Property owner, private lender victimized by broker who placed a $400,000 loan on house
The owner of a rental property in the 3000 block of Mountain View learned last week that his free and clear home had a $400,000 mortgage. Police said the man, who owns multiple properties, checked on the Mountain View house and picked up three letters addressed to him.
Lt. Jason Kravetz explained that the letters addressed the fact that the homeowner was late on payments for the $400,000 real estate loan that was in favor of a private lender.
“When he first contacted the lender, he was told that a broker had handled the paperwork on his behalf a few months ago. As he and the lender delved further into the situation, it became apparent that both had been victimized by the fraud,” said Kravetz.
Kravetz said the investigation is in its initial stages and would not comment as to whether or not the broker’s identity was known.
Colorado man arrested for pushing woman down a stairwell causing “severe” injuries
A 55-year-old woman received head injuries, facial injuries and lacerations and fractures in her arms after an argument escalated into her being pushed down a flight of stairs Sunday evening.
A man police identified as Rudy James McEntire, 34, of Boulder, Colorado, was arrested at the scene on a charge of felony battery causing great bodily injury.
Police said two 9-1-1 calls were received at 7:32 from the 300 block of Mermaid Street asking for medics. One of the callers was McEntire, police said.
Lt. Jason Kravetz said in a prepared statement, “At the scene, officers interviewed witnesses along with the named suspect. They learned the victim was upset because she accused the suspect of ‘hitting on’ her sister. This came shortly after her sister’s boyfriend recently died.
“The victim allegedly kicked the suspect in the groin and he responded by pushing her backwards. This caused her to fall down the stairs.”
McEntire was booked at the City Jail and released after posting $25,000 bail.
Detectives arrest four; take heroin, pot and methamphetamine off the street at Doheny
Laguna Beach PD detectives conducted a parolee search on a mobile home near Doheny Beach in Dana Point Thursday morning after they had learned that a “person of interest” in a case they are investigating lived there.
On scene, the object of their search was the only person not arrested according to Lt. Jason Kravetz who said four people were taken into custody.
“One of the people there was found to be lying about his identity. This was probably due to the fact that he had three warrants for his arrest (one was DUI, the second was petty theft with a prior, and the last one was possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia with $50,000 bail - $80,000 total). The detectives arrested Gary Paul Kalani Green, 33 of Dana Point on the warrants.
“Green also had new charges added: using a false name, possession of heroin for sales (a little over 9 grams seized), possession of Opana for sales (nine 40 mg. pills seized) and possession of methamphetamine for sales (almost one gram seized).
Detectives also arrested Kevin Andrew Hannegan, 36 of Dana Point for possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Hannegan and Green both had knives in their belts. Kravetz said the information would be referred to the OC District Attorney for possible prosecution.
Tyler Monroe McCoy, a 47-year-old Lake Elsinore resident was charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of marijuana for sales.
Patricia Anne McLaughlin, 32 of Lake Elsinore, was arrested for a Harbor Court DUI warrant.
Laguna Beach officers honored at Crime Survivors Banquet
Laguna Beach Police Employees Assn president Larry Bammer (left) and Lieutenant Jason Kravetz (far right) congratulate Detective Julia Bowman, Corporal Jason Farris at last Friday evening’s Crime Survivors Banquet
LBPD detective Julia Bowman and Corporal Jason Farris were honored at the annual Crime Survivors Banquet which took place at the Marriot Suites in Garden Grove last Friday evening.
The purpose of this annual event is to present public safety personnel from the private and public sector with awards for assisting and helping victims of crime. Several nominations are submitted for these awards, but only a select few receive this prestigious honor.
Detective Bowman was recognized for her outstanding work on a series of sexual assault cases, which occurred in a downtown rug store. What initially began as a single sexual assault case quickly expanded into a larger incident involving eleven different victims.
Detective Bowman was honored for her tenacity and ability to comfort and protect the victims of these violent assaults. Orange County Sexual Assault Prosecutor Jennifer Walker attended the event and commented that; “Julia is an officer who always gives 110% and never forgets about the victims.”
Corporal Jason Farris was honored for his work with the homeless population in Laguna Beach.
Corporal Farris has become the “go-to” Community Services Officer in Orange County. Many other police agencies have heard about his program and have sent their own officers to Laguna Beach in order to train with him.
Recently, Corporal Farris and another Seal Beach Officer started a county consortium of Community Services Officers who are all doing similar work. The idea is that the group will get together on a quarterly basis in order to share ideas and express what has, and has not, worked.
These two Laguna Beach Officers have done an excellent job of setting the right example for many others to follow!
$785 in cash grabbed from Jack’s cash register
The long arm was on the other side of the law Tuesday afternoon at Jack-In-The-Box on S. Coast Hwy.
According to police, “A tall skinny man went into Jack-In-The-Box at 1:44 and ordered food. When the cashier had the drawer open, she momentarily turned away. She looked back and saw the guy removing cash from the register.”
The suspect eschewed his food and ran with the cash - $785.
He is described as a white male in his late twenties wearing a baseball cap – tall and skinny as aforementioned – with a white sweater and gray pants.
He was last seen running down Brooks Street toward the beach.
Police are checking the video surveillance tape trying to identify the suspect.
One good arrest deserves another and another
Laguna Beach detective sergeant Bob Rahaeuser led an investigation that has so far resulted in the arrests of five people on charges ranging from drug possession and credit card theft to counterfeiting.
Things got started in the first week of March when Surf & Sand Resort called police when it was discovered that the bill for a room was being paid with a stolen American Express card.
Two women were in the room and they told police that a male they knew had paid for the room. One of the women, Rancho Santa Margarita resident Amy Lynn Vartanian, 51, was arrested for felony possession of methamphetamine.
Detectives hit the pavement, i.e., the Internet and tracked down the suspect who they believe had used the credit card. Last Thursday afternoon, they went to the Costa Mesa Marriott and took Harold Eric Larson, 36, Orange, into custody on charges of burglary, grand theft and false personation relating to the Surf & Sand caper.
Police questioned front desk personnel and learned that Larson had also taken another room…using the same American Express card. Detectives found a man and a woman in the room.
Jeffrey Michael Heath, 30, of Orange was arrested for possession of a controlled substance (heroin) and held without bail for violation of parole.
Samanthe Farish, 21, Westminster, was taken into custody for violating her probation, possession of a controlled substance (heroin), receiving stolen property (she had someone else’s wallet and ID on her), false identification and impersonating another (she used another person’s name and credit card to obtain other hotel rooms). She was also held without bail.
On Friday, detectives learned that Larson had taken other hotel rooms including at the Westin. When they went to the Westin, the front desk told them that someone was still in the room and had just ordered room service.
Lt. Jason Kravetz said, “Detectives raced up there and also called Costa Mesa PD for assistance. They detained Summer Tiffany Slayman, 31, Laguna Hills, in the room. She had approximately $2,020 in counterfeit $20 bills in her possession. She also had several forms of personal identification of four different people who had recently been victims of identity theft. She was arrested for making/passing fictitious currency, and unauthorized use of personal information. She is a friend of Harold Larson.”
More charges are pending as the investigation is ongoing.
Caretaker admits taking $178,000 in jewelry from home here when questioned by police
LBPD detectives arrested Robert Wayne Erfurt at the Robin Hood Motel in Anaheim Tuesday when he readily admitted to them that he had stolen jewelry valued at $178,000 from a home in the 1300 block of Moorea Way where he worked as a caretaker.
A friend of the homeowner left the jewelry at the Laguna home in December while her San Diego County residence was being remodeled. When she came to get her belongings the jewelry was missing. A police report was made on April 2.
In a press release, Lt. Jason Kravetz said that many people had access to the Moorea Way home between December and the end of March. “One caught the attention of the officers because he hurriedly left while they were taking the initial report.
“Detectives went to this man’s Orange apartment in order to interview him, but his landlord said he picked up and left on April 2nd and had not been seen since.”
Pounding the pavement led to detectives learning that Erfurt, 52, a convicted felon, was staying at the Robin Hood Motel.
After being detained and questioned, police said, the suspect admitted the theft and showed detectives where he had hidden all of the items in a magnetized box attached to the frame of his truck. Police also found a quantity of methamphetamine.
Erfurt was charged with two felonies – grand theft and possession of a controlled substance. He will be taken to Orange County Jail according to Kravetz.
Homeless man defends encampment – defies a park ranger and attempts to bite a Laguna cop
An OC park ranger in Laguna Coast Wilderness Park came across two homeless encampments Monday. After having one man move on without incident, the ranger dismantled the camp’s accouterments and loaded them in the back of a vehicle for eventual disposal.
Later that afternoon, another camp was found about 50 feet from Laguna Canyon Road near the SC Edison substation across from Canyon Acres Drive.
Lt. Jason Kravetz said, “The second encampment had an individual who was refusing to leave the area…” when the park ranger ordered him to do so. The ranger called police.
The man continued to refuse to budge when an officer arrived on scene and told him to leave the area. “He kept telling the officer to ‘get lost’ and refused to identify himself. The officer told him to stand up and the man lunged at the officer,” added Kravetz.
“He tried to bite the officer who managed to taser him. Still, the man wasn’t taken into custody until other officers arrived and assisted him along with the park ranger.”
Luis Osvaldo Correra Diaz Jr., whose last known address was in Laguna Niguel, was taken to Mission Hospital for clearance then booked at the city jail on charges of battery on a police officer and resisting/obstructing/delaying and officer.
Did this woman bail on a cabbie or herself?
A cab driver reported that a woman, described as about 30 wearing dark gray slacks and a black shirt, had jumped out of his cab at the base of the Third Street hill on Mermaid Street. He said she was last seen running up the hill at about 11:15 a.m. and hadn’t paid a $109 cab fare.
Police patrol units did a perimeter area search but were unable to locate anyone answering the woman’s description.
The cabbie had picked her up at the Fullerton Transportation Center.
In her haste to jump out, she overlooked the fact that she had a handbag, luggage and a laptop in the cab – valued at well over $109 – and with identifying documents. The property was booked into the police department.
Detectives are doing a follow up investigation.
Detectives arrest Lake Forest man as a parolee at large – he’s a person of interest in $41K jewelry heist
Lt. Jason Kravetz of the Laguna Beach Police Dept said detectives went to Garden Grove last Thursday afternoon to locate a parolee at large.
William Lee Jacob, 22, of Lake Forest was taken into custody at 7:50 p.m. for a parolee at large no bail warrant.
Kravetz explained, “They had been looking at him as a possible suspect in a burglary of jewelry from a home in the 300 block of Canyon Acres Drive where he was partying on March 15. He was one of many potential suspects who attended this party and jewelry valued at $41,000 was found missing afterwards.
“While identifying everyone, the detectives learned that Jacob was wanted. At this point, he is being held only for the parolee at large warrant.”
Callers thwart Tustin man trying to drag woman to his truck – he was arrested for kidnapping
9-1-1 callers reported hearing a woman screaming at 12:27 Sunday morning and one caller reported that a man in a pickup was dragging a woman by the arms attempting to get her into his pickup. The calls came from the general area near Canyon Hills and El Toro Road.
The calls continued until the man, driving a blacked out hunter green Dodge Ram pickup took off as sirens drew closer, according to police.
Another caller reported that the woman was injured in the area of Santa Rosa Court. When police arrived, she refused medical treatment.
According to the police log, she identified the man and said he lived in Tustin at a motel. Tustin police were familiar with the subject and checked the motel. The man, a white supremacist gang member, had checked out at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Tustin officers checked further and found out his sister had a business there and they saw the Dodge Ram parked in a parking lot in back of the business. At 2:26 Tustin informed LBPD that the suspect was asleep and Tustin units observed the pickup until Laguna police units arrived.
At 3:06 a.m., Joseph Barrack, 37, was taken into custody at gunpoint with the help of Tustin officers without incident, police said. He was charged with felony kidnapping and domestic violence.
After he was transported back to Laguna, he was booked and later taken to OC Jail with bail set at $100,000.
Crime committed in Dana Point
Sheriff’s Dept releases composite of man wanted in connection with fraud and impersonating a deputy
The OC Sheriff’s Dept released this composite of a suspect wanted in connection with a fraudulent check used to make a purchase in a Dana Point store while identifying himself as a Deputy Sheriff an showing a badge. He is said to be 5-11, 210. The crime occurred March 11 and the composite was released yesterday.
On Sunday, March 11 at approximately noon, a man entered The Jig Shop, located at 34186 Pacific Coast Highway, Dana Point, and inquired about fishing rods and reels. After two hours of shopping the suspect agreed to purchase four rods and four reels at a cost of $2,917.86.
The suspect wrote a check and provided fictitious identification. The suspect also showed the clerk a star shaped badge and said he was a deputy sheriff from Mission Viejo. The suspect refused to remove the fictitious identification from his wallet to be photocopied; it could only be copied through the plastic window of the wallet.
The check turned out to be bogus, which the store later learned from its bank.
Busted brake lights life-changing for San Juan man
A Laguna Beach PD patrol unit drove behind a gray Chevy pickup as both vehicles headed north on Coast Hwy near West Street in South Laguna. As they slowed, the officer saw that the brake lights on the pickup truck weren’t functioning properly. The officer made a routine car stop in the Aliso Beach east parking lot just before noon.
During the stop, the driver provided police with a Social Security number in an attempt to identify himself after he was unable to produce his driver’s license.
Lt. Jason Kravetz said it became quickly evident to the officers on scene that the SS number belonged to another person.
“The suspect admitted purchasing the number in Santa Ana for $55. He said he used it to gain employment,” Kravetz explained.
Edwin Garcia Lopez, 28, San Juan Capistrano, was arrested for driving on a suspended license, identity theft and falsifying documents to conceal citizenship status. According to the police log, he worked at a Laguna Beach lodging establishment.
ICE will further investigate his case.
In an attempt to help Lopez from having his pickup towed and impounded, an officer waited at Aliso for his sister to come there and take possession of the car keys. As she was about to drive off, police learned that she didn’t have a license and issued her a citation.
Irvine woman returns to the scene of the crime in less than 40 minutes and then returns to jail
Mottahaereh Sadeghi, 54, Irvine, was arrested Sunday afternoon after a pair of incidents that took place within a 40-minute span at the Mobil Mart downtown.
Lt. Jason Kravetz said a store clerk observed Sadeghi after she came into the store at 11:49 a.m. The clerk became suspicious after she walked out without buying anything. He viewed the store’s surveillance tape and saw that she allegedly had taken a Red Bull and a bag of sunflower seeds. He called police and said she had been last seen on foot headed east on Broadway. The store was willing to prosecute.
Police searched the general downtown area for a person answering her description without success.
Shortly before 12:30, the clerk was surprised when Sadeghi showed up at pump number three with a red can to buy gasoline. The clerk called police. Meanwhile, a woman in a red VW Jetta told the clerk that the suspect had stolen her gas can.
Police arrived and detained Sadeghi and quickly learned that she was on parole for a similar offense. That automatically enhanced the new charge to a felony and her parole was violated leading to a no bail arrest.
Kravetz said officers located Sadeghi’s car in the 100 block of Cliff Drive. Inside were two handicap placards that had been stolen in Laguna Hills. An additional felony charge of possession of stolen property was added.
She was booked here and taken to county jail.
If you worry that someone you care about might be using the drug methamphetamine – read on
Methamphetamine use continues to be a growing problem – especially in Orange County. From the State’s website:
Methamphetamine is an odorless, bitter-tasting, crystalline powder that dissolves easily in water. Common names are speed, ice, meth, crystal, crank, fire, and glass. It is a man-made, addictive stimulant-hallucinogenic compound, which associates the properties of cocaine with those of LSD.
Methamphetamine excites specific brain systems and has a high potential for abuse and dependence. Its use releases high amounts of dopamine, a neurotransmitter, which stimulates the brain and enhances mood and body movement.
Methamphetamine can cause arrhythmia and ventricular fibrillation similar to symptoms experienced during a heart attack. It can cause weight loss and increases the risk of blood clots, stroke, and hyperthermia.
The County’s Health Care Agency, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services recently published an easy to understand handout entitled, “Symptoms of Meth Use.” All of the following are symptoms:
Paranoia and nervousness
Sleeplessness and severe depression
Extreme irritability and anxiety
Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
Teeth grinding, bad teeth and body odor
Skin ulceration and infections
Auditory and visual hallucinations
Violent and erratic behavior
Loss of pleasure
Laguna cops nab Indian Jewelry thief with DNA
Detectives from the LBPD arrested a Corona del Mar man, 51-year-old Jeffrey Todd Stark, outside of his home Thursday morning.
A DNA analysis linked Stark from one the recent string of five commercial burglaries involving Native American jewelry [SNL March 13] and also linked him to a Newport Beach burglary, police said.
Lt. Jason Kravetz said in a prepared statement that their investigation “…revealed that Stark was in possession of a car seen leaving the most recent burglary on March 10 [the second burglary at Kokopelli Gallery – 332 Forest Ave]. He also matched the description of the suspect in the store video released on March 12, and had injuries consistent with the DNA evidence left at the scene.
After his arrest, Detectives obtained a search warrant for his home and recovered several stolen pieces of Native American Jewelry, which had been taken during the Laguna Beach burglaries. Indian Territory (twice) and Great Exchange Consignment were also victimized in the spree.
Kravetz said Stark has been booked at the Laguna Beach Police Department and will be charged with four counts of commercial burglary and possession of stolen property. It is anticipated that the Newport Beach Police Department will also be adding additional charges at a later date.
LAPD cop moonlighting as a security guard at Surf & Sand busted for burglary and grand theft
Laguna Beach detectives followed up on a theft report made by security at Surf & Sand Resort and confirmed that an officer from the Los Angeles PD, moonlighting as a security guard at the resort had stolen $290 in sheets from a locked hotel storage room. The suspect placed the sheets in his personal vehicle.
Jeffry Paul Quinton, 48, Anaheim Hills, is facing one felony count each of grand theft and commercial burglary. He faces a maximum sentence of three years and eight months in state prison if convicted.
In a press release, the District Attorney said Quinton was entrusted with access to an online “lost and found” logging system for the hotel. Last October hotel staff recovered $2,000 from a hotel room, secured it into a lost and found safe, and logged in the information.
The following day, Quinton is accused of accessing the electronic system and changing the $2,000 to list a “gold watch” in its place. He is accused of changing the room number where the money was found, falsely logging that the watch was returned to its owner, and stealing $960 out of the safe.
On Dec. 26 he is accused of covering the surveillance camera in the security office with tape for several minutes. While the camera’s view was blocked with tape, he is accused of stealing $680 out of the safe deposit box in the office.
On Jan. 24 this year, Quinton is accused of disappearing for over an hour during his shift, stealing $290 in bedding from a locked hotel storage room, and storing the items in his car. LBPD reviewed the surveillance at the request of the hotel and discovered the theft.
Deputy District Attorney Andrew Katz of the Special Prosecutions Unit is prosecuting this case.
Drunk driver has a hard time navigating canyon
Three cell callers contacted the police dispatch center about a Friday night driver trying to reach town via the Canyon. The first call was answered at 8:21 p.m.
The first caller was at the 73 Toll Road and El Toro Rd and reported that the driver was all over the road. When he reached the intersection of El Toro RD and Laguna Canyon Rd., he didn’t stop and went through the intersection before colliding with a power pole’s guy wire cable.
He managed to get free of that dilemma and created another one when he went off the roadway further down LCR. He slowly made his way up the embankment and into a barbed wire fence. The second caller reported that he was having difficulties getting his car loosened up and on its way.
Officers were responding but Paul Vernon Blanke, Jr. 50, of Orange, managed to get away from the fence and once more was headed into town.
Police managed to get his attention and he pulled over in the 500 block of Broadway. He failed his field sobriety tests – and was taken into custody for drunk driving.
Increased LBPD cops patrolling on St. Patty’s to reduce alcohol-related crashes
The LB Police Department is increasing the patrol staff around town over St. Patrick’s Day weekend with hopes of reducing the number of fatalities of injuries from alcohol-related car accidents.
The city will be saturated with additional officers to better identify and remove DUI offenders from the streets during certain holiday weekends and it’s proven to have been an effective method. The PD hopes publicizing the increase will deter drivers from drinking and getting behind the wheel.
The LBPD recommends a few tips to stay safe while on the road:
Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin;
Before drinking, designate a sober driver;
If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation;
If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to call 9-1-1;
And remember, Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk.
If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.
The operation is funded by the AVOID 26 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Woman injured when struck in crosswalk Tuesday
A 68-year-old Laguna woman (consoled by an officer above) suffered a broken wrist and contusions to her head after being struck by a white Nissan X-Terra at Glenneyre and Park Ave Tuesday at 3:21 p.m. Police said the accident is still being investigated but the 34-year-old Dana Point woman driving the SUV apparently did not see the pedestrian as she entered the crosswalk. No charges have been made.
Parolee goes back to jail over a second boot
A man and woman went into the Second Chance Thrift Store on Broadway Monday afternoon and browsed the shoe section. Police said John Curtis Kindred, 57, admired a boot and asked the clerk why only one shoe was displayed in the store.
“The clerk explained that the matching shoes are behind the counter to discourage theft.” LBPD Lt. Jason Kravetz said. “The couple remained in the store for about five minutes before exiting hurriedly, the clerk told officers.”
Kindred returned again a few minutes later alone. “While the clerk was assisting a customer, she saw him lean over the counter trying to take a matching boot. At that point, she then saw the boot on the wall was missing. She confronted him about the theft and he went outside and retrieved the missing boot,” Kravetz added.
According to Kravetz, he begged her not to call the Police and abruptly ran out of the store. She chased after him and saw him trying to board an OCTA bus. “She yelled at the bus driver to shut the door and not let him in and the bus driver complied.”
Officers arrived and took Kindred into custody for petty theft. When his ID was checked, police learned that he was on parole for burglary and also had a prior conviction for petty theft. He was charged with petty theft and felony petty theft for a prior. His parole officer ordered that he be held without bail for violating his parole.
Thief lost the shirt off his back for a pack of cigs
Police said 37-year-old Brian Matthew Devore of Mission Viejo went into the Village Mart at Coast Hwy and Broadway at 8:51 a.m. Thursday morning for a pack of cigarettes. Apparently, he had no plan to pay for them.
Police said Devore grabbed the cigarettes only to have the clerk grab them away from him. Devore managed to forcibly remove the smokes from the grasp of the clerk and pushed him before starting to run out of the store.
Lt. Jason Kravetz of the LBPD explained what happened next: “The clerk then grabbed onto his shirt and ripped it off as Devore ran from the store. Officers found the shirtless suspect in the 300 block of Ocean Avenue.”
The clerk made a field ID of the suspect and Devore was arrested for robbery and commercial burglary, both felonies. He was booked with bail of $100,000.
Police said the cigarettes were recovered.
LBPD releases annual crime and activity report – violent crimes are down – theft-related crimes are up
Police say 41% of thefts in 2011 were from unlocked vehicles
The Laguna Beach Police Department issued a press release this week with their 2011 Annual Report.
Violent crime (homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assaults) was down nine percent from the previous five-year average.
The department also announced that larceny (theft-related crimes) had increased 20.4% with 41% of the larceny incidents from unlocked vehicles. All other categories of property crimes (burglary, vehicle theft and arson) are down (burglary -8.6%) with the overall total showing an increase of 11.3%. The vast majority of thefts from unlocked vehicles result in losses of under $1,000, making them misdemeanors.
The LBPD press release stated: “While the property crime rate reached an all time high in the 1990’s, it began to decline over the next twenty years. More recently, we have seen property crimes at a 40-year low point but the numbers have started to rise again. Regardless of the rise, property crimes in 2011 were 51% lower than in 1990.”
LBPD also stated:
There appears in the report an increase in Misdemeanor Arrests, DUI Arrests, and Traffic Stops. This is mainly due to efforts under the Office of Traffic Safety - DUI grant. Elimination of the ongoing threat to public safety by drinking drivers remains a priority of the Police Department. Officers are encouraged to maintain a high enforcement profile for this particular crime.
Police Emergency calls show a decrease of 33.7%. The large decrease appears because the average included a comparison with the past five years. The average was skewed by the 5,875 emergency calls in 2007 and 3,189 in 2008.
In July 2007, the Public Safety Dispatchers began using a new dispatching software program. Many non-emergency calls were unfortunately coded as emergencies, which we believe caused the problem. It has since been corrected through additional training and the call numbers now appear more accurate.
While they may be significantly lower than the five year average, emergency calls dropped from 2,390 in 2010 to 2,327 in 2011 or less than 1%.
Animal Shelter Statistics:
The Animal Services statistics show some remarkable decreases due to a number of issues impacting them. In December of 2010, the Animal Shelter lost nearly everything in the flood caused by a significant storm. Shortly after, a planned remodel of the Animal Shelter began, necessitating a move into temporary facilities with a much more limited capacity. Some policy decisions had to be made, which resulted in a decrease in impounded dogs and cats, claimed dogs and cats, and adopted animals. Eight months later, the staff was again impacted by their move back to the remodeled facility.
This chaotic year for the Animal Shelter staff is reflected in the statistics. Nearly every category experienced a marked decrease with the exception of dog bite reports.
In spite of all the issues, the staff is back on track and we expect 2012 to reflect an effective year.
To download a PDF of the entire report: Click Here
The Annual Reports for 2007 through 2011 can be found on the Police Department’s website at www.lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/police/default.asp
Rash of car burglaries in Laguna Beach
The Laguna Beach PD issued the following press release late Friday:
During this past week, the Police Department has noted a dramatic increase in the number of car burglaries and thefts from unlocked vehicles. All residents are being warned to lock their vehicles and be on the lookout for suspicious activity in the early morning hours between midnight and 6 a.m.
The following incidents all took place during the early morning hours of Wednesday February 29 (Tuesday night) and/or Thursday, March 1:
The driver’s side window of a parked Porsche Cayenne on Via Majorca Street was smashed so that the suspect could steal an iPhone 4.
Two sets of golf clubs, a laptop and a backpack were stolen from an unlocked vehicle parked near Glenneyre and Alta Vista.
Another window smash car burglary occurred in front of a home inside the gated Smithcliffs community. This time a wallet was stolen from the vehicle.
Two vehicles parked in an underground structure at 2037 South Coast Highway had their windows smashed. The burglars took a laptop computer out of one of the vehicles.
Suspects entered an unlocked vehicle parked in a garage inside the gated Lagunita community and stole a camera valued at $2,500.
Someone used a rock to smash the front window of Kokopelli Gallery at 332 Forest Avenue and stole approximately $10,000 worth of Native American jewelry.
Unknown suspects smashed the window of a car parked in an underground parking garage at 330 Cliff Drive. Items worth $1,000 were stolen from the vehicle.
A purse was stolen from an unlocked vehicle parked in the 200 block of Ruby Street.
Anyone else who sees individuals acting suspicious during these early morning hours are urged to call the Police Department at “911”. The suspects are believed to be dressed in dark clothing and carrying flashlights. They are using an unknown type of vehicle to store their stolen items and travel around Laguna Beach.
Do you know these people? Cops ask for help
Police are asking for help in identifying the two people and vehicle in the photos below who are suspects in a spate of recent vehicle burglaries in Laguna Beach.
LBPD Detective Matt Meadows said the suspects used credit cards stolen from parked vehicles in Laguna Beach at various stores in South OC, including Albertsons in Laguna Beach, CVS in Dana Point, and Wal-Mart in Laguna Niguel on Feb 3. They were seen driving the 2006-2010 black VW Jetta at the time.
Meadows described the suspects: Female suspect is Caucasian, early to mid-20’s, approximately 5’3 and 120 pounds. Male suspect is also Caucasian, similar age, approximately 5’6 and 150 pounds. He appears to have upper chest tattoos.
A short video clip from Wal-Mart is availabe on You Tube at this link:
Serial rapist gets 40 to life plus 21 years for sexual assaults of SoCal women including two that he encountered here
Ali Achekzai was sentenced to 40 years to life plus 21 years in state prison Friday after he had been convicted in December by a jury of two felony counts of forcible rape, two felony count of sexual penetration by foreign object by force, one felony count of aggravated assault, one felony count of assault with the intent to commit a sexual offense, and sentencing enhancements and allegations for committing sexual crimes against more than one victim and causing great bodily injury to a victim in both Orange and San Diego Counties. He met two of his three victims in a Laguna Beach bar in 2002 and 2004.
Achekzai, 33, formerly of Ladera Ranch, was captured in Austria in January 2010 following a DNA match through INTERPOL.
Authorities say Achekzai fled the area and changed his name several times before going to Europe where he hid for six years.
FBI says 2011 bank robberies were only 11% of 1992 high mark; January far outpacing last year’s numbers
The FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office released its annual bank robbery statistics Wednesday for the area comprising the judicial district it parallels, the Central District of California, which includes Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.
The FBI investigates bank robberies jointly with police and sheriff’s departments that have jurisdiction for cities in which bank robberies occur. During 2011, law enforcement responded to 287 bank robberies in the seven county area; the majority of which occurred in Los Angeles County, where 122 bank robberies were reported, followed by Orange County, where 67 were reported. The state of California consistently experiences more bank robberies than any other state. On average, between 40 and 45 percent of robberies in California are committed in the Central District’s seven-county territory.
U.S. Bank on Glenneyre was robbed on May 23, 2011 – Laguna’s contribution to lowering the number. That same bank was robbed two times in 2010.
There were 34 takeover robberies during 2011 of the total 287 robberies. A takeover robbery occurs when one or more suspects take employees and customers inside a bank hostage during the commission of a robbery. Takeovers comprised 11.8 percent of overall bank robberies, comparatively lower than percentages reported in previous years.
The decrease in overall robberies is attributable in part to closer cooperation among law enforcement agencies, successful prosecution by the United States Attorney’s Office and its counterparts at the District Attorney’s Offices, as well as a more proactive approach by the banking community in the implementation of additional security measures. In addition, media coverage of increasingly clear bank surveillance photographs, and rewards offered by banks and law enforcement, has contributed to the community’s awareness and has generated valuable assistance from the public in the identification of unknown subjects. The decreased number of bank robberies for 2011 is consistent with the fact that bank robberies have declined steadily in Southern California since the numbers peaked in the early 1990s. The numbers for 2011, 287, is approximately one-ninth of the number of total bank robberies that took place during the region’s high in 1992, when there were more than 2,600 bank robberies in the seven-county territory.
In January 2012, the pace of bank robberies has increased and so far this year, 40 bank robberies have been reported in the seven county area, primarily in Los Angeles and Orange Counties, followed by Riverside County.
Although several serial bandits were captured during the month of January, the FBI and its law enforcement partners are seeking the public’s assistance in order to identify ten serial bank robbers responsible for a large number of hold-ups in Southern California. Bank surveillance photographs and descriptions of each suspect are being provided to the media.
Download a PDF of the entire FBI LA Field Office press release including a list of ten wanted serial robbers Click Here
Road rage over skateboarders on Nyes Place leads to robbery investigation when skateboard is taken
Police said a man driving down Nyes Place late Sunday morning told them that he had almost hit four teen aged male skateboarders on the hill.
Officers responded to the report and came across the four juveniles. One boy told police that the original caller had stopped his vehicle and began chasing them after he had almost run into them.
Police said three of the teenagers ran off but the driver caught one youth. Police added that the driver grabbed the boy, verbally threatened him then grabbed the youth’s skateboard and left.
Police said they are investigating the situation as robbery – a serious felony charge. The elements of robbery (taking by force or fear) would appear to be there and if that holds, police will ask the district attorney to issue a warrant for the suspect.
Police indicated that they know the identity of the suspect.
No other details were immediately available according to police Thursday and the suspect’s name will not be released at this time.
Police Log 012012
Woman visiting here shot by air soft pellet – police think a suspect may have built a shooter’s lair through mail slot
A woman walking on the sidewalk in the 600 block of Glenneyre Saturday afternoon at 3:45 called police reporting that she had been shot in the leg by what she assumed was BB gun. Other people with her said they had been shot at but no one else was hit.
LBPD Sgt. Joe Torres said the woman wasn’t injured but did have a red welt.
Torres said that officers searched the area and discovered what appears to have been a shooter’s lair in a modified mail slot that went into the house. An air soft pellet was found nearby.
Police wouldn’t elaborate on the description of the mail slot because no one answered the door when cops knocked Saturday.
Torres said detectives would investigate and make contact with the residents of the house on Glenneyre.
Asian woman frequently in wheelchair downtown was the reason two men fought and both had the other arrested
Most locals familiar with the downtown area have seen the Asian woman who occupies a wheelchair, often near Scandia Bakery. Many also know that she is there most days accepting money from kind-hearted people who are concerned for her.
Most also know that she is dropped off by her adult son who drives her to Laguna from the home they own in Irvine. He has often been seen enjoying a cocktail at the bar in the White House.
Last year, after many business’ on Ocean Ave told police that they were concerned for her welfare, her case was referred by the cops to the County’s Adult Protective Services (APS) for a possible elder abuse investigation. No action was taken against her son when APS was unable to find evidence of elder abuse.
Sunday evening a newly arrived homeless man became upset that so many people were giving her money. Police said he had been told of her situation and was of the opinion that she didn’t need the money.
Jeremiah Garrison, no fixed address, decided to confront her and heatedly accused her of operating a scam. Witnesses told police that he began yelling at her until her son, David Shea of Irvine, drove up to take her home.
Sgt. Joe Torres said witnesses told police that Shea ran over with a camcorder and began filming Garrison. Words were exchanged louder and louder and when Shea brought his camera within inches of Garrison’s face, the latter man grabbed it and the two men began to exchange blows.
When police officers arrived, bystanders had broken up the fight and neither man had been injured.
Because officers didn’t see a misdemeanor when it occurred, they advised them both about their right to make a citizen’s arrest for battery. Both men elected to sign a complaint and police facilitated the arrests of both men.
When questioned, Shea admitted that they owned the house in Irvine and that he would drop his mother off with a supply of diapers, which she changes under a blanket and places into a trash can nearby.
Torres said, “Shea said they use the money she is given.”
Two arrested for arson after burning Christmas trees in North Laguna streets early Thursday morning
Two Aliso Viejo men, Joel Thomas Uzelac, 20, and Sean Tyler Christiansen, 21, were arrested for conspiracy to commit arson, a felony, after they set Christmas trees on fire in the street in the 400 block of Myrtle St, at Hawthorne Rd and at Locust St and Monterey between 12:45 and 1:30 a.m.
A caller had seen the three men running northbound on Coast Hwy.
A man living in the 500 block of Cypress Drive called 9-1-1 when he saw another tree burning after smelling smoke. He saw three people running away and nearby cops detained Uzelac and Christiansen within a few minutes. The caller identified the pair as two that he had seen.
Police are trying to identify the third suspect.
Costa Mesa woman drives drunk, crashes and injures one of her three children; she’s in trouble
Abigail Wilson, 31 of Costa Mesa, is facing felony charges of child endangerment, DUI causing injury and a misdemeanor charge of possessing Xanax. She was arrested last Saturday night on Laguna Canyon Rd after crashing head-on into another car.
Police said the 8:10 crash injured one of her children, age 7, who was treated at Mission Hospital for minor injuries. Her other two children, ages 6 and 8, were shaken but not injured.
There were no family members who could take the children. Police said they were all three taken to the Orangewood Home by OC Child Protective Services.
An elderly couple in a full-size sedan were both dazed for a short time but otherwise uninjured.
A cell caller was on the line with police dispatch reporting Wilson’s erratic driving when she “veered into an oncoming car…” Police said the caller’s description was exactly as the roadside evidence indicated.
The crash was at Big Bend and traffic was closed in both directions. Witnesses told StuNewsLaguna that an outbound OCTD bus was caught in traffic and its passengers had to walk away from the scene to await another bus to take them back to the bus depot on Broadway.
A sig alert remained in effect for about an hour.
Homeless warned to stay together at night
The presence of someone called, “A serious, dangerous, serial killer” by the Anaheim Police Chief this week has created fear amongst OC’s homeless.
Three homeless men were stabbed repeatedly in North OC between Dec 20 and Dec 30 as they slept and police agencies along with the FBI are fearful the suspect may strike again. A task force has been formed among several agencies to find the suspect.
It has been estimated that nearly 7,000 homeless people sleep in the streets every night in the county. There are a total of only 3,300 beds available. The two armory shelters managed by Mercy House in Fullerton and Santa Ana have just 400 beds.
Laguna’s alternate sleeping facility has 50 beds and it is filled every night.
Laguna police believe there is a strong possibility that many more homeless people will come here seeking a place to sleep.
Sgt. Louise Callus said yesterday, “We encourage strongly that homeless people that cannot be housed at the ASL spend their nights together to increase their safety.”
The topic will likely be discussed at Tuesday’s Council meeting.
Pair trying to get away from cops in stolen car chose wrong route – down the steps by library
Perhaps it was the dense fog early Saturday morning. Maybe it was just poor depth perception. Whichever, a man and a woman trying to avoid police decided to avoid a car stop by driving down the narrow stairwell leading from the front of the library down past the Friends of the Laguna Beach Library’s used book store found out rather quickly that there just wasn’t enough room to squeeze through.
Sgt. Joe Torres of the LBPD said that at 2:03 a.m., “…a patrol officer saw a suspicious VW Jetta with no license plates driving north on Coast Highway. The officer drove behind the vehicle when it started speeding and making evasive turns.”
The car turned up Thalia Street then toward LBHS. “The officer decided not to go into pursuit because the vehicle made several turns while trying to possibly lose the officer,” Torres added.
Anticipating where they might show up, the Jetta was spotted driving down Park Ave. The officer followed but lost it because of the dense fog near Glenneyre and Park.
Another patrol unit approaching on Glenneyre spotted light coming from the stairwell.
“The vehicle drove up the sidewalk and attempted to drive down the stairwell when it got wedged between the walls. The two occupants (a male and a female) climbed out of the sunroof and started running. The second officer went in foot pursuit through downtown and caught the male subject in the Hennessy’s parking lot at 2:12,” according to Torres.
Other arriving officers took the woman into custody after she’d tried to hide near the library parking lot at 2:18.
Once in custody, the cops learned that Karly Bosson, 33 of Anaheim, and Brea resident Samuel Lee Erich, 29, were both parolees at large and that the car had been reported stolen in October, 2011.
Inside the car officers found a cash register and soon also learned that a register had been stolen in a Dana Point commercial burglary earlier. The OC Sheriff was contacted and the cash register was turned over to them. They are investigating the possible involvement of Bosson and Erich in that crime and other burglaries committed late Friday night and early Saturday.
Bosson and Erich were charged with possession of stolen property (the stolen car), resisting arrest and hit and run (a parked car was hit on S. Coast Hwy) and held without bail for parole violation.
They also are facing felony charges relating to the burglaries by the OC Sheriff.
DUI patrols will be in full force this weekend
LBPD Lt. Jeff Calvert announced that during the New Year’s weekend, the Laguna Beach Police Department will be increasing its patrol staff in an effort to reduce the number of persons killed or injured in alcohol related crashes. The saturation patrols will include additional officers in order to identify and remove DUI offenders from the roadways.
“DUI saturation patrols have proven to be an effective method for achieving this goal. By publicizing these enforcement efforts, the Laguna Beach Police Department believes motorists will be deterred from drinking and driving,” the LBPD said in a press release recently.
Tips on how to stay safe
The Laguna Beach Police Department recommends these simple tips to keep you and your family member’s safe while on the roadway:
Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin;
Before drinking, designate a sober driver;
If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation;
If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to call 911;
And remember, Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk. If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.
Funding for this operation is provided by a grant (AVOID 26) from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Murphy’s Law rules a Laguna Royale employee
Jorge Luis Frias may never have heard of Murphy’s Law (“Whatever can go wrong, will) but he defined it last Thursday morning after a resident of SoLag’s Laguna Royale called the cops to report that two employees there were fighting.
The caller said Frias had taken a swing at the other employee with a hammer – in an elevator. The caller met police there and pointed out Frias. After a brief interview and finding his hammer, Frias was arrested on a charge of felony assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm.
Police interviewed the victim and added another felony charge – making deadly threats.
A wary officer noticed something suspicious looking on the identification papers Frias had presented and had them checked by dispatch. The officer’s suspicions were apparently well founded – the papers were in fact, counterfeit.
Frias was also charged with another felony – possession of falsified identification documents intended to hide true citizenship or resident alien status.
The cops on scene were informed by dispatch that Frias, 44 from Azusa, was a parolee. His parole officer immediately ordered that the suspect be held without bail for parole violation.
Shortly thereafter, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) placed a hold for pickup by the border patrol on Frias.
Police didn’t say why Frias had swung the hammer at his co-worker.
FBI agrees with LBPD – look out for scams
In our Nov 22, 2011 edition we wrote about how the LBPD is urging residents to be wary of fraud schemes (Scammers are in Laguna Beach) this time of the year.
The FBI in LA held a joint press conference earlier this month warning everyone of the same concern and issued “how to avoid being scammed” guidelines.
We reprint the press release that came from that meeting:
Law enforcement has seen an increase in the number of reports by victims of telephone scams where the caller impersonates a family member of the victim [or purports to be a friend of the victim’s family member] and concocts a phony scenario suggesting the relative is in distress, the FBI LA Field Office recently said in conjunction with the United States Attorney in Los Angeles; and officials with the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
In an effort to reach victims before they are convinced to send money overseas, law enforcement is detailing the signs potential victims can recognize in order to identify a scheme in its early stages.
Southern California and its many retirement communities, has long been a target-rich environment for thieves intent on defrauding unsuspecting victims, particularly the elderly. While common schemes, such as counterfeit check, foreign lottery and mystery shopper schemes continue to plague victims, law enforcement is advising the public about the emergence of the “relative in distress” scam, or RID, scam. Law enforcement agencies have seen a dramatic increase in the number of complaints by victims of RID scams.
RID scams can vary in terms of the details supplied by the scammer, the target demographic and the location from which the scam is perpetrated, however, the general fraud is carried out as follows: Victims are contacted by one or more individual claiming to be a relative of the victim in a situation causing them some form of distress. The scammer advises the victim of the circumstances of their situation and invariably concludes with a plea for help in the form of cash. Victims are asked to wire money to an address, many times overseas, and in some cases will be asked to send money more than one time as the purported circumstances evolve and become more harrowing.
In some cases, the caller will introduce a third party, such as a purported Embassy official, police officer or lawyer, to the phone conversation in order to lend legitimacy to the scheme. In most cases, the caller impersonating the relative will claim to be in the hospital, in a foreign jail or in an otherwise compromising situation where cash is required immediately. In these cases, victims have claimed to be distracted by their emotion and influenced by an intense desire to assist their loves ones. In an effort to avoid detection by law enforcement or circumspect family members, victims have reported that the fraudulent caller advised them to refrain from telling other family members about their purported plight so that they would not be embarrassed. Law enforcement theorizes that many of the perpetrators mine websites or personal social networking sites to obtain personal details about their target victims.
Law enforcement has been successful to a degree in identifying victims and prosecuting offenders operating in the United States and from overseas, but stresses that prevention in the form of education is the key to preventing the continuous problem.
Tips and warning signs are being provided publicly to educate targeted victims.
Victims who are contacted under circumstances that resemble a RID scam are advised to investigate requests for financial assistance from those claiming to be family members or others before sending money.
Foreign Lotteries and Sweepstakes: Victims are told that they have won a lottery or sweepstakes in a foreign drawing. In order to collect the winnings, the victims must first pay various taxes and fees. The checks appear, on the surface, to be authentic. In some cases, it may take the bank several days to determine that the check is fraudulent.
Money Transfer Scams: Victims are asked to help illegally transfer funds out of Nigeria or other countries in return for a share of the money. Victims are asked to provide their bank account information or pay money up front to complete the transaction.
Credit & Loan Scams: Victims with poor or non-existent credit are offered credit cards, loans or credit improvement services for an advance fee.
Mystery Shopper Scams: Victim receives a letter in the mail advising they have been selected to work as a “Mystery Shopper.” Enclosed in the letter is a check. Victims are instructed to deposit the check and to use the funds to evaluate money transfer services. Banks subsequently determine that checks are counterfeit and victims are responsible for the funds spent.
Overpayment Scams: Victims who advertise an item for sale are sent a counterfeit check or money order from a “buyer” for more than the cost of the item and the victim is then held responsible by his or her financial institution when the payment is discovered to be counterfeit.
Charity Scams: Victims are solicited for donations to non-existent or fraudulent charities.
Counterfeit Checks: Victims receive counterfeit checks, which contain legitimate bank account and routing numbers of companies which criminal groups may send to thousands of U.S. residents in furtherance of a fraud.
The FBI and its partners encourage the public to report any fraudulent activity to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, a joint project of the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center, at www.ic3.gov.
Tips for citizens who may be targeted for fraud:
Be suspicious of any offer that sounds too good to be true.
Take time to research any offers you receive over the Internet or telephone.
Fraudulent telemarketers may pretend to be government officials, banking representatives or attorneys, or may send phony documents in attempts to make offers appear legitimate.
If you have legitimately won a lottery or sweepstakes prize, you will never have to pay money in advance of your winnings.
Hang up on anyone who solicits money in advance of awarding a prize.
Do not respond to mailed solicitations for money in advance of winning a prize; instead, report the fraud to law enforcement.
Never provide personal information over the telephone, online or through the mail in response to a solicitation. This includes date of birth, social security numbers, credit card numbers, banking or other personal information.
Never deposit checks sent by companies whose representatives claim the check is being sent to pay fees or taxes on lottery winnings. Fraudulent checks may appear to look legitimate. Some checks may even be drawn on legitimate accounts and may include actual routing numbers so they appear authentic when presented for deposit at banks.
Do not give in to high pressure sales techniques
Consult family, friends and/or trusted advisors before making major financial decisions.
Man with prior DUI arrested again and also will face felony child endangerment charges
A Laguna Beach man was pulled over on suspicion of impaired driving Christmas night and subsequently taken into custody for driving under the influence (DUI) with a prior conviction. He also was held for a DUI warrant from Harbor Court.
James Michael Ross, 46, was stopped at 10:05 p.m. in the 3200 block of Laguna Canyon Road, police said.
His 11-year-old son was in the car with him.
That added a felony charge of child endangerment. He was held on $100,000 bail.