felony car stop.

LBPD booking photos

The driver, Binh Thai, 28, of San Jose and passenger, 19-year-old Amari Adams from Las Vegas were both charged with felony vehicle theft.

In addition, Thai was held on three warrants – two misdemeanors and one felony out of Orange County for being a felon in possession of a stun gun with $100,000 bail.

Adams was also charged with misdemeanor being under the influence of a controlled substance.

Both were booked and later taken to county jail.

Hit and run suspect arrested when cops find him at his residence

A witness called 9-1-1 after seeing a crash in the 2200 block of Laguna Canyon Road at 7:13 Saturday night. The caller told police that the driver had swerved before knocking down a flashing light pole near Laguna College and after pacing back and forth, the driver took off on foot.

Police did a massive area search before learning that the driver lived in a residence further out Laguna Canyon Road. They found the suspect there.

Collin Francis McKeown, 31, was arrested for hit and run and resisting arrest and held on a West Court warrant for trespassing – failing to leave a posted property when ordered to do so by a police officer. Bail for the warrant was $15,000.

Bicyclists collide near Aliso Beach  - woman injured

Paramedics and police responded to a report of a traffic crash involving two bicycles Friday afternoon on Coast Hwy near Aliso Beach.

Full details were not available according to LBPD Sgt. Tim Kleiser who told us, “Officers spoke to the two cyclists who said their handlebars had made contact with each other causing them to fall. A female cyclist was taken to the hospital for a possible concussion.”


Police Files

Bobcat kills chickens, doves and swan at Anneliese

An animal control officer and an OC Parks Ranger responded to Anneliese School on Laguna Canyon Road near El Toro Road Monday at 12:17 p.m. when it was reported that a bobcat was somehow stuck inside the aviary on campus.

On scene, it was determined that the bobcat, which had opened a hole in the roof, had killed 12 chickens, a swan and three doves kept in the school’s aviary.

Police said the damage to the aviary and animals amounted to $1900.

Animal control was able to safely capture the bobcat, which was then taken further out into the wilderness area and released.

Punctured gas line caused evacuation of three homes

Workers repairing a water line in the 800 block of Wendt Terrace punctured a gas line late Wednesday afternoon. 

The Fire Department ordered the evacuation of three residences on Wendt Terrace and police closed a portion of Thalia Street as well as Wendt Terrace.

SoCal Gas was able to repair the punctured line about three hours later.

There were no injuries, police said. 

Man rescued by lifeguards after fall at Shaw’s Cove

Click on photo for a larger image

Staff photo by Aga Stuchlik

Emergency personnel responded to Shaw’s Cove at about the same time as the gas line was punctured Wednesday afternoon after the man on the stretcher above had fallen from the rocks at the beach. Lifeguards facilitated the rescue with paramedics and brought the man to the street level. The extent of his injuries was unknown. He was transported to Mission Trauma Center, Mission Viejo.


Police Files

Homeless man arrested with 24 outstanding warrants

Gualterio Montes de Oca, 44, a homeless man who grew up in Laguna Beach, was arrested for being drunk in public at 6:51 Saturday night.

When wants and warrants were checked as a matter of routine protocol, it was learned that he had 24 outstanding misdemeanor warrants – most for alcohol-related charges and total bail of $28,500.

This writer’s reporter’s notebooks contain over 70 arrests by LBPD of Montes de Oca since 2004.

 He was booked Saturday night and taken to county jail.

Two more stolen car arrests made in town last week

Laguna Beach PD officers recovered two stolen vehicles last week.

On Friday night at 11:45, according to Sgt. Tim Kleiser, an officer spotted a red Mitsubishi Montero on Laguna Canyon Road. The Mitsubishi was followed until sufficient additional patrol units made a felony car stop in the 200 block of Diamond Street.

The SUV had been reported stolen by LAPD on Thursday.

Paul Kim, 24, Winnetka, was arrested for felony vehicle theft with $20,000 bail.

On Thursday at 6:28 p.m., police arrested Curtis Scott Thornton, 48 of Huntington Beach for felony vehicle theft at N. Coast Hwy and Ledroit Street.


Police Files

Woman robbed at knifepoint walking on S. Coast Hwy

LBPD detectives are investigating a robbery that took place at 11:29 p.m. in the 2900 block of S. Coast Hwy this Tuesday.

Details are sparse at this time according to Sgt. Tim Kleiser.

He was able to tell us that the woman was walking alone from downtown when a man pushed her from behind, displayed a knife and took her purse and cell phone.

Police are not sure if this is connected to a similar incident that happened on Dec 15, also a Tuesday night, on Brooks Street. That assailant did not display a knife but did push the female victim down from behind and took her purse and cell phone.

That victim was also walking home from downtown.

Youth pastor from Aliso Viejo church arraigned for sexual assault of five boys he met at the church

In a press release Tuesday, the OCDA said that Brandon Ernis Lee McDade, 30, Mission Viejo, was arraigned earlier in the day on charges of sexually assaulting five boys under 16 years old at church events.

At the time of the crimes, McDade was employed as a youth pastor at Grace Hills Church in Aliso Viejo and had access to children.

Between June 2009, and Dec. 20, 2015, McDade is accused of meeting the victims, all under the age of 16, while they were in his care at the church. McDade is accused of sexually assaulting the victims while the victims were on church property. The defendant is accused of molesting one of the victims at a movie theater in Orange County and molesting another victim while the victim was attending a youth church camp in San Bernardino County.

McDade is being held on $1 million bail.


Police Files

Department of stupid criminals – don’t hold pot out of car window – especially when you have $35,000 worth in containers inside and there’s a cop car beside you

Two patrol officers were on S. Coast Hwy near Cress Street at four o’clock New Year’s Eve afternoon when they saw something very unusual. The passenger of a car next to them was leaning out of the window holding two bottles full of marijuana – one in each hand. The officers stopped them when they turned onto Agate Street.

LBPD booking photos

Brandon Herrera, 18 of Dana Point, the driver, and Austin Vernon, 18, Dublin, Ohio, were both immediately detained and the vehicle was searched.

LBPD Sgt. Tim Kleiser said Monday, that in addition to the two jars Vernon was holding out of the window, other bottles were located with a total weight of nearly 43 ounces.

A bag containing another 44 ounces was also located – 2,436 grams with a street value of $35,000…not exactly personal use.

Both were arrested for felony transportation of marijuana for sales.

Herrera was also charged with felony possession of concentrated cannabis and driving without a license, a misdemeanor.

For good measure, Herrera was held for a felony warrant out of Harbor Court with charges of – are you ready – possession of marijuana and transportation of marijuana for sales. He was held for a total bail of $50,000.

Man suffers major cut from New Year’s sucker punch

Police received two distressed emergency 9-1-1 calls at 2 a.m. New Year’s morning from a female caller who managed to get the point across that someone had been hurt when assaulted at S. Coast Hwy and St. Ann’s Drive.

Police and medics were dispatched.

On scene, it was learned that a man who was walking his female friend home had inadvertently bumped into someone while checking his cell phone.

He didn’t see it coming when he was struck on the side of his face causing a major cut over his left eye. Medics stabilized the man who then was transported to Mission Trauma Center in Mission Viejo in critical, but not life threatening, condition.

Sgt. Tim Kleiser said detectives are investigating the case.

Apparent vandalism at LBHS created a brief stir for authorities

Emergency dispatch received a call from an alarm company at 11:56 p.m. New Year’s Eve for the activation of both a fire and burglar alarm.

The alarm company said that an associated camera activation in the classroom involved – a chemistry lab – showed a white powder substance strewn about.

After several minutes of investigating, it was determined that someone had sprayed a fire extinguisher around an area of the lab.

Sgt. Tim Kleiser said, “Officers noticed that someone had gained access to the room through a window. No items have been reported missing from the classroom at this time.”

Later in the day, it was also learned that several lockers in the boy’s locker room had been opened and their contents were strewn across the floor area. There is no direct evidence that the two incidents are related.


Police Files

Man falls off cliff at Secret Cove – suffers head injury

Copter needed to hoist the victim

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Firefighter Forrestt Lazick

Laguna Beach Fire Department

OC Fire copter lowers paramedic to the beach at Secret Cove

An Orange County Fire Authority helicopter assisted Laguna Beach firefighters and paramedics to rescue a 25-year-old Laguna Niguel man who fell 25-feet from the rocks above Secret Cove Thursday. 9-1-1 calls came into the emergency dispatch at 12:23 p.m. The callers said the victim was at Tablerock Beach off Bluff Drive.

The first arriving paramedic engine was blocked by numerous vehicles parked at red curbs and had to back out causing a delay in the injured man’s initial assessment.

Secret Cove – a sheltered area of beach just north of Tablerock with limited access was reached by a county lifeguard who reported that the man had a head injury and could not reach the street on his own.

A LBFD Division Chief on scene called for the helicopter, which first landed at Lang Park to board a paramedic. The medic was lowered down to the beach where he stabilized the victim and attached him to a line so that he could be hoisted to the copter. 

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Photo by Pete Black

Another view of the paramedic being lowered to the beach below

The copter airlifted the victim to Mission Trauma Center in Mission Viejo. Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD said the injuries were not considered life threatening.

If you speed – not a good idea to fib to a cop and have some pot

A patrol officer spotted a speeding Jeep Grand Cherokee heading northbound on Coast Highway at Mountain Road at 3:20 Wednesday morning. The officer clocked the speeder at 60 mph in a 30 mph zone before making a traffic stop near Broadway.

The driver gave the officer a phony name, which the officer figured out in a few minutes. The man’s driver’s license was suspended.

That led to a search and under an ounce of marijuana was found.

Kyri Thomas, 21, Los Angeles, went to jail for providing false information, speeding, driving on a suspended license and possession of under an ounce of marijuana.

The Jeep Cherokee was impounded. 


Police Files

Wind knocks down trees onto vehicles downtown and Bluebird

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Photo courtesy LBPD

Three parked cars were damaged on Forest Avenue Saturday night

The winds that blew hard almost all day Saturday knocked down large limbs from eucalyptus trees damaging parked vehicles downtown on Forest Avenue and on Regatta Road in Bluebird Canyon.

Police said a large limb fell at 6:54 p.m. downtown landing on three parked cars in the 300 block of Forest Avenue. All three were damaged but no one was injured.

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Photo by Mark Christy

The large limb fell across Forest Avenue and the Fire Department cut down the limb and removed it opening the roadway. 

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Photo by Jean Keys

Just before 9 a.m., another large limb fell onto a golf cart parked across the street in the 1400 block of Regatta Road in Bluebird Canyon. No one was injured.

City crews responded and cut up the remnants to open the street.

Stolen car eludes police at 100 MPH on Coast Hwy

An officer spotted a black Audi stolen out of Santa Ana at 10:35 Christmas morning. When the patrol unit pulled behind the car heading northbound from the 200 block of S. Coast Hwy, the Audi accelerated hitting speeds of 100 MPH as it approached Boat Canyon Drive. The officer lost sight of the car near Ledroit Street.

20 minutes later, Newport PD found the car parked at Crystal Cove and located the passenger in the parking lot, according to LBPD Sergeant Tim Kleiser.

LBPD responded and arrested Savannah Wilson, 23 of San Juan Capistrano for resisting arrest.

The driver has not been located.


Police Files

Hardly a scratch for two after Honda Civic hits a parked VW van, a large dumpster and a utility pole 

A Honda Civic, which police said, “…speed may be a factor…” couldn’t make all of the turns at Big Bend heading out of town at 2:33 Wednesday morning. The result wasn’t good – the Honda ran into a parked VW van before hitting a large dumpster hard enough to have knocked it over a knoll into two more parked cars.

The Honda continued until it was stopped – by a utility pole.

Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD said, “The two occupants of the car only sustained minor injuries and were not transported to hospital. Alcohol was not a factor in the collision, but speed may be. The exact cause of the collision is under investigation.”

Pair in stolen Jeep had heroin, credit card blanks, a credit card embossing device and a replica handgun

Last Monday night at 11:36, a stolen Jeep Grand Cherokee from Santa Ana was spotted near S. Coast Hwy and Nyes Place. Sufficient patrol units were assembled so that a felony car stop could be made just inside the entrance to Montage Laguna Beach.

The driver, Jake Querry, 27, Laguna Niguel, and passenger Jena Kreuiter, 26 of Huntington Beach, were cleared from the Jeep and detained. While officers questioned them, a search was made of the Grad Cherokee.

 LBPD Sgt. Tim Kleiser said, “Inside the Jeep, officers found 1.2 grams of heroin, credit card blanks, a credit card embosser and a replica handgun.”

When officers spoke with a Montage manager they learned that the pair, along with another unidentified man, had earlier attempted to book a room earlier with a credit card, which was declined.

Querry was arrested on a felony charge of vehicle theft and narcotics possession. Kreuiter was taken into custody for misdemeanor drug possession.

The case remains under investigation by detectives.


Police Files

Woman robbed walking home on Brooks Street Tuesday night

A woman called police Wednesday morning to report that she had been strong-armed by an assailant who then robbed her taking her purse and cell phone.

 LBPD Sergeant Tim Kleiser told us, “She told officers that while she was walking home from a downtown bar at around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday on Brooks Street, someone had pushed her from behind, causing her to fall to the ground. The victim said her purse and cell phone were taken.” 

Sgt. Kleiser said she neither saw nor heard the assailant.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call LBPD at 497-0701.

Sunday morning rollover on Coast Highway

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Dennis Rooney

Dennis Rooney took this photo before police arrived on scene Sunday at 6:05 a.m. The Honda Pilot heading southbound in the 400 block of N. Coast Highway struck a parked car and rolled over. Police said the single occupant was uninjured and that no charges were pending. The cause is still being investigated, police said.

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