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  

Click on photo for a larger image

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

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.

LBPD advises that imposters are out with the SCE scam again

Southern California Edison (SCE) is advising customers to be aware of a new telephone scam that is demanding immediate payment for allegedly past due electricity bills. Imposters have been calling SCE customers stating they must make immediate payment on past due bills or their electric service will be disconnected. The callers are also demanding payment be made through a prepaid cash card, such as a PayPal or Green Dot card.

“We ask our customers to be alert to these calls that demand immediate payment and threaten service disconnection,” said Henry Martinez, SCE vice president of Safety, Security & Compliance. “Customers suspecting a fraudulent call should ask for the caller’s name, department and business phone number. If the caller refuses to provide this information, customers should terminate the call and report the incident immediately to local police at 497-0701 or SCE at 800-655-4555.”

SCE also reminds customers to ask for identification when a stranger comes to the door or calls claiming to be a utility worker. SCE utility workers will provide verification, including their department and phone number, when asked. In most cases, home visits by SCE are scheduled by the customer and SCE will confirm the appointment in writing. If there are any concerns, SCE and law enforcement officials suggest having the utility worker wait outside until their identity can be verified.

SCE customers should also note that an SCE employee will never ask for money in person;never reveal your credit card, ATM or calling card numbers (or PIN numbers) to anyone.

If someone calls and requests you leave your residence at a specific time for a utility-related cause, call the police. This could be a burglary set up by the caller. Be suspicious of anyone who arrives at your house without an appointment asking to check an appliance, wiring, or suggesting that there may be some other electrical problem inside your residence.

For more ways customers can stay safe, please see www.sce.com/safety and read the safety tips section.

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

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. 

Stolen Mountain Bike – Value: $10,000

Click on photo for a larger image


On November 23, 2013, the victim left the bicycle above in the bed of his pickup truck parked in the underground lot of Inn at Laguna in the 200 block of N. Coast Hwy.

The bicycle is a Scott Carbon Fiber custom build mountain bike, and all paint and decals are custom. The bicycle is valued at $10,000.

If you have information, contact LBPD Detective Matt Meadows, (949) 497-0758

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

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

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 Department Memorial Fundraiser January 27

“With the assistance of members from the Laguna Beach Firefighters Association, City Arts Commission and several residents in town, the Laguna Beach Police Employees’ Association (LBPEA) is now seeking community support in getting a permanent monument installed in front of our Police Department,” said LBPEA President Larry Bammer.

The memorial monument will be dedicated in the memory of the two officers who lost their lives in the line of duty protecting our city – Gordon French and Jon Coutchie.

“With the assistance of members from the Laguna Beach Firefighters Association, City Arts Commission and residents in town, the Police Employees’ Association is now seeking your support in getting a permanent monument installed in front of our Police Department.

A fundraiser, with a goal of $40,000, has been planned for Jan 27 from 5:30 – 9 p.m. at Mare Culinary Lounge. Mare is located at the intersection of S. Coast Highway and Cleo Street where Jon Coutchie’s fatal accident occurred on September 21, 2013 and where a makeshift memorial remains.

The no-host bar and silent auction will be from 5:30 – 7 p.m. with a buffet dinner served at 7 p.m.

Officer Bammer said this week, “We are getting some great auction items already from the owner of Mare, Montage Laguna Beach and Fletcher Jones Mercedes.

“To raise the funds we have partnered with the Laguna Beach Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3), to receive donations.  The Laguna Beach Police Officer Memorial Artwork Advisory Committee includes City Treasurer Laura Parisi (LB resident and Rotarian), LBPD Lieutenant (and Jon’s close friend) Jeff Calvert and myself.

“We have established that we need to raise $40,000 to get the project built. Thank you to Allesandro and Mare Culinary Lounge for offering this venue as the first event to raise the funds to move forward with this art installation.”

Bammer went on to say a charitable fund, the Laguna Beach Police Office Memorial Artwork Fund, has been established at the Laguna Beach Community Foundation to collect tax-deductible donations for the project. 75% of each ticket sold will go directly toward the Fund for the Memorial’s development, site preparation and installation. Please provide your name and address so that the Laguna Beach Community Foundation can send you a thank you for your $75 tax-deductible donation.

If you are unable to attend the event but wish to donate you can forward your donations to the Laguna Beach Community Foundation at PO Box 1628, Laguna Beach, CA. 92652. Checks can be made to “LBCF-LB Police Officer Memorial Artwork Fund”. The Laguna Beach Community Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization, Tax ID #20-6390272.

To purchase tickets go to: http://lbpoliceofficermemorialfundraiser.eventbrite.com

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

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

Two little old ladies told one story – the store’s video told another

Police said a clerk at a boutique in the 200 block of Forest Ave reported Monday afternoon that as she was assisting two elderly women with a potential jewelry purchase when she noticed one of the women appear to be attempting to place a necklace in her purse. When she confronted the women they left the store.

She described the two ladies as being quite thin with “…lots of plastic surgery.”

The clerk followed the subjects and called police.

Police found them in the alleyway behind the church on Second Street.

LBPD Sgt. Louise Callus said in an email, “They had a completely different story. They were interviewed and released. A subsequent review of the security video from the store seems to indicate they may have attempted to steal the necklace.”

The store could not sign a citizen’s arrest because nothing was stolen.


Hotel guest checked out with more than stolen towels

A North Laguna hotel guest paid his bill and checked out on time Tuesday.

When housekeeping went into the room to clean, they ‘noticed’ that everything that ought to have been there wasn’t.

Management took an inventory and called police.

LBPD Sgt. Louise Callus provided a list of the stolen items that matches the words management gave when calling the station: “It was pretty much everything that wasn’t bolted down…”

Sgt. Callus said, “The suspect stole a TV, food items from the refrigerator, ice bucket with tray, king size duvet, comforter, feather pillow, coffee maker, bathroom set, storage trays, hair dryer, two bathrobes and miscellaneous towels.

“The estimated total value of stolen items was…$1412.”

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

$10,000 bike stolen out of open pickup truck bed

Police received a call at about 20 minutes before midnight Saturday reporting the theft of a bicycle valued at $10,000 in the 200 block of N. Coast Hwy. The owner described it as a black Scott carbon fiber with blue decals and blue wheels.

The stolen Scott carbon fiber was similar to this one – but a different color

Police said the owner had placed the bicycle – unlocked – in the bed of a pickup truck in the downtown area at night.


More smoke than fire on S. Coast Hwy Sunday afternoon

Four Laguna engines, a ladder truck from Orange County Fire Authority, a chief officer and an ambulance responded to the 2500 block of S. Coast Hwy at 1:01 p.m. Sunday where it was reported that smoke was coming through the roof of a structure.

The first engine on scene reported there was a multi-level residential home with smoke visible.

The fire department said the size of the home and the complexity of its layout made it difficult to locate the origin of the smoke. After some time, an unattended log in a fireplace was located and it was determined that the heavy smoke had come from that source.

Holes had to be cut into the roof in order to ventilate the residence and remove the smoke as firefighters continued searching for any other source of smoke or active fire.

Although the fire department didn’t say so in this incidence, it is not unusual for a smoldering log to create considerable smoke in a closed room with the fireplace flue closed.

No one was injured.

A county engine company and a medic unit from Newport Beach responded to the city for coverage during 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

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.

OC Crime Lab discovers errors in blood-alcohol tests

Earlier this month, the Orange County Crime Lab (OCCL) discovered a clerical error in calibrating one of two machines used to analyze blood alcohol concentration. The error affects cases from the end of May 2013 to the beginning of October 2013.

Following the discovery, the OCCL conducted a full audit of the last five years of DUI alcohol casework. In the course of that audit, the OCCL discovered a .001 error from the calibration of the other blood alcohol instrument between December 2012 and May 2013. One hundred blood samples processed between these two dates will be corrected by .01.

None of the cases involved Laguna Beach PD DUI arrests.

The OCCL is working with its accrediting organization to document all corrective actions taken and the procedural changes detecting all calibrator variations. Additionally, the OCCL is cooperating fully with Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens and the Orange County Board of Supervisors to request an audit by the California Department of Health to confirm all procedural and casework standards. Once this external audit is completed, the findings will be presented to the Board of Supervisors and the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.

“I am confident that the Orange County Crime Lab is taking the necessary steps to insure that these clerical errors do not occur in the future,” stated Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens. “Our Crime Lab is among the largest crime labs in the nation and is nationally- and internationally-recognized for its cutting edge technology and accomplishments.”

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

Police looking for suspect who cut another man

with a beer bottle

A bar fight at the Sandpiper escalated into an assault with a deadly weapon when one of the men involved struck the other man in the face with a beer bottle.

Paramedics treated the victim but the extent of his injuries was not released.

Police are looking for the suspect, described as being about 27 or 28, last seen wearing a black overcoat over a RVCA t-shirt ‘covered in blood’, blue jeans and a brown hat. Additionally, the police log indicated that witnesses said the suspect was thinly built and about 6’ 2” and had a mustache.

He spoke with what was described as an Aussie accent.

Anyone with information is asked to call (949) 497-0377.

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

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

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.

Laguna Beach Police Department receives grant for special traffic enforcement and crash prevention

LBPD Lt. Jeff Calvert announced that the Laguna Beach Police Department has been awarded a $51,253.00 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) for a yearlong program aimed at preventing deaths and injuries on our roadways through special enforcement and public awareness efforts.  The grant received by the City of Laguna Beach will aid in the city’s ongoing effort to improve traffic safety and the quality of life.  The Laguna Beach Police Department will use the funding as part of an on-going commitment to keep our roadways safe through both enforcement and education.

The grant will assist in efforts to deal with traffic safety problems and to reduce the number of persons killed and injured in traffic collisions.  While traffic deaths from all causes declined by nearly 39 percent between 2006 and 2010 in California, they rose by 2.6 percent in 2011.  State and federal officials anticipate that figures will show another rise for 2012.  DUI deaths remain the largest sector, at nearly 30 percent of traffic fatalities.  Recent trends show increases in two new categories—distracted driving and drug-impaired driving.

Activities that the grant will fund include:

Specialized DUI and drugged driving training such as Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST), Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE), and Drug Recognition Evaluator (DRE).

DUI Saturation Patrols

Distracted driving enforcement

Speed, red light and stop sign enforcement

Warrant service operations targeting multiple DUI offenders

Compilation of DUI “Hot Sheets,” identifying worst-of-the-worst DUI offenders

Stakeout operations to observe the “worst of the worst” repeat DUI offender probationers with suspended or revoked driver licenses

Funding for this program is from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Tesla driver in April’s double fatal charged by DA

Robert McFarland Pettis, MD, 48, Laguna Beach, was scheduled to be arraigned in Harbor Justice Center yesterday (Monday) on felony charges stemming from a double fatal head-on crash on Laguna Canyon Road last April 2.

In a press release Friday, OC District Attorney spokesperson Farrah Emami said, “At approximately 6:40 a.m. on April 2, 2013, Pettis is accused of driving at a high rate of speed in his Tesla Model S northbound on State Route 133 in Laguna Beach. Pettis is accused of crossing over the double yellow lines into the southbound lanes and driving into oncoming traffic.

“He is accused of crashing head-on into a Honda Accord and killing 47- year-old driver Alberto Casique and his passenger, 38-year-old Armando Gonzalez.”

Click on photo for a larger image

Stock photo courtesy LBPD

Two men were killed on April 2 after the Honda (left) they were in was hit head-on by the black Tesla facing the wrong direction further along Laguna Canyon Road

Pettis is facing two felony counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, one felony count of driving the wrong way on a divided highway causing death, and sentencing enhancements for inflicting great bodily harm. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of nine years and eight months in state prison.

Reports at the time of the crash said Pettis’ Tesla and a white Mercedes sped away from the red light at Laguna Canyon Road and El Toro Road. Pettis allegedly told police after the crash that he was forced into the oncoming lane.

No charges have been filed against the Mercedes driver.

Police Files

Police Employees raise money for surviving children of 31-year-old Mom who was killed on Mother’s Day 

The Laguna Beach Police Employees Association released the following statement late Monday afternoon: 

On Mother’s Day morning, Laguna Beach Officers responded to a 9-1-1 call from witnesses reporting a traffic collision on El Toro Road near Laguna Canyon Road. Both drivers, Sandra Maldonado, 31, Mission Viejo and Manuel Mercado, 86, Laguna Woods, passed away from injuries sustained in the crash.

In Sandra’s vehicle were her 4-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter. Thankfully, her son and daughter were not injured and two Laguna Beach residents comforted them until emergency personnel arrived. They have since been released to family members.

Our Police Association has received inquiries today from residents and business owners regarding donations. The Laguna Beach Police Employees’ Association has sent up the Maldonado Scholarship fund for Sandra’s two children. 

Donations can be made via our website at www.LagunaBeachPEA.com and clicking on the link “donate to the Maldonado Scholarship fund”.

We have reached out to the Maldonado family and offered our assistance and sympathy in this tragic time.

Mother’s Day crash claims 31-year-old Mission Viejo Mom of two and 86-year-old man from Laguna Woods

A 12:30 a.m. two-car traffic crash on El Toro Road near Laguna Canyon Road took the life of 31-year-old Sandra Maldonado from Mission Viejo and Manuel Mercado, 86, Laguna Woods. Maldonado was pronounced dead shortly after the crash at a hospital. 

Her two children, ages 4 and 7, were in the car she drove (a 1995 Toyota Corolla) and police said their injuries were minor. A motorist who drove by took the children out of the Toyota and placed them in his car, police said. 

Mercado, driving a 2005 Honda Pilot, died Sunday night at Mission Hospital, Mission Viejo. His wife suffered only minor injuries.

Police said the Toyota was headed eastbound from Laguna Canyon Road when the two vehicles sideswiped. Both vehicles were “extremely damaged”, police said.

The Toyota spun on the roadway after the collision and the Honda rolled over and off the road into bushes where it landed upright. Both drivers had to be extricated by firefighters.

Police arrived on the scene and reported that both drivers were unconscious but breathing. Three engines and three paramedic units from Laguna Beach and the Orange County Fire Authority along with a ladder truck from the OCFA responded.

El Toro Road was closed until 7 a.m. 

The crash is still being investigated and police have said that neither alcohol nor speed seem to be factors in the cause.

Police Files

A kiss on the cheek and a punch to the chin = jail

A woman called 9-1-1 Sunday afternoon from the 200 block of Ocean Avenue who said she had been kissed on her cheek and then punched in the chin by an inebriated woman that she didn’t know. She told police that she had been sitting on an outside wall when it all happened.

She described the other woman who had left the area. When police arrived, the woman drove down Ocean Avenue. She was stopped rather quickly.

Erin Kathleen McMillen, 53 of Laguna Beach, was arrested for DUI and on a citizen’s complaint for misdemeanor battery.

40 million in currency taken from a desk drawer

Iraqi and Vietnamese paper currency stolen

A resident in the 22300 block of Third Avenue in South Laguna reported that Iraqi and Vietnamese currency with a face value of 40 million in dinars and dongs and a US dollar value of close to $10,000 was missing.

According to the RP, an unknown suspect had removed the currency from a desk drawer.

No further details were immediately available.

78-year-old grandmother falls for $10,000 phone scam

A 78-year-old Laguna woman received a call instructing her to immediately wire transfer $10,000 to Banco Internacional Del Peru to bail out her jailed granddaughter there.

This is a scam that has been perpetrated several times on elderly residents here in the past. StuNewsLaguna has written and warned residents about this scam several times in recent years and published an FBI press release as well.

In this instance, the grandmother checked with family members after she had wired the funds from her bank, according to LBPD Sgt. Louise Callus.

She learned that her granddaughter was fine and in the United States.

Undercover narcs make buy bust arrests

On Thursday and Friday of last week Laguna Beach detectives arrested four individuals during two undercover operations.

The Thursday arrest was made in North Laguna after a man and a woman offered to sell them methamphetamine. 3 ½ grams of the drug, syringes, scales, baggies and other drug paraphernalia were found in their car.

Alexander Enrique Galindo, 21 of Anaheim, was arrested for three felony charges: possession of drugs for sales, transportation of drugs for sales and false personation making another person liable for his criminal acts and two misdemeanor counts of possession of drug paraphernalia.

Dara Faye Sheinman, 28, Irvine, was arrested for felony transportation of drugs for sales and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

Both were booked and transported to Orange County Jail.

Three LBPD detectives and two Federal agents arrested two men at the Irvine Spectrum for offering to sell the undercover officers 50 MDMA (ecstasy) pills.

Douglas George Williams, 23, Brea, was taken into custody on felony charges of possession of a controlled substance for sales, felony possession and transportation of a controlled substance for sales and felony possession of a controlled substance.

Christopher Ray Ayala, 23 of Tustin, was arrested on a felony charge of possession of a controlled substance for sales.

Police Files

Someone threw a beer bottle at a Laguna fire engine responding to an emergency call on Coast Highway

Around midnight Sunday, Laguna Beach Fire Department Engine 2 responded from its station on Agate Street northbound on Coast Hwy to an injury traffic crash. When it went through the intersection at Brooks Street, police said, “…a glass object was thrown at the front of the engine…” It shattered just below the windshield.

The engine continued to the call.

When a police report was made, the fire captain told police, “The area where it shattered smelled like beer.”

A group of people was spotted on the ocean side of Coast Hwy right after the beer bottle stuck the engine but no suspect was obvious among the group.

Police said the fire engine had just minor paint damage.

Editor’s Note: We can count on one hand the number of “editorials” we have written over the years…and we won’t here except to say: If that beer bottle had hit and damaged the windshield of the engine traveling with red light and siren, it might have caused the engineer behind the wheel to swerve and it may have caused a major traffic crash. We only hope that someone who knows the stupid butthead who threw that bottle will let him or her know they are a jerk – at best, a jerk.


Bicyclist injured in collision with car in North Laguna

As a Laguna Beach was riding his bike southbound on Coast Highway at Aster Street just before 5 o’clock Tuesday afternoon, a car pulled away from the curb as the bicyclist began turning right onto Cliff Drive.

The car collided with the bicyclist injuring his upper thigh.

Paramedics stabilized the shaken man at the scene and transported him to Mission Trauma Center in Mission Viejo.

Police Files

Homeless man arrested for displaying
a knife at security guard

A patrol officer driving in the 200 block of Forest Avenue at 11:20 p.m. Friday saw a man that he recognized holding a knife without the blade exposed who was yelling obscenities at a security guard from a downtown restaurant.

The officer stopped and detained Alexander Anderson Harris, 65, no fixed address, at gunpoint. A subsequent interview revealed that Harris had held the knife in a threatening manner at the security guard.

Harris was arrested for exhibiting a deadly weapon – a misdemeanor.


Five Laguna Beach youths detained after
they ran through LBHS

Police detained an 18-year-old and four juveniles at 2 a.m. Friday morning after a caller reported that they had been throwing “things” at the high school Artists Theatre.

When police arrived, they all ran through the school to the athletic field and onto Short Street where other officers headed them off.

Sgt. Louise Callus said the five males had knocked over garbage cans and thrown the contents at walls.

All were issued citations for resisting an officer. The 18-year-old was released at the scene and the juveniles were taken to the police station and released to parents.

Police Files

Woman hit a car and took out a tree – turned up in ER

A 9-1-1 caller reported that a Ford F150 pickup truck had struck a parked car and then drove onto the median on Laguna Canyon Road and hit a tree. Officers responded to the 10:25 p.m. call Sunday and found a large uprooted tree on the median.

The caller provided a license plate number that listed an owner in Lake Forest. Sheriff’s deputies checked the home but the pickup was not there.

Later, Saddleback Hospital ER called LBPD informing them that the female driver was being treated there. Laguna officers went to the hospital and interviewed the driver.

Sgt. Louise Callus said the report would be referred to the District Attorney for possible prosecution for hit and run only.

No other details were available.

Newport Beach man arrested after breaking into store

Joseph Edward Flamm, 46, of Newport Beach was arrested on two felony charges related to a burglary at a store in the 300 block of Broadway early Tuesday morning.

An alarm company called LBPD at 3:21 reporting glass breakage in the clothing consignment store. Officers arrived and saw that the front glass had been smashed and searched the store, which was empty.

An area search turned up Flamm nearby and he was in possession of jewelry that was identified as having been taken from the store.

Flamm was arrested on felony charges of commercial burglary and possession of stolen property. He was booked here and taken to county jail with bail of $20,000.

LBFD participating in National Fire Prevention Week

This October, the Laguna Beach Fire Department will be participating in National Fire Prevention Week, which is being held October 6 -12.

This year’s focus will be on “preventing kitchen fires,” which is the leading cause of home fires and fire related injuries in residences.

LBFD, in conjunction with the National Fire Protection Association and fire departments across the nation, is using the month of October to promote safe kitchen habits while using stoves, microwaves, fryers and other appliances. Four safety tips to consider while using your home kitchen are:

When you fry, grill, or broil food, stay in the kitchen

Maintain a kid and pet-free zone at least 3 feet away from the stove

Turn pot handles away from the stoves edge

Keep an oven mitt and lid nearby when you’re cooking to use in case of grease fire. If you have a grease fire, slide a lid over the pan, turn off the burner and leave the pan covered until the contents inside have completely cooled.

In addition, throughout the month of October, the Laguna Beach Fire Department will be visiting the local schools and participating in community events to encourage everyone to remain vigilant about the dangers of wildland fires, as we all reflect on the Laguna fire storm of 1993.

Today, the Laguna Beach Fire Department has implemented a “Ready, Set, Go” program that aims to reduce property loss by increasing defensible space while developing a wildfire action plan for your home and family.

Get Ready- Create a defensible home through advances in building construction and fuel modification.

Get Set- Prepare your family and have a plan, so when a fire strikes you know what to do and where to go.

Go Early- By leaving early, you give your family the best chances of surviving a wildfire.

For more information regarding the “Ready, Set, Go” program or to obtain a wildfire home consultation please visit the Department website at http://lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/fire/

Additionally, the Laguna Beach Fire Department will be hosting its annual Station Tour Day on Saturday, October 12. The four city fire stations will be open during the day from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Come meet your local firefighters, tour the fire engines and stations, and ask questions on what you can do to keep yourself and your family fire safe this year.

Police Files

Scuba diver dies at Diver’s Cove Sunday afternoon

A 67-year-old Yorba Linda man died Sunday afternoon at Diver’s Cove.

At 3:10, lifeguards, paramedics and police responded for a swimmer in distress.  CPR was being administered when the emergency units arrived.

Police said, “According to the victim’s adult son, he was scuba diving with his father when the elder man complained about being tired and feeling ill. The son attempted to rescue-swim his father to shore during which time the victim stopped breathing.”

The victim, identified as Paul Beto, was taken to Mission Hospital Laguna Beach where he was pronounced dead.

The OC Coroner will perform an autopsy today.

BMW stolen Saturday with owner’s rat terrier inside

The owner of a 1995 black BMW 525 sedan reported that a younger white male had stolen the car at Catalina and Cress Street and was last seen travelling in reverse eastbound on Brooks.

Disconcerting to the owner of the BMW was the fact that inside the car was a white rat terrier weighing about 20 pounds.

Police performed an area search but were unable to locate the BMW. A countywide Red Channel broadcast was issued at 5:20 p.m.

LBPD Sgt. Louise Callus said a 9-1-1 caller reported seeing the stolen vehicle speeding north on the 405 at Brookhurst Street in Fountain Valley about 15 minutes later. The CHP was also unable to locate the car.

As of Monday afternoon, neither the car nor the dog had been recovered.

Police Files

Woman using cell phone leads cops into car chase

On Sunday morning at 11:41, a bicycle officer saw a woman using a cell phone while driving in the 300 block of S. Coast Hwy. The bike officer pulled up next to her and tapped on her window and told her to pull over.

The driver took off and made an illegal turn onto Laguna Avenue. The bicycle officer couldn’t catch her but he advised her location and observed her driving recklessly up Park Avenue including passing cars by driving into oncoming lanes.

A patrol unit managed to make a stop in the 500 block of Legion Street,

A search of her car turned up pills and pot.

Los Angeles resident Serina Justine Cardenas, 23, was arrested for felony drug possession, misdemeanor evading and numerous traffic violations including reckless driving and driving on a suspended license.

She was booked with bail set at $20,000.


Drunk driver loses control and flips over at Big Bend

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo courtesy LBPD

Laguna Beach Police issued the following press release Thursday:

Officers responded to the area of Big Bend early this morning regarding a traffic collision reported to involve one vehicle, a Land Rover, into a pole. Dispatch received several calls to report this collision.

During the investigation it was discovered the vehicle had been heading outbound on Laguna Canyon Road when the right tires left the roadway edge. The driver (sole occupant) overcorrected and the vehicle began to skid sideways to the left, crossing the inbound lane, before colliding with the curb and hillside.

The momentum of the vehicle enabled it to travel up the hillside before rolling over one time and ending up facing inbound on all four wheels.

The driver, Michael L. Carr, 43, Long Beach, was determined to be DUI and was taken into custody. No injuries were reported.

Next time, the driver promises to lower the boom

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo courtesy LBPD

The Laguna Beach Police Dept issued the following press release Tuesday afternoon:

“On 09-17-2013 at 1341 hours [1:41 p.m.], a boom truck…travelling southbound on N. Coast Hwy at the intersection of Aster St/Cliff Dr struck the overhead signal pole and a streetlight, causing both to crash to the ground.  Currently, both southbound lanes are closed due to the poles blocking the lanes.  Apparently, the boom on the truck was extended and struck the overhanging portion of the signal pole and then hit the streetlight.

“Officers are currently directing traffic in the area and expect heavy traffic in the area for an unknown duration of time.”

It’s as if car crashes are an epidemic here lately

There have been a series of traffic crashes in town recently – several were horrific enough to have caused life-threatening injuries. Fortunately, no one died.

Sunday afternoon at Big Bend

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo courtesy LBPD

This Toyota Camry driven by a 77-year-old Laguna Beach woman ended up in a commercial driveway near Big Bend on Laguna Canyon Road Sunday afternoon

Shortly before 5 p.m. on Sunday, police and fire units responded to a crash at Big Bend on Laguna Canyon Road. Callers (there were several) said a Toyota Camry that was headed into town had completely missed the curve and struck a large rock on the other side of the road.

The Camry was launched and corkscrewed into the air. While off the ground, the car struck a water main and a natural gas meter in front of a business. The car flew past several pomegranate trees and slid to a stop on its right side in a commercial driveway at 2975 Laguna Canyon Road.

77-year-old Efy Shirazi of Laguna Beach had to be extricated by firefighters. She was alone in the Camry.

Miraculously, her only apparent injury was a fractured right elbow. Paramedics transported her by ambulance to Mission Trauma Center due to the mechanism of the crash. She was held overnight for observation, police said.

Traffic was slowed for over an hour.

Pedestrian struck on Temple Hills Drive Friday night

A man in his thirties was struck near Temple Hills Drive and Cerritos at 11:22 Friday night by a car driven by an elderly female.

Police said the man walked across Temple Hills Drive.

In an email, LBPD Sgt. Louise Callus said, “The pedestrian was intoxicated, was wearing headphones and texting at the time of the collision.”

He was taken to Mission Trauma Center for treatment. No word on the extent of his injuries except that they were not life threatening.

56-year-old woman struck in crosswalk at S. Coast Hwy & Cress St.

A 56-year-old woman from Medford, Oregon was struck in the crosswalk at S. Coast Hwy and Cress Street at 1:10 Monday afternoon in a low-speed crash.

A 59-year-old man from Laguna Beach, driving a Lexus RX350, turned south onto Coast Hwy from the light at Cress Street and, police said, didn’t see the woman still in the crosswalk after the light changed.

The woman was taken to Mission Hospital for treatment of complaint of pain to her left hip and leg.

Man injured at S. Coast Hwy & Nyes Place Monday night

Details of a rear-end crash late Monday night at S. Coast Hwy and Nyes Place were not available.

We do know that a 38-year-old man was taken to Mission Trauma Center for treatment of chest pain and possible internal injuries.

Driver in non-injury single car crash had four prior DUI convictions

Laguna Woods resident Patrick Michael Babayans, 27, was arrested for DUI with four prior convictions at 5:08 a.m. Friday in the 600 block of S. Coast Hwy. He had hit a parked car.

He left his vehicle and ran up to Legion Street where officers took him into custody.

Babayans was booked and taken to county jail with bail of $50,000.

Important public safety info for Laguna Beach

Nextdoor, the Private Social Network for Neighborhoods to facilitate virtual neighborhood watch and disaster preparedness – goes live September 16

In an effort to help facilitate a virtual neighborhood watch and a disaster preparedness program, as well as foster neighbor-to-neighbor communications, the Laguna Beach PD has partnered with Nextdoor (http://www.nextdoor.com), the private social network for neighborhoods.

The City will go live on Nextdoor Monday Sept 16.

Nextdoor is free for the residents and the City. Each Laguna Beach neighborhood has its own private Nextdoor neighborhood website, accessible only to residents of that neighborhood. Residents can use their website to get to know their neighbors, ask questions, and exchange local advice and recommendation. For example, neighbors use Nextdoor to share information about neighborhood watch and safety issues, how to better prepare for a disaster, local events, and much more.

Neighborhoods establish and self-manage their own Nextdoor website. Information shared on Nextdoor is only visible to verified members. The Laguna Beach Police Department will be able to post important information, such as crime updates or disaster preparedness tips to Nextdoor sites within the City. The Police Department will not be able to access the resident’s websites, contact information, or content.

“In this day and age, it is vital for neighbors to come together and look out for one another. Nextdoor makes it easy for neighbors to establish virtual neighborhood watch and help combat crime” said Nikie Hernandez, Community Services Officer. “Nextdoor will help create a stronger and safer community that we call home.”

Nextdoor was specifically designed to make neighbors feel comfortable sharing information with one another in order to build stronger communities. All members must verify that they live within the neighborhood. Information shared on Nextdoor is password protected and cannot be accessed by those outside the neighborhood or found on Google or other search engines. In addition, Nextdoor never shares personal information with any third parties.

The City of Laguna Beach has been mapped into fifteen different neighborhoods. Those interested in joining their neighborhood’s Nextdoor website can visit http://www.nextdoor.com and enter their address. If you have questions about your Nextdoor website you can contact Nikie Hernandez, Community Services Officer, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or 497-0382.


September is National Preparedness Month - are you prepared?

The City of Laguna Beach encourages its residents to be informed, make a plan, build a kit, and get involved.

Be informed by self-registering your cell phone numbers, text numbers, and email addresses with AlertOC, Orange County’s regional mass notification system. In fact, on September 24th, two million Orange County residents will receive a call at 10 a.m., register today and make yourself two million and one! Register at http://www.alertoc.com.

Make a plan; prepare yourself and your family for a disaster by making an emergency plan. Visit http://www.ready.gov for more information.

Build a kit; you may need to survive on your own after an emergency. This means having your own food, water and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least 72 hours. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster but they cannot reach everyone immediately. You could get help in hours or it might take days. Visit www.readyoc.gov for a list of what should be in your emergency kit.

Get involved, by taking a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) class where you will learn information about emergency preparedness, disaster medical operations, fire suppression, and more! Visit www.lagunabeachcity.net for more information on CERT. Or sign up for NextDoor.com which is a secured social networking site already established for your neighborhood. Here you can organize your neighborhood to become more resilient to a disaster!

For questions regarding any of these programs contact Jordan Villwock, Emergency Management Coordinator, mailto:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , 497-0701.

Another teen crashes at Park & Tahiti – with a sad twist

Police and fire personnel responded to Park Avenue and Tahiti Ave t 10:53 p.m. Tuesday for an injury traffic collision. Officers arrived and found an 18-year-old male resident of Silverado whose Ford Mustang had failed to follow the curve in the road and collided with a metal retaining rail on the side of Park Ave, police said.

Sgt. Louise Callus said in an email, “If it hadn’t been for the railing the car would have driven off an incline, which dropped over 80 feet into the canyon below. The driver was the only one in the car and he was not injured.

“He initially claimed that he had swerved to avoid another car, but the ninety-three feet of locked wheel skids indicated that he had been driving close to sixty miles per hour prior to colliding with the rail. After an extensive interview, he finally admitted to his parents and the investigating officer that he had tried to commit suicide by driving over the cliff. He was detained and transported to MHLB on a mental health hold.”

Callus said there was no indication of alcohol being involved.

Man threatens to have Hell’s Angels collect debt

According to the police log, a man on Terry Road called the cops Monday night at 8:20 and said he and another man disagreed on the performance of a contract.

The other man, the caller said, had been at his house threatening to have the Hell’s Angels motorcycle 1% club come to the house to collect.

The man also threatened to vandalize the caller’s home, the log said.

While talking to the 9-1-1 operator, the caller said the man had returned and the log notes that a “commotion” could be heard in the background while the caller had put the phone down.

He came back on the line and said the other guy had split, “When I told him I had called the cops.”

Police are investigating the claim of the caller who provided the identity of the visitor to his home.

Police Files

Found boy, 4, spent hours with cops Friday night

The police log began what is a bizarre story that happened on Main Beach last Friday afternoon.

Lifeguards reported that a boy who said he was four had been found. He knew his first name and his mom’s first name, but not his last name. He described her quite well: she was wearing a pink bathing suit and had a “Cars” bag (from the movie) and red hair. He didn’t know where he lived, however.

Police said the boy had been playing with the kids of a family visiting the beach who didn’t realize that he was alone for nearly two hours at and approached lifeguards with the information at 5:44.

Police spoke with the boy and a thorough search of the beach by cops, beach patrol and lifeguards between Heisler Park and Pearl Street was unsuccessful.

An officer brought the boy to the police station to care for him while dispatchers and front counter records clerks began calling area hospitals and other police agencies to inquire about the mother. They utilized all possible computer sources as well.

They continued for four hours with the boy staying in the company of the officer the entire time.

As it became later and the search for the boy’s mother proved fruitless, Child Protective Services were contacted.

Sgt. Louise Callus said, “They advised us to bring the boy to Orangewood Home.”

The mother contacted the police department later Friday night and was asked to come to the police station where she was interviewed.

Police would not say what their action, if any, might be but did say the mother was directed to contact a social worker at Orangewood after 8 a.m. Saturday morning.


Man whose corpse was found in Ventura freezer was not a Laguna Beach resident, police explain

As reported here Tuesday, the body of Jeffrey Korber, who had been reported missing here in July 2011, was found inside a freezer in a Ventura storage unit.

Initial media reports, spurned by a Ventura police press conference, said that Korber had been a Laguna Beach resident.

LBPD spokesperson Sgt. Louise Callus corrected that report Thursday afternoon at our request.

“He never did live here. He traveled all over the country and lived in his car. Family members who do live here reported him missing in 2011,” Callus said. Leads ran out in 2012 and the detective assigned to the investigation closed the case when there was no indication of criminal wrongdoing.

The detective did however, trace Korber’s car from Florida to the home of one of the murder suspects in Ventura.

How that was accomplished was not disclosed by LBPD.

When asked why LBPD was the lead investigating agency for Korber’s disappearance, Callus provided the penal code section regarding missing persons.

Any employee encountering a person who wishes to report a missing person or runaway shall render assistance without delay (Penal Code § 14205). This can be accomplished by accepting the report via telephone or in person and initiating the investigation.

Those employees who do not take such reports or who are unable to render immediate assistance shall promptly dispatch or alert an employee who can take the report.

A report shall be accepted in all cases and regardless of where the person was last seen, where the person resides or any other question of jurisdiction.

Police Files

Victim’s teenage son sees suspect vehicle a day later – suspect arrested for forging credit card and ID theft

Last Thursday night a Laguna Beach woman called police to report that she had lost her credit card inside Ralphs Market and that it had been used at a local gas station to make an $82 purchase.

Police went to the gas station to review the video during the time span when the charge was made. The suspect had purchased $82 in gas for what police said was a “…very distinctive truck…”

That information was passed along to the victim who told her teenage son.

On Friday afternoon, her son saw the suspect truck parked in the 200 block of Moss Street and called police.

LBPD Sgt. Louise Callus said in an email Monday, “Officers responded and contacted the resident, who admitted he had found a credit card and used it to purchase $82 worth of gas. He was arrested on misdemeanor charges of theft by forged credit card and obtaining credit using another person’s ID. He was booked and released on his own recognizance.


Daughter of landlord threatened by biker bar owner

A local woman called police Friday night after she found flowers on her doorstep with a note threatening her father.

According to the police log, the note read: “Unless you want flowers on your grave – quit f…..g around with the bikers.”

The woman explained that her father is the landlord of a biker bar on Ortega Hwy and the bar owner is negotiating a sale of the bar. There has been a dispute between the landowner and the bar owner.

She also told police that the suspect had also come to her workplace threatening her there as well.

Police are increasing patrols in her neighborhood and workplace.

Police Files

Taxi driver gets pilfered after picking up a fare at the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage Monday

A cab driver from the desert got far less than she expected Monday night after she picked up a fare in Rancho Mirage at the Betty Ford Center. The man in his early twenties gave her an address in Laguna Niguel. Along the way, he said he needed to make a stop in the 2800 block of Ocean Front in Laguna Beach.

Captain Jason Kravetz of the LBPD said in an email Thursday, “The male suspect got out of the cab and fled with his belongings. The cab driver tried to call her husband to tell him what happened, but noticed her cell phone, Garmin GPS and car charger were all missing.”

According to the police log, the suspect tried the front door and a couple of windows of the home on Ocean Front unsuccessfully before running away.

Captain Kravetz added, “The total loss is $487 including the $157 cab fare. We do have a possible named suspect. The cab driver used someone’s phone on Ocean Front to make the call to police.”


Poor communicator ends up behind bars

Timing, they say, is everything. From an incident that happened Tuesday afternoon at Wells Fargo Bank, communicating is important too.

A bank employee called the cops after a man tried to use a credit card with a female’s name on it. When that was pointed out, the man left the bank without saying anything. The bank kept the credit card.

Before officers arrived, the man had returned and explained then that he had gone to his car for his ID. The credit card was his mother’s and he had her permission to incur charges.

The bank called the police again to tell them that there was no fraud and police were no longer needed.

At about that same time, officers made contact with the bank employee and the man who fit the description that had been broadcast by the dispatcher.

Whenever officers make contact in the field, the usual protocol is for them to run their information for wants and warrants.

Anthony O’Neal Cooper, 27, had a Florida no bail felony warrant with a notation that Florida would pick him up nationwide if arrested. The charges on the warrant were probation violation, possession of marijuana for sales and grand theft.

He was booked at LBPD and taken to county jail to await extradition.


Border Patrol & friends arrest 24 illegal immigrants

US Border Patrol, OC Sheriff’s deputies, Newport Beach officers and State Parks patrol officers, assisted by helicopters in the pre-dawn hours Thursday at Crystal Cove, arrested 24 suspected illegal immigrants. They had come to the coastline in a 25’ panga boat, authorities said. Four of those arrested were women.

A witness who was riding his bike in the area around 7:30 a.m. said it appeared that the last of the immigrants were being rounded up. He also said some of the officers were dressed as joggers or hikers as they rounded up people.

The OC coastline has seen many instances over the past few years of panga boat landings including some here in Laguna Beach.

Police Files

Homeless man seriously injured when assailant beats him relentlessly with a guitar at Broadway bus depot

Last Friday afternoon at 6:23 police responded to the bus station on Broadway after a 9-1-1 caller reported a physical fight between two men. They were able to identify the combatants as soon as they arrived.

One man, later identified as Adam McQuerry, 41, no fixed address, had what police termed as a “large laceration on the back of his head and a swollen right eye, and wounds on his arms and body.” LBPD Sergeant Louise Callus added, “According to witness statements…[McQuerry]…was extremely intoxicated and had been taunting and challenging another male subject to fight.”

Gustavo Vitale, 46, no fixed address, accepted the challenge and used his guitar as a weapon. Sgt. Callus added that witnesses said Vitale “…had smashed the guitar into the face and head of [McQuerry]. He continued to use his, now broken guitar, as a weapon on the intoxicated male…”

Vitale was arrested for felony assault with a deadly weapon.

McQuerry was treated by paramedics and taken to Mission Hospital Laguna Beach. On the way, paramedics caring for him inside the ambulance called for police assistance because McQuerry threatened them.

McQuerry was arrested by absentee booking for being drunk in public.

Police also took a report from the owner of a gray Honda Accord who said that the combatants had cracked his windshield as they fought.


Man sits down to dinner in Albertsons – $64 worth of food including raw meat that he hadn’t paid for

A 9-1-1 call from Albertsons included the description of a man sitting on the floor eating raw meat and cheese from packages he’d grabbed and hadn’t paid for.

Sgt. Louise Callus said, “The man was opening closed packets and consuming food products. The suspect had selected a variety of food and drinks from the store shelves, brought it to the deli department, sat down, and started consuming the items…[including raw meat]. He was sitting on the floor with a large amount of food and drink directly in front of him.  Most of the food packages and drinks had been opened, and he was busy eating and drinking as officers approached.  He had nearly $64 worth of food items around him and no money in his pockets.”

Dustin Maupin, 32, no fixed address after arriving from Missouri, was arrested for felony commercial burglary.


Driver bails out of stolen car and manages to elude cops by running onto Victoria Beach

An officer ran a license plate at 1:09 Saturday morning on a Chrysler Concord and called for backup units when the plate came back as a confirmed stolen car.

The officer had sufficient units for a felony car stop and turned on the overhead red lights at Coast Hwy & Wesley Drive. The Chrysler took off and turned onto Victoria Drive before bailing near the Sunset Terrace steps to Victoria Beach.

The Chrysler kept going and collided with a parked car.

An officer chased behind the suspect who was out of sight by the time the officer arrived at the sand.

Sgt. Louise Callus said in an email, “Officers followed the path of the subject onto the sand and then northbound around the cove. There are many large properties in the immediate area, which have beach access. A jacket, shoes and a broken cellular phone were located on the ground along the route the driver fled.”

The car was searched and, as police termed it, “…substantial” evidence was found that gives police direct information to the probable suspect. The car was fingerprinted.

Police said the probable suspect also has an outstanding DUI warrant.

DUI Arrests

Justin Brooks Wilbur, 34, Fullerton – Saturday, April 29

Michael Hossain Mofid, 23, Laguna Hills – Friday, April 28 Cell Caller

Brad Douglas Stewart, 46, Los Angeles – Wednesday, April 26 Cell Caller


Incident Reports

Sunday, April 30

Arrests for Being Drunk in Public

Amy Collins Zvonec, 27, Irvine

9th Avenue | 31900 Block | Stolen Vehicle

4:25 a.m. A blue Kia Sportage was stolen. The RP’s wallet was in the vehicle. 

Saturday, April 29

Arrests for Being Drunk in Public

Sarah Marilley, 25, Michigan

Sky Dylan Fischer, 24, Washington

He was also arrested for resisting arrest.

Crescent Bay Drive | 100 Block | Warrant

8:25 p.m. Jorge Luis Butron, 21, Anaheim, was arrested on a $15,000 North Court warrant. 

Laguna Canyon Road | 2200 Block | Traffic Crash

8:04 p.m. A car and motorcycle collided, resulting in unspecified injuries. 

Manzanita Drive | 700 Block | Domestic Violence

6:26 p.m. Katherine Nicole Sparks, 30, Lake Elsinore, was arrested for domestic violence with $50,000 bail. 

Glenneyre Street | 300 Block | Assault with a Deadly Weapon

4:57 p.m. After waving a knife in the air and threatening a male acquaintance, Amber Castillo, 38, no fixed address, was arrested for assault, battery, and assault with a deadly weapon. Bail was $25,000. 

Glomstad Lane | 600 Block | Burglary

3:02 p.m. An iPhone was taken from the RP’s home. 

Coast Hwy | 30800 Block | Drugs

8:01 a.m. During a traffic stop, Josafath Anthony Perez Jr., 34, Harbor City, was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance. 

Friday, April 28

Arrests for Being Drunk in Public

Lance Paul Rippy, 53, Costa Mesa

He was also arrested for shoplifting

Forest Avenue | 500 Block | Stolen Vehicle

6:57 p.m. A black Landrover that had been stolen in Laguna Beach was located in Costa Mesa. 

Laguna Canyon Road | 20600 Block | Drugs

5:42 p.m. Jason Hale Lobe, 45, Barstow, was arrested for being under the influence of a controlled substance with $1,000 bail. 

Forest Avenue | 500 Block | Warrant

3:49 p.m. Timothy Cruz, 23, San Diego, was arrested on a $20,000 Glendale warrant for domestic violence. 

S. Coast Hwy | 200 Block | Petty Theft

10:30 a.m. Sunglasses valued at $150 were stolen. The RP has video of the suspect. 

Brentwood Drive | 31500 Block | Petty Theft

9:44 a.m. An Apple AirPort, a type of router, was stolen from a home. 

Thursday, April 27

Arrests for Being Drunk in Public

Katherine Tracy Ognevyuk, 29, Colorado

N. Coast Hwy | 100 Block | Drugs

11:37 p.m. Charles David Penkova, 55, no fixed address, was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia. During the booking process, he was found to have drugs on him, and was also charged with possession of a controlled substance and bringing drugs into jail. Bail was $20,000. 

Broadway Street | 500 Block | Vandalism

10:10 p.m. A vehicle had a window smashed, but nothing was stolen. 

Laguna Canyon Road | 3200 Block | Burglary, Vehicle 

12:54 p.m. A window was smashed on a Toyota Tacoma, and unspecified items were stolen. 

Thalia Street | 500 Block | Burglary

9:30 a.m. Tools were taken from the RP’s home. 

Alta Laguna Boulevard | 3200 Block | Vandalism

8:53 a.m. The water tower was graffitied. 

Nyes Place | 600 Block | Burglary

8:27 a.m. A garage was broken into. Over $1,000 worth of construction tools were stolen 

Wednesday, April 26

Nyes Place & Coast Hwy | Stolen Property

4:56 p.m. The RP found a woman in possession of property that was stolen from his vehicle on Saturday. The woman, Diemha Nguyen Bach, 43, Fountain Valley, was arrested for possession of stolen property. 

Laguna Canyon Road | 19200 Block | Burglary, Vehicle

3:06 p.m. The RP witnessed a suspect smash the window of his vehicle and take a backpack. 

Forest Avenue | 500 Block | Warrant 

9:35 a.m. Adrian Colin Miranda, 32, Orange, turned himself in for outstanding warrants against him – one for DUI and the other for burglary.

Dangerous bomblet detonated by bomb squad Wed.

A resident in the 1300 Block of Terrace Way reported Wednesday afternoon that he had a bomblet, which had been inside a cluster bomb.

LBPD Sgt. Louise Callus said the man had owned the military device for a few years but he didn’t recall where he had obtained it. Munitions are illegal to own. “A friend had recently told him it was dangerous.”

Internet photo

Cluster bombs can contain hundreds of bomblets – each an explosive device

Fire and police personnel responded to the 2:30 call and took a cell phone photo of the device. Residents nearby were evacuated.

Callus added, “I forwarded the photo to the Sheriff’s Bomb Squad and they confirmed that it was a dangerous explosive.”

Five members of the bomb squad responded in four vehicles and took charge of the situation. They exploded the bomblet in a containment vault.

The bomb squad called the scene secure at 5:32 p.m. and residents were allowed to return to their homes. No one was injured.

Police Files

LBPD & the Feds searching for whoever poisoned PMMC sea lions

Chlorine poured into a pool injuring 17 sea lions ready for release

Press release from the Laguna Beach Police Department

Last week a suspect trespassed onto the property of the Pacific Marine Mammal Center and introduced a large amount of chlorine into the water filtration system. This chlorine mixed with the salt water and contaminated one of the pools, where 17 sea lions were being treated.

Prior to the incident, most of these sea lions had already been given a “clean bill of health” and were due to be released the following day. Unfortunately, this attack re-injured all 17 of them. At this time, 15 of the sea lions have been diagnosed with varying degrees of corneal ulcerations. Eight have already healed, but another seven continue to receive treatment from a staff veterinarian.

This is the first known animal assault ever to take place at the non-profit Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC), which services all of coastal Orange County. As such, many resources are being used to identify the perpetrators.

Laguna Beach Police Detectives have interviewed several people having access to the facility. These detectives are working closely with investigators from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in a joint investigation. 

City surveillance footage is also being reviewed in an attempt to locate the suspect(s) or their vehicle.

If the public has any knowledge about the suspect(s), they are encouraged to call Laguna Beach Detectives David Gensemer or Abe Ocampo at (949)-497-0377 or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) hotline at 1-800-853-1964.

Specifically, the Police Department is interested in speaking with citizens who saw anything unusual outside of the PMMC on Monday April 27 between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. on Tuesday April 28.


Date of Occurrence: Overnight Monday April 27 to Tuesday April 28 between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Location: Pacific Marine Mammal Center- 20612 Laguna Canyon Road Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Crime: Suspect(s) entered the facility and introduced a large amount of chlorine into the filtration system, which contaminated one of the pools. This pool housed 17 sea lions getting ready for release later in the week. All 17 were injured with varying degrees of corneal burns. The suspect(s) are facing federal and state charges, which could include:

Violation of the Federal Marine Mammal Protection Act (16 USC Chapter 31)- “Harassing, hunting, killing or attempting to harass, hunt, capture or kill any marine mammal. The term harassment means any act of pursuit, torment or annoyance which has the potential to injure a marine mammal.” Individuals convicted of this federal violation can be subject to $20,000 fines for each violation and imprisonment for one year. 

California State Penal Code violations could include CPC 597-Animal Cruelty, which states that a person is guilty of this crime if they “wound, torture, maim or mutilate a living animal maliciously or intentionally.” 

This convicted person could be subject to a $20,000 fine and a year in jail. 

Expired registration lands two men in jail

A patrol officer made a routine traffic stop early Tuesday afternoon near the North Laguna Shell station when he saw that a car’s registration was expired.

After a few minutes, wants and warrants were checked and San Clemente resident Gabriel Rijborz, 24, a passenger, was taken into custody for a pair of Harbor Court drug warrants.

The driver, Jose Alvis-Jorge, 29, Irvine, was driving on a suspended/revoked license. An ensuing vehicle search turned up a quantity of drugs that resulted in Alvis-Jorge being arrested for felony possession of a controlled substance for sales and transportation of a controlled substance for sales.

Details about the type and quantity of drugs were not immediately available. 

DUI Arrests

Nicole Erin Horwitz, 34, Aliso Viejo – Tuesday, April 25


Incident Reports

Wednesday, April 26

Forest Avenue | 200 Block | Burglary

5:43 a.m. A passing jogger noticed that a window had been smashed at a business overnight. The investigation is pending and the loss is still being determined. 

Broadway Street & Forest Avenue | Warrant, Drugs

12:17 a.m. During a traffic stop, Edward Arthur Garcia, 54, Indio, was arrested on an outstanding North Court warrant. Juliet Ann Hurtado, 41, Ontario, was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia. 

Tuesday, April 25

Coast Hwy | 8600 Block | Warrants

6:46 p.m. Ann Marie Javage, 49, Laguna Beach, was arrested on two Harbor Court warrants for driving on a suspended license. 

Laguna Canyon Road | 20400 Block | Warrant

1:05 p.m. Lance Paul Rippy, 53, Costa Mesa, was arrested on a warrant for being drunk in public. 

Jasmine Street | 400 Block | Vandalism

11:44 a.m. A tree was partially cut down. The suspect also threatened to use salt to destroy the tree. 

Legion Street | 200 Block | Warrant

10:15 a.m. During a traffic stop, Kapadia Prajay Uptal, 34, Irvine, was arrested on a warrant for speeding.

Jasmine Street | 100 Block | Disobeying Court Order

7:38 a.m. Leslie Shacklett, 55, no fixed address, was arrested for disobeying a court order with $15,000 bail. 

Monday, April 24

Arrests for Being Drunk in Public

Jeffrey Taylor, 61, Laguna Hills

Adam Gibson, 32, San Diego

S. Coast Hwy | 1300 Block | Drugs, False ID, Parole

1:20 p.m. Brian Almanza, 24, San Juan Capo, was arrested for possession of narcotics, possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, and providing a false identification to officers. He was also arrested for no bail parole violation. 

N. Coast Hwy | 1000 Block | Warrant

1:11 p.m. Alexander Anderson Harris, 68, Laguna Beach, was arrested for two outstanding warrants for municipal code violations. 

Laguna Canyon Road | 1000 Block | Burglary

11:40 a.m. The doors to a shed were forced open and its contents were rifled through. 

Coast Hwy | 30500 Block | Vandalism

10:55 a.m. A group of juveniles was skateboarding on campus. 

High Drive | 100 Block | Fraud

10:50 a.m. An unknown person accessed the RP’s account to buy food.

Legion Street & Glenneyre Street | Traffic Collision

7:50 a.m. A vehicle and pedestrian collided. The pedestrian had cuts but refused hospital transportation. 

Sunday, April 23

S. Coast Hwy | 100 Block | Warrant

8:55 p.m. Heriberto Tavarez, 24, Anaheim, was arrested on a North Court warrant for drugs. 

Coast Hwy | 31100 Block | Warrant

2:06 p.m. During a traffic stop, Alvaro Novoa, 39, San Juan Capistrano, was arrested on a warrant for driving without a license.

DUI Arrests

Eric Ledezma Balderas, 25 – Tuesday, May 2 Pursuit


Incident Reports

Tuesday, May 2

Arrests for Being Drunk in Public

Maegan Diane Lindsey, 39, Texas

Broadway | 200 Block | Warrant

10:43 p.m. Michael Shawn Moody, 36, no fixed address, was arrested on a Harbor Court warrant. 

Laguna Canyon Road | 20600 Block | Warrant, Drugs

9:26 p.m. During a patrol check, Christopher Clay Wright, 48, Laguna Beach, was arrested on a Harbor Court warrant. He was also arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia. 

S. Beach Boulevard | 1200 Block | Burglary

3:40 p.m. In Anaheim, officers arrested Michael Lee Krier, 39, Anaheim, for burglary from a vehicle. Bail was $20,000. 

Acacia Drive | 100 Block | Petty Theft

3:02 p.m. License plates were stolen. 

Coast Hwy | 30800 Block | Petty Theft

12:44 p.m. A $65 bottle of alcohol was stolen. 

Cliff Drive | 300 Block | Petty Theft

10:28 a.m. A BMX bike described as old, with a worn out back tire and rust spots, was stolen. 

Laguna Canyon Road | 20600 Block | Battery, Threats

7:50 a.m. Officers responded to a call about two men fighting. David Threadgold, 29, no fixed address, was arrested for battery and criminal threats. Bail was $50,000. 

Monday, May 1

Arrests for Being Drunk in Public

John Charles Miller, 52, Laguna Beach

S. Coast Hwy | 600 Block | Warrant

7:01 p.m. Curtis Grant Abbott, 52, no fixed address, was arrested on a Harbor Court warrant for being drunk in public.  

Cliff Drive | 300 Block | Stolen Vehicle

12:19 p.m. A white 2007 Lexus that was parked at 11 a.m. was stolen. 

Sunday, April 30

Arrests for Being Drunk in Public

Mohamed Chetioui, 32, Newport Beach

Ricardo Vasquez Sanchez, 36, Dana Point

Coast Hwy | 31900 Block | Traffic Collision

3:04 p.m. A vehicle and a motorcycle collided. There were unspecified injuries. 

Coast Hwy | 31800 Block | Vandalism

10:48 a.m. An unknown suspect spray painted “ER Killers” near the ambulance entrance.

Laguna officer spends “spare time” helping in Kenya

Photos courtesy Greg & Debbie Hiler

Debbie and Greg Hiler with Peter and Carolyne – two of the children, which they sponsor in the Mathare Valley, Nairobi, Kenya. Greg is an officer with LBPD

Corporal Greg Hiler has been a police officer here for the past 15 years. StuNewsLaguna first met him shortly after he’d finished his probation and had just begun patrolling on his own.

I recall being impressed by his devotion to family and church and his quiet and courteous demeanor. He told me then that he hoped to work mostly day shift so that he could spend the evenings with his kids. Most new officers want to be working night shifts – where the “action” is.

Last year, I learned that Greg and his wife Debbie were about to embark on their fourth trip to the slums of the Mathare Valley in Nairobi, Kenya. The work they do there is through Eastside church.

Click on photo for a larger image

Debbie told me then that the area where they had been (and were returning to in July of 2012) is poverty-stricken. “There is no running water, electricity or sewer. Those that live there live in very small shanties made of old tin.”

They will be leaving again in July for the Nairobi slums. This year the Hilers will be the leaders of the 82-member team

“We will have a medical team, a dental team, an arts team (sewing, hair cutting, dancing etc), a soccer camp and we will be doing business development,” explained Greg. “Debbie started planning in March on how to accomplish what has been her dream of taking a gift for each child that is sponsored by Eastside (over 1000 kids) and then managing to present each gift to the child and take a picture so that when we return we will be able to present the sponsor with the picture!”

The Hilers are sponsoring three children in Kenya, Peter, Carolyne and Ruth.

“We left part of our hearts in Kenya and with the Kenyan people,” Greg said, “We are thrilled to be returning this summer.”

Click on photo for a larger image


These tears bring the Hilers back. Carolyne, one of the children they sponsor, is at the left with a friend as they said goodbye last summer.

The Hilers volunteer for the project through their church, which sponsors nearly 900 kids in Kenya. Greg will be a leader of 50 team members this summer while Debbie will be in charge of the handling and distribution of gifts collected for the 900 children.

“We feel blessed to be able to participate in this incredible opportunity and know that there is a lot of work ahead as we begin to prepare”, said Debbie.

“We could use help,” Greg told me. The Hilers need to raise $6600 by June 13 as their part needed to pay for the trip and its projects.

“We’re close to our goal but we would surely appreciate it if anyone in Laguna could make a contribution.”

Contributions are tax deductible. Visit www.grouprev.com/thehilerfamily2013

Stu Saffer

Police Files

Cell caller led police to drug arrest and loaded gun

A cell caller reported that the driver of a car on El Toro Road had a firearm on board at 11:14 Friday night.

Officers made a car stop in Aliso Viejo.

“The officer asked the driver if there were any weapons in the vehicle and the driver said there ‘might be’ a handgun in a backpack,” said Sgt. Louise Callus of the LBPD Monday.

A Bersa Thunder 380 was found along with a quantity of pills classified as a controlled substance.

Alejandro De La Cruz-Jiminez, 25 of Aliso Viejo, was arrested for felony possession of a controlled substance and misdemeanor possession of a concealed weapon and possession of a loaded concealed weapon.

Bail was set at $20,000.


Another person victimized by phony ad for

beach rental on Craigslist

A man from Orange knocked on an Ocean Front door and told the resident that he had rented the place for the weekend.

The victim had paid a deposit of $800 online to a person representing that he was the rental agent. The victim had seen an ad on Craigslist, police said.

There were several such frauds reported on Laguna Beach properties last year.

DUI Arrests

Karen Elaine Spaeder, 42, Fullerton – Sunday, May 7

Armando Perez Yanez, 20 – Saturday, May 6

Tanner Matthew Larsen, 22, San Clemente – Friday, May 5

Charles Bryan Hair, 24, Costa Mesa – Thursday, May 4


Incident Reports

Sunday, May 7

Arrests for Being Drunk in Public

Natalie Benrubi, 21, Laguna Niguel

Maria Shataeva, 22, Laguna Niguel

Saturday, May 6

Arrests for Being Drunk in Public

Moises Trevino, 23, Texas

S. Coast Hwy | 400 Block | Resisting

11:20 p.m. Jonathan Shakill, 32, Laguna Niguel, was arrested for resisting officers. 

Diamond Street & Glenneyre Street | Drugs

10:58 p.m. During a traffic stop, Shane Trout, 27, Irvine, was arrested for possession of narcotics with $500 bail. 

Glenneyre Street | 800 Block | Petty Theft

8:04 p.m. A 99-cent cup of coffee was stolen. 

Legion Street & S. Coast Hwy | Parole Violation

7:48 p.m. Brian Schaar, 31, no fixed address, was arrested for violating his parole. He was held without bail. 

N. Coast Hwy | 600 Block | Drugs

7:41 p.m. The search of an occupied vehicle in a parking lot resulted in the arrest of Stephen Eaves, 49, Kansas, for possession of narcotics and possession of drug paraphernalia, and Chasity Leigh Ann Jordan, 42, Fullerton, for possession of narcotics. Bail was $500 each. 

Hawthorne Road & Cypress Drive | Drugs, Resisting

6:21 p.m. Peggy Honingford, 51, Laguna Beach, was arrested for possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and resisting officers. Her bail was $500. 

Friday, May 5

Arrests for Being Drunk in Public

Brian Szafran, 47, no fixed address

Gordon Weider, 69, no fixed address

Laguna Canyon Road | 2500 Block | Warrant

11:35 a.m. Christopher J Anderson, 26, Garden Grove, was arrested on a Harbor Court warrant for driving on a suspended license. 

Forest Avenue | 500 Block | Fraud

10:14 a.m. The victim had accounts fraudulently opened in their name. 

Coast Hwy | 31000 Block | Burglary

8:21 a.m. Tools valued at $2,000 were taken from a construction site overnight. 

Thursday, May 4

Arrests for Being Drunk in Public

Timothy Lamont Jackson III, 32, Laguna Beach

Bolsana Drive | 600 Block | Restraining Order Violation

9:47 p.m. Richard Alan Hendrickson, 67, Corona Del Mar, was arrested for violating a restraining order. His bail was $15,000. 

3rd Avenue & S. Coast Hwy | Traffic Collision

5:41 p.m. A Jeep and a motorcycle were involved in a collision. The police log indicated a party was injured. 

Thalia Street | 200 Block | Stolen Vehicle

1:06 p.m. A blue Kia that had been reported stolen on Sunday was found at this location. It had been parked there since Monday. The victim also reported fraudulent credit card charges. 

Beach Street & Ocean Avenue | Warrant

12:58 p.m. Laguna Beach resident Joseph Hogsten was arrested for an outstanding Harbor Court warrant. 

S. Coast Hwy | 1500 Block | Petty Theft

9:52 a.m. Cash, credit cards, and other various items were taken from a purse that had been locked in a locker. 

Wednesday, May 3

Arrests for Being Drunk in Public

Juan Carlos Rairan, 47, Lake Forest

Robert Charles Hitchcock, 63, Laguna Beach

High Drive | 100 Block | Burglary 

7:53 p.m. A bluetooth speaker was stolen. A possible suspect was named. 

Laguna Canyon Road | 20600 Block | Warrants

7:24 p.m. Bianca Scarlett Bennet, 40, Santa Ana, was arrested on two outstanding warrants. 

N. Coast Hwy | 100 Block | Interfering with 911 Call

7:01 p.m. Daniel William Del Rosario, 24, Venice Beach, was arrested for damaging a phone when someone is calling 911. 

La Mirada Street | 1000 Block | Fraud

2:43 p.m. A named suspect deposited $750 in the wrong account. 

Noria Street | 1100 Block | Stolen Vehicle

9:16 a.m. A gray Volkswagen Tiguan that had been parked in the RP’s driveway unlocked was stolen. It was last seen at 5:09 a.m. leaving southbound Coast Hwy at Aliso. 

N. Coast Hwy | 400 Block | Vandalism

7:49 a.m. The glass door of a business was shattered. Nothing appears to have been stolen.

One false move might have ended in a horrific way for a group of five LBHS students Tuesday

LBPD Sgt. Louise Callus said, “A female came to the front counter at the police station at 12:13 p.m. Tuesday and reported that she had seen a male subject in a vehicle parked at the Mormon Church adjacent to the school district parking lot. It had appeared to her that one of the subjects in the car had a BB gun or a rifle.”

According to the police log, the female then turned and ran out of the station.

Callus continued, “An officer arrived on scene and saw a group of teenagers near the car described by the female. One of the boys was holding a camouflage rifle while pointing it over the fence down at the high school parking lot below.

“He was ordered to drop the rifle and immediately complied. The subjects were detained. The LBHS principal, assistant principal and school security were called to the scene. The subjects were all released to their parents and a report was taken for violation of PC 626.10 Bringing or Possessing Weapons on School Grounds.”

The charge is against a 17-year-old. The case will be referred to the juvenile court.

The weapon turned out to be a .177 caliber pellet gun according to police.

A police source not cleared to comment on the situation told StuNewsLaguna that the ending could have been grave. The source said that no matter who it is, or where they might be, if anyone encountered by a police officer is pointing a rifle over a fence where other people might be makes any furtive action, the officer is trained to protect himself and others.

“Thank goodness the boy dropped the gun without hesitation…”

Cops hope you can help identify burglary suspects

Laguna Beach police are asking the public for assistance in identifying burglars in two separate incidents that occurred here recently.

On May 10 at 7:50 a.m., officers responded to a burglary alarm at European Optical (1276 S. Coast Highway). They arrived to find a shattered front window along with several pairs of glasses strewn about the entryway.

http://youtu.be/VA4vO1cagKo shows the two suspects parking behind the store prior to the burglary.  One of them stays with the car, while the second man walks towards the business.  He returns a short time later, obtains a tool to break the window, and leaves to commit the burglary.

The second suspect wore a hoodie, which he pulled up over his head before wrapping something over his hand and punching through the window. The loss was approximately 65 pairs of glasses valued at $13,000.

European Optical suspects

The second commercial burglary occurred at 12:35 a.m. on May 23. Two suspects are seen on video - http://youtu.be/2AnXne9qnWg - smashing the lower portion of a glass door at Ganahl Lumber (1765 Laguna Canyon Road).  They wore hoodies over their heads as they entered the business and stole multiple items. The loss was $8,200 in tools and miscellaneous store items.

Ganahl Lumber suspects

Anyone with information about either burglary is being asked to call Detective Matt Meadows at (949) 497-0758.

DUI Arrests

Tiffany Paladin, 23, Newport Beach – Saturday, May 13

Mishael Avila Ramirez, 26, Corona – Saturday

Benito Jesus Miguel, 18, Lake Forest – Friday, May 12

Christopher Ryan Parker, 28, Indianapolis, Indiana – Thursday, May 11 Cell Caller


Incident Reports

Sunday, May 14

Arrests for Being Drunk in Public

Adam Michael Webb, 23, Laguna Niguel

S. Coast Hwy & Laguna Avenue | Assault & Battery

1:39 a.m. Officers responded to a fight between two males and arrested the aggressor, John Maurillo, 25, Laguna Niguel for battery. The victim sustained minor injuries. 

Saturday, May 13

Circle Way | 1300 Block | Warrant

10:15 p.m. Andres Chico Ramirez, 23, Pomona, was arrested on an outstanding warrant for DUI. 

S. Coast Hwy | 2000 Block | Warrant, Resisting

3:49 p.m. Veronica Lee Rankin, 58, San Diego, was arrested on a Harbor Court warrant. She was also charged with resisting arrest. 

Laguna Canyon Road | 2100 Block | Warrant

3:34 p.m. During a traffic stop, Jonathan Konick, 29, Westminster, was arrested on a Harbor Court warrant. 

Hillcrest Drive | 1400 Block | Domestic Violence

11:11 a.m. The RP received a call from her granddaughter that her boyfriend had “smashed her face.” Contact was made with the woman, who declined medical attention. 

S. Coast Hwy | 900 Block | Vandalism

12:14 a.m. A fence was damaged in excess of $1,000. Detectives are looking into the incident. 

Friday, May 12

Ocean | 200 Block | Fake ID, Resisting

10:25 p.m. Elijah Pitt, 20, Dana Point, was arrested for possession of a fake ID. Since he fled after initial contact with officers, he was also charged with resisting arrest. Bail was $500. 

Broadway Street | 300 Block | Warrants

4:52 p.m. Michael Anthony Masters, 52, Dana Point, was arrested for two Harbor Court warrants – one for a municipal code violation and the other for being drunk in public. 

Forest Avenue | 500 Block | Fraud

2:46 p.m. The victim reported identity theft by an unknown suspect. 

Mountain Road & Glenneyre Street | Theft from a Vehicle

10:46 a.m. Overnight, a Kia was entered and keys and a wallet with ID were stolen. The victim did not know if the vehicle was locked. 

S. Coast Hwy | 500 Block | Trespassing

5:56 a.m. Mark Jurczynski, 58, Laguna Beach, was arrested for trespassing.

Aster Street | 400 Block | Drugs

2:58 a.m. During a traffic stop with a search of the vehicle, Richard David Huntington II, 46, Rancho Santa Margarita, was arrested for possession of a controlled substance. 

Thursday, May 11

Arrests for Being Drunk in Public

Julie Anne Parker, 50, Laguna Beach

Glenneyre Street | 800 Block | Drugs

11:31 p.m. A search of an occupied vehicle resulted in the arrest of Michael Feitz, 46, Laguna Beach, for possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. 

Canyon Acres Drive | 200 Block | Fraud

5:26 p.m. The victim received a call from a suspect claiming to be from the IRS. The victim sent a prepaid debit card worth $2,500. 

Forest Avenue | 200 Block | Petty Theft

4:26 p.m. A dress was stolen on May 3. The RP has surveillance video.

Forest Avenue | 500 Block | Missing Person

3:29 p.m. The RP reported a missing woman last seen near Urth Café. She was described as Middle Eastern with brown hair and brown eyes. 

Ocean Way | 1900 Block | Vandalism

8:15 a.m. A wall was spray painted. 

Forest Avenue | 400 Block | Drugs, Probation

2:11 a.m. During a traffic stop, Lovan Dshone Sudds Jr., 34, Anaheim, was arrested for possession of a controlled substance and a probation hold. 

Wednesday, May 10

Arrests for Being Drunk in Public

Ashley Christine Fargo, 35, Newport Beach

Glenneyre Street | 800 Block | Drugs 

11:17 p.m. Oscar Gomez, 27, Lake Elsinore, was arrested for possession of narcotics and possession of drug paraphernalia. 

Thalia Street | 200 Block | Grand Theft

1:09 p.m. A black and orange Santa Cruz Bronson bicycle was stolen within the last ten minutes. 

Laguna Canyon Road | 1800 Block | Possession of Imitation Firearm, Threats

9:15 a.m. During an altercation, one subject made threatening comments to another and brandished a handgun. Officers arrived and detained the man, identified as James Kenneth Bailey, 53, Florida. He was charged with possession of an imitation firearm – a replica airsoft gun – and threatening comments.

DUI Arrests

None this period


Incident Reports

Tuesday, May 16

San Nicholas Court | 400 Block | Burglary

9:14 p.m. Between May 9 and 16, an unknown suspect attempted entry to a residence. The owner found cuts to the front door, locks, garage door, and dents to both garage doors. 

Nyes Place | 500 Block | Fraud

3:21 p.m. An unknown suspect tried to open accounts in the RP’s name.  

Moorea Way | 1300 Block | Trespassing 

2:56 p.m. An unknown person slept inside the RP’s guest house and broke some items. A burglary is not suspected. 

Monday, May 15

Arrests for Being Drunk in Public

Judith Maureen Doner, 75, Costa Mesa

Curtis Abbott, 52, no fixed address

Glenneyre Street | 1900 Block | Missing Person

10:10 p.m. A man was reported missing; he left a home around 7 p.m. and was last seen in a vehicle going southbound on Coast Highway from Aliso. 

Coast Hwy | 30800 Block | Drinking in Public

7:55 a.m. Alexander Anderson Harris, 67, was arrested for drinking in public. Bail was $500. 

Sunday, May 14

Glenneyre Street | 800 Block | Warrants

6:25 p.m. Terry Sanders, 39, no fixed address, was arrested on three Harbor Court warrants: one for Newport Beach municipal code violations, one for illegal lodging, and one for being drunk in public. 

Coast Hwy | 30800 Block | Lost Property

2:05 p.m. The RP’s wife left three rings valued at $60,000 in a restroom. When she returned after an unspecified amount of time, they were missing.

Police Files

Homeless woman, 71, in wheelchair seriously injured Sunday when homeless man attacked her from behind

Police said a 71-year-old homeless woman will require plastic surgery to repair her lip that was torn away when a 44-year-old homeless man attacked her from behind at 6:07 Sunday morning on the grounds of the US Post Office downtown.

She called police who found her on the ground next to her wheelchair bleeding profusely from her injury. Sgt. Louise Callus said, “Her lip was torn approximately two inches and blood was pumping from the wound.”

Paramedics treated her at the scene and transported her to Mission Trauma Center in Mission Viejo.

“Officers conducted an area check and also reviewed video from several cameras found in the area. About 45 minutes later officers located a probable suspect on Ocean Ave at Beach Street. Officers interviewed the subject and arrested him after finding inconsistencies in his story. The victim identified the suspect in an in-field lineup conducted at Mission Hospital Mission Viejo,” Sgt. Callus said.

Ronald David McGrane, 44, no fixed address, was booked for felony battery causing great bodily injury and felony elder abuse.

Police said the two know each other only in passing and said there was no apparent reason for the attack.

The US Postal Command Center is also investigating the case since the crime occurred on post office property.


Burglary suspects arrested in Lake Forest after breaking into Park Avenue home Friday afternoon

A man returned to his home in the 1900 block of Park Avenue and found that it had been broken into while he was out between noon and 5 p.m. An iPhone and jewelry valued at $30,000 had been taken, police said.

Laguna police received a call from the OC Sheriff’s Dept at five o’clock informing them that suspects at a car stop on El Toro Road in Lake Forest had the iPhone. Once it was confirmed that the iPhone had been taken in the burglary, Laguna police went to the location and interviewed two suspects.

Cameron Wade Kemmerer, 23, Laguna Beach and Brenton Matthew Andrea, 24, Lake Forest were arrested on felony charges of residential burglary, receiving stolen property and conspiracy.

The jewelry was located and recovered from a pawn shop in Mission Viejo.

DUI Arrests

Brennan Bricio Avans, 24, Arizona – Monday, May 8

Abel Pavonarenas, 47, Laguna Hills – Sunday, May 7


Incident Reports

Wednesday, May 10

Laguna Canyon Road | 20400 Block | Drugs

12:44 a.m. Daniel Delrosario, 24, no fixed address, was arrested for being under the influence of a controlled substance and for possession of drug paraphernalia. Bail was $500.

Tuesday, May 9

Arrests for Being Drunk in Public

Hundal Shaminderjit Singh, 32, Anaheim

Glenneyre Street | 1200 Block | Warrant

1:28 a.m. Bynay Blasberg, 33, Laguna Beach, was arrested on an outstanding warrant for DUI. 

Monday, May 8

Ocean Front | 700 Block | Warrants

6:41 p.m. Eric Lawrence McGuffick, 52, San Clemente, was arrested on outstanding Harbor Court warrants for trespassing and appropriation of lost property. 

3rd Street | 300 Block | Traffic Crash

3:17 p.m. A vehicle driven by a 21-year-old Mission Viejo resident hit a pedestrian near the Susi Q Center. The pedestrian sustained minor bumps, bruises and abrasions. 

Laguna Canyon Road | 20600 Block | Warrant

12:02 p.m. Officers on foot patrol arrested William Gene Thoos, 46, Oxnard, on an outstanding Santa Barbara County Sheriff warrant for battery. Bail was $15,000. 

Saint Anns Drive | 300 Block | Vandalism

11:05 a.m. On Sunday, a gate was ripped off. 

Broadway Street | 200 Block | Warrant

10:47 a.m. Donald Douglas Kramer, 45, no fixed address, was arrested on a Central Court warrant for damaging a jail cell.  

Sunday, May 7

Coast Hwy | 30800 Block | Warrant

11:35 a.m. Jose Luis Manuel Antoniano, 35, Scottsdale, Arizona, was arrested on a $2,500 Harbor Court warrant for being under the influence of a controlled substance.

Police Files

Window smash burglary at optometry shop: $12K loss

A burglar smashed the front display window of an optometry business in the Old Pottery Shack Friday morning and grabbed $12,000 in merchandise.

The police department received a call from an alarm company at 7:50 – in broad daylight – that a glass breaking alarm had been activated.

Officers arrived and found the broken window.

Police said such crimes can be accomplished in less than a minute and are well preplanned by criminals.


Good reason not to leave valuables in plain sight

Over and over again, police have warned people not to leave anything of value in plain sight in a locked vehicle and over and over again, we report the reasons why.

Two women parked and locked their car in the 100 block of Moss Street Friday evening presumably to walk closer to the beach to watch the sunset.

They left two purses inside – in plain sight.

Someone walked up to their car, smashed a window and took the purses. The value of the loss was estimated at $2,900.

Police Files

Pennsylvania woman arrested for ducking $18K Surf and Sand bill – police say more charges will be made

Surf & Sand Resort contacted police Tuesday afternoon expressing concerns over a significant hotel bill that a woman was unable to pay.

Sgt. Louise Callus said that the Pennsylvania woman wasn’t there when officers arrived. “She was supposedly looking for a pawn shop to borrow cash against a ring. A female friend who was waiting for the other woman was at Surf & Sand.”

Police interviewed the other woman and said no charges would be made against her and that she had been released.

Thursday morning, police learned that the suspect was staying at another Laguna Beach hotel and they were able to make contact there.

Stephanie P. Sims, 35, Reading PA, was arrested after being questioned on felony charges of commercial burglary and grand theft and misdemeanor petty theft. She was booked and taken to Orange County Jail Thursday afternoon.

Sgt. Callus said there would be more charges but did not provide further details.


Father and son arrested after fighting with cops

A man called police at 1:16 Wednesday morning and said his roommate’s son had assaulted him and his roommate.

Police said both the father, 51, and his son, 25, were intoxicated when they arrived on scene. As they questioned the older man, the son began arguing with his father and the older man continued despite being told to stop by the cops.

Sgt. Louise Callus said, “The father refused and got into a struggle with an officer. As two officers were attempting to place handcuffs on the father, the son stood up and began to approach.  The son was directed to sit down, but refused.

“An officer took him to the ground and he began to struggle with officers. During the struggle one of the officers was struck in the face and was pushed away.”

Police were unable to dissuade the 25-year-old man and decided to taser him. He continued to resist, Callus said. After a five-second interval, he was tasered a second time and officers were able to place him in handcuffs.

Sergio Gabriel Borgognone, 51 of Laguna Beach, was arrested for resisting an officer.

His son, Cory Alan Borgognone, Norco, was taken into custody for battery on a police officer and felony battery causing great bodily harm after the original caller was treated at hospital for a large head cut received before police arrived.

Both Borgognones were taken to Mission Hospital for medical clearance.

19-yr-old reported his car was stolen – changed his story when he learned his friends were in big trouble

A 19-year-old Dana Point man called police at 9:53 Saturday night to report that his Toyota 4-Runner had been stolen. Police said he had been at a party in the 1400 block of Cerritos.

Captain Jason Kravetz said in an email, “The caller said four of the guests took his car without permission.  A countywide broadcast went out, and the Sheriff’s Department reported finding the vehicle.

“It had been involved in a hit and run injury traffic collision and was found rolled over, on its roof, in Laguna Niguel at the intersection of Hidden Hills and Sandling. The four occupants said they were given the keys.

“They drove to Laguna Niguel and allegedly committed a robbery (of marijuana).  While fleeing the scene of the robbery, they got into the accident.  At the time of the report, the robbery victim had not called the sheriff’s department and was unidentified.  We are unaware of what the Sheriff’s Department did with the four people. They were all taken into custody.”

Kravetz added, “When apprised of the situation, the car owner changed his story and said he might have loaned the car to the four.  We took a report and will be sending it to the District Attorney with a request for a misdemeanor charge of filing a false police report.”

Woman who clipped the wings of a dove crosses paths with Laguna cops again – worse this time

Laguna Beach resident Amber Kristen Castillo, 34, was taken into custody Sunday afternoon April 7 after a witness reported that she’d clipped the wings of a morning dove on Cress Street Beach. [StuNewsLaguna April 12, 2013.]

The District Attorney is reviewing the investigation by LBPD to determine whether animal cruelty charges will be filed.

On Tuesday, April 25, Castillo was arrested at the alternative sleeping location in Laguna Canyon. LBPD Captain Jason Kravetz said, “She was arrested for battery on a police officer, battery of a custodial officer (jailer), felony obstructing/resisting, misdemeanor obstructing/resisting, under the influence of a controlled substance, and flash incarceration (ten day no bail hold due to her probationary status).”

Officers were summoned to the ASL for a disturbance at 7:18 a.m. The staff member at the facility said she was threatening people with bodily injury and tearing things off the walls. She had locked herself in the restroom and the staff member thought she was doing drugs.

Officers arrived and attempted to detain her, but she fought with them.  After being transported to the police department, Castillo continued to be disruptive. She spat on the officers in the jail and smeared body fluids inside the cell.

She told one of the officers that she had ties to a white supremacist gang and would make sure that they kill him and his family.

She is being held at Orange County Jail.

Police Files

Cops arrest suspects in home invasion robbery here

This past Monday, Laguna Beach detectives, with assistance from the Los Angeles Police Department, arrested two men for armed robbery and other charges.

Tyrone Lamont Beasley, 21, of LA, was arrested at a South Los Angeles home and Jyvontaye Demetric Harris, a 20-year-old resident of Los Angeles, was arrested at Compton Court where he was attending a pre-trial hearing on a separate case for possessing a loaded firearm in public. They were taken into custody and transported to Orange County Jail for booking.

The incident occurred on October 13, 2012, at 10:30 p.m., when the unknown assailants burst into a Laguna Beach home and brutalized the occupants by pistol-whipping them. After terrorizing the group, the suspects stole a significant amount of jewelry and were last seen running towards the nearby Albertsons center.

Detectives were called to the scene and had very limited information to work with. The incident appeared to be random and there were no immediate connections between the victims and suspects.

In November of 2012, a Laguna Beach Detective developed a lead, which pointed towards an extremely violent South Los Angeles gang (Bounty Hunter Bloods) who are based out of the Nickerson Gardens housing development. This detective met with LAPD gang officers and conducted surveillances on members of the gang.

During the service of an LAPD narcotics search warrant, one of the Bounty Hunter Bloods was found to be in possession of a cell phone stolen during the robbery. This break led to the identification of the two primary suspects.

The case culminated with the issuance of two arrest warrants last Friday. The warrants were each $500,000 and allege robbery, residential burglary, false imprisonment, use of a firearm during a robbery, and gang enhancements.

Since this case involves a Los Angeles street gang, with an active gang injunction, LAPD investigators will be involved in the prosecution to offer expert testimony.


Department of not-so-bright criminals

A 56-year-old Murrietta man was jailed here Tuesday afternoon for possession of stolen property.

In our April 16 edition (Police Files – front page), it was explained how a patrol unit equipped with state-of-the-art Automatic License Plate Recognition technology located a stolen car as the officer drove along Cliff Drive. The same thing happened here.

The vehicle in question was a 2005 Chrysler Town and Country LX parked on Thalia Street. The plate on the back had been reported stolen in Temecula two weeks ago. There was a different plate on the front. A detective watched the van until a man got in and drove off down Coast Hwy. A car stop was made with patrol units and a 56-year-old Murrietta man was detained.

James Willis, 56, told the cops that his registration had expired and he had stolen a plate with current registration. He was arrested on a charge of possession of stolen property – the license plate.

While Mr. Willis can’t be challenged for not expecting that a cop would have a “big brother” device in his patrol car (or prowler as Marge Gunderson called it in Fargo) that would ‘see’ the stolen plate on the back of the van – we do have to ask: have you ever been issued a different plate for the front than the rear by the DMV?

Police Files

Mother, 53, daughter, 31, arrested for stealing a car

Modern crime fighting technology worked well in Laguna Beach last Friday night.

A patrol unit equipped with state-of-the-art Automatic License Plate Recognition technology located a stolen car as the officer drove along the 300 block of Cliff Drive at about 8:45. The stolen vehicle was a Toyota Yaris, which the officer observed as backup units were on the way once the plate had been confirmed as stolen.

The cops performed a felony car stop on the parked Yaris and cleared the trio of occupants at gunpoint. Sergeant Louise Callus said a mother and her adult daughter and son were inside. All three were detained.

Callus explained, “The subjects had rented the car from a rental agency in January. The original legal agreement expired in February.”

According to the police log, the agency extended the agreement for two weeks at the renter’s request. It was at that time the rental agency learned that the credit card provided at the original time of the rental had no available funds.

Again from the log, the owner sent a letter to the address provided for the agreement, which was returned undeliverable. The agency managed to reach one of the women on the agreement who hung up on him, the log said.

“He filed a stolen vehicle report with Newport Beach PD in March”, said Callus. “The mother [Martha D. Kagarakis, 53] and her daughter [Stavroula T. Lolonis, 31], both from Laguna Niguel, were arrested for felony vehicle theft and felony taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent.

“The son was released at the scene…”

LBPD Booking Photos


Suspect makes things easy for detectives – by making a hand pass drug deal in his Santa Ana driveway

Everyone loves an ‘added value’ derived from a business dealing. LBPD detectives are no exception…

On Friday, April 5, a report was taken in the 2800 block of S. Coast Hwy where someone had forged and cashed checks totaling more than $4000.

Detectives went to work on Monday morning and quickly zeroed in on Santa Ana resident Jonathan Gerald Parker, 33, as a possible suspect. When they learned that he was on formal probation, it was decided to go to his residence and perform a probation search. Individuals on probation are always subject to a search by authorities.

Sgt. Louise Callus said, “Before officers hit the house, Parker walks outside as a car drives up and a hand to hand [drug transaction] is observed.”

The two occupants of the car were arrested: Chieu Bach Nguyen, 26, was charged with felony possession of methamphetamine for sales and Loc Tan Bui, 22, was taken into custody for felony possession of methamphetamine. Both are from Santa Ana.

Callus said Nguyen had a baggie containing 4 grams and several small clear plastic bags with a total of 8.5 grams. Bui’s bag had 3.2 grams.

Officers followed Parker into his house and arrested him for felony transportation of a controlled substance for sales and felony charges stemming from the forged checks: burglary, second degree; burglary, residential; grand theft; and forgery.

He was also held without bail on a probation violation hold.

A fourth man inside the residence ran out of a rear door but was taken into custody in a nearby backyard. Jeffrey Scott Perez, 37, Garden Grove, was arrested for felony possession of methamphetamine (2.91 grams).

Coffee with a cop – will there be donuts?

The Council Chambers will be open at 8:30 Wednesday morning, April 17. Drop by then or until 10 o’clock and have some Starbucks Coffee on the men and women of the LBPD that protect and serve our community.

Various topics such as Homeless Issues, Identity Theft, Dine and Dash, Burglary, and Shoplifting protocols and prevention will be discussed. Representatives from various divisions will be present to answer any questions or concerns you may have.

The event is designed to be casual with a walk-in format. If you plan to attend, RSVP by Monday April 15 to Community Services Officer Nikie Hernandez at 949-497-0382 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . That will help them make sure to have plenty of coffee available for everyone.

It’s easier to get rid of expired or excess meds now

Folks that need to dispose of excess or expired prescription and over-the-counter meds can now visit the safe and secure permanent drop off location outside the Laguna Beach Police Department. The drop box is near the front door of the LBPD and is available for drop off 24/7 with no questions asked.

Members from the “Laguna Beach High School Prescription Drug Awareness Club” have partnered with the City Council and Police Department to establish a permanent MedReturn drug collection program. The goal is to reduce the supply of drugs, which can potentially harm teens and adults.

According to a 2011 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than six million Americans abuse prescription drugs.  Among youth who are 12 to 17 years old, 7.4% report had a history of non-medical prescription drug usage.

In Orange County, teen prescription drug abuse is even higher than national trends.  17% of 11th grade students report having used prescription painkillers for non-medical use at least once in their lifetime. The availability of these unused prescriptions adds to the drug abuse problem.

More than 70% of young people abusing prescription pain relievers get them through friends or family, a statistic that includes raiding the family medicine cabinet. Properly disposing of excess drugs is everyone’s responsibility as a matter of public safety.

Now Laguna Beach citizens won’t have to wait for a specific take back day to clean out their medicine cabinets.

Woman in custody after clipping wings of a dove

Laguna Beach resident Amber Kristen Castillo, 34, was taken into custody Sunday afternoon after a witness reported that she’d clipped the wings of a mourning dove on Cress Street Beach.

Beach Patrol officers detained Castillo after a 9-1-1 caller said, “…a woman has mutilated a mourning dove…” The caller also said that the suspect had become “combative” with people on the beach who questioned her actions.

Beach patrol officers waited at the top of the beach steps and, according to LBPD Sgt. Louise Callus, “She behaved in a disagreeable manner and was handcuffed without further incident.” She was holding the dove.

When it was learned that Castillo is on formal probation, Dept of Corrections was contacted and she was order to be held without bail for a 10-day probation flash hold.

In that time frame, LBPD will submit a complaint for cruelty to animals and possession of wild animals, both misdemeanor offenses, to the OC District Attorney for possible arrest and prosecution.

Animal services said the dove is expected to survive, said Sgt. Callus.

OC DA Tony Rackauckas will speak to Rotary April 5

OC District Attorney Tony Rackauckas will speak to the Laguna Beach Rotary Club at their weekly luncheon meeting at Aliso Creek Inn on Friday, April 5. Rackauckas has served as District Attorney since 1998.

Limited public seating is available. Those wishing to attend the presentation must RSVP to Laguna Beach Rotary president John Campbell at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , to receive an acknowledgment and venue instructions.

Admission: $20 including lunch.

Business owner scammed by caller claiming to be a collector from Edison – business paid $898

Police said that a man called a business on S. Coast Hwy Tuesday afternoon and told the owner that unless their SC Edison bill wasn’t paid that afternoon, the electric service would be disconnected.

The caller, claiming to be a collector for Edison, demanded that the owner purchase a MoneyPak card to take care of the $898 bill.

Unfortunately, the owner did as instructed and was scammed the money.

According to Sgt. Louise Callus, the business owner did not owe any past due balance to SCE, which he could have learned by calling them.

“We contacted Edison and found out that such calls have been made recently to many businesses. They provided us with information, which we are getting into the hands of Laguna businesses,” Callus advised.

The Police Department PDF file advisory can be downloaded here

Police Files

Man arrested trying to use another’s credit card – said it was his brother’s – with a woman’s name on it

When an Albertson’s employee checked the ID and questioned a man who presented a credit card in someone else’s name, he said it was his brother’s card.

Unfortunately for him, the card was in a woman’s name. The card had been reported stolen at the time.

Police said the man left in a hurry without taking his bicycle, which was chained up outside of the store. An employee watched him head into CVS Drugs.

That’s where the cops located 63-year-old Gary Frances of Venice.

Police dispatchers made contact with the credit card company and were able to speak with the woman who informed them that her card had been lost or stolen.

Frances was arrested for felony commercial burglary and fraudulent use of a credit card. He was booked and taken to county jail with bail set at $20,000.


Suspect in cold case 1978 murder here scheduled for preliminary hearing today – DNA match led to charge

Walter Daile, accused of the multiple stabbing death of Lagunan Brent Stapleton Tobey in his home on Carmelita Street on November 20, 1978 is scheduled for a preliminary hearing at Harbor Justice Center Division H1 at 9 a.m. today.

A DNA match for Daile led detectives Bob Rahaeuser and Jason Kravetz to Connecticut where the suspect was serving 50 years for the murder of his girlfriend there.

He was extradited to Orange County in February of 2011 and charged with Tobey’s murder. Daile was 19 in 1978 and was an acquaintance of the victim.

Tobey was stabbed 17 times. The crime disturbed Laguna immensely at the time. Tobey was a well-known figure in the community. He was a prominent architect who had served on the boards of several city committees and community organizations.

Police Files

Bottomless teenage girl jumps through passenger window into amazed man’s pickup on Coast Hwy

A man was lamenting the slow traffic southbound on S. Coast Hwy at Anita Street Saturday afternoon when all of a sudden a bottomless female jumped from the curb through the passenger side window into his truck.

Police said it appeared the female (a 15-year-old from Irvine) was hallucinating from a hit of acid.

The log said the driver told the dispatcher, “She’s just sitting in the passenger seat talking to herself.”

The teenager was unresponsive to a female officer’s questions and, according to police; the girl took a swing at the officer as she was asked to exit the pickup. The cop ducked and managed to detain the girl, who refused to identify herself.

She was taken to hospital for evaluation.

Sgt. Louise Callus explained that the girl never gave police her name but there were a few tidbits that led the LBPD dispatchers to make contact with Irvine PD. Callus said, “The dispatchers did an outstanding job in identifying her as an Irvine resident. Her parents were contacted and responded to the hospital.”


Hit and Run crash on Park Ave results in the arrest of a 20-year-old Laguna man for DUI and hit & run

9-1-1 callers reported a traffic crash on Park Ave at Wendt Terrace at 12:49 Sunday morning. The callers said a black Subaru had rolled over after going off the roadway and up onto the side of a small hill. The Subaru landed on its wheels and four young adults got out.

Police said one of the passengers lost his balance as he tried to stand and went down onto his back in a prone position. When one of the callers saw that, it was assumed that he had been injured (he had not).

Nonetheless, the driver got back behind the wheel and drove off leaving his three passengers at the scene. One of the trio had received minor injuries, police said.

Cops interviewed the passengers and learned the name of the driver. When they went to the driver’s home address on another hill, the rolled over Subaru was parked on the street.

David Reese Tiller, 20, was taken into custody for drunk driving, hit and run with property damage and being under the influence of a controlled substance.

Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) new course registering now for March 20 start of classes

The Laguna Beach Police Department announced that registration has begun for the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Course.

Applications must be submitted by Monday, March 18 at 5 p.m. (LBPD reserves the right to refuse admittance into this program).

A Community Emergency Response Team is an organized and trained group of volunteers ready to assist in case of a disaster. The CERT program consists of 25 hours of classroom and hands on training. It concludes with an exercise drill to apply the skills and knowledge obtained during the classroom sessions.

Training includes the following topics: Disaster Preparedness, Fire Safety, Disaster Medical Operations, Light Search and Rescue, CERT Organization, Disaster Psychology, CERT and Terrorism, and Traffic Control.

CERT Training begins on Wednesday, March 20. Classes will then meet weekly from 6 to 9 p.m., followed by one Saturday morning exercise on May 4 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mandatory attendance is required at all classes.

To be considered for this training, you must be a Laguna Beach resident or work within the city limits, be at least 18-years-old and have no felony convictions.

Download a PDF here or visit the City’s website for a class schedule and application, www.lagunabeachcity.net, or pick one up in person at the Police Dept., 505 Forest Ave.

For questions regarding CERT, contact Jordan Villwock, Emergency Services Coordinator, at 497-0701.

City says the baby goat at Three Arch Beach was stolen from the goatherd – makes a police report

As we reported here on Tuesday, police officers who responded to assist Three Arch Bay security restore order among a group of about 25 young people on the southern end of Three Arch Beach, came away with a baby goat.

According to police, a gate guard on the ocean side of Three Arch reported last Thursday that a vehicle occupied by teenagers had driven into the gated community with a baby goat on board. They told the guard that they had found it according to the police log.

The goat was sighted on Friday in Three Arch but animal services could not locate it there.

Animal services returned the two-week old goat to the goatherd in Bluebird Canyon Saturday afternoon.

The herd is leased by the city giving it standing to report the theft. A police report was taken at 9:39 a.m. on Monday.

Police Files

LBPD license plate reader leads to a stop for speeding and a quick arrest by FBI agents of Laguna man accused of bilking $3.6 million selling new technology investment schemes 

A license plate reader in a LBPD patrol unit, which was catching up with a speeder from El Toro Rd and Laguna Canyon Rd Tuesday afternoon, revealed that the vehicle belonged to a person with a current FBI arrest warrant.

Sufficient units were behind the vehicle when a felony car stop was made in the 700 block of Laguna Canyon Road at 2:31 p.m.

Captain Jason Kravetz told us Thursday, “Within minutes of the man being detained, the FBI was there. Turns out they were tailing the guy and waiting to make the arrest themselves.” The FBI took the man into custody.

The FBI said in a press release Thursday that Peter Reinert, 60, a recent resident of Laguna Beach, was charged in an indictment filed in United States District Court in Santa Ana on March 26 and unsealed this week with 14 counts of wire fraud in connection with fraudulent investment schemes involving alleged new technology.

The FBI said dozens of investors turned over $3.6 million to bank accounts that were controlled by Reinert who also used the name, Peter Michael Berger. Reinert mainly spent the money on himself or deposited it into Polish bank accounts, the FBI alleges, and none of it went to companies Reinert had set up to cover his activities.

The FBI said that the investment schemes included “…a product that could increase gas mileage for any car to 150 miles per gallon…[and]…anti-counterfeiting technology to be used on state-issued identification documents.”


This guy could’ve been smarter as to what cars to steal from

An employee in the emergency dispatch center was monitoring cameras at about 3:20 a.m. Wednesday and plainly saw a man sitting inside a car parked in the employee parking lot at Forest Avenue and Broadway.

Captain Jason Kravetz said, “It was a car belonging to one of our officers and he was apparently rummaging though it.

“Several officers were in the parking lot very quickly and they detained the man.”

Kravetz said the man had also been in another vehicle belonging to a firefighter.

“Obviously everything was recovered.”

Jacob Dale Simmons, 22 of Bothell, WA, was arrested for petty theft, trespassing and vandalism.

Police Files

Belly dancers do battle outside Marine Room

Several women still dressed in their belly-dancing garb after marching in the Patriots Day Parade Saturday joined a large group who went to the Marine Room to hear a bagpipe band, which also marched in the parade.

The Scots band dressed in authentic kilts play at the Marine Room every year after the parade and have been doing so for years.

The crowd that gathered to listen included five elected city officials and many well-known Lagunans.

A few of the belly dancers made their way to the bandstand and began dancing much to the amusement of the packed house.

At 2:50 p.m., police received a 9-1-1 call reporting that two of the belly dancers were fighting on the sidewalk in front of the Marine Room. A bartender had seen them and went outside to break up the fight – successfully – before police arrived.

Police said one of the two dancers had left. The other dancer remained and had been slightly injured but declined paramedics.

The victim said she was willing to sign a citizen’s arrest complaint for battery.

Police did an area search for a woman dressed in a red belly-dancing outfit but were unable to locate her in the downtown area.

A report was taken, which will be forwarded to the District Attorney for possible prosecution via a citizen’s arrest.


Several minors cited at Three Arch Bay Beach related to a large group drinking and smoking pot

A group of LBPD officers assisted Three Arch Bay security officers disperse a group of about 25 people who had been drinking beer and smoking marijuana on the south end of Three Arch Bay Beach.

Nearby residents had called security about the rowdy group on the beach. When security contacted them, they refused to stop drinking and security called the cops at 3:13 p.m.

LBPD Sgt. Louise Callus said, “Multiple officers arrived and observed a large group of approximately 25 individuals most of which were drinking alcohol. Approx 6-8 individuals were cited for either alcohol on the beach, glass on the beach, cigarettes on the beach or possession of marijuana.

“It was difficult to identify everyone involved because there were too many people who scattered when officers arrived and too much alcohol and contraband. 40-50 bottles and cans of alcohol were disposed of during this incident.”

Police also recovered a baby goat that had been among the group. The goat had suddenly appeared while citations were being written.

Security had called police at 3:43 Thursday afternoon after a gate guard had spotted it inside a vehicle occupied by several teenagers. They had told the guard that they “found” the baby goat on Laguna Canyon Road.

A police source said the guard had told them to take it back but they drove into Three Arch (the driver was a resident). Officers checked the driver’s address and looked at the beach without seeing the goat.

A caller reported seeing the goat on Friday but once again, the baby goat wasn’t located when police checked the area.

On Saturday afternoon, police reunited the baby goat with the goatherder on Bluebird Canyon Road. No goats had been grazing near Laguna Canyon Road on Thursday, police said.

Police also said that one teenager who lives in Three Arch has a van that he uses to pickup several friends at a time to bring them through the security gate as guests then drops them at the beach. That is how many of the 25 on the beach got to Three Arch Saturday afternoon without being on a resident’s guest list.

Police Files

Two arrested after stealing meds from women they met at the beach who invited them to their hotel room

Cops responded to a hotel in the 1600 block of S. Coast Hwy Monday evening to investigate a possible robbery.

Sgt. Louise Callus said, “Two female victims were contacted and they stated some male subjects they met at the beach had taken some of their items. After further investigation, it was determined to be a petty theft.”

The women had told the dispatcher that they had met the two men at the beach earlier and the two ran out of the room, pushing the caller aside, after taking a cell phone and Alprazolam pills.

A little over a half hour later, police were called by Laguna Surf & Sport about two men in the store creating a disturbance. They had refused to leave.

Officers arrived and recognized the two men as the suspects that had been described by the women in the hotel room.

Sgt. Callus said in an email, “An in-field show up was conducted and the victims identified them as the ones who had taken the items. A cell phone and Alprazolam pills that were taken were found on one of the subjects. The other male subject had shirts in his backpack that he had stolen from the surf shop.”

Dylan Lawrence Doumeng, 22, Aliso Viejo, and Brandon Norman, 22, San Juan Capistrano were both arrested for felony possession of stolen property. Norman was also charged with misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance.


3 juveniles caught in Ralphs breaking milk cartons

Three boys were detained in Ralphs after an employee caught them smashing milk cartons in the store Sunday afternoon.

Police contacted the three boys and called their parents who came to Ralphs and paid the store for the milk and their sons were released to them at the store.

Woman says another woman, whom she didn’t know, came into her room swinging a baseball bat

Police received a frantic 9-1-1 call from a woman who had locked herself in a bathroom in the 1500 block of Skyline Drive Monday at 11:41 a.m.

The caller said she had been packing after being evicted from her room when a woman in her 50s suddenly came inside and allegedly began to swing wildly with a baseball bat while threatening her. She told police that she didn’t know the woman but suspected that she was the sister of the person evicting her.

When the caller emerged from her room, she told police; the woman wasn’t in the house.

Officers arrived and eventually managed to interview all three women.

LBPD Sgt. Louise Callus said, “…everyone’s statements are different and there is no evidence to substantiate what the victim is saying about the bat being used…”

Officers took a report for exhibiting a deadly weapon. Because any crime involved would be a misdemeanor, police referred the report to the DA for possible charges.

Police Files

Off duty cop recognizes vehicle theft suspect walking along Laguna Canyon Road two hours after van stolen

A Laguna cop who just ended his shift was driving outbound on Laguna Canyon Road at about 6:20 Sunday morning when he noticed a man walking next to the roadway. The officer was sure the man was the suspect whose photo he had seen at the station before he left.

He called the dispatcher and arriving officers detained West Covina resident Martin Kennedy Reyes, 46. Police said Reyes provided them with a phony name and he was arrested at the scene for false personation.

Once back at the police station, he was charged with vehicle theft. He was also held for parole violation without bail.

Police had received a call from a woman in the 2100 block of Laguna Canyon Road at 4:05 a.m. who told them that she’d heard her van being started outside. Her van was missing and a gray van was parked outside with the keys inside.

The RP’s van was discovered a few minutes later abandoned in the 2500 block of Laguna Canyon Road. Police found a meth pipe in her van and other items that led them to identify a possible suspect – Reyes.

Both vans were towed for evidence.


Suspect arrested by Sheriff’s deputies here Feb 7 was charged seven felonies committed in Dana Point

Steven Andrew Bailey, 48, was arrested here on Feb 7 for suspicion of attempted murder by Sheriff’s Deputies with assistance from LBPD officers. Deputies knew that he had been staying in a local hotel and that his red VW Jetta was parked in an underground garage. 5 1/2 hours after they began watching for him, his Jetta left heading southbound on Coast Hwy where a felony car stop was executed.

The OCDA filed a complaint charging him with seven felonies: stalking; assault with a deadly weapon; kidnapping; false imprisonment; forcible sexual battery and residential burglary; and two misdemeanors – trespassing and domestic battery.

The complaint said the offenses occurred in Dana Point.

Bailey has two prior convictions for serious and violent felonies in Connecticut in 1995 for kidnapping and 1981 for arson. If convicted on the latest charges, he could be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole under the state’s three-strike law.


Those email scammers will take as long as they need to pull victims into their (usually) international web

Any small business owner would be excited with a big order from out of the blue and Noreen Goodman, the owner of International Spa inside Hotel Laguna for the past two decades, was happy to get a reservation for six facials at $95.00 each.

The order came from a man who said six women from out of the country were coming to Laguna Beach and wanted to be pampered.

“I wasn’t wary at first,” Goodman said explaining that she is fearful that others might not see though the scam in time and be out some money.

The two exchanged several emails that included a request that she ‘guarantee’ that the spa to be ‘on time’.

Then “Toby Adams” asked if might be possible to have other services while the women were in the salon.

After Noreen replied that they offered manicures, pedicures and hair styling, she received the email that made her wince.

“Sound Good Im ok with the total price so i will like to make the full payment now with my credit card so i could be assured i have booked down the date and set for the even. I would have paid the Transport Driver already but they don’t accept credit card as a method of payment. I have a quite tight schedule. so i will like you to include an extra $890 for the Transport Driver that will be bring the 6 people down to you for the basic organic facial treatment so the $890 would be the driver’s fee, And also you would help me send it via Western Union to the driver. I will like to give you extra $150 for as a tip for helping me with this and also you will add another $150 for the Western Union Charges while you’re sending the Funds to the Driver.

“Kindly get back to me with the Grand total cost now. Then i can send you my card info with the Driver’s infoso you can send the $890 to him via Western Union right away so we can set up for the event.

“God Bless you!”

Goodman came forward in the hope that other possible victims will recognize the approach that nearly took her money and report the attempt to police.

Police Files

High on drugs, man breaks bad with cops downtown

At 7:06 p.m. Sunday, police responded to the area of Starbucks on N. Coast Hwy when 9-1-1 callers reported that a man was jumping into and out of traffic lanes. When officers tried to make contact with the man, police said, the man ran across Coast Hwy “weaving in and out of traffic.”

Sgt. Tim Kleiser told us Monday; “The officers were able to catch the man in the 200 block of Broadway. He physically resisted two officers’ attempts to handcuff him. Additional officers arrived and they were able to apply handcuffs.”

Click on photo for a larger image

Staff photo by Scott Brashier

A large crowd of people in the area of Broadway and Coast Hwy watched as police and paramedics worked to subdue and then stabilize a man who was high on drugs. He had been running in and out of traffic on Coast Hwy before several officers were required to subdue him. Police were able to do so without a taser. 

The man, later identified as Terrall Magee, no fixed address, continued to resist the cops. Sgt. Kleiser explained, “Because the subject was still physically resisting, and because it appeared that he was under the influence of a drug, medics were called to the scene. The medics stabilized him and then transported him to Mission Hospital Laguna Beach.” No one was seriously injured.

Magee was placed in restraints and officers accompanied him in an ambulance to hospital. Once emergency room doctors cleared him, Magee was arrested for being under the influence of a controlled substance and resisting arrest.   

Couple arrested in underground garage with heroin and meth 

When officers checked on people who were smoking what appeared to be drugs in a car parked the underground lot in the 1100 block of S. Coast Hwy, they came away with a San Francisco woman and a Capo Beach man under arrest on a total of 13 drug charges including felonies.

Angelene Victoria Tropp, 28, San Francisco, was held on felony charges of possession of methamphetamine, heroin and several pills.

Making matters worse, during her booking, methamphetamine was found inside her bikini bottom. She had been asked if she had any drugs on her person and was shown a sign before entering the booking area informing of the felony charges for bringing drugs into a jail or prison. Additionally, she was wanted for a felony warrant with $25,000 bail.

Jeffrey Stephen James Austin, 29, Capistrano Beach, was arrested on three drug charges.

DA loads up to hammer last week’s standoff suspect

Click on photo to see a larger image


Courtesy LBPD

When Edward Ernest Uribe, 41, from Carson, was taken into custody after that infamous 4 1/2 hour standoff near the entrance to Three Arch Bay on Feb 6, he was charged with three felonies…felon in possession of a firearm; possession of drugs; and bringing a controlled substance into a jail.

As the list of charges pursued by the OC District Attorney (above) clearly shows, Uribe was arraigned for 11 charges – seven of them felony counts – on Feb 8 at Harbor Justice Center. He entered a plea of not guilty on all counts.

As reported here first last Thursday morning, Uribe displayed a handgun to officers who responded to a five-car crash at Coast Hwy & Vista Del Sol at 5:20 p.m. Feb 6 and told them he had a bomb wired so that it would explode if the car door was opened.

Those words set in motion the closing of Coast Hwy in both directions and the lockdown of all homes and businesses that police considered to be in harm’s way.

The OC Sheriff’s SWAT team and bomb squad assisted the local cops until Uribe left his Mustang at 10:50 p.m., about 30 minutes after teargas was fired into his car.

Police Files

If you’re going to be busted for stealing something…

a 28-year-old San Juan Capistrano man was arrested for felony possession of stolen property near his home late Monday afternoon.

An OC Sheriff’s deputy drove past Rawhy Samir Abujudeh’s home and saw something he recognized in the back seat area – a boot – the kind that cops use to immobilize a vehicle with a bunch of parking citations.

It was a stolen Laguna Beach PD boot worth about $200.

The sheriff’s department called LBPD and a patrol officer drove down to San Juan Capistrano while the OCSD detained the suspect.

When the LBPD officer met with the suspect, Abujudeh admitted to stealing the boot. His car had been immobilized in the 200 block of Cress Street and when he returned, the boot was on.

“He jacked his car up and changed the tire leaving the boot on,” Sgt. Louise Callus said. “His vehicle was towed and he was arrested.”

Abujudeh was held on $25,000 bail.


New residents being harassed by bags of doggie doo

A couple told police Tuesday that that were being harassed by an unknown person(s) since they moved into their new home on San Nicholas Court Dec 1.

“From shortly after they moved in two months ago, someone started throwing large bags filled with dog feces into their yard,” said Sgt. Callus.

The log indicated that the harassment stopped for a while after the couple had complained to private security.

On Feb 11, the suspect(s) threw a large bag of doggie doo at the victim’s car that was parked inside their garage – with the garage door open.

“The victims wrote a letter and distributed it to most of their neighbors right after that happened. In the letter, they wanted to make their neighbors aware that they had only been there two months.”

The log states that they told dispatch that they had learned that the previous person living in their condo had been very disliked by the neighbors.

Sgt. Callus aid, “They had hoped all would stop when the suspect realized that he or she had been picking on the wrong resident.

“Unfortunately, the RPs received a letter Tuesday morning from an unknown person saying it was them who were bothering people.”

Border Patrol agents ran across pot smugglers and seized 1,196 pounds with a street value of $1.8 million

US Border Patrol agents were on routine patrol at El Moro Beach when they saw a panga boat cruising into shore off Crystal Cove State Park around midnight this past Monday morning.

They detained seven men on board and two others in a SUV who had begun off-loading 26 bundles of pot with a weight of 1,196 pounds and a street value of $1.8 million.

Homeland Security responded and took the nine suspects into custody. The identities of the suspects were not immediately available.

Police release more details of Wednesday’s standoff

Laguna Beach Police identified the driver of the Mustang involved in a five-car crash at the entrance to Three Arch Bay Wednesday night as Edward Ernest Uribe, 41, from Carson in LA County. He has been charged with five offenses – three of which are felonies – and is being held in OC Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail. (see charges below.)

As first reported here Thursday morning, police confirmed that one of the four LBPD officers who responded to the scene originally did fire a shot that hit Uribe’s car but did not injure anyone. LBPD will conduct an investigation into the shot fired and will not release any further information until the investigation is completed.

Teargas was fired into the Mustang and Uribe managed to stand it for nearly 30 minutes before he exited his car via the passenger side door and sprawled onto the pavement where he was taken into custody.

Police said Uribe struck a total of four vehicles. The only injury reported was that of a 70-year-old man who lives in Three Arch Bay. An OC Sheriff’s SWAT team armored car transported the paramedics through the standoff and to the man’s home. Police did not say if he was hospitalized.

Sgt. Louise Callus also said, “In another unusual twist, a Laguna Beach police officer had to transport medical personnel through the scene from Crown Valley Parkway to Mission Hospital, Laguna Beach with a human organ that was urgently needed by at the hospital.”

Charges against Uribe:


Felon/addict in possession of a firearm

Possession of a controlled substance

Bringing a controlled substance into a jail

Lesser Charges:

Prohibited person in possession of ammunition

Under the influence of a controlled substance

Resisting an officer

Uribe was taken into custody 4 1/2 hours after his black Mustang crashed into multiple vehicles at Vista Del Sol and Coast Hwy Wednesday.

As police and fire were responding to the scene around 5:20 p.m., a 9-1-1 caller reported that the driver of the Mustang had a handgun. The caller had gone to the car to check on the driver’s condition when the driver had not gotten out of his Mustang.

At about the same time, a caller to StuNewsLaguna alerting us to the crash said he had witnessed the Mustang in Dana Point driving erratically weaving in and out of lanes and cutting people off on PCH. The caller said he had concluded that the Mustang would crash before too long. “He was really driving fast and recklessly.” The caller arrived at Vista Del Sol and Coast Hwy before any emergency vehicles were on scene.

Four officers had approached the Mustang with guns drawn after they had learned that the 9-1-1 caller had seen a handgun on the seat next to the driver.

The driver did not fire at police but he did tell them that he had wired a bomb that would detonate if anyone tried to open the car door.

Police ordered the man to exit the car but he refused several times.

The OC Sheriff’s SWAT team, helicopters and bomb squad responded to assist LBPD handling the standoff that lasted until tear gas was shot into the Mustang at about 9:50.

Residents were told by police to remain indoors both verbally and via an AlertOC safety message during the standoff. Police evacuated those in immediate harm’s way shortly after arriving on scene. Loudspeaker broadcasts throughout the incident reminded people of the danger at hand.

Sheriff’s units shut down PCH at Crown Valley and Laguna officers did the same at Seventh Avenue. No traffic was allowed into the area until after 11 p.m. when the southbound lanes were opened. Northbound lanes were reopened at about midnight.

Laguna Canyon Road was hammered in both directions the entire time. Edison had the outbound lanes closed for scheduled construction.

Police Files

Stolen car involved in hit & run crash at Pearl St. Sunday – wrong way driver and passenger caught after bailing

Witnesses and police said a stolen Honda was seen speeding northbound on Coast Hwy near Pearl Street in the southbound lanes shortly before it crashed into parked cars on the Laguna Auto Center lot at Pearl Street Sunday afternoon.

Photo courtesy KX 93.5 FM Facebook page

A witness provides information to a LBPD motor officer at Laguna Auto Center

The two teenage occupants bailed out of the car with obvious injuries and ran from the scene. They were detained by citizens at Bluebird Canyon Drive and taken into custody by the cops within minutes of the crash, which occurred around 2:45.

The driver, Eddie Reyes Martinez, 19 of Mission Viejo, and passenger Jonathan Jesus Cordova, 18, Laguna Woods, were both treated at the scene by paramedics and transported to Mission Hospital. No one else was injured.

Police said the Honda had been reported stolen in San Clemente earlier Sunday.

Martinez was arrested for felony unlawful taking of a vehicle, driver under 21 with a blood alcohol level of .05 or more, driving with a suspended license, hit and run and resisting arrest. Cordova was charged with felony unlawful taking of a vehicle and resisting.

Both were booked at LB city jail and later taken to Orange County Jail.


Man threatens restaurant manager with a concealed fork

Taiwo Anthony Olokun, 34, walked into Cucina Alessa carrying a sign asking for money Friday night. He was promptly asked to leave by an employee. Police said Olokun became angry and was asked to leave a second time by the manager.

LBPD Sgt. Louise Callus said, “Olokun allegedly retrieved a fork from his sweatshirt with his right hand. He waved the fork back and forth in the air several times in an angry and threatening manner at the manager. Fearing for his own safety and the safety of his customers, he physically escorted the suspect from the premises and detained him until officers arrived.

Olokun, who said he was unemployed from Fullerton but has no fixed address, was taken into custody for trespassing and brandishing a weapon in a threatening manner.

Cops say lapse in reporting a sighting of burglary suspect may have let him elude the manhunt in Temple Hills area Tuesday

As was reported here in Tuesday’s edition, Temple Hills residents were alarmed by police presence Monday afternoon that included a police helicopter circling overhead.

Sgt. Louise Callus informed us, “LBPD officers responded to the 1700 block of Thurston Drive for a suspicious person in the area – a possible burglary suspect. As officers arrived, a man was seen trying to hide against a planter in the driveway of one of the homes.  As he saw the officer’s vehicle, he got up and ran through the yards, over a fence and was lost by the officers. A perimeter was set up and Huntington Beach PD sent over their helicopter to help in the search.”

Police said a man received a ride down Temple Hills Drive from Top of the World Tuesday afternoon from a teenager. He wanted to be dropped off at a car he said he had been working on.

Sgt. Callus said comments by the man created an ill feeling on the part of the teen when he talked about being a burglar and asked if there were any tools in the car. The teenager called police and that set the manhunt in motion.

Police sent out a safety message via AlertOC: “This is the Laguna Beach Police Department on Monday January 28, 2013 at 2:50 p.m. with an important safety message. The Laguna Beach Police Department is looking for a subject that ran from Officers in the area of Temple Hills Drive. The subject is described as a male white in his 50’s, 5’10 to 6 ft, large build last seen wearing a black t-shirt and jeans. At this time we request all residents keep their doors and windows locked and call 911 if you see anyone trespassing…”

On Tuesday morning, a man called police reporting that he had found a man who had been sleeping inside a shed on his property in the 900 block of Coast View Drive.

He described the suspect as wearing sweat ants and a tight T-shirt carrying two beach towels when he left.

Sgt. Callus said the police suspect it was the same guy from Monday. “He was able to elude us as there was a time lapse in the RP calling us.”

Police responded and again formed a perimeter without success. Sgt. Callus said there have been no other calls from residents in the area since Tuesday.

Police Files

Local surf shop owner suspected of making beer available to minors, police say

Police reported: “At 8:18 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan 22, after observing from across the street for several minutes, officers responded to the Thalia Street Surf Shop at 915 S. Coast Highway after a parent of a teenager reported that employees were providing beer to juveniles. Officers arrived and found the store packed with people. Fire department personnel were called to assess the overcrowding issue.

“The officers began writing citations to subjects [some were minors] who possessed alcoholic beverages outside the store. This was very effective at dispersing the crowd. The officers identified the storeowner, Nicholas Cocores, who was cited for a misdemeanor violation of providing alcoholic beverages from a business without a license, a violation of California Business and Professional Code 23300.”

Police keep Temple Hills residents informed using the countywide AlertOC Monday about search for suspect

Temple Hills residents were alarmed by police presence Monday afternoon that included a police helicopter circling overhead.

Sgt. Louise Callus informed us, “LBPD officers responded to the 1700 block of Thurston Drive for a suspicious person in the area – a possible burglary suspect. As officers arrived, a man was seen trying to hide against a planter in the driveway of one of the homes.  As he saw the officer’s vehicle, he got up and ran through the yards, over a fence and was lost by the officers. A perimeter was set up and Huntington Beach PD sent over their helicopter to help in the search.”

At 2:50, the police department sent residents in the area an AlertOC message:

Initial message: “This is the Laguna Beach Police Department on Monday January 28, 2013 at 2:50 p.m. with an important safety message. The Laguna Beach Police Department is looking for a subject that ran from Officers in the area of Temple Hills Drive. The subject is described as a male white in his 50’s, 5’10 to 6 ft, large build last seen wearing a black t-shirt and jeans. At this time we request all residents keep their doors and windows locked and call 911 if you see anyone trespassing. Updates will be provided as soon as possible. This concludes the safety message.”

Updated message: “This is the Laguna Beach Police Department on Monday January 28th, 2013 at 5 p.m. with an update on the previous important safety message. The Police Department was searching for a burglary suspect in the area but has suspended the search without locating the suspect. As a general rule you should keep your doors and windows locked and call 911 to report any suspicious activity. This concludes the message.”

Public Safety dispatcher Jordan Villwock urges any Laguna Beach resident who is not already signed up for these important messages that will also be the first alert during natural disasters and missing people at risk to go to http://www.alertoc.com.

You can have emails, landline alerts, cell phone alerts and text messages included in the system.

For questions, contact Villwock at 497-0356.

The case remains under investigation.

Even sophisticated investors can be scammed

Two Laguna Beach lenders came very close to being scammed out of $400,000, which had been wire transferred to a fraudulent bank account recently.

An elaborate real estate fraud, which has been done by others in the past, was discovered by investigators outside of Orange County, was timely enough to prevent the suspects from being able to gain control over the funds.

The unidentified investors/lenders came to the police station last Wednesday afternoon to file their fraud report.

LBPD Sgt. Louise Callus explained: “The victims in Laguna were actually contacted by a DA’s investigator from another county. The investigator had been working a case on the suspects and froze the account so that the $400,000 wasn’t lost.

“Basically, the suspect(s) were a part of an elaborate real estate scam, which used actual names of lenders, buyers, brokers, properties, escrow officers and escrow companies, without their knowledge. They would create false loan appraisals for homes, which were not even on the market. The suspects also opened fraudulent bank accounts under false names and waited for the funds to be deposited into the accounts.

“Once the funds were wired into the account, the suspect(s) would transfer the money into a separate account or withdraw the money at a later time.”

Next Cert Training class will begin on March 20

A Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is an organized and trained group of volunteers ready for assistance in case of a disaster. The City of Laguna Beach is offering CERT training to its residents and businesses beginning Wednesday, Mar 20, 2013. Classes will then meet weekly from 6 to 9 p.m., followed by one Saturday morning exercise on May 4 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

You must attend all training dates, absences are discouraged and missed classes are required to be made-up. To be considered for this training, you must be a resident of Laguna Beach or work within the city limits, be at least 18 and have no felony convictions. Applications must be submitted no later than Mar 18, 2013 (LBPD reserves the right to refuse admittance into this program).

All individuals will receive a confirmation email if accepted into the program.

The CERT program consists of 25 hours of classroom and hands-on training. It concludes with an exercise drill to apply the skills and knowledge obtained during the classroom sessions.

Training includes the following subjects: disaster preparedness, fire safety, disaster medical operations, light search and rescue, CERT organization, disaster psychology, CERT and terrorism, traffic control and scene management

Graduates of the program will have the opportunity to join the City of Laguna Beach CERT. If and when a disaster strikes, CERT volunteers take action by: checking on neighbors, suppressing small fires, conducting light urban search and rescue, providing emergency first aid and comfort, and helping to organize and direct spontaneous volunteers.

Download a printable CERT application PDF here

Detective thought something was fishy and had a plate checked – it was fishy – a stolen vehicle

Photo courtesy of Frank Cotinola

Police said a detective saw activity inside a pickup with three occupants in the Mobil station downtown Thursday afternoon. When the dispatcher ran the plate, it turned out to be on a stolen vehicle reported Wednesday in San Clemente. Patrol units were sent to the station where they emptied the vehicle at gunpoint. The three were detained and one, Kyle Wilson, 18, San Juan Capistrano (seated in the photo above) was arrested for vehicle theft and for a no bail warrant. Police said his grandmother had reported the theft. Police released the two other men.

Police Files

House broken into while woman was taking a shower

A woman living on S. Coast Hwy heard noises as she was showering at 6:27 on Saturday evening. When she went to take a look, she was frightened when she saw an African American man with long dreadlocks wearing a gray hoodie and baggy pants inside her home.

Police said the burglary suspect described as in his mid-20s and about 6’ 180 pounds

ran upstairs when he was discovered. The woman ran to a nearby neighbor’s home and

called 9-1-1.

Police set up a perimeter and searched the home but the suspect had left.

He had kicked in the front door to gain entry.


Woman sees naked man inside her car

A woman discovered a naked man wearing net stockings sitting in her car Saturday afternoon at 5:23 in the 600 block of Laguna Canyon Road.

She watched as he got out of her car after putting on his clothes. She saw him walk down the street and enter the nearby Verizon store.

When police arrived, she pointed him out sitting at the counter in the store.

James Tress McDaniel, 47, was taken into custody without incident according to police. He told them he had gotten into the car to charge his cell phone, which police said he left inside the woman’s car.

The woman’s purse was missing from the car.

McDaniel, no fixed address, was arrested for felony grand theft and his parole officer ordered that he be held without bail for violation of parole.

Police said he was on parole for grand theft and an unspecified sex crime.


Gardening tools stolen from two locations Saturday

A 9-1-1 caller reported that one of two gardeners was following theft suspects from the area of Oak Street and Catalina at 3:13 p.m. Saturday. The suspects, driving a white pickup, had taken a $750 leaf blower from the gardeners as they worked.

The man following the suspects lost them near Catalina and Legion.

An hour earlier, two chainsaws, hedge clippers and an edger were stolen from another gardener’s truck in the 31800 block of Sunset Avenue in South Laguna.

No description was obtained in that incident, police said.

Complaints to auto detailer from his customers leads to arrest of pair for other charges Monday

An auto detailer with a large number of local residents as customers had been receiving complaints about two men who did less than good work on their cars.

One of his customers called StuNewsLaguna Tuesday. She asked not to be named.

She said that two men wearing Fletcher Jones shirts adorned with pink AIDS awareness ribbons came to her home and told her they could fix minor damage to her Mercedes. They quoted her a thrifty cost and she gave them the go ahead.

She said that after they left, she looked more closely at their work and came to realize that they had done a poor job. Fletcher Jones assured her that they were not associated with the dealership.

Nearby neighbors, she learned later, had also been victimized.

“The police said there was no crime committed with my situation.” Hiring a worker around your home is your responsibility. At the time, neither she nor the police knew that the two had been soliciting Mercedes owners in many Laguna Beach neighborhoods.

The victim told her regular detailer and described the pickup truck the two had driven. As it turned out, the detailer heard the same story from several of his regular customers and on Monday, he saw the pickup and two men working on a car in the 900 block of Laguna Canyon Road along the frontage road. He called police at 2:53 p.m. and told them about all of the complaints he had heard.

He asked the cops to check out the pair.

Less than an hour before the detailer called, police responded to a call on S. Coast Hwy from a Snap-On Tools driver who said two men in a pickup had stolen tools from the back of his van. Sgt. Louise Callus said Tuesday; “One possibly distracted the victim while the other committed the theft. They were also described as wearing Fletcher Jones shirts.”

A motor officer caught a glimpse of the suspect pickup not long after the call but lost it on Laguna Canyon Road.

Yes, it was the same pickup the detailer had called about and police realized that when the description was put out to the patrol car responding to the frontage road over the radio.

Officers saw a stolen hammer in plain sight in the pickup. Mille Paul Thompson, 24, of Rancho Cucamonga, was arrested for possession of stolen property. The other man with the pickup, Joe Michael Thompson, 39, also of Rancho Cucamonga, was taken into custody for a no bail warrant for possession of dangerous drugs.

PD releases their annual crime and activity report

From a press release

We are pleased to announce that violent crime decreased 21% from the previous five-year average in Laguna Beach for 2012. FBI reporting categories for the violent crime index include homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assaults.

Drunk Driving Arrests: There is an overall increase in Misdemeanor Arrests, DUI Arrests, and Traffic Stops from the five year averages. This is mainly due to efforts under the Office of Traffic Safety - DUI grant. Elimination of the ongoing threat to public safety by drinking drivers remains a priority of the Police Department. Officers are encouraged to maintain a high enforcement profile for this particular crime.

Animal Shelter Statistics: The Animal Services statistics show decreases in enforcement activities due to animal licensing issues in 2012. The licensing program was destroyed during the flood of December 2010 and all of the data recovered off the damaged hard drive was then re-entered into the new software program. As of January 1, 2013, the new dog licensing program has been launched and all the previous data has been entered and verified in the system.

Even though the enforcement activities dipped, the Police Department is pleased to announce that animal adoptions have significantly increased during 2012. Both dogs and cats had 100% adoption increases from the previous five-year averages.

The Annual Reports for 2007 through 2012 can be found on the Department’s website at www.lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/police/default.asp

Download a PDF file for the 2012 report here

Police Files

In case you didn’t know, one Vicodin pill = $20,000 bail

A San Juan Capistrano man was arrested on Laguna Canyon Road last Friday afternoon and charged with felony possession of a controlled substance. He has one Vicodin pill and didn’t have a prescription. His bail was set at $20,000.

A cell caller alerted police to a possible drunk driver at 4:26 p.m. Jeffrey Daniel Yniguez, 39, was stopped and subsequently arrested for DUI. The Vicodin was found in his possession when he was searched during booking at the police station.

Police explained that Vicodin is a controlled substance – a narcotic – and simple possession for personal use is a felony. Police have no discretion in the field.

When the case reaches the OC District Attorney, based upon the arrested man’s record, it is likely that he would be directed to a diversion program.

Bottom line, if you plan to drink and drive and you decide to have a Vicodin or other controlled substance, even just one pill, you will be arrested for a felony and have to post $20,000 bail or be transported to Orange County Jail.


Diners concerned about a man slapping a passed out woman call cops then watch the man tussle with them

A 9-1-1 caller reported late Saturday afternoon that a man was slapping a woman who was prone on the ground. The caller said the woman appeared intoxicated and was unresponsive. The caller was at Las Brisas and said that several diners were very concerned because the man was continually slapping the woman – quite hard.

The Las Brisas customers stood on the patio and at the windows as the events unfolded once officers arrived.

Police encountered Jesse Matthew Lincks, 26, and two women: Debra J. Kronnick, 46, and Rhea Joy Finocchi, 31. All three are transients, police said.

Sgt. Louise Callus explained, “Lincks immediately became aggressive and physically resistive. When two officers tried to restrain him, Lincks became combative. After a short struggle, an officer applied a Taser to Lincks’ back with immediate, positive effect. Links was taken into custody.

“During the struggle, Finocchi tried to intervene. Another officer held her down until handcuffs could be applied and she was taken into custody. She was arrested for resisting an officer and public intoxication. Kronnick was later arrested for public intoxication.”

Paramedics were called to the scene to assure that Lincks had not been permanently harmed.

“Lincks remained defiant and uncooperative. His probation officer ordered that and a 10-day flash hold be placed on him. After he was medically cleared at Mission Hospital, Lincks was booked and transported to Orange County Jail without bail.”

Parking services officer “mooned” on Bluebird

A parking services officer, according to the police log, reported that a male had been verbally “harassing” her in the 200 block of Bluebird Canyon Drive a little before four o’clock Tuesday afternoon.

She left after telling the dispatcher, “He dropped his drawers.”

Police did not release any significant details other than confirming that the female police employee had, in fact, been “mooned”.

Sgt. Louise Callus said the suspect was known to LBPD. “This is a continuous contentious relationship with this male subject and employees of the PD.”

The suspect’s name was not released because he was not detained at the scene or arrested.

The case has been referred to the OC District Attorney for possible prosecution.

Police Files

Cabbie taken into custody on charges of sexual battery & false imprisonment – victim is a woman fare from Laguna

LBPD detectives went to a Garden Grove hotel Friday afternoon to interview a woman who complained that the driver of a taxicab she’d procured in Laguna Beach forced himself upon her and held her against her will in his cab.

The crime had been committed in Laguna Beach Thursday night. Police are not releasing any further details at this time.

The victim had called Garden Grove police to make the report.

Detectives determined that the victim’s statement warranted the arrest of Mohd K Al Awadi, 45, of Anaheim on felony charges of sexual battery and false imprisonment.

He was booked here and later taken to Orange County Jail.


Cop spots stolen SUV – woman arrested after a short chase

A man went to the police station Thursday to report that a rented dark blue Dodge Journey had been stolen overnight Wednesday from Sleepy Hollow Drive.

On Friday morning at 8:18, an officer spotted the crossover vehicle being driven by a woman on Legion Street and called for backup units. He followed the vehicle up Temple Hills Drive where another officer caught up.

LBPD Sgt. Louise Callus said, “The vehicle drove through several streets in the Alta Laguna neighborhood before the officers attempted a high-risk traffic stop.

“The female driving the Journey fled through the residential streets, south on Alta Laguna Boulevard, and onto Top of the World Drive. Detectives had been trailing the pursuit and headed off the suspect a few minutes later on TOW Drive at Tyrol.

“Michele Lynn Frazier, 27, Laguna Beach, was taken into custody without further incident. Frazier is the ex-girlfriend of the victim, and she admitted that she had stolen the vehicle. No units were damaged and there were no injuries.”

She was arrested for felony vehicle theft and felony evading.

Officers help robbery victim in time for holidays

From a press release

LBPD detectives Julia Bowman and Brian Clasby delivered a cell phone to a robbery victim on Christmas day. It was the second act of kindness the woman received from Laguna officers.

Earlier this month, as reported in StuNewslaguna, two men carrying guns wrapped in towels around their arms confronted a woman at S. Coast Hwy & Pearl Street and demanded her purse. The guns turned out to be airsoft versions.

The woman attempted to get to her car and a struggle ensued.

Laguna Beach Police Employees Association (LBPEA) President Larry Bammer wrote, “[One of the assailants]…pressed the gun into her back and fired. She sustained a serious bruise/welt in the center of her back. They grabbed her purse and drug her and the purse to the back of her vehicle. She bravely fought them off, kicking and screaming until they finally got the purse and ran away.

“The suspects stole $100 cash from her purse (which totaled all the money she had for her entire month of groceries) and her brand new cell phone.

Two of the officers who contacted the victim the night of the robbery replaced her cash with their own money so that she could buy groceries this month

Bammer continued, “The LBPEA board contacted Crime Survivors, a non-profit Orange County organization that provides support and guidance to crime victims to aid in their mental, physical, emotional and financial recovery.  Crime Survivors Founder/CEO Patricia Wenskunas immediately reached out to this Laguna Beach victim and provided her with numerous resources (medical, financial, counseling etc.).

“Wenskusas went to work reaching out to various providers. When Boost Mobile heard about the victim’s violent assault and our small request, they decided to donate a new HTC cellular phone.”

The LBPEA represents both the sworn law enforcement officers and the civilian employees of the Laguna Beach Police Department.

Fake credit card charges result in drug arrest

Update – Arrest made in

credit card cases

LBPD detectives arrested Harold Eric Larson, 37, Orange, accusing him of using fake credit cards with stolen credit card numbers to rent hotel rooms in Laguna Beach, Newport Beach and Costa Mesa.

Larson was taken into custody at his home in Orange late Thursday afternoon, said Capt. Jason Kravetz in a press statement. He was the man who came to Montage Laguna Beach on Dec 23 and who rented the room at Laguna Cliffs Hotel where Edward York was arrested early Wednesday morning for possession of drugs for sales.

He was charged with burglary, grand theft, misrepresentation of a credit card holder, possession of a controlled substance, identity theft with a prior conviction and violation of probation.

Kravetz wrote in his statement, “Larson is the same man arrested by Laguna detectives in April of 2012 on 23 felony counts of fraud and theft after he was caught using stolen credit card information to rent hotel rooms. He pled guilty to the charges and was sentenced to three years probation, one year in jail and restitution.”

According to police, Larson uses a laptop to search for open Wi-Fi networks and obtains credit card information when people use their credit cards online. 10:40 a.m.

Laguna Beach police took a Tustin man into custody for felony possession of methamphetamine and marijuana for sales early Wednesday morning after they were called to Laguna Cliffs Hotel where a man had been seen smoking something in a pipe.

Edward Richard York, 40, wasn’t the man who originally checked into the room.

York opened the door for police and learned that another man had checked into the room. An investigation of the name given at check in revealed that it was likely a fake and that the credit card used was also fake.

A search of the room and York turned up scales, Ziploc baggies, straws and burnt foil along with methamphetamine and marijuana.

York was arrested on the felony drug charges and possession of paraphernalia.

Although police haven’t released complete details, Captain Jason Kravetz said York’s arrest is related to a case involving guests at Montage Laguna Beach last Sunday night.

Montage security reported that a man had booked a room online on Friday, Jan 21 for that night. A woman checked in later and the male arrived on Sunday evening asking for a room upgrade. He provided a MasterCard, which was declined.

The card was checked out by security and the man managed to leave before they learned that it was a fake card.

Security went to the room and learned that the woman had already left. Police suspect that the man managed to call her to alert her to leave.

According to police, the Montage is out $2,133.73.

Two former NHL hockey players arrested after an altercation in the drive thru line at Jack-In-The-Box

Two former NHL hockey players, Jean Francois (“JF”) Jomphe, 39, Newport Beach and Richard Anthony Costello, 49, Dana Point, were placed under citizen’s arrest last Friday night in the drive through line at Laguna’s Jack-In-The-Box.

LBPD Booking Photos

A 19-year-old Laguna Beach woman drove downtown in her VW Jetta to pick up three male friends. The three males are all 21 and over. They decided they were hungry and headed down to JITB at about 12:45 a.m.

They pulled up to the menu board in the drive thru line and as they decided, a taxicab wheeled around cutting in the drive thru line in front of them.

A male in the front seat honked the Jetta’s horn.

According to the Jetta’s driver, “The younger guy…[Jomphe]…immediately jumped out of the cab. The other man managed to get him back inside.”

As the Jetta’s occupants laughed “…nervously…” both men exited the cab and came toward them. The rear driver’s side window of the Jetta was punched out.

According to Captain Jason Kravtez of the LBPD, “Jomphe punched the…window out and a shard of glass caused a small cut on the face of a 20-year-old man inside the Jetta. A Good Samaritan, a man aged 44, saw the altercation and tried to get the hockey players to stop. He alleges that Costello threw a punch, which the man was able to duck under. Costello then attempted to kick the man.”

Both were placed under citizen’s arrest. Jomphe for battery and vandalism and Costello for assault. They were booked at the city jail and released on their own recognizance. The citizens and defendants will have to appear in court at an unspecified date.

Jomphe signed in 1993 with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks and played there for parts of three seasons and also was with Phoenix and Montreal appearing in 111 regular season NHL games. Costello was drafted by Philadelphia and played briefly with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Cop spots suspected Huntington burglary vehicle on Laguna Canyon Rd – car found – suspects missing

A red channel broadcast alerted all Orange County agencies to be on the lookout for a vehicle with no tags that was suspected to be associated with a Huntington Beach commercial burglary.

A patrol officer spotted a possible match in the 3200 block of Laguna Canyon Rd at 4:03 a.m. Saturday. By the time the officer was able to get into position to try to stop the car, it had blacked out.

The vehicle was found in the Canyon Artists Studio complex but the male and female suspects had bailed out. Other officers responded and an area search was made to no avail.

Police said more than 150 pairs of designer sunglasses, most Oakley, were found in the trunk. They had been stolen from a Huntington Beach store that had been broken into earlier.

Evidence of drug use, alcohol and several items of drug paraphernalia, including needles, were found inside. The license plates were on the front seat, police said. The car was registered in Santa Monica.

Huntington Beach police came to the area and took custody of the car to perform CSI testing.

Police Files

Fourth DUI arrest – felony probation violation for driving drunk

Michael Dean Treadway, 53, Laguna Beach, went to jail last Thursday night and it wasn’t the first time.

A caller reported at 7:48 p.m. that he was drinking alcohol in a local establishment and had parked his 2012 Toyota pickup on the upper level of the Glenneyre parking structure. The caller told police that he or she knew that Treadway had multiple DUI convictions and was not supposed to be driving, according to Captain Jason Kravetz.

Kravetz added, “An officer sat in an undercover car and watched Treadway come out and get into his vehicle. He was stopped before he could drive off and arrested for his fourth DUI. (Two of the previous DUI arrests lead to felony convictions.)”

He was also taken into custody for felony probation violation and held without bail.


Undercover narcs successfully nab a drug dealer

Undercover narcotics detectives arranged to make a heroin purchase (known as a buy/bust) in the upper lot of the Pavilions center Wednesday afternoon.

Michael James Maellaro, 27, La Mirada was arrested during the transaction and faces four felony drug charges including possession/transportation of a controlled substance for sales with $30,000 bail.

Police said he had four baggies of heroin and two baggies of methamphetamine.

Amanda Monique Cisneros, 26, also of La Mirada, was with Maellaro and a check of wants and warrants resulted in her being placed under arrest for a pair of no bail San Bernardino County warrants for drug charges.

Both were transported to Orange County Jail after booking here.

LBPD will step-up enforcement for distracted drivers

Extra officers will hit the streets Thursday looking for cell users and texters

In an effort to make our roads safer, the Laguna Beach Police Department is deploying extra traffic enforcement officers on April 23 to stop distracted driving. Laguna PD is spreading the message that distracted drivers are not only a danger to themselves, but everyone else on the road. 

Using an electronic device while driving is a serious safety problem. Most drivers know that texting while driving is a dangerous behavior, but many still use their cell phones and other mobile devices when they are behind the wheel, putting themselves and others at risk. Many drivers see distracted driving as risky when other drivers do it, but do not recognize how their own driving deteriorates. 

In 2012, 3,328 people were killed and 421,000 were injured nationwide in crashes involving a distracted driver. That same year, eleven percent of fatal crashes were reported as distraction-affected crashes. 

While anything that takes your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, or mind off the task of driving is a hazard, there is heightened concern about the risks of texting while driving because it combines all three types of distraction – visual, manual and cognitive. In addition, most drivers aren’t aware that just talking on a cell phone, hand held or hands free, can lead to “inattention blindness” as critical brain functions needed for driving are used for cell phone talking.

At any given daylight moment across America, there are about 660,000 drivers using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving. 

The Laguna Beach Police Department is focusing on ways to change the behavior of drivers through enforcement, public awareness and education – the same activities that have curbed drunk driving and increased seat belt use. 

Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 

For more information about distracted driving, please visit www.distraction.gov

Police make 4 DUI arrests at Friday night’s checkpoint

Laguna Beach police set up a DUI checkpoint at 9 p.m. Friday at N. Coast Hwy and Crescent Bay Drive and by 3 a.m., 608 vehicles were randomly screened and four people had been arrested for DUI. (See today’s Police Beat for more details.)

LBPD Lt. Jeff Calvert said, “Checkpoints are placed in locations that have the greatest opportunity for achieving drunk and drugged driving deterrence and provide the greatest safety for officers and the public.

“DUI/Drivers License checkpoints lower DUI deaths and injuries. A major component of these checkpoints is the deterrent effects it has on those who might drive drunk or drugged impaired, and to bring about more awareness encouraging everyone to use sober designated drivers.”

Five other drivers were detained for driving without a license or driving on a suspended/revoked license; two drivers were taken into custody for other charges; and police issued five general traffic citations.

Calvert added that LBPD “…will be conducting DUI saturation patrols in January in our ongoing commitment to lowering deaths and injuries on our streets and highways.”

The checkpoint was funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Cell caller reports erratic driver – cops make 6 counts drug arrest including steroid sales

A cell caller alerted police to an erratic driver heading into town on Laguna Canyon Road last Sunday night shortly after eight o’clock.

Police pulled over the suspect vehicle on S. Coast Hwy at Agate Street.

A search revealed a substantial quantity of pills.

Sgt. Louise Callus said in an email: “We found Suboxane and Xanax and there was evidence to believe he was selling. Anthony Maurillo, 24, of Laguna Niguel, was charged with violations of possession of a scheduled drug (Xanax); Possession of anabolic steroid for sales; Transporting narcotics for sales; Possession of narcotics for sales: Possession of drug paraphernalia; and Possession of a prescribed item without the prescription.”

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

Annual Spark of Love Toy Drive underway

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo courtesy LBFD

(L-R): Firefighter Jereme Lazar, Fire Captain Frank Buckner, Firefighter Chris Ornelas, and Firefighter Jarett Jensen holding some of the first new toys received for this year’s Spark of Love Toy Drive, which will run through Dec 24

Laguna Beach Firefighters have initiated their annual Spark of Love Toy Drive Campaign, which is now well underway and will take place through Dec 24. The City of Laguna Beach Fire Department, along with fire departments from throughout Southern California will serve as drop-off sites for any new, unwrapped toys or sports equipment, for toddlers to teens.

The Firefighters Spark of Love Toy Drive is part of the Orange County Toy Collaborative, which collects and distributes approximately 300,000 toys annually to Orange County children who may otherwise go without during the holiday season.

Laguna Beach Fire Captain Thomas Padden, who now coordinates the fire department’s participation in the Spark of Love Toy Drive, is quick to acknowledge, “Although there are other worthwhile toy drives, the Spark of Love is the only one created and operated by Firefighters.”

New and unwrapped toys or sports equipment can be brought to any of the City’s four fire stations: Station #1(Downtown/City Hall)  – Forest Avenue & Third Street; Station #2 (Mid-Town) – Agate Street & Glenneyre Street; Station #3 (Top of the World) – Alta Laguna Blvd. & Tree Top Lane; Station #4 (South Laguna) – 2nd Avenue & Virginia Way.

For additional information, please contact the City of Laguna Beach Fire Department at 497-0700.

Man arrested for rape at his home here Saturday

Michael Joseph Pritchard, 58, was arrested at his home in the 21000 block of Laguna Canyon Rd Saturday night on charges of forcible rape and false imprisonment after a woman told police that she had been sexually assaulted there.

Police said the victim called police at 10:15 Saturday night from the alternative sleeping location where she ran to after she was able to get away from Pritchard’s house. She said that she had been staying there and that he had become upset when she wouldn’t have sex with him.

LBPD Sergeant Louise Callus said in an email, “She told officers that the male prevented the victim from leaving the residence and threatened her with a bungee cord and there was nonconsensual sexual contact.”

After hearing the victim’s description of the incident, officers went to Pritchard’s home to hear his side of the story.

After an interview, Pritchard was arrested for the two felony charges, booked here and held on $100,000 bail.

Suspects in armed robbery here Saturday night arrested 4 hours later in Garden Grove

Callers reported that a woman had been shot in the back as two men robbed her Saturday night. One of the callers was the victim who said she didn’t need medical assistance and that her purse had been taken.

The 47-year-old Huntington Beach woman was walking to get her car when two men carrying black handguns under towels that had been wrapped around their arms to conceal the weapons approached her at 7:34 p.m. near Pearl St and S. Coast Hwy.

Police determined later that the very real-looking weapons were airsoft guns. She had been shot at close range and slightly injured a finger while she struggled with the two assailants but didn’t need medics.

The suspects managed to grab her purse and drove off in a white Lexus. One of the witnesses who had called 9-1-1 provided a license plate.

Laguna Police put out a red channel bulletin to all OC agencies and an officer from Westminster police informed them that he was aware of the Lexus and would watch for the vehicle at the registered owner’s home in nearby Garden Grove.

At about 9 p.m., LBPD was notified that Westminster police had made a felony car stop of the Lexus and that three men were being detained.

Laguna detectives went there and arrested all three men.

They were identified as Kevin Pham, 19, of Garden Grove, James Lan, 22, and Dung Nguyen, 20, Westminster. They were charged with felony armed robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery.

Police said Monday that evidence linking the three suspects to the robbery along with airsoft guns had been located inside the Lexus.

Man arrested on bus here after sheriff’s deputies duped in San Clemente when he used a false name

Loren Dean Breckenridge, 42, was arrested for a felony warrant out of Marin County when Laguna cops took him off an OCTA bus Tuesday afternoon.

OC Sheriff’s deputies questioned Breckenridge in San Clemente. Police said he gave them a false name/ID and they allowed him to get on a bus. It isn’t clear why they questioned him there.

He took a Route 1 bus that would stop at the Broadway Bus Depot here on its way north on PCH. As the bus headed along, the deputies figured our Breckenridge’s real name and discovered a felony warrant. He was wanted for counterfeiting out of Marin County – that court set bail at $75,000.

LBPD received info about the warrant, what bus he ought to be on and said the driver had been texted by OCTA detectives. Deputies also provided the driver and Laguna cops with a very thorough description: 6’2”, 150 pounds, bald with a goatee, wearing sunglasses, a sweater and black pants. He also had a large cut on his neck with a bandage that covered it and spoke with a voice box, they said.

The bus driver replied to the text confirming the suspect was still riding.

Laguna cops took Breckenridge into custody without incident. He was booked at the city jail and transported to OCJ later Tuesday afternoon.

Laguna cop puts two and two together and turns a drunk arrest into two armed robbery charges

Before cops hit the streets to start their new 12-hour shifts, they have a briefing conducted by their watch commander. If you ever watched Hill Street Blues, you know what briefing is all about.

Last Friday evening at 6:55 p.m., a Laguna patrol officer saw a man who seemed to be very intoxicated walking in the 200 block of S. Coast Hwy. Kyle Kamel Starner, 20, of Laguna Niguel, was quickly in custody for being drunk in public.

Starner was the man who made an escape on a skateboard after swiping a bottle of Robitussin from Bushard's Pharmacy (StuNewsLaguna 11/27). He was caught and arrested for felony possession of a stolen laptop.

His drunk in public arrest was the start of a bad night and weekend.

The officer learned that Starner was on formal probation making him subject to search at anytime. A gas mask was found and the cop who arrested him had been told something about a gas mask and a robbery while in briefing a couple of hours earlier.

The OC Sheriff’s Dept had sent out a BOLO (be on the lookout) alert about an armed robbery at a Starbucks in Laguna Niguel earlier Friday. The suspect had used a handgun and wore a gas mask. He allegedly ran out of the store with a handful of cash and was quickly out of sight.

LBPD notified OCSD and Starner’s residence in Laguna Niguel was searched. A handgun and clothing matching the description of the Starbucks robbery suspect were found.

Starner was charged with armed robbery and was also held on suspicion of another robbery at a yogurt shop a week earlier in the same center on Golden Lantern where the Starbucks is located.

He was still in custody in county jail Monday night with bail set at $50,000.

Man uses a skateboard for shoplifting getaway

Police said a man wearing all black with a backpack had swiped a bottle of Robitussin from a drugstore on Forest Avenue Wednesday afternoon and left on a skateboard. He was last seen going north on Beach Street.

Police located Kyle Kamal Starner, 21, from Laguna Niguel nearby and a store employee identified him in the field.

A search of his backpack turned up a stolen laptop.

Starner was arrested for felony possession of stolen property and petty theft. He was booked at the city jail with bail set at $20,000.

Police Files

Cops invite whoever left pot & grinder on bench to stop by for it

When an employee of Fingerhut Gallery at Forest Avenue and Coast Hwy Tuesday morning, he found a marijuana grinder with pot in it on a bench out front.

He called police and turned it over.

Captain Jason Kravetz told us, “We booked it for safekeeping.  If anyone would like to come forward and claim ownership, they can come down to the Police Department and speak with the narcotics detectives and describe the abandoned grinder.”

Call 407-0701 if you need directions!

Family of missing Aliso Viejo woman offering reward

The OC Sheriff Dept. announced this week that the family of Erica Alonso, 27, missing since Feb. 15, 2015, has offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to her whereabouts. Alonso went missing early on the morning of February 15, after leaving her boyfriend’s house in Irvine. 

She is believed to have driven away in her 2014 Honda Civic, which has since been located in the city of Aliso Viejo, approximately one mile from her residence.

Alonso’s family has remained hopeful and active in support of investigators’ efforts to distribute information about the missing person case. Over the course of the last several weeks the family has raised funds to be able to offer a reward. After raising approximately $3,000, an Orange County Sheriff’s Department reserve deputy donated the final $2,000 in order to reach the $5,000 goal.

Orange County Sheriff’s Department investigators continue to actively pursue information and leads as they become available. At this stage in the investigation there is no updated information to provide.

Anyone with additional information is asked to call Orange County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Unit at (714) 647-7055 or (714) 647-7000. Anonymous tips may also be submitted to Orange County Crime Stoppers at 855-TIP-OCCS (855-847-6227) or at occrimestoppers.org.

Cops searching for a man who exposed himself to store employees in several stores Sunday

A man described as between 50 and 60 with brownish-gray hair wearing a gray T-shirt with cutoff sleeves and blue board shorts with a large sun imprinted is being sought by Laguna Beach Police.

Sgt. Louise Callus said the man exposed himself partially and at least once completely in several clothing stores last Sunday afternoon.

Callus said, “His MO was to claim that he was an entertainer and needed some clothing quickly. He would collect a large amount of clothing and leave the dressing room door either completely open or ajar. He would speak to the female employees who came nearby trying to get them close to the dressing room. He asked them personal questions about where they go to school, etc.

“He was overly aggressive with a 16-year-old female employee in one store.”

Police ask that anyone who may have seen the suspect Sunday call them with any information at 497-0701.

Keep fire safety in mind no matter what you’re doing

The holiday season is also the start of ‘candle’ season. Store shelves are stocked and we all enjoy the ambiance and flavorful scents of burning candles.

Yet, every year, the fire department come across a fire started from an unattended candle that leaves the residents without a roof over their head.

Those little flames seem non-threatening as people leave them burning when they leave the room, the home and after they fall asleep.

Here are some simple reminders when you use candles…

Lighted candles should always be within sight.  Never leave a burning candle unattended.

Before lighting candles, be sure to remove all packaging that may come into contact with the candle flame.

Burn candles on a stable, heat-resistant, dry, surface, away from any combustible materials.  Use non-flammable holders designed for the particular size and shaped of the candle.

Always burn candles out of the reach of children and pets.

Keep burning candles away from drafts, vents, and air currents.

Trim wick(s) to 1/4” before burning.

If smoking, flickering, or high flame height occurs, extinguish candle.  Cool, trim wick(s), check for drafts and relight.

Always keep the candle’s pool of wax free from trimmings, matches and debris in order to prevent flaring or container damage.

For best performance, burn candles no longer than four hours and avoid drafts.

Always burn candles in a well-ventilated room.

Avoid using filled glass containers that are chipped, cracked or otherwise damaged.

Never extinguish candles with water.  Doing so may cause wax to spatter or glass containers to break.

Never move a burning candle.  Glass containers and liquid wax can get very hot.  Extinguish flame and allow wax to harden before moving.

Discontinue burning candles when 2” of wax remains (1/2” for container candles).

Lighted candles should be placed at least 3” apart from one another.

Be Safe!

LBPD receives $90,000 grant for special traffic enforcement and crash prevention patrols

From a press release

The Laguna Beach Police Department has been awarded a $90,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) for a yearlong program aimed at preventing deaths and injuries on our roadways through special enforcement and public awareness efforts. The grant received by the City will aid in the City’s ongoing effort to improve traffic safety and the quality of life. The LBPD will use the funding as part of an on-going commitment to keep our roadways safe through both enforcement and education.

The grant will assist in traffic safety problems and to reduce injuries and fatalities caused by traffic collisions. While traffic deaths from all causes declined by nearly 39 percent between 2006 and 2010 in California, state and federal officials anticipate that figures will show a slight rise in 2011. DUI deaths remain the largest sector, at nearly 30 percent of traffic fatalities. Recent trends show increases in two new categories – distracted driving and drug-impaired driving.

The grant will help fund: specialized DUI and drugged driving training such as Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST), Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE), and Drug Recognition Evaluator (DRE); DUI saturation patrols, distracted driving enforcement, speed, red light and stop sign enforcement, DUI “Hot Sheets,” and identifying repeat DUI offenders.

“Despite the recent increases, California’s roadways are still very much safer than they were before 2006,” said OTS Director Christopher J. Murphy. “The Laguna Beach Police Department will be keeping the pressure on through enforcement and public awareness so that we can continue saving lives and reach the vision we all share – Toward zero deaths, every one prevented counts.”

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

Police Files

Police are investigating a possible case of voter fraud at a Laguna Canyon location with an amazing irony

A man walked into the polling place at [seven+degrees] located in the 800 block of Laguna Canyon Road Tuesday and gave the volunteer his name. When she asked for his address, she was sure she’d misheard the man.

She asked him to repeat it and this time she was amazed at what she heard – and she asked him again.

By that time the man was becoming quite belligerent but nonetheless, he offered the same address a third time.

“Are you sure?”

He replied to her, “Of course I’m sure.”

She then informed him that she lived at that address and had lived there for years. It is a single-family home.

The man, who had left indentifying materials, left in a rush still insisting that he lived at the address – and had a different mailing address.

Police went to the polling place after it closed and took a voter fraud report, which detectives are investigating.

It is a felony to give false voting information at a polling place.


LBHS and Thurston vandalized over the weekend

The legal term used in the penal code is malicious mischief and that pretty well defines what happened at both Laguna Beach High and Thurston Middle School over the weekend.

At 7:37 Monday morning the high school reported that it had been egged and there was paint damage.

Thurston called police at 8:14 and said classroom walls had been damaged by someone using a marker pen.

The latter might also rise to a felony. When someone enters a place, locked or not, with the intent to commit a crime, it meets the elements of burglary.

Police suspect that the same suspect(s) damaged both schools.

The damages were not major, police said.

Time to change your smoke alarm battery

A working smoke alarm can save your life!  The Laguna Beach Fire Department, in conjunction with the Orange County Fire Chiefs’ Association, is strongly encouraging residents to change their smoke alarm batteries.

Laguna Beach experienced three devastating residential structure fires over recent years where homes did not have a working smoke detector.

In each case, the occupants were extremely fortunate to have survived without the early detection.

The peak time for home fire fatalities are between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. when most families are sleeping. Changing the batteries in your smoke alarm is a simple, effective way to reduce home fire deaths. Children and older adults are most at risk, and a working smoke alarm can give them the extra seconds they need to get out safely. It is recommended that at a minimum, there is to be a smoke alarm/carbon monoxide alarm in each bedroom and outside each living area.

Many residential fire-related deaths remain preventable and continue to pose a significant public health problem. Changing smoke alarm batteries twice a year is one of the simplest, most effective ways to reduce these tragic deaths and injuries.

LBFD also has a program for seniors where firefighters will come out to inspect and/or assist with the installation of smoke alarms or the changing of batteries. Call 497-0700 for information.

Man runs across Coast Hwy to “get a cigarette” struck by car hospitalized at Mission Trauma

A homeless man, who police said had recently arrived in Laguna Beach with his wife from Oklahoma, was struck by a car as he ran across Coast Hwy out of a crosswalk Saturday night.

Sgt. Louise Callus said the unidentified man was sitting on the west roadway edge at Coast Hwy and Vista Del Sol near the entrance to Three Arch Bay with his wife just before the 7:07 p.m. accident.

“His wife reported that he had seen a person across Coast Hwy smoking a cigarette. He told her he was going to see if he could get a cigarette and ran across Coast Highway,” Callus said.

The man was struck by a vehicle headed north on Coast Hwy driven by an elderly man from Illinois staying the winter in Dana Point. He said he had not seen the man at all prior to hitting him.

Callus said the driver had not been drinking.

The unidentified victim was transported to Mission Trauma Center in Mission Viejo with moderate to severe injuries after paramedics stabilized him at the scene.

Police said the victim’s wife told investigating officers that her husband ran across Coast Hwy as she called out to him that she already had purchased cigarettes.

LBPD leads arrest of alleged drug dealer and confiscate drugs, cash and 4 vehicles

Last Friday morning, Laguna Beach Police Department detectives executed two search warrants at homes in Hawthorne. These warrants were obtained after detectives concluded a lengthy drug investigation, which began several months ago in Laguna. Both search warrants were served with the assistance of the Hawthorne Police Department and the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

At one location, marijuana along with thousands of prescription pain pills and ecstasy were found. The exact street value of all of the narcotics is still being calculated and the total number is not available at this time.

One person was arrested during the operation and booked at the Hawthorne PD, Kevin Odel Lott, 42, of Hawthorne. Lott is charged for the alleged possession of drugs for sales, possession of ecstasy and being a felon in possession of handguns.

Besides the illicit drugs, detectives also seized the following items at the location: $140,000 in cash; a Mercedes S550 valued at $80,000; Chevy Tahoe valued at $40,000; Mercedes R Class SUV valued at $40,000; Dodge Charger valued at $35,000 and two handguns.

Allegedly, the cash and cars were all obtained through interstate drug trafficking.

Laguna man, 18, arrested in October for Laguna Niguel for cat burglaries arrested again Saturday

Sheriff’s deputies arrested Laguna Beach resident Cameron Bilbrey, 18, on charges related to four residential cat burglaries in Laguna Niguel on Oct 17 and arrested him again for burglary over the weekend in the same Laguna Niguel neighborhood according to the OC Sheriff’s Dept.

A woman called 9-1-1 Saturday night at 10:50 reporting that she had seen a man enter a home in Laguna Niguel. From the description that she provided, deputies concluded that Bilbrey was the suspect. He had been released from county jail for the October arrest earlier in the week.

The witness positively identified Bilbrey, a 2010 LBHS graduate, and he was taken into custody.

Police Files

Aliso Viejo man arrested in connection with the party invasion of a home on Mar Vista on October 19

Laguna Beach detectives arrested John Salazar, 18 of Aliso Viejo, at his home Friday morning for felony possession of known stolen property.

Salazar’s father called police after he had found jewelry items in his son’s room and had placed it in a safe. According to police, the jewelry had been taken from a home in the 1400 block of Mar Vista Way.

As we reported on Oct 23, police received a call from a man on Oct 19 who had just landed at the airport in San Diego after a week’s vacation. He explained that he had received a message from a neighbor that a bunch of teenagers had been staying at his home. He added that the neighbor said a large group had partied there.

The homeowner met police at the house and found it to be in disarray once he was inside. There were some broken items, dirty dishes, empty alcohol bottles and a couple of stolen items, police said. The loss on the stolen items was $11,000.

The neighbor who had left voicemails for the homeowner told him that two known teenagers were there and both had been driving his $150,000 Maserati and a Ford SUV.

Police said last week that the neighbor had recognized two of the people at the house.

Two men claim two strippers and their bodyguard ripped them off at gunpoint – no one arrested

A man called police at 4:38 Friday morning reporting that two strippers he and a friend had called earlier had robbed him. They left after only performing part of their entertainment. He and the other man, he said, followed them outside where they were confronted by their bodyguard who took their money at gunpoint. He gave the location as Glenneyre and Cress Street according to the log.

He said they had left in a black Suburban and another SUV headed northbound.

An officer saw the Suburban and a felony car stop was made at gunpoint in the 900 block of Laguna Canyon Road. According to the log, one of the women and a male were in the vehicle.

The caller and his friend made a positive ID at the location.

Police interviewed the suspects at the scene and found no gun. The second man who was at the original location, according to the log, said he had not seen a gun.

Captain Jason Kravetz said the report had not been written but the watch commander’s notes indicated that the second man told officers that the strippers were hired for his bachelor party. He also said he didn’t know the phone number they had called to arrange for the entertainment – another friend had given them the number.

“We did not formally identify or arrest anyone,” Kravetz added.

If the law wants you – don’t make camp on the street

An El Monte man, Francis Larry Falasco, 59, found a decent place to set up camp near Coast Hwy and Montage Resort Drive at some time before three o’clock Monday afternoon, police said.

A passersby called police complaining that a man was blocking the sidewalk with himself lying on a blanket and with a shopping cart filled with what appeared to be his personal belongings.

Sgt. Louise Callus said an officer was dispatched to the area at 3:11 p.m. “The

officer located a male subject lying on a blanket which was spread out on the west sidewalk adjacent to Coast Highway.”

The officer checked Falasco for wants and warrants and learned that he was wanted by a Pasadena Court for outstanding warrants. One was for a charge of felony vandalism with $50,000 bail and three others out of Arcadia were for invasion of privacy and trespassing. The total bail was $128,000.

He was booked at the city jail and later transported to Orange County Jail. His belongings were tallied and booked into the city property room for safekeeping.

The shopping cart was being held for the supermarket for pickup.

Police Files

Oct 23, 2012

Two Marines from Pendleton go on spree shooting out storefront & car windows on PCH in four coastal cities

OC Sheriff’s deputies stopped a maroon Ford Explorer at PCH and Ritz Carlton Drive just before 1 a.m. Sunday. A witness in Dana Point had called 9-1-1 with the license plate number of the Explorer, which had just shot out a car window in the Monarch Plaza parking lot.

Two Marines, both 20, from Camp Pendleton were taken into custody after deputies found two semi-automatic airsoft pellet guns along with extra ammo, Laguna Beach police said. They were charged with felony vandalism and negligent discharge of a BB device. They were booked at Orange County Jail.

Laguna Beach was hit especially hard – seven businesses and nine car windows were shot out according to Captain Jason Kravetz who said the damages will be “thousands of dollars.” LBPD will request that the District Attorney add charges similar to the Sheriff’s Dept.

Police said the two Marines began their spree in San Clemente and shot their way northbound on PCH through Dana Point, Laguna and into Crystal Cove. Kravetz explained, “They turned around [in Newport] and headed southbound again.”

They shot out windows on the right side of the road as they travelled.

The first call here came in at 12:15 a.m. as a burglary alarm with glass breakage in a business in the 700 block of S. Coast Hwy. Cops found the broken glass and saw a large amount of glass across the street on the ocean side of Coast Hwy.

Businesses were also hit in North Laguna and car windows were shot out from the north to south city limits.

The remarkable part of the story is how so much glass breaking and piles on the sidewalks could go unheard and unseen by passersby on a Saturday night. The Marines were stopped just 40 minutes after the first call in Laguna, which means they were able to drive through town twice and do all of the damage unnoticed.


Juveniles take over home while the owner is away – vandalized and stole items; drove $150K Maserati

Police received a call from a man who had just landed at the airport in San Diego Friday evening after a week’s vacation. He explained that he lived in the 1400 block of Mar Vista Drive and that he had received a message from a neighbor that a bunch of teenagers had been staying at his home. He added that the neighbor said a large group had partied there.

The homeowner met police at the house and found it to be in disarray once he was inside. There were some broken items, dirty dishes, empty alcohol bottles and a couple of stolen items, police said. The loss on the stolen items was $11,000.

The neighbor who had left voicemails for the homeowner told him that two known teenagers were there and both had been driving his $150,000 Maserati and a Ford SUV.

Police said detectives will interview the two teens this week.

Council tells cops to confiscate skateboards if a rider of any age is out there without a helmet

The City Council approved an ordinance Tuesday night directing police to issue a citation and confiscate skateboards when anyone without a helmet.

Councilwoman Elizabeth Pearson said, “Maybe it will be more painful…” and motivate more people to protect themselves with helmets.

Councilwoman Toni Iseman said, “…most parents think their…children are wearing helmets.” That’s why she wants the ordinance, which will require a parent to show up at the police station to get their confiscated skateboard back.

State law requires anyone under 18 to wear a helmet. The new ordinance goes further by requiring adults to also wear helmets and be subject to having their boards confiscated for a week.

Laguna Beach has been able to have the courts allow for the citations to be $25. If a citation goes to traffic court, the fine will be $280.

Laguna will also require a diversion (education) program as part of the penalty.

Skateboarders will not be prohibited from boarding during the time the police have the board.

Councilman Kelly Boyd was the lone no vote Tuesday night. He believes that the responsibility is with the parents. “These kids all have other boards in their garage and they’ll just go home and be back skateboarding as soon as they can – hopefully wearing a helmet.”

LBHS Schedules



Friday, March 3

Boys Volleyball

@ Edison – 5:45 p.m.


Saturday, March 4

Girls Softball

@ Rialto – 10 a.m.

Boys Baseball

Valencia – 11 a.m.



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

Lynette Brasfield is our Managing Editor.

The Webmaster is Michael Sterling.

Katie Ford is our in-house ad designer.

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

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

Mary Hurlbut, Scott Brashier, and Aga Stuchlik are the staff photographers.

We all love Laguna and we love what we do.

Email: Shaena@StuNewsLaguna.com for questions about advertising


Email: StuNewsLaguna@Yahoo.com with news releases, letters, etc