Police Files

Woman robbed walking home on Brooks Street Tuesday night 

A woman called police Wednesday morning to report that she had been strong-armed by an assailant who then robbed her taking her purse and cell phone.

 LBPD Sergeant Tim Kleiser told us, “She told officers that while she was walking home from a downtown bar at around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday on Brooks Street, someone had pushed her from behind, causing her to fall to the ground. The victim said her purse and cell phone were taken.” 

Sgt. Kleiser said she neither saw nor heard the assailant.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call LBPD at 497-0701.

Sunday morning rollover on Coast Highway

Click on photo for a larger image

 

Dennis Rooney

Dennis Rooney took this photo before police arrived on scene Sunday at 6:05 a.m. The Honda Pilot heading southbound in the 400 block of N. Coast Highway struck a parked car and rolled over. Police said the single occupant was uninjured and that no charges were pending. The cause is still being investigated, police said.


Police Files

Department of stupid criminals – don’t hold pot out of car window – especially when you have $35,000 worth in containers inside and there’s a cop car beside you

Two patrol officers were on S. Coast Hwy near Cress Street at four o’clock New Year’s Eve afternoon when they saw something very unusual. The passenger of a car next to them was leaning out of the window holding two bottles full of marijuana – one in each hand. The officers stopped them when they turned onto Agate Street.

LBPD booking photos

Brandon Herrera, 18 of Dana Point, the driver, and Austin Vernon, 18, Dublin, Ohio, were both immediately detained and the vehicle was searched.

LBPD Sgt. Tim Kleiser said Monday, that in addition to the two jars Vernon was holding out of the window, other bottles were located with a total weight of nearly 43 ounces.

A bag containing another 44 ounces was also located – 2,436 grams with a street value of $35,000…not exactly personal use.

Both were arrested for felony transportation of marijuana for sales.

Herrera was also charged with felony possession of concentrated cannabis and driving without a license, a misdemeanor.

For good measure, Herrera was held for a felony warrant out of Harbor Court with charges of – are you ready – possession of marijuana and transportation of marijuana for sales. He was held for a total bail of $50,000.

Man suffers major cut from New Year’s sucker punch

Police received two distressed emergency 9-1-1 calls at 2 a.m. New Year’s morning from a female caller who managed to get the point across that someone had been hurt when assaulted at S. Coast Hwy and St. Ann’s Drive.

Police and medics were dispatched.

On scene, it was learned that a man who was walking his female friend home had inadvertently bumped into someone while checking his cell phone.

He didn’t see it coming when he was struck on the side of his face causing a major cut over his left eye. Medics stabilized the man who then was transported to Mission Trauma Center in Mission Viejo in critical, but not life threatening, condition.

Sgt. Tim Kleiser said detectives are investigating the case.

Apparent vandalism at LBHS created a brief stir for authorities

Emergency dispatch received a call from an alarm company at 11:56 p.m. New Year’s Eve for the activation of both a fire and burglar alarm.

The alarm company said that an associated camera activation in the classroom involved – a chemistry lab – showed a white powder substance strewn about.

After several minutes of investigating, it was determined that someone had sprayed a fire extinguisher around an area of the lab.

Sgt. Tim Kleiser said, “Officers noticed that someone had gained access to the room through a window. No items have been reported missing from the classroom at this time.”

Later in the day, it was also learned that several lockers in the boy’s locker room had been opened and their contents were strewn across the floor area. There is no direct evidence that the two incidents are related.


Police Files

Two arrested after fighting cop downtown early Saturday morning

A man and woman were arrested after police responded to a reported melee at S. Coast Hwy and Forest Ave at 1:46 Saturday morning.

By the time the first patrol unit arrived on scene, the fight involved just two men. That officer managed to halt the fighters but when he attempted to detain one man, that one slugged the officer in the face and broke free.

Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD said Monday, “The man ran from the officer, but the officer was able to catch him and after another struggle a nearby Good Samaritan assisted the officer with handcuffing the suspect.”

Dennis Mondragon, 23 of Lake Forest, was arrested for misdemeanor assault on a police officer and felony resisting arrest.

LBPD booking photos

After other officers arrived, they learned that a female with Mondragon had fought with two bouncers at the White House a few minutes earlier. Courtney Ellis, 20, of Rancho Santa Margarita, was arrested for misdemeanor battery.

The officer who fought with Mondragon sustained cuts to his face and legs.


Police Files

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

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

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

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

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

The knife did not strike the woman. 

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

Pedestrian Safety Enforcement Operation on Tuesday 

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

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

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

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

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


Police Files

Drone drives resident to distraction – and worse

Drones are a contentious topic, and on Friday, one resident in the 1300 block of Skyline Drive decided to take matters into his own hands – literally.

“After a thorough investigation, officers found a resident had taken a drone that belonged to a professional videographer, who was filming for real estate purposes,” said LBPD spokesperson Sgt. James Cota. “The citizen refused to give it back to the owner.”

According to the police log, the man also punched the videographer, who declined medical attention. 

Eventually, officers were able to get the man to come out of the house with the now-damaged drone.

Joshua Radwan, 36, Laguna Beach, was arrested for robbery and transported to Orange County Jail.

Cliff Drive burglary foiled

On Saturday evening, a neighbor reported a woman sitting on a doorstep and pounding on the door of a residence in the 1000 block of Cliff Drive. 

Officers arrived at the scene and detained the woman and her companion.

According to Sgt. James Cota of the LBPD, “They were in the process of stealing items from the residence.”

Marcela Encarnacion, 45, Long Beach, and Arnoldo Chavez, 49, Norwalk, were both arrested for residential burglary. Additionally, Chavez was arrested on an outstanding warrant from Merced County for vandalism, resisting, and battery.

Man spits at officers during arrest

Officers responded on Friday night to Main Beach following a report of assault. After making contact with the two men involved, it was determined that Daniel Del Rosario, 24, no fixed address, was the aggressor.

“While officers attempted to arrest Del Rosario, he spat at an officer but missed,” said Sgt. James Cota, LBPD spokesperson. “Aside from being charged with assault, additional charges were added for assault on a police officer.”

Del Rosario was taken to Orange County Jail and held with $20,000 bail.


Police Files

A strong-arm robbery was reported Friday – suspect was detained but no victim ever came forward

At 6:30 Friday night, a 9-1-1 caller reported that a man in tan pants and a gray hoodie had grabbed a boy – hit him – then forcefully took money from his hand then pushed him down.

The suspect took off running and police located him at Beach St and Ocean Ave a few minutes later. When they attempted to detain him, he punched an officer with a closed fist causing the officer’s eye to swell.

The original caller was located and he identified the man police had detained, Michael Garcia, 35, no fixed address, as the suspect.

Police were unable to locate the victim and no one came forward claiming to have been robbed by the suspect.

Garcia was arrested for battery on a police officer.

It took 10 minutes – but a cop eventually made tackle

A bouncer at Hennessey’s downtown flagged down a patrol car on Ocean Avenue at 10:48 p.m. Saturday and told the officer that a man who had been in a fight inside had just taken off on foot.

As officers patrolled the area, they had a couple of sightings of the suspect who managed to elude them until about 10 minutes later.

An officer was able to chase Patrick Francis Alsamarraie, 28 of Orangevale, to the 200 block of S. Coast Hwy where he tackled the suspect.

Alsamarraie was arrested for resisting/obstructing/delaying an officer and being drunk in public.


Police Files

Terry Thornsley, artist and sculptor, passes at 56

Prolific sculptor and artist Terry Thornsley was found dead in his studio/home on Laguna Canyon Road Tuesday morning according to Laguna Beach police.

Click on photo for a larger image

City of Laguna Beach photo

“Grace”

Public Art by Terry Thornsley

Thornsley is best known for his many public art installations including “Grace”, which is at the new Laguna Beach Lifeguard Headquarters at Main Beach.

He also installed the famous “Water Puppy” – a baby seal on the Festival of Arts grounds that is a favorite of children who visit the Festival and at Treasure Island Park where he did the “Trees with Birds” that many know. He did public art installations at Crescent Bay Park.

TerryThornsley.com

Terry Thornsley painting

Thornsley was an exhibitor at the Festival of Arts for nearly 30 years.

A concerned neighbor called police Tuesday morning after he had not seen the 56-year-old artist for several days.

The cause of death is unknown but police, who entered the studio/residence via a second floor window with a fire department ladder, said he had passed away a few days before Tuesday.

The OC Coroner has not released the results of an autopsy.


Police Files

Teenage girls rob woman on Anita St at knifepoint in broad daylight

Police said a woman walking alone in the 500 block of Anita Street Wednesday afternoon was robbed at knifepoint by teenage girls. 

Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD said police were not sure if two or three blonde haired teenage girls had approached the woman.

He said the victim called 9-1-1 within minutes of the robbery. “They drove past her on Anita Street as she walked toward the beach and stopped in front of her. The suspects approached her and demanded her purse and cell phone. She gave them $5 and they fled…”

Sgt. Kleiser said they were in a dark grey or black sedan or small SUV and were last seen westbound on Anita Street. The vehicle may have had out of state plates according to police who added that the driver appeared to be a male.

LBPD detectives are investigating the case.

Woman arrested after driving stolen car from the IE to visit the beach 

Police patrol units learned that a stolen white Saturn reported from Riverside had driven into Laguna Beach at the north City limits at 3:03 a.m. Tuesday morning. They searched for the car and located it parked in the 1000 block of Cliff Drive.

As officers watched the Saturn, other officers began an area search nearby, Sgt. Tim Kleiser indicated. They encountered a woman at Shaw’s Cove beach who denied knowledge of the car.

At 5 a.m., they saw her nearby the parked Saturn and questioned her once more. Her answers led them to a search and the keys to the stolen vehicle were discovered.

Tamra Trueblood, 43, from Murrieta in Riverside County, was arrested at 5:15 a.m. and charged with felony vehicle theft.


Police Files

Man arrested inside women’s room taking pictures

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

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

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

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

No further details were available.   

Two stolen cars led to numerous charges and three in custody

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Laguna resident defrauded by IRS phone scammers

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

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

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

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

Fiesta time or jail time?

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

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

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


Police Files

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Police Files

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 Files

Parolee on a rampage drives vehicle onto crowded Main Beach sidewalk

Israel Chavez resists arrest, attempts to shove officer into traffic, spits, is tased; police find an eight-year-old girl in the vehicle

Last Sunday evening at 7:21 p.m., LBPD received multiple reports of a possible DUI driver and a vehicle on Coast Highway swerving dangerously in and out of traffic, at one point almost hitting a bicyclist. 

“An officer observed the vehicle making an illegal left turn from northbound Coast Highway onto the 100 block of Laguna Ave,” Sgt Jim Cota, LBPD spokesperson told Stu News. 

“The driver then turned onto El Paseo, hit a parked car, and continued north. He drove onto the cobblestones at Main Beach, then over the grass area, across the sidewalk, which was crowded with pedestrians. It’s amazing that no one was injured.”

The driver, later identified as Israel Chavez, 39, of El Monte, headed south on Coast Highway. Police officers caught up with him near Third Ave on PCH and conducted a high-risk car stop. Officers learned that Chavez was on parole for carjacking,

“Chavez showed signs of alcohol intoxication. He exited the vehicle as requested by officers but then became increasingly uncooperative, attempting to shove the officers back into the traffic,” Sgt Cota says. “Officers were shocked to see that there was an eight-year-old girl seated in the right rear passenger seat.”

Chavez challenged officers to fight and spat at one of them, becoming increasingly combative.

“An officer deployed his Taser. After a struggle on the ground, with Chavez kicking and trying to twist away, officers were able to handcuff him but he continued to fight,” Sgt Cota said.

OC Sheriff’s deputies arrived on the scene to assist and Chavez was finally put in the back of a patrol car. A spit mask was used to prevent him spitting at the officers.

Chavez was taken to Mission Hospital Laguna Beach for a medical clearance. After being cleared, he was taken straight to Orange County Jail and booked on charges of violating his parole, fighting/resisting officers, and child endangerment.

The child was released to her mother and grandmother. 

Chavez, the LBPD has learned, is not the child’s biological father.


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

The lure of lingerie leads to arrest

From an LBPD press release

On May 2, LBPD Officers responded to a burglary investigation at Delicate Illusions, located at 1857 South Coast Highway.  Delicate Illusions is a romantic boutique. The store owner and victim reported over $1400.00 worth of merchandise and cash had been taken during the burglary, which occurred while the business was closed.

During the initial investigation, LBPD Officers reviewed surveillance video from inside the store and recognized 53-year old Reese Westenberger as the perpetrator.  A crime bulletin was distributed throughout the police department listing Westenberger as a suspect in the case.  

On May 31, a bicycle patrol officer recognized Westenberger standing outside of 20652 Laguna Canyon Road. Westenberger attempted to flee the area on foot, and after a short chase, he surrendered.  Westenberger was taken into custody and charged with burglary, grand theft, and vandalism.  

Is thief no longer under any illusions?

When interviewed by Detectives, Westenberger denied involvement.  Westenberger was booked into Orange County Jail and held on $25,000 bail.

Anyone with any information regarding this investigation or other similar incidents is encouraged to call the Laguna Beach Police Department at (949) 497-0701.  For further information, please contact Sergeant Jim Cota at (949) 464-6671 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .  

To submit tips anonymously, please contact Crime Stoppers at 855-TIP-OCCS or 855-847-6227. You can also reach Crime Stoppers online at www.crimestoppers.org.

Rash of vehicle burglaries Saturday night

Throughout the day on Saturday, at least seven victims reported that their cars had been entered overnight and items stolen. 

Amongst the stolen property were sunglasses, wallets, paperwork, a computer, and a purse with cash inside. Some of the vehicles had been locked and others were forced open.

“Detectives are currently looking at all leads,” said Sgt. James Cota, LBPD spokesperson. “Progress is being made on locating a suspect.”

Remember, if you see something, say something.

Renters on the rampage

In two unrelated incidents this week, occupants of rented residences are suspected of burgling multiple items from the homes in which they were staying. 

A vacation home in the 31800 block of Circle Drive had TVs, carpet, electronics and computers missing, to the tune of $20,000. The incident occurred in the last two weeks.

In the 21700 block of Ocean Vista Drive, a refrigerator, washer/dryer, dishwasher, and microwave were removed.

Though the incidents are not related, neighbors are once again encouraged that if you see something, say something.


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.


Police Files

Sometimes a suitcase is just a suitcase…

Sometimes a suitcase is a just a suitcase, but these days nothing is certain. On Monday, July 3 at 12:18 p.m., a concerned citizen reported seeing a suitcase locked to a stop sign at Temple Hills Drive & Alta Laguna Boulevard. 

“Due to the suspicious nature, the bomb squad was called,” said Sgt. Jim Cota, LBPD spokesperson. “They responded and determined the suitcase was not a dangerous device, but it was destroyed during their investigation.”

Officers are not sure how long the new looking suitcase had been there.

…but sometimes, a cell phone is actually a knife

On the evening of Sunday, July 2, officers responded to the 300 block of Y Place after a resident said his neighbor had threatened him with the 12” hunting knife he had in his hand.

“The suspect stated he did not have a knife, but only his cell phone in his hand,” said Sgt. Jim Cota of the LBPD. “A video recording proved otherwise.” The video showed the suspect making threats with the knife in his hand. 

Martin Edens, 53, Laguna Beach, was arrested for criminal threats and brandishing a knife. He was held with $50,000 bail. 

 

DUI saturation patrols will be on the streets this weekend between 5 p.m. & 3 a.m.

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

DUI Saturation Patrols will deploy Friday, July 7 & Sat, July 8, between the hours of 5 p.m. and 3 a.m. in areas with high frequencies of DUI collisions and/or arrests. 

When possible, specially trained officers will be available to evaluate those suspected of drug-impaired driving, which now accounts for a growing number of impaired driving crashes. Studies of California drivers have shown that 30 percent of drivers in fatal crashes had one or more drugs in their systems. 

If you are impaired by drugs or alcohol, hand over your keys or get a ride home

Everyone should be mindful that if you’re taking medication – whether prescription or over-the-counter – drinking even small amounts of alcohol can greatly intensify the impairment affects. Law Enforcement emphasizes the preventable nature of drunk driving, reminding everyone that all it takes is a little planning ahead. 

Drivers caught driving impaired can expect the impact of a DUI arrest to include jail time, fines, fees, DUI classes, license suspensions and other expenses that can exceed $10,000 not to mention the embarrassment when friends and family find out. 

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

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


Police Files

Former employee Christine Black embezzles $65,000 from Laguna Nursery

On March 17, 2016, Economic Crimes Detectives opened a fraud investigation into a former employee of Laguna Nursery, who was accused of embezzling money from the business. 

“The year-long investigation revealed that Christine Black, 47, issued checks to herself and reported the checks as payments for various vendors,” Sgt Cota, LBPD spokesperson. 

Black embezzled more than $65,000, Sgt Cota added. 

The investigation also revealed Black was on probation for a similar case in Rockingham County, North Carolina. In that case, she embezzled approximately $100,000. 

On July 5, Black pled guilty to 38 felony counts of forgery and identity theft in Harbor Court. She was sentenced to 16 months in jail, restitution, and is scheduled to be extradited to North Carolina at the conclusion of this case. 

“This case is yet another reminder that when you victimize small business owners and innocent people in our city, the Laguna Beach Police Department will investigate it thoroughly and bring in the resources necessary to work toward successful prosecution of the case,” said Sgt. Jim Cota, LBPD Investigations Division. 

The case was prosecuted by Senior Deputy District Attorney, Marc Labreche of the Major Fraud Unit. 

Looking for someone to talk to? Don’t call 911

On Tuesday, July 11, officers received a call from a man reporting a domestic violence incident. 

Unfortunately for him, there was no such incident.

“He made up the call to have officers respond so he could have ‘someone to talk to,’” explained Sgt. Jim Cota. “He was advised that this was misuse of 911.”

The man, Brennan Afrasiabi, 19, Laguna Beach, was arrested for misusing 911. But that wasn’t the end of it for him.

“During the booking process, he became aggressive and caused a disturbance in the jail,” said Cota. “He spat in the face of the jailer.”

Afrasiabi was subsequently charged with using violence to resist officers and was transported to Orange County Jail. 

 Snake too cool to move 

On Saturday, July 8, at 11:45 a.m., a man with a zipper cooler bag entered the library and went to the computers. 

Inside that cooler bag was a live rattlesnake.

Rattlesnake perp pic, courtesy the Internet. Not the actual perpetrator

“The man intended to sell it at the city library,” explained Sgt. Jim Cota. “He was also in possession of methamphetamine.”

The man, Robert Holsinger, 57, Santa Ana, was cited for possession of methamphetamine and possession of a feral/exotic animal. 


Police Files

Caught red-handed at Cleo: teamwork by cops leads to arrest of man who burgled local businesses

Reed Swingley, 54, of Sun City, thought he’d just, you know, swing by Laguna Beach last Sunday – but it turns out that it isn’t such a good idea for a suspected criminal to revisit the scene of a crime.

Especially with stolen goods inside his truck.

“During the first two weeks of July, we investigated three separate commercial burglaries and a residential burglary,” Sgt. Jim Cota, LBPD spokesperson, told Stu News Laguna. “The businesses included Mozambique Restaurant, Tortilla Republic and an architecture business downtown.”

Items stolen included a safe, a large amount of cash, an antique saxophone and a bronze statue.

According to Sgt. Cota, a review of surveillance video from one of the businesses, as well as the residence, identified a person of interest and a suspect vehicle. 

Then, on Sunday July 16 at approximately 5 p.m., LBPD officers learned that suspect vehicle was seen in the city. 

Patrol officers located the vehicle and initiated a high-risk traffic stop on Coast Highway and Cleo.

“This arrest was a true team effort by both Patrol Officers and Detectives. Patrol handled the high-risk stop and detectives took over the investigation. Truly a combined effort,” Sgt Cota notes.     

The vehicle driver, 54-year-old Reed Swingley of Sun City, was detained after officers saw what they believed to be some of the stolen property from these burglaries inside the truck. 

Swingley was arrested for burglary, possession of stolen property, possession of a controlled substance, as well as other theft related charges. He was booked at the Laguna Beach Jail and transported to Orange County Jail. 

Anyone with any information regarding this investigation should call the Laguna Beach Police Department at (949) 497-0701.

And the day before, our cops had a red-letter day at Ruby’s

Despite working countless overtime hours on a spate of criminal activity and high risk vehicle stops in Laguna Beach – stops often initiated by sharp-eyed cops noticing a stolen vehicle cruising through our town – 25 LBPD police officers took the time to raise an astonishing and wonderful record-breaking $46,000 to support the Special Olympics, working alongside 12 athletes from Laguna Hills Hawks to serve customers at Ruby’s Diner on a busy Saturday afternoon.

Jennifer Mills, who manages volunteer and special events for the Special Olympics, was quoted as saying that “law enforcement usually raises about $5,000.”

Laguna’s police officers earned nine times as much. 

Thursday chase ended with crash on Wave Street

Last Thursday, Newport Beach Police pursued a driver heading south along Coast Highway. At 5:28 p.m., Casey Adamczyk, 28, of Corona del Mar, who was wanted for assault with a deadly weapon, crashed into a power pole at Wave Street.

Click on photo for a larger image

Reader Scott Methvin submitted this photo of the dramatic crash

Laguna Beach PD officers responded and assisted with the investigation. Adamczyk was arrested by Newport Beach PD and taken back to their PD for booking.


Police Files

Dogged action helps cops nab car thief

Last Friday, July 21 at around 10 p.m., diners at Moulin Bistro and Alessa Laguna looked up from their plates to see a high-risk vehicle stop taking place – and Laguna’s police dog, Ranger, being quite persuasive in encouraging a car thief to surrender.

Valarie Hewin  (58), no fixed address, was arrested at gunpoint for possession of a stolen vehicle and driving on a suspended license. Hewin also had an outstanding felony no-bail warrant for her arrest. 

“Ranger was helpful in persuading her to surrender,” LBPD spokesperson Sgt. Jim Cota said. “If you’re a criminal, you don’t want to mess with that dog.”

The black Nissan Altima had been reported stolen from Enterprise Rent-a-Car. Officers first spotted the stolen vehicle driving northbound on S. Coast Highway from Nyes Place. 

German Auto thief apprehended

On Friday, an RP from German Auto brought police officers surveillance video from a burglary that took place at the business. An unknown individual entered the premises and took items from several vehicles.

“A suspect was located and admitted to stealing the items. He was identified as homeless resident Brandon Heath,” Sgt. Cota said.

Heath, age 23, was charged with grand theft, possession of stolen property, attempted vehicle theft, and tampering with a vehicle.

New police officers join LBPD

Three new Laguna Beach police officers were sworn in recently: Officer Ashley Krotine, Officer Shahriyar (Shar) Hariri, and Officer Rajen Patel. 

Officers Ashley Krotine, Shahriyar (Shar) Harrir and Rajen Patel

Officer Krotine and Officer Patel are graduates of the Golden West Police Academy and Officer Hariri is a lateral officer from the San Diego School Police Department.

Officer Patel was a police officer in London, England before moving to the United States with his family. 

“We are very happy to have them as part of our team,” LBPD spokesperson Sgt. Jim Cota said.


Police Files

Glenneyre Street residences get a smashing wake-up

On Friday night at 11:45 p.m., after getting kicked out of Skyloft, 21-year-old Laguna Beach resident Zachary McGuinness was doing burnouts in the upper Glenneyre parking structure.

Photo by Kris Kovach

What it looked like the night of…

After his Tahoe struck a parked Mazda, he left the structure and took his burnouts to the street. That didn’t end up so well for the residents in the 500 block of Glenneyre Street.

Photo by Scott Brashier

The garages were red-tagged after a drunk driver crashed into them Friday night

“He lost control of the Chevy, which veered to the right and plowed through the triple garage doors,” explained Sgt. Jim Cota, LBPD spokesperson. “He was not injured,” and according to the police log, was able to get himself out of the vehicle.

McGuinness, who turned 22 on Saturday, was subsequently arrested for DUI with a BAC of 0.08 percent or above. 

Though a city building inspector red-tagged the garages, no residents were displaced.


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

Serial car thief caught: more individuals under investigation

Laguna Beach Police officers located and arrested one of a group of individuals who have been committing thefts from vehicles in the city.

22-year-old Johnny Cervantez from San Bernardino was arrested on Saturday for receipt of stolen property, conspiracy to commit a crime, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia. 

Officers are still investigating the thefts. Stu News Laguna will provide more information once it is available. 

Dog gets involved in arrest: is rescued by LBPD

An interesting side-note from the LBPD’s Facebook page related to the San Bernardino search: While serving a search warrant, detectives came across an eight-week-old German Shepherd, who had obvious injuries to its legs and paws and was not being properly cared for. 

The owners of the dog said they didn’t want him and also said they had been trying to get rid of him, but because of his injuries no one would take him. Working with a local rescue, detectives arranged to have the dog surrendered for adoption. 

From LBPD Facebook page

German Shepherd puppy is rescued thanks to LBPD detectives

Detectives did this while recovering stolen property from the house and identifying additional suspects in the case. The LBPD says they are happy to report that the owners voluntarily turned over the dog to rescuers and he is now healthy and preparing to be adopted, thanks to the excellent work of Sgt. Cota, Cpl Sendele, Ashton, Gensemer and Officers Mirakian and Ocampo. 

 

$5 million+ of software, camera equipment taken from a truck

Overnight on Thursday, a truck parked in the 400 block of Jasmine Street was entered. The owner discovered the door cracked open, but no damage to the car.

Missing was $15,000 in cash as well as approximately $5 million in computer software.

“The investigations division is looking into the incident to identify any suspects,” said Sgt. James Cota, LBPD spokesperson.


Peace, love and protective police kept Saturday rally safe, joyful and positive

Approximately 350 people gathered at Main Beach on Saturday morning to celebrate love, diversity and equality, and to protest racism and neo-Nazi philosophies following the tragic events in Charlottesville. 

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Lynette

Almost all demonstrators carried placards with positive messages

The decision to rally before the following day’s planned America First march would, Mayor Toni Iseman and Democratic groups hoped, offer residents an opportunity to express their emotions while denying oxygen to the anti-immigration group meeting on Sunday evening. 

“Here in Laguna, we don’t just tolerate diversity,” Iseman said, “We embrace diversity.”  

The “Unity Rally” was peaceful (in a loud way, given the chants) from beginning to end. Police officers were visible, deterring the likelihood of aggression on anyone’s part, though this particular crowd seemed composed almost entirely of like-minded people. 

Several speakers, including Mayor Iseman, paid tribute to the LBPD for their vigilance and support, as well as their work in communicating with the community about the rally.

A lone Trump supporter, Cherie Allen, aimed a double thumbs-down sign a few times in the direction of the placard-carrying crowd. But Allen said she shares the desire for peace, yet feels that as a Christian she is targeted sometimes by liberals. 

She supports President Trump, “Though I don’t agree with everything he says,” Allen said. “But he hasn’t been given a chance. He needs to be given the respect of the office.” 

The 50-year-Laguna resident sat quietly during the speeches, occasionally mouthing agreement or disagreement, but listening respectfully.

“I can’t support people who [support abortion],” noted Allen, who says she has sometimes been known as the “Peace Lady of Laguna.”

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Lynette

L-R: Rick Fletcher and his wife, Lori Werstein and Dan Mariner

Most at the rally felt particular protective of Laguna.

Resident Dan Mariner said, “What makes Laguna great is that it is such a melting pot, a microcosm of America. Different cultures are welcome here.”

Rick Fletcher nodded. “Laguna is all about love.”

Rick’s wife (my apologies, I can’t find her name in my notes!) told Stu News Laguna, “My parents brought me here when I was just five years old, decades ago. I know they’d approve of this. Laguna is no place for hate.”

Daughter-in-law Lori Werstein commented: “It felt hopeful and peaceful, very positive, this morning. That’s what we need.”

Thank goodness, there were no sounds of gunshots or screams of injured victims: only the honk of horns, chanting, and the barking of dogs; no smell of smoke, only the briny breeze; no shoving, only hugs and pats on the back.

Laguna’s reputation as a peaceful town remained intact. And then came Sunday…and (see Barbara Diamond’s report), peace pretty much continued to reign.

--Lynette Brasfield


Police Files

Something’s up in the neighborhood…

On Thursday morning, the Laguna Beach PD was called to help out Homeland Security and the IRS with a federal search warrant. 

“The warrant was executed at approximately 8 a.m. at a residence in the 2000 block of Crestview Drive,” said Sgt. Jim Cota, LBPD spokesperson. “Two vehicles and documents were seized by the federal agents.”

Because it is an ongoing federal investigation, no further details are available at this time. 

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy LBPD Facebook


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.


Police Files

“Smashed window” car thief grabs goods worth $5,000

On Monday afternoon, a burglar smashed the windows of a Mercedes parked in the 200 block of High Drive – different from the usual MO of stealing items from unlocked cars. A suitcase with $5,000 worth of clothing was stolen from the car, which belonged to the visiting friend of a resident.

“We have had quite a few thefts from unlocked vehicles,” said Sgt. James Cota, LBPD spokesperson. “It’s an easy crime of opportunity.”

“With summer approaching and many visitors coming to town, citizens have to lock their vehicles and their residences,” Cota urged.

But he reminded people that even locked cars can be subject to crime, and that it is important to be aware of suspicious behavior. 

“Remember, if you see something, say something,” Cota added.

Woman gives TV the brush-off, goes to jail

Officers were called to the ASL on Monday morning to remove a woman who was not allowed to be on the property.

When they got there, she had done more than trespass.

According to the police log, 10 witnesses confirmed that Sarah Beach, no fixed address, had used a broom to break the flat screen TV that belongs to the shelter.

Beach was arrested for trespassing and felony vandalism. Bail was set at $20,000.


Police Files

There’s no Jell-o in jail

On Saturday, August 5 at 5:17 a.m., a residential alarm went off in the 800 block of S. Coast Hwy. Officers went to the scene and found an open slider door, which they entered. After announcing their presence, they heard movement on the upper floor.

Ross Simard, 34, Malibu, was detained in handcuffs after coming down the stairs. He first claimed to be the owner of the property, and then claimed his girlfriend owned the property. But, the names he gave were not associated with the property. The caretaker and owner verified that Simard should not have been on the property.

Surveillance footage shows Ross Simard, 34, Malibu, at a residence in the 800 block of S. Coast Hwy.

 “A search of the interior showed Simard had taken food out and made himself a snack, which included Jell-o,” said Sgt. Jim Cota, LBPD spokesperson. 

Simard was arrested for burglary, providing a false name to police, and a $300,000 felony warrant for a prior burglary in Los Angeles. 

“He also told officers he swallowed two grams of heroin before he was contacted inside the residence,” said Cota. “He was taken to Mission Hospital for a medical clearance and then transported to Orange County Jail,” where, we are told, there is no Jell-o. 

Doctor shopper is prescribed jail

On Wednesday around 4 p.m., a woman arrived at Mission Hospital for multiple medical ailments. But, medical staff was aware that a woman matching her description would visit hospitals, request medications and extend her stay. 

Officers were contacted, and the woman, Texas resident Tenetra Jones, 31, attempted to leave upon finding this out.

“Inside Jones’ bag was discharge paperwork from various hospitals,” said Cota. “They all had different names. Also located was prescription pills in another name.

“Officers believed she was ‘Doctor Shopping’ and had over 30 different medications and associated ailments in which certain medication was given,” he explained.

Jones was ultimately arrested for providing false names for medical services, providing a false name to an officer, and entering a business with the intent to defraud.


Police Files

Motorist vs bicyclist: bicyclist wins

On Thursday, August 10, at 9:42 a.m., Laguna Beach police officers responded to a report of a disturbance at the intersection of Bluebird Canyon Road and S Coast Hwy.

According to witnesses on scene, the disturbance began when the suspect, a motorist, intentionally struck a person riding his bicycle. When confronted about this by another bicyclist, the suspect then intentionally tried to run him over as well. The suspect fled the scene prior to officers arriving.

Laguna Beach Police Department patrol officers and detectives responded to the scene and obtained a description of the suspect and his vehicle. Using this information, detectives identified Kevin O’Neill, a 53-year-old resident of Laguna Beach, as a possible suspect. Witnesses and victims positively identified O’Neill in a photo lineup.

On Sunday, August 13, police officers stopped O’Neill while he was driving his vehicle and placed him under arrest. He was charged with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon and booked into Orange County Jail.

Anyone with any information regarding this investigation is encouraged to call the Laguna Beach Police Department at 949-497-0701. For further information, please contact Sergeant Jim Cota at 949-464-6671 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Road rage results in DUI arrest

On Saturday around 3 p.m., callers reported that a Toyota Camry rear-ended a Tesla and attempted to drive away.

When officers arrived, they discovered that the victim stood in front of the Camry as it was attempting to leave the scene and was struck by the vehicle.

“The driver, identified as 57-year-old Anaheim resident William Boeck, exhibited signs of driving while impaired and was investigated for driving under the influence,” said Sgt. Jim Cota. 

Boeck was arrested for a fourth offense of driving under the influence and, since he tried to hit the other party with his car, assault with a deadly weapon.


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.


Police Files

Laguna Beach resident charged with defrauding Orange County businesses of more than $1.5 million

On January 26, 2016, LBPD Economic Crimes Detectives began a fraud investigation against Elizabeth Mulder, a resident of Laguna Beach, after a local business owner identified Mulder as his accountant and alleged that Mulder embezzled $200,000 from his wine business, JAC Wines.

The investigation revealed that between July 2009 and May 2016, Mulder devised and executed a scheme to defraud and obtain money from small businesses by gaining the trust of their owners, some of whom allowed her to gain control over their financial accounts. In total, Mulder embezzled over $1.5 million from her victims, according to documents filed in federal court.

When sentenced, Mulder faces up to 23 years in prison.

A victim talks about her experience with the embezzler

Among her victims was JoAnn Kurtz-Ahlers, president of Kurtz-Ahlers & Associates, an upscale travel agency based in San Juan Capistrano. 

Kurtz-Ahlers tells StuNewsLaguna that she thought everything was going smoothly during the five years, 2011 – 2016, that Elizabeth Mulder acted as her accountant, primarily handling income tax issues for Kurtz-Ahlers’ upscale travel agency.

Then Kurtz-Ahlers found out that all the money she thought she’d paid to the IRS had disappeared into Mulder’s pocket. 

“I was in shock. I’d known Elizabeth Mulder’s mother, Alice Whynaught, for years, which made me feel quite comfortable hiring her daughter,” Kurtz-Ahlers said. “To be honest, I admired Elizabeth, I thought she was a terrific entrepreneur, very successful – meanwhile she was a skillful manipulator. She took advantage of her mother’s connections to get clients and then embezzle from them.”

Along with the shock of realizing her funds had been embezzled, Kurtz-Ahlers still has to deal with IRS. They expect Kurtz-Ahlers to pay what she owed for those five years – plus penalties and fines – and it is taking a great deal of negotiation to come to a settlement with the IRS.  

Skillful, yes, but in deception, not finance

“Elizabeth came across as someone who was sincere and really wanted to help you. Plus she had so many clients, I thought she must be good at what she did. That’s what everyone thought.”

But Mulder was in the process of embezzling what would turn out to be 1.5 million dollars from clients who trusted her. She was good at what she did – except her skill was in theft.

“Police detective Jordan Mirakian of the Laguna Beach Police Department was amazing,” Kurtz-Ahlers says. “We all went to him in a group and he was diligent about taking the information about every case. She was quite inventive in the different ways she took advantage of her clients.”

Search warrants executed by LBPD Detectives at the Mulder residence and her bank accounts revealed additional victim businesses throughout Orange County. These companies included Toni & Guy Hair Salon (Newport Beach), Kurtz-Ahlers LLC (San Juan Capistrano), Bella Pilates (San Clemente), Andra Builders, Inc. (Costa Mesa), and California Print 2 Copy (Irvine).

Mulder deceived clients into making checks payable to a phony business she created called “Income Tax Payments,” under the guise that those payments would satisfy the clients’ outstanding IRS tax obligations. She also created false personas as representatives and/or investors of companies to lead her clients to believe various expenses were being paid for the benefit of the business.

LBPD “brought in every available resource”

“This investigation serves as a reminder that our police department will pursue individuals in positions of trust who take advantage of innocent victims. We brought in every available resource, including our partners from the Federal Government, to ensure that this case would be appropriately prosecuted and justice would be served,” said Captain Jeff Calvert, LBPD.

Mulder used the money embezzled from the victims for a variety of personal expenses including a rental home in Laguna Beach, cosmetic surgery, personal vacations, living expenses, horse rentals and the purchase of horse equipment.

This case was investigated by the Laguna Beach Police Department Investigations Division, with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the IRS Criminal Investigation, and the United States Attorney.

For further information, please contact Sergeant Jim Cota at (949) 464-6671 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 

Two helicopter rescues in two days

The Fire Department has been busy this week. On Wednesday, June 8, at 2:57 p.m., the Department received a call from the 600 block of Diamond Street. A construction worker had fallen from a construction site. 

 

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo courtesy of LB Fire Department

Helicopter rescue in progress

The lack of stairs made it impossible to reach him other than by helicopter, and moving the patient was critical due to the extent of his injuries. 

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo courtesy of LB Fire Department

Patient is safely en route to the hospital thanks to our firefighters and the OCFA

The Fire Department, working with the OC Fire Authority, was able to hover and then drop someone down to rescue the patient and deliver him to Mission Hospital.

Golfers hear call for help

Then on Thursday morning at 9 a.m., golfers at The Ranch at Laguna Beach reported hearing calls for help from a steep hillside.  Access to the person was impossible by foot and the patient was unable to move due to a foot injury.  

Working again with the OCFA, Laguna Beach Fire Department deployed a “short haul” approach to airlift him to the hospital in Mission Viejo.

 

Stolen vehicle leads to chase, spike strips deployed

Laguna Beach Police were alerted to a stolen vehicle located at Forest Avenue and Laguna Canyon Road. The driver, Juan Gutierrez, chose to flee in the vehicle through the downtown area without stopping. 

The vehicle ultimately headed north to Newport Beach. With the assistance of Newport Beach PD, the vehicle was disabled utilizing Spike Strips. 

Three occupants were detained and two were arrested. They were Gutierrez and Arriaga. Gutierrez was also in possession of approximately one gram of methamphetamine.


Police Files

Here’s a shocker in Police Files – good news!

Remember our story last week about Reed Swingley, 54, of Sun City, who stole goods from individuals as well Mozambique Restaurant, Tortilla Republic and an architectural business downtown? Items that included personal jewelry, a safe, a large amount of cash, an antique saxophone and a bronze statue, found in his truck?

To recap, last Sunday, after a high-risk traffic stop, Swingley was arrested for burglary, possession of stolen property, possession of a controlled substance, as well as other theft related charges.

But (in addition to his arrest) here’s the good news: detectives were able to track down some of the people who had their valuables stolen.

Courtesy LBPD

Betty Jo Young is thrilled to have her jewelry back, courtesy LBPD

According to police reports, 89 year-old Betty Jo Young, whose belongings and jewelry were stolen from her hotel room in town while she was in the hospital recovering from a fall, was thrilled to know that her diamond wedding rings and a diamond heart pendant, given to her by her late husband Coleman Young, had been recovered.

Also, LBPD Sgt Cota tells us, a rare bronze art piece was returned to its owner, Horst Noppenberger, who owns Noppenberger owns Horst Architects in Laguna Beach.

An antique saxophone was also returned to its owner.

Photo courtesy LBPD

Detectives Mirakian and Ocampo celebrate the return of stolen goods

“This has been a great experience for our detectives and a tribute to LBPD teamwork,” Sgt Jim Cota said. “We are in the process of giving the stolen property back to the owners. We just gave a woman back her purses and we’re going to be giving a woman back her wedding ring. She is ecstatic!”

Sgt Cota added that the investigation of this case is still ongoing and, because of its complexity, will take time to complete.

You’re never too old to … steal?

Just because you get older, of course you still want to wear the kinds of clothes that’ll help you steal the show at a party – but most senior women prefer to buy rather than burgle when choosing an arresting outfit.

Not so for three “older” women (according to police reports, not me, I’m 61) who attempted to swipe clothes from Sunny Days and were arrested on the corner of Laguna Ave and S. Coast Highway. 

Diana Lynn Carnivalli, 51, of Nevada, with charges pending, and Linda Maria Webster, 46, Nevada, with a Ventura warrant bail $5000, were taken into custody.

Arrests were for petty theft, possession of stolen property, and burglary tools – small pliers used to cut the sensors off clothing.

Apparently a Chihuahua, pushed in a cart, was an unwitting accomplice.  

The third woman was released with no charges.


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.


Police Files

Robbery arrest made at Husky Boy Burgers

At 3 p.m. on Wednesday, June 14, officers received a call that a robbery had just occurred at the Mobil gas station in the 100 block of N. Coast Hwy. 

“Four suspects entered the gas station and took beverages from the store,” said Sgt. James Cota, LBPD spokesperson. “When they were confronted by the sales clerk, one of the four struck him in the face and took his cell phone. They fled in a Chevy Camaro.” The crime was captured on surveillance video.

An immediate area search was conducted and the suspect vehicle was located at the Husky Boy Burgers parking lot. Inside the vehicle were four juveniles and one adult, all from San Bernardino County. The four juveniles were taken into custody; one of them (the main aggressor) was charged with Robbery, Theft, and Assault.

According to Emergency Operations Coordinator of the LBPD, Jordan Villwock, at no time did the police department believe the community was at risk. 

Detectives identify individuals responsible for rash of vehicle burglaries

On June 3, LBPD Officers responded to multiple vehicle burglary reports throughout North Laguna Beach. LBPD Detectives were called in to assist with the investigation. During their follow-up two suspects were identified in the case, Rachel Alvarez and Johnny Cervantez.

LBPD booking photos

Rachel Alvarez and Johnny Cervantez

On June 8, LBPD Detectives went to the City of Redlands and interviewed Alvarez, and she confessed to her involvement in the burglaries and relinquished the stolen property in her possession. The stolen property included a laptop that belonged to a schoolteacher, which contained the only copy of her student’s grades.  

Alvarez and Cervantez were booked for possession of stolen property, drug, and theft related charges. Alvarez has already plead guilty and was sentenced to 30 days in jail, three years of probation, and was ordered to pay restitution. 

This investigation is ongoing, and LBPD Detectives are still pursuing additional suspects in this case. 

“In almost all of these cases, the victims left their vehicles unlocked. Crooks enjoy the path of least resistance, and it is much easier to target victims who do not protect their property. The best way to prevent crimes of opportunity is to secure your belongings and hide valuables from the public view,” said Captain Jeff Calvert.

Anyone with information related to this case is encouraged to contact Sergeant Jim Cota at (949) 464-6671 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . To submit tips anonymously, please contact Crime Stoppers at 855-TIP-OCCS or 855-847-6227. You can also reach Crime Stoppers online at www.crimestoppers.org.


Police Files

Property manager arrested for jewelry heist of South Laguna home

On Tuesday, August 15, Laguna Beach Police Officers responded to investigate a report of a residential burglary in South Laguna. The residence is a vacation home, and the owners were out of town at the time. The property manager, 36-year-old Raul Aguilera, had notified police about the burglary and the homeowners listed multiple pieces of jewelry missing from their residence. The total reported loss of jewelry was more than three quarters of a million dollars – $765,912.00.

On August 21, detectives from the Laguna Beach Police Department began their investigation and through additional follow-up, identified Aguilera as the suspect in the case. The investigation led detectives to a pawn shop in Orange County, where they were able to locate some of the missing jewelry and seize it as evidence.

On August 23, detectives served a search warrant on Aguilera’s residence. During the search of Aguilera’s home, detectives located additional stolen property and jewelry belonging to the victims in this case.

Aguilera was taken into custody without incident and booked into Orange County Jail, where he is being held on $765,912 bail – the exact amount the jewelry had been valued at. He has since pleaded not guilty to the felony grand theft charge.

Anyone with any information regarding this investigation is encouraged to call the Laguna Beach Police Department at (949) 497-0701.  For further information, please contact Sergeant Jim Cota at (949) 464-6671 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 

DUI Checkpoint nets five arrests

LBPD conducted a DUI/Drivers License checkpoint on August 26, in the area of Coast Highway and Aliso Beach between the hours of 9 p.m. and 3 a.m.

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. 

Here are the stats from Friday: 1,834 vehicles went through the Checkpoint; 864 drivers were greeted. Five DUI-Alcohol suspects were arrested. Four drivers were cited/arrested for operating a vehicle unlicensed or while suspended/revoked and four citations were issued. 

Drivers caught driving impaired can expect the impact of a DUI arrest to include jail time, fines, fees, DUI classes, other expenses that can exceed $10,000 not to mention the embarrassment when friends and family find out. 

The Laguna Beach Police Department will be conducting numerous DUI education/enforcement details throughout 2017 in an ongoing commitment to lowering deaths and injuries upon 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, reminding everyone to ‘Report Drunk Drivers – Call 9-1-1.”


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.


Police Files

Paddleboarder saves friend’s life at Moss Street Beach

On Sunday at 10:17 a.m. at Moss Street Beach, Laguna Beach police received numerous 911 calls about a man yelling for help in the ocean. Due to the fog that morning, none of the callers could see the man.

“Two friends were paddle boarding when one of them went down for an unknown reason,” said Sgt. James Cota of the LBPD. 

The man brought the woman to shore and provided CPR. According to the police log, the woman was in full cardiac arrest, but began breathing at 10:35 a.m.

Mercy Air was called to transport the woman to the hospital. According to a GoFundMe page set up for her, she suffered a seizure due to a brain tumor. She is currently under sedation in the ICU.


Police Files

Run + ignore officer’s commands = maybe a  Taser

On Thursday around 9:30 p.m., officers contacted a man at Jasmine Street and N. Coast Hwy. The man was drinking alcohol from a cup and gave officers a false name.

During the interaction with officers, the man, later identified as Ralph Bowers, 47, Huntington Beach, took off running from the officer in the middle of Coast Hwy.

“Bowers ignored the officer’s commands to stop,” said Sgt. Jim Cota, LBPD spokesperson. “He was told to stop or a Taser would be utilized to stop him.”

Despite these verbal warnings, Bowers continued to run and was subsequently tasered. Additionally, a brief fight ensued between him and the arresting officer.

Bowers was taken into custody and charged with resisting a police officer, delaying/obstructing an officer, providing false information, and battery on an officer. He was booked and transported to Orange County Jail. 

Remember, DUI doesn’t just mean booze: checkpoint planned for this weekend

The Laguna Beach Police Department will be conducting a DUI/driver’s license checkpoint on Saturday, August 26 at an undisclosed location within the city limits between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m.

California has seen a disturbing increase in drug-impaired driving crashes, according to the press release. Laguna Beach PD and the Office of Traffic Safety aim to educate all drivers that “DUI Doesn’t Just Mean Booze.” Prescription drugs and marijuana can also be impairing, especially in combination with alcohol or other drugs, and can result in a DUI.

Research shows that crashes involving an impaired driver can be reduced by up to 20 percent when well-publicized, proactive DUI operations are conducted routinely. In California, alcohol involved collisions led to 1,155 deaths and nearly 24,000 serious injuries in 2014 because someone failed to designate a sober driver.

Officers will be looking for signs of alcohol and/or drug impairment and checking drivers for proper licensing. Drivers caught driving impaired can expect the impact of a DUI arrest to include jail time, fines, fees, DUI classes, license suspensions and other expenses that can exceed $10,000…not to mention the embarrassment when friends and family find out. 

Funding for this DUI operation is provided to the LBPD by a grand from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, reminding everyone to ‘Report Drunk Driving – Call 911.’

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


Police Files

Boyfriend and girlfriend arrested in last week’s home burglary

On Tuesday, we reported that a Laguna Beach resident returned home on Friday to a burglary in progress – his garage door had been broken in and there was an unknown Hyundai parked in his driveway. 

The RP called police and waited for officers to arrive. While waiting, he saw a man and a woman walk out of his house with a clothes hamper. The pair entered the Hyundai parked in the driveway and left – with $5,000 in stolen purses and $12,000 in stolen jewelry.

On Wednesday, Laguna Beach detectives went to the City of Orange to visit Zachary Morales, 26, and his girlfriend, Tiffanie Moreland, 23, suspects in the case. When detectives spoke with the pair, they denied their involvement in the Laguna Beach burglary despite the following:

1. A white Hyundai Sonata was seen fleeing from the Laguna Beach burglary. Tiffanie drives a white Hyundai Sonata.

2. The female suspect in the Laguna Beach burglary case was described as thin, with pink hair. Tiffanie is also thin, and had pink hair up until this past weekend, when she changed it to magenta.

3. Stolen property from residential burglaries in Villa Park and Laguna Hills was found in a storage unit leased to Zachary and Tiffanie.

4. Zachary is on parole and served time in prison for residential burglaries.

LBPD Booking photos

Zachary Morales and Tiffanie Moreland

Morales and Moreland were arrested for burglary.


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

18-year-old arrested for stealing a car

On Monday, August 14, at 9:12 p.m., officers were alerted to a stolen Toyota Tacoma entering the city. It had been stolen out of Lake Forest on Friday.

Laguna Beach police officers located the car and had all three of its occupants detained by 9:25 p.m.

The driver, 18-year-old Luis Reynasoto from Lake Forest, was arrested for possession of a stolen vehicle, receipt of stolen property, and burglary.

The truck was returned to its owner.

Don’t light tree branches on fire

On Sunday afternoon, a caller reported seeing two men using rags to extinguish a tree branch that was on fire near Stan Oak Drive and Laguna Canyon Road.

Orange County Fire Authority was called, but requested that Laguna Beach handle the situation due to the small size of the fire.

The branch was extinguished just six minutes after the initial call.

One of the two men, Kameran Cherrier, 29, Laguna Beach, was arrested for resisting officers and for misdemeanor reckless burning.


Police Files

Man who sucker-punched Trump supporter will see jail time

On Tuesday, August 22, Richard Losey, 20, from Ohio, was arrested for sucker-punching an African-American Trump supporter after the rally that took place on Sunday the 20th at Main Beach. He was charged with misdemeanor battery.

On Friday, September 1, Losey pleaded guilty and was sentenced to thirty days in county jail followed by three years of informal probation.

Resident discovers burglary in progress at his home

On Friday, September 1, a resident in the 30600 block of Driftwood Drive arrived home only to realize that an unfamiliar car was parked in their driveway. The resident also noticed that the garage door appeared to be broken in.

The RP called the police and waited for officers to arrive. While waiting, he saw a man and a woman walk out of his house with a clothes hamper. The pair entered the white Hyundai parked in the driveway and left, hitting the victim’s vehicle on their way out.

When officers arrived, they confirmed that the home had indeed been broken into, and the duo had made off with $5,000 in purses and $12,000 in jewelry.

The suspects were described as a woman in her 20s or 30s with pink or red hair, and a man wearing a blue bandana across his face.


Police Files

North Laguna resident interrupts a burglary

On Wednesday at 9:02 p.m., officers received a call from a resident in the 500 block of Poplar Street.

“The woman heard some noise in a guest bedroom and when she went to investigate, a man wearing a black hoodie and gloves told her to ‘get out of here’,” said Sgt. Jim Cota, LBPD spokesperson. 

According to a post on NextDoor, the victim went back into her bedroom where she immediately called 911.

Officers arrived on the scene two minutes later, but the man was no longer in the house. They were unable to find him in the area as well. 

Officers believe the suspect entered the home through a screen in the guest bedroom that had been pushed into the room.

No loss was reported at this time.


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.


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.

Synopsis:

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. 


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

Robert Shier, 20, Huntington Beach – Tuesday, August 22

 

Incident Reports

Wednesday, August 23

S. Coast Hwy | 500 Block | Warrant

3:45 a.m. Kenneth Bayless, 52, Dana Point, was arrested on a warrant for municipal code violations. 

Tuesday, August 22

Coast Hwy | 31800 Block | Grand Theft

8:28 a.m. Tools were taken from an unlocked lock box. 

Cliff Drive | 300 Block | Warrants 

2:13 a.m. Walter Bayard, 36, Placentia, was arrested on three outstanding warrants – two for burglary, and one no bail for possession of a controlled substance.   

Unspecified Location | Arrest 

1:52 a.m. A subject was arrested following a vehicle search.   03239

Monday, August 21

S. Coast Hwy | 600 Block | Traffic Collision

2:48 p.m. A woman complained of numbness to her left side following a traffic collision. 

Coast Hwy & West Street | Stolen Vehicle Attempt

1:52 p.m. A white Toyota 4runner listed for sale had its windows broken and ignition pulled. The RP has photos of a possible suspect. 

Terrace Way | 1300 Block | Petty Theft

10:31 a.m. The rear license plate to a vehicle was stolen. 

S. Coast Hwy | 100 Block | Warrant

9:44 a.m. Amber Castillo, 39, Laguna Beach, was arrested for a Harbor Court warrant. 

Sunday, August 20

S. Coast Hwy | 100 Block | Assault, Attempting Crime

9:49 p.m. Dominique Johnson, 23, Reseda, was arrested for attempting to commit a crime and assault. Bail was $500. 

S. Coast Hwy | 100 Block | Resisting

8:04 p.m. Samuel Gonzales Jr., 40, La Mirada, was arrested for resisting officers. 

Coast Hwy & 9th Avenue | Resisting

6:49 p.m. Billy Tharpe Jr., 49, Modesto, was arrested for resisting officers. Bail was $500.


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

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.


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.


DUI Arrests

Daniel Herrera, 23, San Bernardino – Sunday, August 27

Angela Hill, 45, San Clemente – Sunday

Roman Cardenas, 31, Riverside – Sunday

Sybille Wassner, 53, Arkansas – Sunday

Michael Liska, 52, Aliso Viejo – Sunday

Brian Taber, 39, Ladera Ranch – Sunday

Jee Kim, 38, Laguna Beach – Sunday

Michael Buchanan, 55, Dana Point – Saturday, August 26

James Slark, 76, Dana Point – Saturday

Bryant Ocampo, 21, Lake Forest – Saturday

Gloria Mendieta, 27, Canyon Country – Friday, August 25

Michael Lipinski, 22, Laguna Niguel – Friday

Payman Pakzad, 34, Sherman Oaks – Friday 

 

Incident Reports

Sunday, August 27

S. Coast Hwy | 300 Block | Drugs 

1:09 a.m. Shannon Belknap, 35, Laguna Beach, was arrested for being under the influence of a controlled substance. Bail was $1,000. 

S. Coast Hwy | 600 Block | Drugs 

12:15 a.m. During a traffic stop, Shane Anderson, 23, Iowa, was arrested for possession of narcotics and possession of drug paraphernalia. 

Saturday, August 26

Arrests for Being Drunk in Public

Omar Nazif, 44, Orange

N. Coast Hwy | 100 Block | Robbery 

8:49 p.m. A group of about 6 teenagers stole vaping products valued at $500. 

Catalina & Bluebird Canyon Drive | Domestic Violence, Restraining Order Violation

6:55 p.m. Cell callers reported a couple fighting and running into traffic. David Crossno, 51, Laguna Beach, was arrested for violating a protective order. Elizabeth Fedele, 53, no fixed address, was arrested for domestic violence. 

Kilo Way | 2400 Block | Burglary

12:49 p.m. Two bikes were taken after a garage door was left open. 

S. Coast Hwy | 1600 Block | Petty Theft

11:49 a.m. A license plate was stolen. 

Coast Hwy | 31800 Block | Vandalism, Trespassing

11:12 a.m. Kenneth Koestler, 42, no fixed address, was arrested for vandalism and trespassing after throwing items around. 

S. Coast Hwy | 400 Block | Vandalism

10:32 a.m. A door was damaged Friday as part of a possible break-in attempt. 

Madison Place | 1000 Block | Grand Theft

10:27 a.m. TVs, a computer, and a couch were stolen.

Cypress Drive | 300 Block | Burglary, Vehicle

9:52 a.m. Two vehicles near this location were broken into overnight and items stolen. 

Victoria Drive | 2700 Block | Stolen Vehicle

5:39 a.m. While the RP was sleeping on the beach, a suspect took the keys to their car. 

State Highway 1 & Sand Canyon Avenue | Warrant

3:48 a.m. During a traffic stop, Austin Gartin, 27, Riverside, was arrested for an outstanding Harbor Court warrant.

Friday, August 25

Arrests for Being Drunk in Public

Luis Yerba, 55, Fontana

Kyle Winton, 37, no fixed address

S. Coast Hwy | 400 Block | Fake ID

11:16 p.m. Maite Stefanie Viveros, 19, Bloomington, was arrested for using a fake ID to purchase alcohol. 

Dartmoor Street | 500 Block | Vandalism

9:41 p.m. A gate was broken. 

Dartmoor Street | 400 Block | Burglary

3:25 p.m. A television was stolen. 

Tia Juana Street | 900 Block | Burglary, Vehicle 

1:04 p.m. A coin purse was taken from the victim’s car overnight. 

Coast Hwy | 31800 Block | Warrant 

12:45 p.m. Samuel Fredland, 48, was arrested on a $25,000 Harbor Court warrant for making annoying phone calls. 

Laguna Canyon Road | 20600 Block | Warrant, Trespassing 

11:15 a.m. Stephenie Mae Koivuniemi, 39, no fixed address, was arrested on an outstanding warrant. She was also charged with trespassing. 

Bern Drive | 3100 Block | Stolen Vehicle 

9:14 a.m. A black Porsche Cayenne was stolen. It had been left unlocked with the keys in the car. 

Ridge Drive | 2800 Block | Stolen Vehicle

8:43 a.m. A black 2009 Mercedes that had been parked in the driveway was stolen. It was last spotted leaving Laguna at 3:45 a.m.

Acapulco Street | 800 Block | Burglary, Vehicle

8:34 a.m. A car that was parked in a driveway was broken into. A wallet, phone, and other items were stolen. 

Oak Street | 300 Block | Restraining Order Violation, Warrant

1:50 a.m. During a traffic stop, Jessy Merino, 22, Garden Grove, was arrested for violating a protective order. Yulisa Cuyuch, 19, Garden Grove, was arrested on an outstanding Harbor Court warrant. 

Thursday, August 24

Cleo Street & Glenneyre Street | Warrant

8:05 p.m. George Perez, 35, Mission Viejo, was arrested for a LA County Sheriff’s Department warrant.  

Bluebird Canyon Drive | 500 Block | Stolen Vehicle

1:49 p.m. The RP’s Honda Civic was stolen from an office parking lot in Concord last night. 

Coast Hwy | 31900 Block | Rescue

10:13 a.m. A helicopter was brought in to assist a woman who slipped and fell in the water. 

Wednesday, August 23

Cozumel | 300 Block | Burglary

7:43 p.m. Several pieces of china were broken and dental molds were missing from the RP’s home. 

Laguna Canyon Road | 20600 Block | Resisting

6:44 p.m. Brandon Scott Espinosa, 33, no fixed address, was arrested for resisting officers. 

Glenneyre Street | 500 Block | Drugs

5:10 p.m. Evan Miller, 30, Laguna Beach, was arrested for possession of narcotics and possession of drug paraphernalia. 

Laguna Canyon Road | 600 Block | Petty Theft

2:10 p.m. Security helped a woman load merchandise into her car without realizing that the merchandise was never paid for. 

Woodland & Laguna Canyon Road | Warrant

12:08 p.m. David Orellana, 28, Costa Mesa, was arrested for a Harbor Court warrant. 

Cliff Drive | 600 Block | Vandalism

9:52 a.m. There was graffiti from a white paint pen on the tower and steps. 

Wesley Drive | 21600 Block | Contempt of Court

8:07 a.m. Sharon Malloy, 60, and Dale Wozny, 60, both from Laguna Beach, were arrested for contempt of court. Bail was $15,000 apiece. 

Laguna Canyon Road | 20600 Block | Trespassing

7:44 a.m. Malak Hahris, 35, no fixed address, was arrested for trespassing.


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


DUI Arrests

Aimal Ata, 21, Corona – Saturday, August 19

John Reinhardt, 61, Laguna Beach – Saturday

Caleb Ibarra, 32, Laguna Hills – Saturday

Nicholas Pachyn V, 21, Aliso Viejo – Saturday

Philip Avila, 46, Laguna Niguel – Saturday

Mark Mamay, 40, Tustin – Saturday

Marquet Donaldson, 34, Oceanside – Saturday

Brandon Canino, 22, Foothill Ranch – Friday, August 18 Traffic Crash

John Hamel, 47, Corona Del Mar – Friday

Michelle Callaghan, 40, Irvine – Thursday, August 17 Cell Caller

 

Incident Reports

Sunday, August 20

Arrests for Being Drunk in Public

Jennifer Jackson, 32, Aliso Viejo 

Forest Avenue | 400 Block | Warrant 

3:52 a.m. Brian Szafran, 47, no fixed address, was arrested on an outstanding Harbor Court warrant. 

Coast Hwy | 31700 Block | Warrant 

1:49 a.m. Salvador Munoz-Fuentes, 25, Anaheim, was arrested for a Central Court warrant for possession of a controlled substance.

N. Coast Hwy | 100 Block | Warrant 

12:26 a.m. Derrick Lee Hanford, 31, Rancho Cucamonga, was arrested on a LA County Sheriff’s Department warrant. 

Saturday, August 19

Cliff Drive | 1200 Block | Drugs, Warrant

11:08 p.m. Shane Hardin, 42, no fixed address, was arrested for a Harbor Court warrant. He was also charged with possession of a controlled substance. 

Laguna Canyon Road | 20600 Block | Trespassing

9:35 p.m. Shelby Lynn Summers, 28, no fixed address, was arrested for trespassing with $500 bail. 

Laguna Canyon Road | 20600 Block | Possession of Stolen Property

5:49 p.m. Brian Mason, 40, Laguna Beach, was arrested for possession of stolen property. Bail was $500. 

Skyline Drive | 1200 Block | Petty Theft

11 a.m. Miscellaneous mail and packages were stolen. 

Myrtle Street & N. Coast Hwy | Traffic Crash

8:48 a.m. A collision between a vehicle and motorcycle resulted in injuries and lane closures until about 2 p.m. No further information was available at time of press. 

Friday, August 18

Arrests for Being Drunk in Public

Bradford Sturtevant, 53, Laguna Beach

North City Limits | Drugs

7:33 p.m. A vehicle search resulted in the arrest of Gene Koss, 47, San Pedro, for possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. 

Forest Avenue | 300 Block | Petty Theft

12:42 p.m. At least 7 custom parking signs were taken overnight. 

Pacific Vista | Grand Theft

12:19 p.m. A $2,500 ring was taken from a home. Possible suspects were named. 

N. Coast Hwy | 500 Block | Vandalism 

9:49 a.m. A car window was egged. 

N. Coast Hwy | 600 Block | Burglary, Vehicle 

9:38 a.m. An unknown suspect entered a locked vehicle and took the victim’s prescription glasses and laptop. 

2nd Avenue | 31600 Block | Grand Theft 

7:44 a.m. An estimated $1,200 worth of clothing was stolen while the RP was in the process of moving. 

S. Coast Hwy | 100 Block | Battery 

7:05 a.m. Neilesh Bhikhu Chauhan, 46, no fixed address, was arrested for battery after throwing something at the victim. 

Thursday, August 17

Arrests for Being Drunk in Public

Traevon Miller, 23, Aliso Viejo

Brian Szafran, 47, no fixed address

La Mirada Street | 800 Block | Theft from a Vehicle

2:53 p.m. Beats headphones were taken from an unlocked car that was parked in a garage. 

Laguna Canyon Road | 20600 Block | Warrant

8:44 a.m. William Thoos, 47, Midway City, was arrested on an outstanding warrant from Santa Barbara County. 

Wave Street & N. Coast Hwy | Drugs, Unlicensed Driver 

1:53 a.m. During a traffic stop, Jairo Albarran, 27, Santa Ana, was arrested for possession of a controlled substance and for driving without a license. 

Wednesday, August 16

Fairview Street | 200 Block | Fraud

3:03 p.m. A suspect is using the RP’s credit cards. 

Virginia Way & 8th Avenue | Vandalism

12:04 p.m. Someone poured gasoline onto the base of a eucalyptus tree.


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.


DUI Arrests

Andrew Hatami, 57, San Diego – Sunday, May 28 With a Prior

Donna Marie Nolfi, 49, San Clemente – Sunday

Michelle Lynn Barker, 25, Aliso Viejo – Sunday Third Offense

Collin Michael Kelley, 39, Los Angeles – Sunday 

 

Incident Reports

Tuesday, May 30

Forest Avenue | 400 Block | Warrant

6:02 a.m. Neilesh Bhikhu Chauhan, 46, Mission Viejo, was arrested on an outstanding Harbor Court warrant. 

Monday, May 29

Arrests for Being Drunk in Public

Andrew Barber, 31, Dana Point

Brian Szafran, 47, no fixed address

Coast Hwy & West Street | Domestic Violence

6:28 p.m. Tyler Kocheff, 26, Lake Balboa, and Mario Gonzales, Los Angeles, were both arrested for domestic violence. 

Laguna Canyon Road & El Toro Road | Stolen Vehicle

2:33 p.m. Two minors were detained and released to their parents for driving a stolen vehicle. A juvenile detective is conducting a follow-up investigation. 

Cress Street | 100 Block | Drugs

3:22 a.m. Curtis Vaughan Revels, 21, Laguna Beach, was arrested for possession of narcotics with $500 bail. 

Sunday, May 28

Monterey Street | 31300 Block | Domestic Violence

10:34 p.m. Casey Christian Marks, 41, Laguna Beach, was arrested for domestic violence with $10,000 bail. 

Forest Avenue | 200 Block | Petty Theft

1:23 p.m. T-shirts worth $40 were stolen. 

Glenneyre Street | 800 Block | Petty Theft

8:27 a.m. A suspect stole $200 in coffee, water, and other miscellaneous items. 

Saturday, May 27

Arrests for Being Drunk in Public

Heide Lynn How, 40, San Marcos

Jody Morrison Stevens, 29, Laguna Beach

Laguna Canyon Road & El Toro Road | Stolen Vehicle

11:59 p.m. Occupants of a stolen Nissan Altima were detained. The driver, Miguel Sanchez, 19, Orange, was arrested for vehicle theft, possession of drug paraphernalia, and giving false identification to an officer. 

Laguna Canyon Road | 20600 Block | Trespassing, Violating Post-Release Supervision

6:44 p.m. Amber Kristen Castillo, 39, Stephenie Koivuniemi, 39, and Malak Harris, 34, all no fixed address, were arrested for trespassing. In addition, Jermaine Sterling, 32, no fixed address, was arrested for the same charge plus a flash hold for violating post-release supervision. 

Coast Hwy | 31100 Block | Bicycle Accident

4:20 p.m. A bicyclist was transported for a head injury after he somersaulted over his bike going too fast.


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.


DUI Arrests

Michelle Frackleton, 24, Newport Beach – Monday, September 11

Nicholas Fontaine, 30, Lake Forest – Monday With a Prior

 

Incident Reports

Tuesday, September 12

Coast Hwy | 30800 Block | Petty Theft

7:41 p.m. $200 cash was stolen. A possible suspect was named. 

Zell Drive | 2800 Block | Fraud

3:39 p.m. The victim discovered 23 checks that had cleared, but had not been written nor authorized by her. The loss was over $24,000. The case is being investigated. 

S. Coast Hwy | 100 Block | Petty Theft

3:13 p.m. An orange “Sky” dress was stolen off of a mannequin. 

Laguna Canyon Road | 20600 Block | Sex Offender Violation

11:40 a.m. Eddward McCord, 29, no fixed address, was arrested for failing to register as a sex offender. 

Monday, September 11

Arrests for Being Drunk in Public

Wayne Chancey, 45, no fixed address

Forest Avenue | 500 Block | Stolen Vehicle

6:43 p.m. A Honda Civic stolen from Laguna Beach was located. 

S. Coast Hwy | 100 Block | Warrant

6:17 p.m. Terry Sanders, 39, no fixed address, was arrested on a Harbor Court warrant. 

S. Coast Hwy | 1500 Block | Grand Theft

4:09 p.m. A check for $4,000 was stolen. 

Ocean Way | 1800 Block | Warrant

3:37 p.m. Gilberto Ruvalcaba Colima, 29, Garden Grove, was arrested for an outstanding North Court warrant. 

Laguna Canyon Road | 1000 Block | Vandalism

1:30 p.m. On Friday, the facility was clean. On Monday, toys were strewn about the main room, but nothing had been stolen. 

N. Coast Hwy | 100 Block | Stolen Vehicle, Drugs

6:10 a.m. Officers located a parked 2017 Nissan Versa reported stolen out of Oceanside on September 2. The passenger, Bridgette Perez, 33, Anaheim, was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia. The driver, Steven Torres, 42, Anaheim, was arrested for possession of a stolen car, possession of stolen property, possession of drug paraphernalia, and driving on a suspended license. 

Canyon Acres Drive | 100 Block | Warrant

1:29 a.m. Michael Brooks, 33, Laguna Beach, was arrested on an outstanding Harbor Court warrant. 

Sunday, September 10

Arrests for Being Drunk in Public

Kyle Winton, 37, Mission Viejo

Broadway Street | 300 Block | Warrants 

2:42 p.m. Richard Bagley, 60, Santa Barbara, was arrested on two warrants from Santa Barbara – one for drugs and the other for producing illegal copies of keys. 

Park Avenue & Alta Laguna Boulevard | Drugs

10:17 a.m. Emily Parise, 24, Rancho Santa Margarita, was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of narcotics. Bail was $500.


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.


DUI Arrests

Kent Paulos, 51, Huntington Beach – Tuesday, August 29 With a Prior

 

Incident Reports

Wednesday, August 30

Thalia Street | 200 Block | Warrant

1:26 a.m. Alexander Harris, 69, no fixed address, was arrested on an outstanding warrant from Sonoma County. 

Bluff Drive | 31500 Block | Beach After Hours

1:10 a.m. George Sansom, 65, San Juan Capo, was arrested for use of the beach after closing. 

Tuesday, August 29

Arrests for Being Drunk in Public

James Eugene Leis, 28, San Clemente

Cleo Street | 200 Block | Petty Theft

8:07 p.m. An unknown suspect took the victim’s keys that had been left on the beach unattended while the victim was surfing. The suspect took a phone and credit cards from the victim’s vehicle. 

S. Coast Hwy | 1100 Block | Vandalism

9:32 a.m. A car mirror was damaged. 

Monday, August 28

Arrests for Being Drunk in Public

Haydon Bogard, 24, Fullerton

S. Coast Hwy | 400 Block | Defraud Innkeeper 

8:38 p.m. Reese Westenberger, 52, no fixed address, was arrested for refusing to pay his $20 tab. 

Sunset Ridge Drive | 1600 Block | Theft from a Vehicle

5:05 p.m. Sunglasses and a watch were taken from a locked car. 

Forest Avenue | 500 Block | Warrant

3:24 p.m. Josefina Roubicek, 44, San Juan Capistrano, was arrested on a Harbor Court warrant. 

Griffith Place | 700 Block | Fraud

2:42 p.m. Two unauthorized withdrawals totaling $785 were made from the RP’s account. 

Canyon Acres Drive | 300 Block | Warrant

1:56 p.m. Kristen McKee, 31, Riverside, was arrested on a West Court warrant. 

Coast Hwy | 32300 Block | Fraud

12:13 p.m. An unknown person signed official documents using the RP’s name and is billing a company for fees. 

Coast Hwy | 31800 Block | Petty Theft

11:16 a.m. Copper wiring was stolen. 

S. Coast Hwy | 700 Block | Warrant

10:57 a.m. Philip Person, 26, Long Beach, was arrested for a warrant out of Long Beach for possession of a controlled substance. 

Sunset Ridge Drive | 1700 Block | Burglary, Vehicle

9:35 a.m. The RP’s purse was taken from her car overnight.

Laguna Canyon Road | 1100 Block | Stolen Vehicle

8:49 a.m. A 2004 Lexus was stolen. It was located around 10 p.m. in Costa Mesa.

Cajon Street | 200 Block | Theft from a Vehicle

7:39 a.m. A laptop was taken from an unlocked vehicle. 

Sunday, August 27

Arrests for Being Drunk in Public

Curtis Abbott, 52, no fixed address

Andy Codio, 23, Georgia

Everett Tewinkle, 61, Rancho Santa Margarita

Luis Yerba, 55, Fontana

N. Coast Hwy | 300 Block | Petty Theft

5:39 p.m. A green street bike was stolen. 

Ocean Way | 2000 Block | Theft from a Vehicle

2:36 p.m. A watch and key were taken from an unlocked vehicle.


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.


DUI Arrests

Isadore Washington III, 49, Wilmington – Sunday, September 3

Randall Marquette, 52, Laguna Beach – Saturday, September 2

Christina Valdez, 21, Laguna Hills – Saturday

Trent Jones, 25, Laguna Beach – Saturday

Chad Martinez, 29, Lake Forest – Friday, September 1 With a Prior

Brian Castillon, 24, Mission Viejo – Friday Cell Caller

Sergio Ortiz, 49, Capo Beach – Friday With a Prior

 

Incident Reports

Sunday, September 3

Arrests for Being Drunk in Public

Chad Peacock, 22, Long Beach

Coast Hwy | 31800 Block | Drugs 

4:41 a.m. Julian Gerrazzu, Mission Viejo, and Monique Fosado, 31, Lake Forest, were arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia.

S. Coast Hwy | 1400 Block | Vandalism 

12:12 a.m. After breaking the window to a restaurant that he thought had his keys, Robert McKee, 50, Laguna Niguel, was arrested for vandalism. 

Saturday, September 2

Arrests for Being Drunk in Public

Jesse Ricardo Alejandro, 34, San Jose

Russell McKinney, 53, no fixed address

Curtis Abbott, 52, no fixed address

Juanita Uranga, 25, Texas

Laguna Canyon Road | 2700 Block | Drugs, Resisting, Assault 

8:27 p.m. Jarred Wesley Blacketer, 56, Laguna Beach, was arrested for being under the influence of a controlled substance. He was also charged with resisting arrest and assault on a police officer. 

Mermaid Street | 300 Block | Vandalism

5:38 p.m. Unspecified items were broken overnight. 

Ocean Avenue & S. Coast Hwy | Warrant

1:35 a.m. Brandon Alderete, 35, Laguna Niguel, was arrested on an outstanding Harbor Court warrant. 

Friday, September 1

Arrests for Being Drunk in Public

Omar Nazif, 44, no fixed address

Bluebird Canyon Drive & S. Coast Hwy | Stolen Property, Warrant

10:11 p.m. A traffic stop for a stolen Honda Accord resulted in the arrest of Verdell Johnson, 22, La Mirada, for possession of a stolen vehicle. Additionally, Justin Garrison Bryan, 20, Anaheim, was arrested on an outstanding West Court warrant. 

Bluebird Canyon Drive | 1400 Block | Battery

8:59 p.m. Kristine Skeber, 49, Laguna Beach, was arrested for battery with $500 bail. 

Bluebird Canyon Drive & Oriole Drive | Traffic Crash

3:30 p.m. A construction truck hit a fire hydrant, but no water damage was incurred. 

Victory Walk | 1200 Block | Vandalism

2:52 p.m. The driver’s side mirror to the victim’s vehicle was removed. 

Thursday, August 31

Arrests for Being Drunk in Public

Robert Hitchcock, 63, no fixed address

Michael Masters, 52, Dana Point

N. Coast Hwy | 600 Block | Burglary

10:39 p.m. Two large shopping bags full of groceries were stolen. 

S. Coast Hwy | 1000 Block | Warrant

9:05 p.m. Matthew Peter Rogers, 60, no fixed address, was arrested on a Central Court warrant. 

S. Coast Hwy & Nyes Place | Stolen Vehicle

7:58 p.m. Officers were alerted to a stolen Honda Civic entering the city. They conducted a traffic stop and arrested Brian Ritchie, 49, Cypress, for vehicle theft. 

S. Coast Hwy | 600 Block | Warrants

6:43 p.m. Gordon Weider, 69, no fixed address, was arrested for three outstanding Harbor Court warrants. 

San Tropez Court | 100 Block | Theft from a Vehicle

6:25 p.m. Miscellaneous items valued at $500 were taken from an unlocked vehicle overnight. 

S. Coast Hwy | 600 Block | Vandalism

2:33 p.m. The south side of the building had been spray painted. 

Virginia Park Drive | 600 Block | Grand Theft

2:32 p.m. Items including beads, a watch and jewelry have been taken from the victim’s home within the last year. The loss was estimated at $140,000. A possible suspect was named. 

Mountain Road & S. Coast Hwy | Warrant, Drugs, Vehicle Violations 

2:14 a.m. During a traffic stop, Nicole Shepard, 34, Mission Viejo, was arrested on a Central Court warrant for drugs. She was also charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, driving on a suspended license, and invalid vehicle registration. 

Wednesday, August 30

Forest Avenue | 200 Block | Fraud 

6:43 p.m. A man attempted to make a fraudulent return at a business. 

Ramona Avenue | 500 Block | Fraud

3:35 p.m. Credit cards were opened in the victim’s name. 

Bluebird Canyon Drive | 600 Block | Grand Theft 

10:17 a.m. Construction tools were taken overnight. 

Bern Drive | 3100 Block | Theft from a Vehicle

9:37 a.m. Glasses were taken from an unlocked vehicle.


DUI Arrests

Megan Levine, 22, Dana Point – Monday, September 4

Juan Flores, 42, Santa Ana – Sunday, September 3

 

Incident Reports

Wednesday, September 6

Baja Street | 900 Block | Burglary

3:30 a.m. When investigating a noise heard downstairs, the RP saw a flashlight and heard footsteps leaving through the garage door. The suspect made off with cash and credit cards. 

Laguna Canyon Road | 20600 Block | Warrant

2:06 a.m. Daniel Paul Schneider, 42, no fixed address, was arrested on a $1,500 Harbor Court warrant for being drunk in public. 

Park Avenue | 200 Block | Drugs

12:44 a.m. Amber Castillo, 39, no fixed address, was arrested for being under the influence of a controlled substance. 

Tuesday, September 5

Kilo Way | 2500 Block | Burglary, Vehicle

8:55 p.m. Power tools were taken from a car over the long weekend. 

Forest Avenue | 200 Block | Grand Theft

5:02 p.m. Two leather jackets were stolen by a suspect who left in an SUV. 

Lower Cliff Drive | 200 Block | Fraud

3:08 p.m. $1,000 was deducted from the RP’s account. 

S. Coast Hwy | 700 Block | Fraud

3 p.m. A suspect used a fraudulent prepaid card to make two purchases – one for $844 and the other for $206. 

3rd Street | 300 Block | Theft from a Vehicle

1:22 p.m. Tools, sunglasses and utility knives were taken from a car that had been left unlocked.

Miramar Street | 900 Block | Vandalism

11:47 a.m. The RP’s windows were scratched and the top of their convertible was slashed. 

N. Coast Hwy | 100 Block | Warrant

10:16 a.m. During a traffic stop, Ona Alisha Zimmerman, 43, Long Beach, was arrested for an outstanding Harbor Court warrant.

Top of the World Drive | 28700 Block | Burglary, Vehicle

6:46 a.m. A rock was thrown through a car window. A purse, wallet and makeup were taken. 

Monday, September 4

S. Coast Hwy | 1400 Block | Vandalism 

10:37 p.m. A suspect spray-painted the victim’s vehicle and broke out the tail lights.

S. Coast Hwy | 100 Block | Warrant

6:57 p.m. Shane Hardin, 42, no fixed address, was arrested on a warrant for trespassing. 

Alta Vista Way | 500 Block | Theft from a Vehicle

8:44 a.m. An unlocked vehicle that had been parked in a driveway was rummaged through. A wallet containing cash, credit cards and a driver’s license was stolen. The card had been used at the time the theft was reported.

Laguna Canyon Road | 20600 Block | Trespassing

7:25 a.m. Amber Castiloo, 39, no fixed address, was arrested for trespassing. 

Blue Lagoon & Coast Hwy | Warrant

1:25 a.m. During a traffic stop, Joel Zazueta, 24, San Clemente, was arrested on a $1,500 warrant for fare evasion.

Sunday, September 3

Regatta Road | 1400 Block | Fallen Tree Branch

7:39 p.m. A large branch from a city tree fell into the roadway and damaged a parked vehicle. 

Laguna Canyon Road | 1900 Block | Burglary, Vehicle

3:04 p.m. A window was smashed to the victim’s Honda. The loss was not known at the time of the report. 

Marine Drive & Cliff Drive | Burglary, Vehicle

12:11 p.m. The RP followed the man he witnessed breaking into his car. Officers were able to locate and arrest Brett Branham, 45, Cypress, for attempted burglary of a vehicle, battery, and resisting arrest. 

S. Coast Hwy | 1500 Block | Burglary

12:10 p.m. Officers responded to a report of a building burglarized early in the morning. Surveillance video showed a group of juveniles taking items from vehicles parked in the parking garage. Two garage door openers were stolen. The juveniles were located, but were not in possession of the openers. 

S. Coast Hwy | 1700 Block | Vandalism

7:43 a.m. A Toyota truck had one of its windows smashed, but nothing was stolen.


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:

Felonies:

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.

LBHS Schedules

Varsity

•••••

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 is the Owner and Publisher.

Lynette Brasfield is our Editor.

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor.

The Webmaster is Michael Sterling.

Katie Ford is our in-house ad designer.

Alexis Amaradio, Cameron Gillepsie  Allison Rael, Barbara Diamond, Diane Armitage, 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.

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949.315.0259

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