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.


Police Files

LBPD reminds residents to lock their doors following vacation rental break-in

Laguna Beach residents aren’t the only victims in the recent spree of burglaries across town. 

A visitor staying in a vacation rental in the 1100 block of N. Coast Hwy woke up at around 3 a.m. on Wednesday to find someone in her room. Upon seeing that the previously sleeping guest was awake, the suspect fled – but not before grabbing a jacket with $40 inside.

“The suspect entered through unlocked doors,” said Sgt. Jim Cota, LBPD spokesperson. “People need to lock the doors to their residences and vehicles.”

The jacket was recovered, but the money was gone. And, there was a beer on the front porch the following morning that hadn’t been there the night before.

LBPD is looking into the case to see if there are any leads.

Rats! We have a gnawing suspicion that a certain thief was disappointed when he opened stolen packages 

Imagine the scene: you’re just your average burglar ambling along Cerritos Street early Thursday morning, wondering whether today will be your lucky day, looking for open windows or doors, when you see a few nice size boxes sitting on the doorstep of a home…so you pick them up. 

They’re heavy and rattle when you shake them. Seems like this could be valuable stuff – the kind of stuff thieves like you can make money on. It’s been a slow thief day.

You scurry away, packages in hand. Feeling beady eyes on you, you turn – has the homeowner noticed you? But no, it’s a pair of rats sitting on a fencepost, whiskers upturned. If you didn’t know better, you might think they were smiling at you, as if to say, hey, we recognize you, and thanks, buddy! 

Thanks, buddy – we see you’re one of us…

Funny what nerves will do to your mind.

When you get home, you open the boxes to find – 60+ rat traps. Nearly $85 worth of rat traps and their associated equipment, to be exact. A plague on the house you burgled!

It’s not your lucky day after all. And you have a gnawing feeling the cops will be after you soon. 

And we think you’re right about that.


Police Files

LBPD officer arrested in elder abuse case: internal investigation launched

On Tuesday, November 28, officers from the Fullerton Police Department arrested three individuals in connection with an ongoing elder abuse and fraud investigation.

One of those individuals was LBPD’s Officer Rock Wagner, 58, a nine-year veteran of the police department. Arrested along with him were his sister, Wendy Wagner, 55, and her boyfriend, Norman McBride, 58. All three were arrested for elder abuse and fraud, and were released from the Fullerton City Jail after posting bail.

Officer Wagner has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation.

In an interview with Stu News Laguna, Police Chief Laura Farinella estimated that the internal investigation would take approximately 30-45 days.

“We will not compromise a thorough and accurate investigation for the sake of getting it done earlier than it takes,” she said.

While disappointed with the arrest, the LBPD wants to express to the community that no criminal activity is alleged to have occurred within Laguna Beach or while Officer Wagner was on-duty.

“The arrest of Wagner was definitely unexpected and has sent a disappointing ripple throughout the entire department,” said Farinella. “With that said, this arrest is not a reflection of the hard-working, ethical men and women of the Laguna Beach Police Department, and nothing in this case has ever pointed to his work here as a police officer.”

Fullerton PD was informed of the alleged misconduct in June 2017 by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office and Orange County Adult Protective Services. Chief Farinella was made aware of the investigation a few months ago by Fullerton PD. 

“One of our lieutenants was there at the time of the arrest and [Wagner’s] badge, gun, and ID ware taken. It was at that time he was placed on paid administrative leave and given the appropriate paperwork related to this status,” Farinella said.

Fullerton PD officers said that there was more than one alleged victim, related to the suspects, and the allegations relate to the theft of several hundreds of thousands of dollars. The suspects are not accused of any physical abuse. 

“We have a war on trees [in our town],” says Mayor Iseman after vicious attack kills eucalyptus

In August, an unknown suspect poured gasoline on a eucalyptus tree a block away from Thousand Steps Beach. The fire department responded to absorb the fuel, and a consulting arborist was called in by the city’s Public Works and Code Enforcement departments to evaluate the tree.

“Public Works staff followed the consulting arborists’ recommendations to remove the fuel and periodically visited the site to monitor the situation and evaluate the health of the tree,” said Shohreh Dupuis, director of Public Works, in a letter. At that time, the tree did not appear damaged beyond recovery.

That did not last long. A few weeks later, the foliage turned brown and the canopy began to die. A dozen nails were found in the tree trunk, which were removed immediately. 

“During the follow up inspection, the arborist suggested that the damage caused by the vandalism had systematically affected the tree to a level that was likely to be irreversible,” said Dupuis.

The tree has not recovered and is now dead. The Public Works department is following the City Council’s Public Tree Removal Policy for its removal, as it has become a fire hazard.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

A 50-foot tall eucalyptus tree will be removed after a series of attacks killed it

“We have a war on trees going on [in this town],” said Mayor Toni Iseman. Last November, someone cut gashes into five eucalyptus trees in front of Montage Laguna Beach. And in May of this year, several nails were hammered into a tree in the 1000 block of Cortez.

Unfortunately, LBPD is not actively investigating the recent vandalism that killed the eucalyptus tree because they have no leads on the incident.

“If you can prove that a tree was purposely or maliciously killed by a person, a case can be presented to the DA’s office for filing consideration,” explained Sgt. Jim Cota. “A report was generated and Code Enforcement conducted an investigation. If there had been any solid leads on who committed the crime, a report would have been sent to Investigations for assistance in either an arrest or filing a charge with the DA.”

Red Flag Warning issued for Laguna Beach

The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning effective through Thurs, Dec 7 at 11:59 p.m. A high wind watch has also been issued where wind speeds between 20-40 mph and gusts of up to 60 mph are possible. Laguna Beach residents should refer to the Ready! Set! Go! Program available on the Fire Department website (www.lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/fire). 

Register for AlertOC, the city’s mass notification system, by going to AlertOC.com. To ensure you are contacted during a Red Flag Warning, please register with the Nixle Red Flag group by texting “LBRedFlag” to 888-777.

Residents should be aware of parking restrictions in the Diamond/Crestview neighborhood during Red Flag Warnings. Any vehicles parked in spaces marked with a “red flag” in the center may be cited or towed.


Fire Files

Firefighters on full alert as Red Flag Warning is extended: “Elevated sense of awareness urged”

The National Weather Service extended the Red Flag Warning for the Orange County Coastal Zone through Saturday, Dec 9 at 8 p.m. Police and fire personnel urge an elevated sense of awareness during these extreme weather conditions.

Laguna Beach Fire Chief Kirk Summers reported that LBFD had two engines and two Battalion Chiefs assigned to the Thomas Fire in Ventura County on the fire lines Thursday.

“Closer to home, we have staffed up every available engine, including our wildland engine and our reserve engines, and the rescue squad,” Summers continued. “All but four of our firefighters are on duty in anticipation of the extreme fire weather conditions.”

Jordan Villwock, the city’s Emergency Operations Coordinator, reported that CERT volunteers were posted at Alta Laguna Park this week as a visual deterrent and for public outreach. 

“The PD is using Beach Patrol Officers to maintain a fire watch there during the night,” Summers added. 

The Police Department is also enforcing Red Flag parking restrictions in the Diamond and Crestview neighborhoods.

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Click on photo for a larger image

CERT volunteers on patrol at Alta Laguna Park this week

 “The Great Laguna Coast Fire Safe Council activated their Red Flag Patrol earlier this week, so you might see cars driving around town with red flags,” Villwock said. 

City Council Bob Whalen said that he believed the situation brought attention to the need for undergrounding utility poles along evacuation routes. 

“Over the past few days the wildfires raging throughout Southern California have required over 100,000 to flee their homes in minutes. The speed with which the fires have spread is incredible,” said Whalen said. “Watching people run from their homes underscores for me how crucial it is to all of us in Laguna to underground the utility poles on Laguna Canyon Road and other evacuation routes in the city. This will be the first priority in the city’s undergrounding plan.

“I am confident that voters will understand how crucial this plan is to public safety and will support it at next November’s election,” he concluded.

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy LBFD

Laguna Beach Firefighters were involved in firefighting at the Thomas Fire for 48 hours before getting a break on Thursday

Laguna Beach residents should take this time to evaluate their preparedness levels, Villwock said. He asked that residents refer to the Ready! Set! Go! Program available on the Fire Department website (www.lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/fire). 

Villwock also encouraged residents to register for AlertOC which is the City’s mass notification system by going to www.alertoc.com. Residents should make sure to include cell phone number, text number, and email addresses so that they can be contacted no matter where they are. 

In order to ensure they are contacted during a Red Flag Warning, residents should register with the Nixle Red Flag group by texting “LBRedFlag” to 888-777. 

Despite reports of a “purple flag” warning, Summers explained that there’s no such thing. “There is a fire severity scale that uses colors to indicate fire risk in various areas. The purple indicator is fairly new and has made its debut in this weather event.” 


Police Files

Package thief captured before Christmas

With the massive rise in online retailers, many people do all their Christmas shopping from the comfort of their couch. With the click of a few keys, a package can be delivered to your doorstep – unfortunately making many people an easy target for thieves.

One such thief, who stole packages from doorsteps all over Orange County, including Laguna Beach, was arrested by the Garden Grove PD on Tuesday, December 19.

Anthony Palusso

Photo Courtesy of LBPD

Anthony Brian Palusso was located and arrested thanks to the community and the use of home surveillance. He has prior arrests for thefts as well. 

For future package deliveries, LBPD provided the following advice:

-Require a signature for deliveries and bring packages inside immediately.

-Provide specific delivery instructions to keep packages out of view of the general public.

-Give an alternate delivery address, such as your work or somewhere were someone is present, to prevent packages from sitting on the porch for a long period of time.


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.


Police Files

LBPD will be out “in full force” Sunday, in anticipation of possible rallies

Sgt. Jim Cota told Stu News Laguna on Thursday evening that LBPD will be out “in full force” Sunday, Sep 24 at Main Beach, in anticipation of possible rallies including a previously scheduled (but possibly canceled) America First rally. There will be multiple agencies on hand again, including officers on horseback.

America First’s Johnny Benetiz told LBPD that he would “not be rallying on Sunday”, said Cota, after reports he had received death threats to his family.

However, it is unknown if others from the group will show up, as original plans were to gather Sunday starting at 3 p.m.

Regardless of whether or not America First supporters show up, a peace rally is scheduled for Sunday at Main Beach from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The rally will be aimed at “promoting peace and unity for our community”. Organizers encourage rally goers to wear pink to support The Race for the Cure.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Scott Brashier

LBPD will patrol Main Beach Sunday in anticipation of possible rallies

 

Three more residential burglaries reported this week

Laguna Beach residents reported three more residential burglaries this week. 

On Sunday, an unknown suspect broke into a residence in the 200 block of San Joaquin Street. Artwork and kitchen items were moved or taken, and a $2,000 chair was also stolen from the residence. A complete inventory is still being compiled.

Two burglaries on High Drive were reported on Wednesday, both of which occurred sometime after August 30. 

“In the first, the suspect broke a bedroom window,” said Sgt. Jim Cota, LBPD spokesperson. “The suspect went through specific drawers looking for small items but did not ransack the entire home.”

The second High Drive burglary had similar circumstances: the suspect broke a rear glass door and went through drawers, but did not ransack the residence. The exact loss for both is still unknown.

“So far, we do not have a connection in the burglaries, but we are not ruling it out,” said Cota.

Cell phone conversation interrupted by robber

On Sunday at 12:52 p.m., officers went to the bus depot on Broadway Street to respond to a call.

While there, the officers were approached by a man who reported that another man had stolen his cell phone.

“The victim stated that he was talking to his mother on the phone when the suspect hit him with a closed fist twice in the mouth and side of his face,” said Sgt. Jim Cota. “The suspect took the phone and ran away.”

Officers were able to locate the suspect, identified as Bryce Summers, 18, no fixed address.

Summers was detained and the phone was returned back to the victim.

Once video footage of the crime was reviewed and the victim’s story verified, Summers was arrested for robbery and was transported to Orange County Jail. Bail was $100,000.


Police Files

LBPD offers advice and empathy in response to Las Vegas shooting

The Laguna Beach Police Department is closely monitoring the tragic events from Sunday’s “Route 91 Country Concert” in Las Vegas, during which at least 59 people were killed and 527 injured. 

Preliminary news reports indicated that among the innocent victims of the active shooter incident were a number of off-duty police and firefighter personnel from jurisdictions throughout the country, including Orange County. 

“Our thoughts are with everyone involved in the incident, including the family and loved ones affected by this tragedy, and law enforcement, other first responders and medical staff who responded to the scene and worked tirelessly to preserve life,” said Sgt. Jim Cota in an interview on Monday.

The Laguna Beach Police Department offered the following possible courses of action in an active shooter situation:

Get out, if possible. Try to remain calm, and find cover and/or concealment. You MUST take action to protect yourself. Assist the injured, if it is safe to do so. Secure your location. Silence any cell phones and remain quiet. And, defend yourself. 

Thieves steal laptops from local business, get caught trying to sell them in town

On Wednesday, September 27 at about 6:30 p.m., Seven-Degrees reported the theft of two laptops. The suspects were described as two white men in their mid-twenties. 

About three hours later, two white men in their mid-twenties approached a man at Oak Street and Glenneyre Street, and offered to sell him some stolen laptops. The man turned them down, and called the police after they left.

Surveillance footage from the theft confirmed the suspect’s identity, and officers arrested Nicholas Huffman, 21, Colorado, for possession of stolen property.


Police Files

Three burglary suspects in custody after chase through backyards in the Temple Hills area

Lagunans woke this Friday morning to the sound of circling helicopters and sirens. 

Mary Hurlbut, of Cerritos Drive says she was sitting in her living room when she heard footsteps. “I looked outside and there was a police officer on our back deck with guns drawn,” she said. “He told us to make sure all our doors and windows were locked as they were pursuing two suspects.”

Three suspects in all were taken into custody, Sgt Jim Cota tells Stu News. “The incident began as a response to a burglary occurring in the 2900 block of Zell Drive,” he said.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

This was Mary Hurlbut’s view this Friday morning first thing—immediately after finding a cop with gun drawn on her deck

“Officers responded to the area, near Temple Hills Drive and Bluebird Canyon. They saw a suspect fleeing on foot. With the assistance of a helicopter and the K-9 unit he was apprehended without further incident,” Cota added.

This was no easy task for police officers, given, as Mary Hurlbut describes, the lush backyards of homes in this area.

Once again, LBPD nabbed their suspects.

We’ll update details on our Facebook page.

Burglar will face felony animal cruelty charges after gecko is injured

When the LBPD takes on a case, they want justice for all the victims of a crime.

And last week, a much-loved gecko became one of those victims. She WILL see justice done.

Residents will recall that on July 26, five Laguna Beach jewelry businesses at the Shops at the Cliffs shopping center were burglarized, and more than $200,000 in merchandise was stolen by "well-dressed" thieves. 

Last week, exactly two months after the burglaries, LBPD detectives arrested one of the two suspects caught on surveillance video during the thefts.

Detectives went to Oceanside and located Edward Torrison, 30, at a home where he resides with his girlfriend.

“Torrison was very surprised,” said Sgt Cota, LBPD spokesperson. “So surprised that he took off running from Laguna Beach PD officers through downtown Oceanside. I think he was shocked that he was finally caught.”

Torrison fled down an alley, over a fence, and into a business, where he attempted to jump through a window and shattered the gecko’s cozy aquarium, the only home the little lizard knew.

“The gecko (a girl, named Aloha) is fine,” Sgt Cota assures us. “She is resting and back with her owner. Although tail-less, I am told she will be alright, and her tail is not supposed to grow back.”

Still, little Aloha could have died. And also, a tail is not something you want to lose if you’re a gecko.

So it is that the LBPD is adding a charge of felony animal cruelty to the list of charges against Torrison, which include multiple theft and burglary related charges as well as being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo courtesy LBPD

Aloha’s owner Cory Whitlock, seen here with Detectives Dave Gensemer and Joy Butterfield, is just happy she’s alive

Stu News learned some additional interesting information about the arrest, one of the most significant for the LBPD in recent years, its successful conclusion a reflection of the smarts of its hard-working investigative team.

Sgt Cota tells us that the thief had an enormous amount of jewelry inside the garage of the residence. 

“Two loaded handguns were also located inside the house and garage. There was so much jewelry in the large tool chest with multiple pull drawers that we did not have the room in our detective vehicles to transport it all back to Laguna Beach,” he tells us. 

Sgt Cota had to pay a Oceanside tow truck company to haul the very large chest and jewelry back on a flatbed the night of the arrest. 

(By the way, we hear that Sgt Cota drew the short straw and got stuck following the tow truck at slow speeds all the way back to Laguna Beach from Oceanside, which even included a stop at the San Clemente border check area.) 

“Border patrol agents inquired what we were hauling back into Orange County because not every day does a flatbed tow truck haul a very large tool chest with hundreds of thousands of dollars in stolen jewelry at 2 a.m. in the morning,” Cota accurately observes.  

He says that it is going to take a long time to investigate this particular case given the magnitude of the crimes and the number of stolen items. 

Police departments around Southern California laud the arrest

Other police departments from Orange County and San Diego and Riverside are celebrating the arrest and working with the LBPD on the case, because Torrison had been involved with many burglaries prior to his arrest by LBPD.

Sgt Cota told Stu News, however, that right now there is no link between the recent residential burglaries in Laguna Beach and the commercial burglaries committed by Torrison. 

“It appears he targets businesses more, but we will not rule out any involvement in residential burglaries,” Sgt Cota added. “If it is not Torrison, then that means there are other people coming into our city and committing the crimes. We’ll get those guys too. We always do. 

“Our investigative team is the best around as their track report speaks for itself in terms of the high volume of arrests they make. They do not know how proud of them I really am. They work countless hours and take the crimes they investigate very seriously. I am just fortunate enough to supervise a great group of detectives. They deserve all the credit!”


Police Files

LBPD nabbed three burglary suspects from Riverside on Friday morning, with help of K-9 bite

As we reported on Friday, LBPD was able to apprehend three suspects involved with a burglary reported on Zell Drive that morning. A resident had reported a suspicious truck in his neighbor’s driveway, and another caller reported three suspects had attempted to force entry through a side bedroom window. 

Within minutes of the call, officers on scene saw three suspects inside the truck driving away. 

The three suspects abandoned the truck in a nearby residential area and fled on foot. With air support from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department as well as their K-9 units, the suspects were located. 

LBPD Booking Photos

Gwendulyn Ceballos Jimenez, Allen Ykwang Lin, and Michael Murilloh

Gwendulyn Ceballos Jimenez, 21, Allen Ykwang Lin, 29, and Michael Murilloh, 31, all from Riverside, were taken into custody after an extensive search of the area. Ykwang Lin had to be persuaded to come out of the canyon where he was hiding – OCSD’s K-9 unit was more than happy to assist. The minor bite injuries Ykwang Lin sustained were treated. 

“Our residents acted quickly and did a fantastic job reporting the suspicious activity that led to these arrests,” said Captain Jeff Calvert in a statement. “We are fortunate to have such engaged residents who understand that it is a team effort to keep our community safe.”

The suspects were booked into Orange County Jail for residential burglary and possession of stolen property. LBPD detectives are in the process of identifying additional victims through the stolen property recovered in the truck…which was also stolen. The investigation is ongoing.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo courtesy of LBPD

Officer McGuire and Detective Gensemer are looking for the owner of the other stolen truck, which they think belongs to a 2- to 4-year-old. If you know who this truck belongs to, please call the LBPD at 949-497-0701.

 

Well-dressed Edward Torrison pleads guilty

This week, Edward Torrison pled guilty to the thefts that occurred this summer in Laguna Beach at the Shops at the Cliffs, where the losses exceeded $200,000. 

He pled guilty to four counts of second-degree burglary, two counts of grand theft, and one count of receiving stolen property. 

LBPD detectives arrested Torrison on Sept. 26 in Oceanside. A second suspect shown on the surveillance footage is still at large. 

Torrison is suspected to be involved in several other burglaries that occurred throughout Orange, Los Angeles, and San Diego counties.


Police Files

Thieves are doing their Christmas shopping in Laguna, it seems – by breaking into cars…

“These thieves are looking for anything visible of value in plain view or vehicles left unlocked,” said LBPD’s Sgt. Jim Cota when asked about a recent string of vehicle burglaries. Whether or not the seven thefts that occurred between Sunday and Tuesday are related is still being investigated.

Sometime late Monday night, two pairs of sunglasses valued at about $1,000 were taken from a vehicle (most likely left unlocked), and $500 worth of Christmas presents were stolen from another unlocked vehicle. One victim noticed items missing from their car on Monday. Two cars on a driveway were searched by a burglar on Sunday, and both were said to have been left unlocked.

One victim’s vehicle was locked on Sunday, but the burglar still managed to steal $500 worth of shoes and clothes. Another strike on Sunday left the victim missing their wallet and $400 in gift cards, and yet another victim’s glove box was riffled through.

“We need to get the message out: remove all personal items of value from your vehicle, and always lock your doors,” Cota said.


Police Files

Jaw-dropping scam on Glenneyre takes bite out of victim’s bank account

A heavy-set man in his thirties or early forties, wearing navy blue medical scrubs, recently conned a victim on the 1100 block of Glenneyre Street into buying vouchers for three teeth-whitening kits, including the promise of discounts for dental procedures.

“He paid $328.41 on his credit card,” said Sgt Cota, LBPD spokesperson. “When he called and made an appointment with a Laguna Niguel dentist’s office, that’s when he learned that the vouchers were fraudulent.”

Unfortunately, it looks like the victim is just going to have to grin and bear the loss, because the suspect has not been located.


Officer-involved shooting rattles community: Woman had gun in hand upon emerging from vehicle

At 2:41 p.m. on Sunday, Feb 11, the Laguna Beach Police Department received a call about an apparently distressed woman in a blue gray Lexus SUV driving erratically.

“More than one call came in. At least one (or more) caller(s) indicated that this person appeared to have a handgun visible in her possession,” said LBPD spokesperson Sgt Jim Cota.

While officers were responding, another caller reported speaking to a woman who had a gun in the area of St. Ann’s and Gaviota. The woman with the firearm had asked the bystander to call the police because she wanted to take her own life.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Scott Brashier

Police gather at the crime scene

Officers arrived in the 100 block of St. Ann’s and made contact with the distressed woman, later found to be a 36-year-old Huntington Beach resident. She was parked at the far end of the cul de sac on Saint Ann’s facing the beach, alone in her car.

“She was initially uncooperative with the officers,” said Sgt Cota. “One officer approached her on foot. The other officer pulled up behind her vehicle and exited on foot. Then the woman emerged from the car with a gun in her hand. The officer on foot discharged his weapon. The woman was struck in the upper torso.”

Officers immediately rendered aid and called paramedics, who also worked on her. She was transported to Mission Hospital – Mission Viejo, where she underwent surgery.

As of last night, she remained in critical condition. 

No officers were injured during the incident. 

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Kim Pearson

A bullet penetrated a window at the Laguna Riviera: The room was unoccupied

It appears that at least one bullet went through the window of an unoccupied room at the Laguna Riviera hotel during the incident, as seen in this photo provided by hotel owner Kim Pearson. LBPD is not commenting on the number of bullets fired.

Sgt Cota tells us that the Laguna Beach Police Department will conduct an investigation and review of this incident through a multi-step process that evaluates the legal, policy, and tactical considerations surrounding the event. 

The Orange County District Attorney’s Office responded as standard protocol and will conduct a parallel and independent investigation.

--Lynette Brasfield


Police Files

Update on officer-involved shooting: audio and video recorded the interchange between cops and distressed woman

The 36-year-old Huntington Beach woman who was shot by police on Sunday after emerging from her vehicle with a gun in her hand, has been medically upgraded from critical to stable condition, said LBPD spokesperson Sgt Jim Cota on Wednesday. 

“LBPD will seek charges against the female suspect,” said Sgt Cota.

An investigation is currently underway by both LBPD and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office to determine the exact circumstances surrounding the incident. Video and audio recordings from patrol vehicles and residences are being reviewed, which will shed light on the interchange between cops and the distressed woman, who is reported to have threatened to take her own life, as well as the number of bullets fired.

 “Officers verbally attempted several times to let them help her with her ongoing issues,” said Sgt Cota. “(They) were very patient and attempted to help her.”

Stu News will continue to follow and report on this story in the coming weeks.

 

Three suspects arrested and charged in connection with assault at The Saloon

On August 11, 2017, at 1:30 a.m., Laguna Beach Police Officers responded to a fight in progress in the 400 block of South Coast Highway. Officers contacted two separate victims of an assault and began an investigation into who committed these acts of violence. 

At the conclusion of the initial investigation, it was determined that three male subjects assaulted two male Laguna Beach bar patrons and a Good Samaritan female who tried to intervene. Both male victim sustained injuries, including broken bones and lacerations. The female victim sustained minor injuries.

Laguna Beach Police Detectives began a lengthy investigation in the search for the individuals responsible for the assault. Over a dozen interviews were conducted during the investigation and hours of video reviewed. At the conclusion of the investigation, three male suspects were ultimately arrested for Assault with a Deadly Weapon and Battery with Serious Bodily Injury.

The three males were identified as City of Ontario resident Jeremy Bishop (pictured here), Daniel Little (not pictured), and Joshua Little (not pictured). Both Daniel and Joshua Little reside in Prescott Valley, Arizona.

“This lengthy and time-consuming investigation serves as a reminder that our police department will pursue any individual(s) who commit acts of violence in Laguna Beach. Our Investigations team did an outstanding job identifying, locating, and arresting these three suspects,” said LBPD Captain Jeff Calvert.

--From a press release

 

Laguna Beach enjoys an overall reduction in crime for 2017, although burglary is up 10 percent

The Laguna Beach Police Department is happy to report a reduction in crime for 2017. The Police Department tracks crime and a number of other statistics on a yearly basis in an overall effort to evaluate their effectiveness as well as identify areas of community outreach and enforcement.

While larcenies have dropped significantly, there has been an increase in residential burglaries. These burglaries are attributed to unlocked doors and open garage doors. “This is a reminder that we can prevent a majority of property crime by taking the time to properly secure our homes,” said Chief Farinella. The decrease in larcenies are directly related to the increased staffing of Beach Patrol Officers which were funded through Measure LL and the Strategic Plan. These once part-time positions are now full-time, providing a much-needed added layer of presence on the beach, which is where we saw the decrease in the crimes.

Other highlights:

No fatal traffic collisions: Second year in a row

Traffic collisions are down 12%

Total calls for service are up 4%, equaling 1,919 additional calls

Citations are up almost 100%, which is attributed to the additional Beach Patrol Officers enforcing local municipal codes such as no alcohol and glass on the beach.

CERT is now over 300 members strong, CERT Academy graduated Class #9

Citizen Academy participates are now over 400 strong with the graduation of Class#24

The below are Laguna Beach statistics for 2017 Part I Violent Crimes, as compared to previous years. 

Tables courtesy of LBPD

The below are Laguna Beach statistics for 2017 Part I Property Crimes, as compared to previous years. 

Every police department is mandated to report Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) statistics to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on a yearly basis, so that increases and decreases in crime can be tracked and evaluated on a national level. The reporting of crime is separated into two classifications, Part I and Part II. Comparing these statistics year-to-year can tell a story both locally and nationally, and help police agencies strategically focus their resources. Part I crimes are the only crimes that are mandated to report. Reporting of Part II crimes is not mandated, and include crimes such as forgery, vandalism, and drug abuse violations. The Laguna Beach Police Department does track these crimes in an effort to identify trends.

--From a press release


Police Files

Three home burglaries in five days: Laguna police warn residents to be extra vigilant 

In Friday’s edition, we reported on a home burglary that had been interrupted by the North Laguna homeowner last Wednesday the 13th.

On that same evening, just before 8 p.m., a home invasion in the 400 block of Windsor Place was interrupted by a cat sitter entering the residence.

According to a post by the homeowner on NextDoor, the burglar broke a window to enter and left with jewelry.

“With the close distance from the other burglary that night, they could be associated, but we have nothing concrete yet tying them together,” said Sgt. Jim Cota, LBPD spokesperson.

On Sunday at 12:41 a.m., a citizen in the 300 block of Loma Terrace saw an unknown man leaving a residence. The screen and window were removed from the home.

Police officers have not determined if there is a connection between this event and the other recent burglaries in Laguna.

“We will be beefing up patrol officers looking for the people responsible,” said Cota.

Laguna Beach residents must remain vigilant and report suspicious looking individuals and vehicles – and if you see something, say something, he advises.

Additionally, residents can take advantage of vacation checks offered by the police department. To apply for basic house check services, visit the Laguna Beach police station at 505 Forest Avenue. And, alert neighbors you trust about any upcoming trips and ask that they keep an eye on your property during that time. When you leave town, don’t leave signs of an empty house.

“Our police department cannot be fully effective without the community’s help and support,” said Cota. “We need you as much as you need us. Together we can make a big difference.”

LBPD welcomes two new officers

The Laguna Beach Police department swore in two new officers on Monday.

Officer Priscilla Angeloni was sponsored through the Golden West Police Academy after serving as a jailer.

Officer Jeremiah Kennedy spent the last three years working for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

 

Click on photos for a larger image

Photos courtesy of LBPD

Meet LBPD’s newest officers, Priscilla Angeloni and Jeremiah Kennedy


Police Files

LBPD nabs “big fish”: suspected thief with $500k in jewelry, loaded guns

On July 26, five Laguna Beach jewelry businesses at the Shops at the Cliffs shopping center were burglarized, and over $200,000 in merchandise was stolen. 

On Tuesday, exactly two months after the burglaries, LBPD detectives arrested one of the two suspects caught on surveillance video during the thefts.

“This was the big fish,” said Sgt. Jim Cota. “We’ve been working on this investigation for two months.”

Detectives went to Oceanside and located Edward Torrison, 30, at a home where he resides with his girlfriend. When detectives attempted to detain him, Torrison fled on foot, down an alley, over a fence, and into a business, where he attempted to jump through a window and successfully shattered a gecko aquarium. (We were assured that the gecko was unharmed and given a new home.)

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo courtesy of Laguna Beach PD

Edward Torrison was detained with the help of Oceanside police following a brief chase that involved a broken gecko aquarium and an attempt at jumping through a window.

Torrison was arrested with the help of the Oceanside PD and some brave citizens.

“This arrest was the culmination of excellent police work coupled with a steadfast determination by our investigations unit to apprehend the offenders,” said Captain Jeff Calvert in a statement. “It serves as a reminder that when individuals commit a crime in Laguna Beach, we will leave no stone unturned in bringing the perpetrators to justice.”

A search of his residence revealed an estimated $500,000 in stolen jewelry, two loaded firearms, and stolen pieces of art. The investigation is ongoing, and LBPD is working with law enforcement agencies throughout Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego Counties to identify additional victims.

Torrison was arrested on multiple theft and burglary related charges, as well as being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was taken to Orange County Jail where he is being held on $500,000 bail.

The second burglar is still outstanding, and encouraged to turn himself in to the Laguna Beach Police. 

Anyone with any information regarding this investigation is encouraged to call the Laguna Beach PD at 949-494-0701. For further information, please contact Sgt. Jim Cota at 949-464-6671 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Feces smeared at residence

A resident in the 31800 block of Circle Drive reported an unusually disgusting event on Tuesday. 

Somehow, an unknown suspect got through two locked gates to smear feces on the property.

“Neither of the gates had been tampered with, so we have no idea how the suspect got onto the property,” said Sgt. Jim Cota.

A few weeks ago, a similar feces-smearing incident occurred when someone reported feces on their car door. Officers are not sure if the two events are related.

“About 8 years ago we had a caretaker from Newport Beach throwing used diapers onto the streets of North Laguna,” said Cota. “But we haven’t had any occurrences of feces being spread on walls before.”


Police Files

Mid-day burglar arrested for stealing clothes and cash

On Sunday afternoon, a LBPD officer was in the right place at the right time.

“The general manager of a restaurant in the 200 block of Brooks Street flagged down an officer around 2:15 p.m.,” said Sgt. Jim Cota, LBPD spokesperson. “He pointed to a man running away from the patio area.”

The officer took chase and tracked down Cesar Badillo-Munoz, age 28.

“He was wearing a jacket that still had a merchandise tag on it from a local business,” said Cota. “He claimed he paid $80 for it, but later admitted he had stolen it along with other clothing items that he was in possession of, including hats and t-shirts.”

Back to the restaurant manager…

“Badillo-Munoz had been acting suspicious inside the restaurant,” said Cota. “The employees noticed that he had gone into the office and taken cash from an unlocked safe – that’s what alerted the manager to flag down the officer.”

Inside the pocket of the stolen jacket, officers found a total of $2,166.

Badillo-Munoz was arrested for burglary, grand theft, and, since he ran from officers, resisting arrest. 

Community meeting regarding recent burglaries a success – more coming in the future

On Wednesday night, LBPD hosted a community meeting at the Susi Q Center regarding the recent burglaries in North Laguna.

Sgt. Cota estimated there were 25 people in attendance, as well as himself, Sgt. White, Sgt. McGill, and Detective Ocampo. 

“We talked about the uptick in burglaries in the city, security measures residents can take, vacation home checks conducted by the police department, and other resources for the public to learn about major events,” said Cota. “Overall it was a very good meeting.”

“Based on the attendance and questions that were asked, we will be doing a lot more of them,” he added. “It was really good and informative for citizens.”

Remember, if you see something, say something – you could stop a crime. 

A pigeon and a pumpkin – was it the full moon?

Last Thursday there was a full moon – and we’re attributing that to some recent odd occurrences around Laguna….

On Monday morning, a business reported that there had been pumpkins smashed, hay scattered, and posted signs ripped. Was it a werewolf on the rampage? Perhaps, but the victim provided security footage of the incident.

On Monday evening, a man was reported wandering downtown carrying a dead pigeon. When questioned about it by police officers, he was unable to recall where he had picked up the unfortunately deceased bird. The man, 18-year-old Emil Brenenstuhl, was ultimately arrested for public intoxication, but we won’t rule out vampires as the cause for the dead bird.

After all, it is Friday the 13th….


Police Files

Thief waltzes away with dancing woman

On Friday evening, a resident in the 200 block of Chiquita Street reported that a sculpture had been stolen from their home. 

The sculpture, a bronze dancing woman on a base of green marble, had been listed on eBay. The loss was estimated at $7,000. 

Copycat sought in wilderness parking lot burglary

Last May, LBPD apprehended a suspect who had been breaking into cars parked in Laguna Coast Wilderness lots on Laguna Canyon Road.

Now, it seems a copycat is back at it.

On Saturday morning, a woman’s car, parked in the lot in the 3200 block of Laguna Canyon Road, was broken into while she was hiking. 

When she returned to her vehicle, she found that her purse, credit cards, house keys, and two iPhones had been stolen.

“Detectives arrested the last guy responsible for all of those vehicle burglaries, but it looks like someone new is back at it,” said Sgt. Jim Cota, LBPD spokesperson.

Remember to lock your vehicles and hide your valuables.


Police Files

LBPD officer arrested in elder abuse case

On Tuesday, November 28, officers from the Fullerton Police Department arrested three individuals in connection with an ongoing elder abuse and fraud investigation.

One of those individuals was LBPD’s Officer Rock Wagner, a nine-year veteran of the police department. Arrested along with him were his sister, Wendy Wagner, and her boyfriend, Norman McBride. All three were arrested for elder abuse and fraud, and were released from the Fullerton City Jail after posting bail.

While disappointed with the arrest, the LBPD wants to express to the community that no criminal activity is alleged to have occurred within Laguna Beach or while Officer Wagner was on-duty.

“As law enforcement officers, we are held to the highest of standards and in no way is the arrest of Officer Wagner a reflection of the hard-working men and women of this outstanding police organization, said Police Chief Laura Farinella in a statement.

Fullerton PD was informed of the alleged misconduct in June 2017 by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office and Orange County Adult Protective Services.

Little details are currently available, though Fullerton PD officers said that there was more than one alleged victim, related to the suspects, and the allegations relate to the theft of several hundreds of thousands of dollars. The suspects are not accused of any physical abuse. 

Officer Wagner has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation.


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.”


Police Files

Lumberyard vandal apprehended in Tustin

In the wee hours last Thursday morning, a suspect destroyed lights in front of the Lumberyard Restaurant. The damage was estimated to be about $2,000. 

Unfortunately for the suspect, the Lumberyard is right across from the Laguna Beach Police Department, and the entire incident was caught on camera. Not to mention, the suspect had been called to bail out a friend of theirs who had been arrested that night. 

“Sometimes people make bad decisions when they are mad, and this was one of them,” said Sgt. Jim Cota, LBPD spokesperson.

Click on photos for larger images

Photos Courtesy of LBPD

LBPD detectives were able to positively identify the suspects who vandalized the Lumberyard lights thanks to security footage 

“The Investigations Team quickly identified the suspect and located him. There was no hesitation in making the arrest,” said Cota. 

 LBPD Detective Jordan Mirakian called the suspect before the arrest. “I told him, you’re caught, now let’s put this behind us. He agreed. The arrest was uneventful, which is the way we like it,” he said.

LBPD Booking Photo

Noah Laguna

Noah Laguna, 19, Tustin, was taken into custody without incident in Tustin on Thursday. He admitted to what he did and was booked into the Laguna Beach Jail on charges of vandalism.

“We will not tolerate extensive damage done to our businesses and have someone think they are going to get away with it,” said Cota.

More than termites gone after fumigation

Having a home fumigated for termites is not uncommon. Unfortunately, when the tents go up, the home can become a target for crime.

This was the case for homeowners in the 800 block of Coast View Drive. When the owners returned after their house was fumigated, they discovered that the closets had been ransacked, with $10,000 in cash and two watches valued at $40,000 taken.

“This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of this happening,” Sgt. Cota said.

There are no suspects at this time, and the extermination company is conducting its own investigation into the matter as well.


Police Files

Logan Street gang members arrested during high risk traffic stop on Ramona Boulevard

At 8:39 p.m. on Wednesday, December 27, on the 600 Block of Ramona Boulevard, officers were alerted about a 1998 Lexus 400 that had been reported stolen heading inbound on Laguna Canyon Road. A high risk (felony) traffic stop was conducted. 

Six occupants were found to be inside the vehicle: two adult men, Allen Moreno (23) and Jonathan Duran (20), along with two juvenile boys and two juvenile girls.

All occupants of the vehicle were from Santa Ana, with the four men admitting to being members of the Logan Street Gang. Upon a record check, Moreno, the driver of the vehicle, was found to be on active parole. No bail was issued. 

Duran, who was found to be in possession of six grams of methamphetamine, was released after booking.

The juveniles ranged in age between 13 and 16, and were issued citations for possession of alcohol.

High risk traffic stops, according to policeone.com’s video, demand three fundamental steps: compensate for the risk, control the threats, and conduct a safe traffic stop. Having a plan and training to the plan are paramount when it comes to officers facing situations such as these.


Police Files

Multiple guns stolen from home on Coronado Drive: fingerprints might provide DNA evidence

At 8:07 p.m. on Saturday, Dec 30, an officer took a burglary report from a resident at the 1200 block of Coronado Drive. Sometime between Dec 25 and 30, an unknown suspect pried open an exterior bedroom door and stole three firearms and an Xbox.

According to the logs, DNA was obtained on the scene.

“This case was just given to the Investigations Division and [is now] an active investigation,” said Sgt. Jim Cota of the LBPD.  “DNA can be someone’s handprint, saliva off a cup, even a fingerprint.”

We wonder how many burglars and would-be burglars realize how far the science of DNA has come in recent years. 

12 pairs of designer glasses snatched from tented house, also on Coronado Drive

Laguna residents, also in the 1200 block of Coronado Drive, left on vacation between Dec 21-23 and had their house tented for termites. When they returned, they noticed that a box of 12 designer prescription glasses had been taken from one of their vehicles inside the garage. The approximate loss is valued at $40,970.

“War on trees” continues

Two eucalyptus trees on a property located in the 31000 block of PCH were cut down sometime on the night of Wednesday, Dec 28.

“The property manager stated that when he returned to the property on Thursday Dec 29, two of the eucalyptus trees on the property had been cut down,” Sgt. Cota stated. “The trees were located on the hillside approximately 50 yards from the house. The estimated value of the trees is $400.”

Detectives are looking into whether a dispute over a view was at the heart of this incident. They will be looking into the matter to see if it is a criminal or civil matter.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

A recent victim of the “war on trees,” this eucalyptus was poisoned and had to be cut down by the City

Don’t let possible buyers take your car for a test drive or this could happen to you

On Wednesday, Dec 27, on the 3200 block of Laguna Canyon Rd., two people took a 1999 Ford for sale on a “test drive” and did not return – they must have liked its performance. It was located out of town in Westminster shortly before 5 p.m.

“People selling their cars need to be cognizant who they are selling the car too and never let someone take the vehicle for a test drive alone,” advises Sgt. Cota. “If you choose to let someone take it, retain their driver’s license and take a photograph of them. A cash deposit would also be a great deterrent as well.” 


Police Files

Scam alert: Letter claims to know about “secrets you are keeping from your wife”

A reader sent us a copy of a letter he received from a scam artist and would-be blackmailer, delivered via snail mail. The reader knew he had no reason to be concerned but was shocked, naturally, that this scam was in play. He dropped the letter off at the police station.

Stu News asked police to comment but at press time had not heard back. Common sense suggests that residents ignore these demands and advise police should they hear from “BadBird-93.”

Here are excerpts from the letter:

“My name is BadBird-93 and I know about the secret you are keeping from your wife and everyone else. More importantly, I have evidence of what you have been hiding. I won’t go into the specifics here in case your wife intercepts this, but you know what I am talking about. “

“You don’t know me personally and nobody hired me to look into you. Nor did I go out looking to burn you. It is just your bad luck that I stumbled across your misadventures while working a job around Laguna Beach. I then put more time than I probably should have. Frankly, I am ready to forget all about you and [redacted] and let you get on with your life. So I am going to give you two options that will accomplish that very thing. These two options are to either ignore this letter, or to simply pay me $8,150.

Let’s examine those two options in more detail. 

Threats

Option 1 is to ignore this letter. Let me tell you what will happen if you choose this path. I will take this evidence and send it to everyone in your life, especially [redacted] And as insurance against you intercepting it before she gets it, I will also send copies to her friends, family, associates, and all your neighbors on and around [where you live/redacted]. So even if you decide to come clean to your wife, it won’t protect her from the humiliation she will feel when everyone she knows finds out your sordid details from me. 

Option 2 is to pay me $8,150. We’ll call this my “confidentiality fee.” Now let me tell you what happens if you choose this path. Your secret remains your secret. You go on with your life as though none of this ever happened. Though you may want to do a better job at keep your misdeeds secret in the future. 

“Letter cannot be traced to me”

At this point you may be thinking, “I’ll just go to the cops.” Which is why I have taken steps to ensure this letter cannot be traced back to me. So that won’t help, and it won’t stop the evidence from ruining your life. I’m not looking to break your bank. I just want to be compensated for the time I put into investigating you. 

“Confidentiality fee”

Let’s assume you have decided to make all this go away and pay me the confidentiality fee. In keeping with my strategy to not go to jail, we will not meet in person and there will be no physical exchange of chas. You will pay me anonymously using bitcoin. If you want me to keep your secret, then send $8,150 in BITCOIN to the Receiving Bitcoin Address listed below. Payment MUST be received within 9 days of the postmark date on this letters envelope. If you are not familiar with bitcoin, attached is a “How-To” guide. You will need the below two pieces of information when referencing the guide.”

The letter then goes on to explain exactly how to pay the scammer via Bitcoin.

Don’t be taken in. We’ll update this story when we hear from the LBPD.

 

Bookkeeper charged with defrauding Laguna Beach business owner of over $265,000

On January 22, 2016, Laguna Beach Police Detectives began a grand theft investigation against Nhora Johanna Tellez, a resident of Costa Mesa. The investigation began when a Laguna Beach business owner identified his bookkeeper/office manager, Tellez, as the person who defrauded him of over $80,000 from his marketing business, Laguna Coast Corporation.

Tellez was the bookkeeper and office manager at the victim’s business and had access to the victim’s financial information. It was discovered that Tellez had accessed and changed the login information for all of the victim’s investments and credit card accounts. Tellez created passwords for each online account and notifications of access or fraud to these accounts was rerouted to an email address held by Tellez.

This lengthy investigation revealed that Tellez devised and executed a scheme to defraud and obtain money from Laguna Coast Corporation by gaining the trust of the owner, who allowed her to gain control over the financial accounts. Documents and business records obtained in this investigation were forwarded to the Orange County District Attorney Major Fraud Unit, which, upon further review, determined that Tellez had embezzled approximately $265,390.67. Tellez used the money embezzled from the victim for a variety of personal expenses including veterinarian visits, entertainment expenses, living expenses, and vacations that involved the purchase of airline tickets. Cash advances were also conducted at various ATM’s throughout Orange County. Images of the ATM cash advances were obtained, and Tellez was positively identified as being the individual who completed the fraudulent transactions. To date, none of the embezzled funds have been returned by Tellez to the victim.

On January 24, 2018, Laguna Beach Police Department Detectives arrested Nhora Johanna Tellez in the City of Costa Mesa for California Penal Code 487-Grand Theft.

“This lengthy and time-consuming investigation serves as a reminder that our police department will pursue any individual(s) in positions of trust who take advantage of businesses and innocent victims. We brought in every available resource, including our partners from the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, to ensure that this case would be appropriately investigated, prosecuted, and justice would be served,” said Captain Jeff Calvert, LBPD.


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.


Police Files

What will Laguna do to prepare for future rallies?

Since the rally on Sunday didn’t happen after all – with just a scattering of protesters and counter-protesters wandering around the cobblestones – what will the police department’s strategy be for future possible rallies?

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Lynette Brasfield

All was quiet on the western front on Sunday

How does Laguna strike a balance between costs of preparing, and the need to prepare for possible violence?

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Scott Brashier

Police outnumbered protestors on Sunday

These are difficult questions, and we appreciate all that LBPD does to keep our community safe.

Stu News asked Sgt Jim Cota what the police department’s plans were at this time for the America First rally that is scheduled for Sunday, Oct 22 at Main Beach.

Sgt Cota told Stu News, “We will have the same coverage. This one appears that it will be much larger.”   

It’s an ongoing question. We’d love our readers’ feedback.


Police Files

Graffiti on the rise in Laguna? LBPD says no, but it happens, and if you see it, report it

Walls, trees, you name it, are susceptible to graffiti. Even plants, sometimes. We’ve all seen writing on some of the succulents in Heisler Park.

According to LBPD’s Sgt Jim Cota, these markings are not on the rise in Laguna Beach, despite recent reports, for example of the graffiti at Victoria Beach. 

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Aurora Clabaugh

Recent graffiti at Victoria Beach

However, they want to be sure, as we all do, to keep our town as free of graffiti as possible.

The LBPD suggests that anyone who happens to observe someone in the act of applying graffiti should call the police immediately, but not make any sort of contact with the suspects.

If suspects are caught, they face a misdemeanor vandalism charge (if the damage is under $400). 

If graffiti is seen after the fact, police will ask the reporting party to explain as much information as they can about the case.

Either way, the community is urged to be vigilant to prevent our beautiful beaches and buildings from being vandalized.


Police Files

Man urinates on street, refuses to cooperate with police: Forgets he has a large firecracker in his pants

On Saturday, Feb 10 at 12:52 p.m., on the 1100 block of S Coast Hwy, Randy R Sison, 41, of Mission Viejo, was cited for urinating in public – normally a relatively minor infraction – but he refused to sign the necessary citation. 

“If you don’t sign a citation, you automatically get arrested and go to jail,” LBPD spokesperson Sgt Jim Cota told Stu News.

That’s when things got interesting.

After Sison was taken into custody and prior to entering the jail, officers asked him if he had any contraband on him, otherwise he would be charged with an additional crime.

“Upon booking him, officers found a large firecracker in his possession,” Sgt Cota said.

The firecracker was an M-250, with a fuse three inches long, measuring three quarters of an inch in diameter – that is to say, a large firecracker.

And the large firecracker was in his right front pant pocket.

“I forgot I had it on me,” Sison said, according to LBPD.

Sison was charged with “possession of a dangerous [and illegal] firework or explosive,” in jail with him.

He was transported to Orange County Jail and faces a felony charge.


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.


Fire Files

Fire inside Central restaurant leads to evacuations, business closures

On Friday, Dec 29, at around 3 p.m., a structure fire was reported at Central restaurant at 361 Forest Avenue. Laguna Beach and Newport Beach Fire Departments quickly responded and the area was cordoned off, causing severe traffic congestion for hours. 

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Ellen Coleman-Germano

According to reports, Friday’s fire originated in the walls of Central’s kitchen

At this time, it is not clear as to the exact cause of the fire, but reports coming in to emergency dispatch mentioned that the flames were in the walls of Central’s kitchen. 

Neighboring businesses in the building, including The Vault and the Hudson Salon & Spa were evacuated, and, according to owner of the Hudson Salon, Katrina Martino, power was out for a few hours. 

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Scott Brashier

Firefighters were quickly on the scene

Martino says that the smoke smell took a while to dissipate but thankfully no one was injured, as prompt action by LBFD and NBFD ensured that the fire did not spread.

No closures of businesses due to the fire occurred the next day, except for Central, which will remain closed for a few weeks while repairs take place, according to sources.

Stu News will update this report as more information becomes available.


Police Files

Active shooter exercise proves frighteningly realistic – and effective – involving more than 100 first responders 

This was the scenario developed for the active shooter exercise which took place on Wednesday this week at LCAD: a (fictional) 40-year-old disgruntled male with a fixation on LCAD had been seen on campus a few days prior. He’d posted threats on social media. Now he was endangering the life and safety of students, staff and faculty at the college.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo courtesy LBPD

First responders with guns drawn

How would the police and fire department defuse this active shooter threat? And what aspects of their response might need more practice or adjusting?

These were the reasons for setting up this exercise, expertly put together by Sgt Eric Lee and Jordan Villwock, Emergency Operations Coordinator, who worked hard to gain funding through a grant of 100K from the Urban Area Working Group.

Makeshift blood, gunfire from blank rounds, sirens and fallen victims (actors) made for a realistic and frightening scene, but first responders kept their cool during three tense morning exercises and three afternoon exercises. 

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Photo courtesy LBPD

A bloodied victim is attended to during the exercise

 “This [comprehensive] operation was coordinated by the Police Chief over the course of a year,” said LBPD spokesperson Sgt Jim Cota. “It was motivated by the Columbine event.  Each team was evaluated by evaluators and debriefings were held immediately afterwards.”

Representatives of the Laguna Beach Unified School District as well as police agencies from Irvine, UCI, Newport Beach and Costa Mesa, as well as 40 members of the LBPD were present.

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Photo courtesy LBPD

Policing could be said to be an art form also

City manager John Pietig, the mayor of Laguna Beach and the president of LCAD, Jonathan Burke, either observed or took part – Jonathan Burke playing the role of victim, at his request.

The successful exercise proved another feather in the cap for the LBPD under the leadership of Chief Laura Farinella, who gained tremendous praise in 2017 also for her handling of the America First protest march. She is understandably extremely proud of her officers.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo courtesy LBPD

The successful exercise was another feather in the cap for the LBPD

For further information, contact Public Information Officer Sgt. Jim Cota at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 949-464-6671. 

 

DUI checks planned for today, Jan 12 & Jan 18

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, Jan 12 & Thurs, Jan 18, between the hours of 5 p.m. and 3 a.m. in areas with high frequencies of DUI collisions and/or arrests.

In California, this deadly crime led to 1,155 deaths and nearly 24,000 injuries in 2014 because someone failed to designate a sober driver. Officers will be looking for signs of alcohol and/or drug impairment. When possible, specially trained officers will be available to evaluate those suspected of drug-impaired driving, which now accounts for a growing number of impaired driving crashes.  

Studies of California drivers have shown that 30 percent of drivers in fatal crashes had one or more drugs in their systems. A study of active drivers showed more tested positive for drugs that may impair driving (14 percent) than did for alcohol (7.3 percent). Of the drugs, marijuana was most prevalent, at 7.4 percent, slightly more than alcohol.

Hand over your keys if you’ve had too much to drink

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. Designate a sober driver or call a cab. But whatever you do, don’t drink and drive. The cost of a ride home is cheap! 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

High risk traffic stop leads to million dollar bail, discovery of missing youth

On Saturday, Jan 20 at 2:28 a.m., a white 2018 Toyota Camry reported stolen from Lake Forest was seen heading southbound on Laguna Canyon, about to turn northbound onto Pacific Coast Hwy. LBPD officers pulled the car over on Aster, initiating a high risk traffic stop. 

One by one, starting with the driver, each of the four occupants was ordered out of the vehicle, and then detained. 

As is customary with high risk stops of this kind, officers called for K9 support, but none was available. Fortunately arrests were able to be made without incident.

“The occupants of the car were not aggressive,” said Sgt Cota, LBPD spokesperson.

The driver, Luis Fernando Reynasoto, 18, of Lake Forest, was arrested for possesion of a stolen vehicle, as well as for probation violation, and held without bail. One passenger, Noah Dillon Guerrero, 18, Lake Forest, was arrested on a warrant out of Riverside Court for battery and bail of $1,000,000, as well as for stolen vehicle and for DUI, bail $15,000. 

One juvenile passenger was found to be in possession of 27 Xanax bars. The juvenile had been reported missing. The juvenile was cited and released to a parent. A fourth juvenile passenger was also released. 

 

LBPD releases statement on scam that threatens your life if you don’t pay up: ignore those emails!

In this day and age, [people] have to be aware of the various scams going around. [The LBPD] was recently alerted to a new scam going around involving the use of cryptocurrency. 

Would-be victims are receiving emails from a person claiming to be a hit man (or woman), who tells them they have an order to kill them. In order to save themselves from their impending doom, victims are directed to deposit funds via Bitcoin into an account in order to find out information about who [issued that order]. 

The hitman [offers supposed] learning resources by directing victims to Google information regarding Bitcoins.

Here at the Laguna Beach Police Department, we want you to be aware so as to keep you and your bank accounts safe from hitmen [and con-men].

From the LBPD Facebook page


Interim Fire Chief Kirk Summers reaches the end of his term and the search is on for a new fire chief

Stu News contacted Fire Chief Kirk Summers this morning to ask about a recent vegetation fire – and Chief Summers, responsive as always, let us know the details – but also reminded us that his term is coming to an end in two weeks. Chief Summers, we hardly knew ye! 

The time has gone by so quickly since he was appointed, and we’ve not had any major fires, fortunately, though Chief Summers has presided over a department that has done sterling duty in helping battle the Thomas Fire and other California blazes.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

A great fire engine photo because, why not?

Here’s the deal about the fire last week in Laguna, for starters, at the 2300 block of Hillview Drive. (Arson is not suspected.)

“It was a small fire that had lots of potential,” Chief Summers told us. “Our guys jumped on it hard and kept it small. Captain Maxon and the first arriving crew of Engine 3 did a great job knocking down the fire.  The cause of the fire is undetermined at this point.

“It was nice to get some rain a couple of weeks ago but with the warm, dry weather we have been experiencing, we are right back in to fire season (still beats Chicago!),” Summers added. “Our residents need to use the same degree of caution that they would in August or September. Even in the absence of a severe wind, a slope driven fire in one of our canyons could cause great damage.  Our residents need to keep fire safety in mind all year round and keep native vegetation cut back and ornamental vegetation trimmed and well-watered.”

We hear you, Chief. But what’s up with you, we asked? And who will succeed you?

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Lynette Brasfield

Interim Fire Chief Kirk Summers

“All is good here. I am wrapping up my last couple of weeks here at LBFD. I am teaching an Incident Command class next week at the County EOC and then the week of the 12-15, that will be it! Then back to retirement for a while…I keep saying that.”

Stu News called City Manager John Pietig to find out how the search for a new fire chief is going. He tells us that since Feb 15 is Chief Summers’ last day, plans are already in place for Division Chief Tom Christopher to serve as interim chief until an appointment is made. Christopher will handle the day-to-day fire chief responsibilities until a permanent fire chief comes on board.

“We are still reviewing the final candidates and it’s going to be a month or so before we are able to make an announcement,” Pietig said.

We wish Chief Summers all the best for his retirement, though we suspect this will be another short retirement for this dedicated firefighter.

--Lynette Brasfield


LBPD gather to honor fallen officers during annual ceremony

By BARBARA DIAMOND

Laguna Beach Motorcycle Officer Jon Coutchie died in a traffic accident in 2013 while tracking a reported erratic driver.

Officer Gordon French was shot in 1953 by Carl Miller, who was being booked on suspicion of check kiting, and he died on the trip to Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach. 

Both officers were honored at the Remembrance and Flag Folding Ceremony, held annually on Sept. 21, the anniversary of Coutchie’s death, in front of the police memorial, “Eternal Legacy.” 

“A memorial wasn’t erected in Gordon French’s honor (at the time of his death), but because of his sacrifice, something more important took place,” said former Police Chief Paul Workman. 

Recognizing that French’s life might have been saved if medical care had been closer, the community rallied to raise the funds to build South Coast Community Hospital, which opened its doors in 1959, the first hospital in South Orange County, now an affiliate of Mission Hospital.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Sande St. John

LBPD gather outside the police station to honor fallen officers

French was 49 when he died, widowing his wife and leaving his two children fatherless. 

“It is the sacrifice of officers in past years, like Gordon, who so often have saved the lives of officers today,” said Workman.

 Training has vastly improved, Workman said 

In 1965, academy classes lasted two weeks. When Workman joined the force in 1975, graduation took 11 weeks. Now, it takes six months.

“Today, we do everything possible to teach young officers how to avoid placing themselves in harm’s way,” said Workman.

Sometimes training doesn’t help. 

Jon Coutchie’s life was cut far too short, but it was a life well-lived, said Police Capt. Jeff Calvert, Master of Ceremonies and chronicler of Coutchie’s life.  He never flinched from the duty, but it wasn’t as easy as he made it look.

Officer Jon Coutchie

Calvert spoke touchingly of Coutchie. Who better? The two had been friends since high school and it was Calvert who urged Coutchie to join the department after he was discharged from the U. S. Army.

“I knew Jon would love being a police officer because he lived by the same core values that police officers are sworn to uphold,” said Calvert. 

Coutchie, with four tours of duty as a Ranger in the mid-east under his belt, aced the Police Academy course in 2009 and established himself in Laguna’s department, as an officer and a comrade.

“Jon didn’t have children, so he would always volunteer to work shifts on Thanksgiving and Christmas for officers who did have children.” Calvert said.

However, he also served as instructor in firearms and defensive tactics and was selected to become a motorcycle officer. 

“I like to think of Jon at rest in heaven and vigilantly watching over his Laguna Beach team, his Ranger team, his family and his friends.” said Calvert.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Sande St. John

Matt Rolfe, firefighter second time performing, first was for 911 event; John Falk, retired LBPD the very first time performing on drums; and Davy Lopez, bagpiper/firefighter engineer. Facing away from the camera, Derek St. John former director, Laguna Club for Kids

Calvert praised the Laguna Beach residents who stepped up to support the “grieving and deeply wounded department” after Coutchie’s death. 

“The construction of our police memorial, ‘Eternal Legacy,’ wouldn’t have been possible without the unwavering commitment of our community, the Police Employees Assn., the City Council, City Manager John Pietig, Cultural Arts Manager Sian Poeschl, and artists Gerard Stripling and Michele Taylor,” Calvert said.

Calvert concluded by introducing department Honor Guard Sgt. Dave MacGill, who presented a ceremonially lowered and folded flag to Captain Jason Kravetz, in recognition of his nearly 30 years of dedicated service to Laguna Beach. 

Kravetz was speechless.

“Everybody knows I am a crybaby,” Kravetz choked out, before his throat completely tightened. It was okay. 

The annual ceremony brought tears to the eyes of more than a few folks in the audience, as they, Mayor Toni Iseman, Police Chief Laura Farinella and solemn police officers, firefighters and lifeguards placed white roses at the foot of the memorial to fallen officers.

Hard to forget.


Police Files

Laguna Beach man sustains critical injuries after crash early Thursday

On Thanksgiving morning at 1:16 a.m., callers reported hearing a crash in the area of Park Avenue and Tahiti Avenue.

“A single vehicle reportedly drove off the hillside and rolled several times,” said Sgt. Cota, LBPD spokesperson. “The driver was ejected from the vehicle at some point.”

A helicopter was called in to extract the driver, a Laguna Beach man in his 20s, from the bottom of the ravine. He was taken to the hospital with critical injuries.


Police Files

Accused dealer is caught with lots of drugs and baggies, and she’s only 19

On Saturday, Jan 20, Laguna Beach police officers made a vehicle stop at 2:24 p.m. in the 600 block of South Coast Highway. The officers contacted the driver, Alexis Lynn Fukaye, 19, of Fountain Valley, when they noticed a smell of marijuana coming from her car, a black Toyota Scion.

Upon searching the vehicle, over 13 ounces of packaged marijuana (374.87 grams), 201 Xanax bars, 16 Lorazepam pills, marijuana paraphernalia, and other individual prescription pills were confiscated. According to LBPD’s Sgt Jim Cota, Fukaye claimed that she worked for a marijuana dispensary, “but could not provide details about her employer”. About $715 was confiscated from the vehicle as well.

When asked to clarify California’s marijuana laws, Sgt Cota explained: “Possession of marijuana at your house and on your person is legal as long as its under the specified amount. Possession of marijuana for sales is not legal.” Cota further explained that in this case, the presence of “around 100 Ziploc baggies” in the car was one of the key factors in determining that Fukaya intended to sell the drugs.

Fukaye was arrested for possession of marijuana for sales, and for possession of a designated substance (Xanax) for sales. Her bail was set at $25,000.


Incident Reports

Tuesday, March 27

Ceanothus Drive | 31300 Block | Petty Theft

9:18 p.m. The RP stated that he left his wallet in the staff office of a sober living home, and when he went to retrieve it the next morning, it was gone.

Northbound State Hwy 73 & Laguna Canyon Road | DUI & Drugs

6:33 p.m. According to a cell caller, the subject almost hit another vehicle during an attempted lane change. The RP also reported that the subject’s eyes seemed to be closed as they were attempting to drive. At the 650 Block of Laguna Canyon Road, officers pulled the car over and initiated a DUI inspection. John Trent Suveges, 29, Huntington Beach, was arrested for driving while under the influence of drugs with one prior, which raised the bail to $10,000. Suveges was also arrested for possession of a controlled substance (heroin and hydrocodone).

Cypress Drive | 200 Block | Harassment

5:15 p.m. A woman came to the police department to report that an ex-boyfriend whom she had broken up with in February was sending annoying text messages.

Monday, March 26

Forest Avenue | 200 Block | Grand Theft

6:19 p.m. After having placed a box of clothes at the rear door of the business’s location earlier the same day, the RP noticed during closing operations that the box had been stolen. There were no security cameras outside where the incident was said to have occurred.

Shadow Lane | Shadow Lane | Animal Calls

5:51 p.m. The RP reported that an 80-pound dog bit him, leaving his leg brown and black.

Florence Avenue | 31600 | Animal Calls

5:20 p.m. The RP stated that a feral cat bit them.

Sunday, March 25

Coast Hwy | Coast Hwy | Drunk in Public

8:01 p.m. A 55-year-old man from Laguna Beach was arrested for being drunk in public. Earlier in the day, the individual was cited for urinating in public. 

Coast Hwy | 31000 Block | Drunk in Public

12:50 p.m. A 70-year-old man from Laguna Beach was arrested for being drunk in public.

Saint Ann’s Drive | 200 Block | Probation Violation

11 a.m. Joseph Craig Hogsten, 31, Laguna Beach, was arrested for violating parole. The subject had been convicted of an assault with a deadly weapon charge, and was ordered by the court to stay 100 yards away from the victim.

Legion & South Coast Hwy | DUI

1:04 a.m. A 61 year-old woman from Irvine was arrested for DUI. Bail was set at $2,500.

Broadway & Coast Hwy | Driving on a Suspended License, Drugs, Parole Violation

1:22 a.m. Joseph Leon Malabicky II was arrested for driving on a suspended license, for being in possession of narcotics, and for a parole violation. No bail was set. His passenger was also arrested for being drunk in public.


Incident Reports

Sunday, March 25

Broadway Street | Drunk in Public

2:30 a.m. A 23-year-old man from Laguna Beach was arrested for being drunk in public.

Broadway Street | Driving With a Suspended License, Drugs, Parole Hold

1:22 a.m. Joseph Leon Malabicky III, 26, Huntington Beach, was arrested for driving with a suspended license, for possession of a controlled substance, and for a parole hold.

Legion Street & S. Coast Hwy | DUI

1:04 a.m. A 61-year-old woman from Irvine was arrested for DUI. Bail was set at $2,500.

Saturday, March 24

Cress Street & S. Coast Hwy | DUI

6:35 p.m. A 23-year-old woman from Aliso Viejo was arrested for DUI. Bail was set at $2,500.

Coast Hwy | 30800 Block | Vehicle Burglary

6:34 p.m. Two wallets, a cell phone, and other miscellaneous items were taken from a locked white Honda Pilot.

Broadway Street | 300 Block | Warrant

3:50 p.m. A 59-year-old woman with no fixed address was arrested on a Harbor Court warrant.

S. Coast Hwy | 400 Block | Vandalism

8 a.m. The RP, who had been working at the location, noticed that 10 glass lights were cut, and that it looked as if someone had tried taking them. The total loss was approximately $100.

Laguna Canyon Road | 20400 Block | Trespassing

3:29 a.m. The RP stated that a man had been standing in front of the property off and on all night.

Laguna Canyon Road | 200 Block | Drunk in Public

1:36 a.m. A 22-year-old man from Mission Viejo was arrested for being drunk in public.

Pearl Street & S. Coast Hwy | Drugs

12:55 a.m. Ryan David Longoria, 27, Santa Ana, was arrested for being in possession of a controlled substance, and for being in possession of drug paraphernalia.

S. Coast Hwy | 400 Block | Petty Theft

12:31 a.m. The RP’s wallet with cash and cards inside was taken 20 minutes prior.

Ocean Avenue | 200 Block | Drunk in Public

12:16 a.m. A 23-year-old man from Mission Viejo was arrested for being drunk in public.

Friday, March 23

Ocean Avenue | 200 Block | Drunk in Public

11:49 p.m. A 21-year-old man from Mission Viejo was arrested for being drunk in public.

S. Coast Hwy | 600 Block | False Impersonation, Vehicle Registration

7:15 p.m. Onofre Rodriguez, 52, Lynwood, was arrested for false impersonation. Bail was set at $20,000. The individual was also arrested for vehicle registration.

Forest Avenue | 500 Block | Fraud

1:26 p.m. The RP stated that on May 10 she was going to rent a property, and had deposited $1,850 to the alleged property owner. However, the RP had not heard back from them.

Laguna Avenue & S. Coast Hwy | Robbery

9:44 a.m. The RP stated that a man stole his skateboard deck, and had also tried to steal his backpack. 

S. Coast Hwy | 100 Block | Drunk in Public

2:48 a.m. A 29-year-old man from Hesperia was arrested for being drunk in public.

Brooks & S. Coast Hwy | Drunk in Public

2:01 a.m. A 23-year-old man from Laguna Beach was arrested for being drunk in public.

Thursday, March 22

Sunset & Coast Hwy | Drugs

10:54 p.m. A 33-year-old man from Virginia was arrested for being under the influence of a controlled substance, and for being in possession of a controlled substance.

Forest Avenue | 200 Block | Drunk in Public

10:25 p.m. A 36-year-old man from Anaheim was arrested for being drunk in public.

S. Coast Hwy | S. Coast Hwy | Indecent Exposure

5:46 p.m. The RP stated that a naked man in his 40s was running around, only wearing a baseball hat, and some shoes.

Broadway Street | 300 Block | Resisting an Officer

10:48 a.m. Ruben Cuvas III, 35, Santa Ana, was arrested for resisting an officer.

S. Coast Hwy | 1200 Block | Drunk in Public

12:55 a.m. A 22-year-old woman from Laguna Beach was arrested for being drunk in public.

Wednesday, March 21

Ocean Vista Drive | 21700 Block | Grand Theft

4:39 p.m. The RP stated that an unknown party had entered into her house and stole approximately $13,800 in jewelry.

Lagunita Drive | Fraud

1:39 p.m. The RP stated that checks had been written using their name.

Coast Hwy | 31800 Block | Fraud

12:33 p.m. The RP stated that they had received a fraudulent check for $2,900 more than the asking price for an item that they had posted for sale on Craigslist.

Coast Hwy | 31800 Block | Petty Theft

12:05 p.m. The RP stated that someone had taken an ID, a credit card, and their social security card from their unlocked vehicle. The incident was said to have occurred on March 20 sometime during the night.

Forest Avenue | 500 Block | Warrant

11:49 a.m. Susan Elizabeth Hallock, 49, Orange, was arrested on a Harbor Court warrant.

Forest Avenue | 500 Block | Theft

11:36 a.m. The RP stated that an Uber driver had stolen their phone, credit card, and some IDs on Sunday at around midnight. The RP had the information on the driver, as well as on the vehicle.

S. Coast Hwy | 100 Block | Warrant

9:43 a.m. Victor Medrano, 58, Costa Mesa, was arrested on a Harbor Court warrant.


Incident Reports

Sunday, April 8

S. Coast Coast Hwy | 400 Block | Challenging to Fight, False ID, Probation Violation

10:14 p.m. Officers responded to the front of Skyloft to reports of an intoxicated man refusing to leave and challenging security personnel to fight. A private person’s arrest was requested by the doorman. According to LBPD, the suspect gave a false name to officers. Once his real name was discovered, it was learned he was on probation. Matthew John Ehlen, 35, Lake Elsinore, was arrested for challenging to fight in a public place, providing false identification to a peace officer, and violation of probation, a felony. No bail was set.

Cliff Drive & Jasmine Street | DUI

6:47 p.m. Juanita Irene Uranga, 27, Laguna Niguel, was arrested on suspicion of DUI. Bail was set at $15,000.

S. Coast Hwy | 800 Block | Vandalism

5:14 p.m. A sighting of vandalism was reported.

Glenneyre Street | 1700 Block | Fraud

10:18 a.m. An incident of fraud was reported.

Cress Street & S. Coast Hwy | Hazardous Condition

7:46 a.m. A sewage spill was reported occurring at the location.

Bushard Street & Warner Avenue | K-9 Event

2:14 a.m. LBPD’s K-9 unit was called in to assist with another department.

Laguna Canyon Road | 21052 Laguna Canyon Road | DUI, Warrants

12:55 a.m. David Roman, 26, Santa Ana, was arrested on suspicion of DUI, and for two misdemeanor bench warrants. According to LBPD, bail was set at $15,000 and $10,000.

S. Coast Hwy & Ruby Street | Felony DUI

12:22 a.m. LBPD and LBFD responded to a report of a rollover traffic collision. According to LBPD Spokesperson Sgt Jim Cota, “Emergency personnel arrived and found that a southbound Acura Integra had sideswiped a legally parked BMW 528i. The Acura then rolled over and struck a utility pole. The Acura’s passenger sustained cuts and abrasions and was transported to the hospital for treatment. The driver, Irvine resident Mahyar Abdollahi, was arrested for felony DUI.”

Saturday, April 7

N. Coast Hwy | 100 Block | Warrant

11:56 a.m. Joseph Edward Flamm, 50, Newport Beach, was arrested for an OC warrant. Bail was set at $1,000.

Forest Avenue | 200 Block | Drunk in Public

9:12 p.m. A 28-year-old woman from Aliso Viejo was arrested for being drunk in public.

Forest Avenue | 500 Block | Stolen Vehicle

8:13 p.m. A Black Chrysler 300 was reported stolen. According to LBPD, it was determined that a named suspect took the vehicle without permission.

Bluff Drive | 31500 Block | Petty Theft

5:45 p.m. A petty theft report was placed.

Laguna Canyon Road | 2100 Block | Traffic Collision

4:35 p.m. A traffic collision occurred at the location, resulting in injuries.

Ocean Front | 700 Block | Indecent Exposure, Possession of Alcohol

3:26 p.m. Reports were made of a topless female in public with alcohol around her. According to police, the suspect put her top back on as officers arrived. The 51-year-old Laguna Beach woman was cited for indecent exposure and possession of alcohol.

Glenneyre Street | 500 Block | DUI

2:12 a.m. A 23-year-old woman from San Clemente was arrested for DUI. Bail set at $2,500.

N. Coast Hwy | Drunk in Public

1:41 a.m. A 32-year-old man from Santa Ana was arrested for being drunk in public.

Friday, April 6

N. Coast Hwy & Broadway Street | Possession of Narcotic Controlled Substance, License Suspended/Revoked

9:51 p.m. Dustin Paul Adams, 31, Salt Lake City, was arrested for possession of a narcotic controlled substance and driving with a suspended/revoked license. According to Sgt Cota, inside the vehicle officers located Suboxone without a prescription belonging to the suspect.

Laguna Canyon Road | 20600 Block | Battery

7:41 p.m. Amir Mozafari, 56, Laguna Beach, was arrested for battery. Bail was set at $500.

Cliff Drive | 300 Block | Trespassing on Posted Land/Refusing to Leave

3:31 p.m. LBPD responded to reports of a man trespassing at Las Brisas. According to the RP, he was refusing to leave after bothering customers and appearing to be under the influence of alcohol/drugs. The suspect, a 27-year-old man from San Juan Capistrano, was placed under arrest (a citizens arrest) for trespassing.

Blue Lagoon & Coast Hwy | Traffic Collision

1:11 p.m. A traffic collision with injuries was reported at the location.

Thursday, April 5

Broadway Street | Possession of Controlled Substance, Possession of Controlled Substance Paraphernalia

11:07 p.m. Melvin Franklin Harris, 31, Laguna Beach, was arrested for being in possession of a controlled substance, for being under the influence of a controlled substance, and for possession of drug paraphernalia.

Acacia Drive & Cedar Way | Hazardous Conditions

2:30 p.m. A report of wires down was reported. 

Castle Rock | 20900 Block | Fraud

1:53 p.m. A report of fraud was reported.

Coast Hwy | 31900 Block | Indecent Exposure

1:16 p.m. Officers responded to Thousand Steps Beach to indecent exposure reports. A 27-year-old Auburn, WA man was placed under arrest (a citizens arrest).

Forest Avenue | 500 Block | Fraud

10:34 a.m. City Hall was contacted regarding a fraudulent check that was returned back to the city. A report of the incident is still pending.

S. Coast Hwy | 2400 Block | Burglary

1:21 p.m. An incident of burglary was reported to have occurred at the location.

Chiquita Street | 200 Block | Fraud

12:24 p.m. An incident of fraud was reported to have occurred at the location.

Glenneyre Street | 300 Block | Petty Theft

8:16 a.m. An incident of petty theft was reported to have occurred at the location.

Laguna Canyon Road | 20600 Block | Warrant, Possession of a Controlled Substance

4:04 a.m. Eric Joshua Phillips, 28, Laguna Beach, was arrested for being in possession of methamphetamines, for being drunk in public, and on an Orange County warrant.


Incident Reports

Tuesday, March 20

South Main Beach | Warrant

9:21 p.m. A 28-year-old man with no fixed address was arrested on an Orange County warrant.

N. Coast Hwy | 200 Block | Trespassing, Drugs, Probation Violation

3:26 p.m. James Eugene Leis, 28, Laguna Beach, was arrested for trespassing, for possession of a controlled substance, for being in possession of drug paraphernalia, and for violating parole. No bail was set.

Shady Place | 28800 Block | Vandalism

8:33 a.m.The RP stated that her car had been broken into twice within the last week, but that no loss had occurred.

Monday, March 19

Laguna Canyon Road | 600 Block | Hit and Run

9:06 p.m. A 19-year-old Beaumont man was arrested for a misdemeanor hit and run.

S. Coast Hwy | 400 Block | Fraud

2:14 p.m. It was advised that the woman at the business was attempting to use what appeared to be fraudulent traveler’s checks. No other calls received from any other businesses were reported.

Stonington Road | Vandalism

2:09 p.m. The RP stated that a neighbor was being verbally disruptive, and then shook her fence, causing the fence to crack.

Coast Hwy | 31100 Block | DUI, Drugs

1:13 p.m. The RP stated that a subject was hitting the curb in the parking lot at the location. A 22-year-old Wisconsin man was arrested for DUI, as well as for being in possession of less than 28.5 grams of cannabis.

N. Coast Hwy | 600 Block | Warrant

7:20 a.m. Gregory Scott Raia, 55, Laguna Beach, was arrested on a Harbor Court warrant.

Sunday, March 18

VDS & Coast Hwy | DUI

8:35 p.m. A 28-year-old man from Irvine was arrested for DUI. Bail was set at $2,500.

Oak & S. Coast Hwy | Drunk in Public

7:38 p.m. A 64 year old man from Laguna Beach was arrested for being drunk in public.

N. Coast Hwy | 1300 Block | Probation Violation, Resisting Arrest

7:59 a.m. A 29-year-old Whitter man was arrested on a probation violation, as well as for resisting arrest. No bail was set.

 

UPDATE: Last month, the police log indicated that Barbara Lynn had been arrested for suspicion of DUI on February 9. We want to update this story because while we always say there is a presumption of innocence with Police Beat entries, in this case she is actually innocent. Testing, subsequent to the arrest, proved that she was not guilty of the offense.


Incident Reports

Thursday, April 12

San Tropez | 200 Block | Vandalism

2:28 a.m. An incident of vandalism was reported.

Wednesday, April 11

Glenneyre St | Glenneyre Street & Saint Ann’s Drive | Battery

9:50 p.m. An incident of battery was reported.

Nellie Gail Rd | 2700 Block| Laguna Hills | Burglary & Conspiracy to Commit a Crime

1:26 p.m. Detectives arrested two subjects out of Laguna Hills in connection with a trespass and attempted burglary that occurred on April 3 in the 2400 Block of South Coast Highway. Devin Flaherty, 18, Laguna Hills, and Cade Everett Harris, 19, Laguna Hills, were both arrested on a felony charge for burglary, as well as for conspiracy to commit a crime. Flaherty had additional charges added for being in possession of burglary tools.

S. Coast Hwy & Nyes Place | Stolen Vehicle

1:08 p.m. A vehicle that was reported stolen was seen near the location.

N. Coast Hwy & Myrtle Street | Traffic Collision

1:01 p.m. A traffic collision was reported to have happened near the location.

Rembrandt Drive | 700 Block | Fraud

12:45 p.m. An incident of fraud was reported.

N. Coast Hwy | 400 Block | Verbal Threats

11:57 a.m. Verbal threats were reported after a customer reportedly was unhappy with a tattoo and wanted his money back.

Tuesday, April 10

Coast Hwy | 30800 Block | Domestic Violence with Minor Injury

9:23 p.m. Jesse Wayne Diaz, 44, Yucaipa, was arrested for domestic violence with minor injury, as well as an outstanding Riverside County warrant for child endangerment. Bail was set at $50,000.

Wesley Drive & Coast Hwy | Warrant

9:16 p.m. Anthony Pete Herrera, 52, San Juan Capistrano, was arrested on a misdemeanor bench warrant.

S. Coast Hwy & Nyes Place | Traffic Collision

7:25 p.m. A traffic collision was reported to have occurred at the location.

N. Coast Hwy | 1300 Block | Driving without Registration, Suspended License, Warrants

Ivan Zambrano, 28, Santa Ana, was arrested for driving without registration, for driving with a suspended license, and for three misdemeanor bench warrants.

Glenneyre Street | 300 Block | Trespassing

2:08 p.m. A 52-year-old California resident was arrested for trespassing and sleeping on the Laguna Beach Library property.

Forest Avenue & Beach Street | Solicitation

1:29 p.m. An incident of solicitation was reported.

N. Coast Hwy | 1300 Block | Traffic Collision

11:26 a.m. A traffic collision with injuries was reported.

Coast Hwy | 3100 Block | Warrant

9:54 a.m. Mark Sean Donahey, 41, Corona, was arrested on a bench warrant.

Laguna Canyon Road | 2500 Block | Hazardous Condition

9:47 a.m. A hazardous condition involving a spill of either gasoline, fuel, or oil, was reported.

S. Coast Hwy | 300 Block | Warrants

12:11 a.m. Louis Richard Lindsay, 33, Santa Ana, was arrested on two misdemeanor bench warrants.

Monday, April 9

Coast Hwy | 31100 Block | Fireworks Discharged

8:23 p.m. Statements of fireworks being discharged were reported. Responding officers were unable to locate the perpetrators of the incident.

 Laguna Canyon Road | 20600 Block | Trespassing

7:35 p.m. Daniel William Delrosario, 25, Laguna Beach, was arrested for trespassing, as well as for violating probation. No bail was set.

S. Coast Hwy | 100 Block | Open Container

3:23 p.m. A 38-year-old Laguna Beach man was cited for having an open container of alcohol.

Temple Hills Drive | 100 Block | Domestic Violence with Minor Injury

1:10 p.m. Charles Jerome Hawkins, 56, Laguna Beach, was arrested for domestic violence with minor injury. Bail was set at $50,000.

Laguna Canyon Road | 20500 Block | Thrown Objects at/from a Vehicle

1:03 p.m. Objects were said to have been thrown at or from a vehicle.


Incident Reports

Wednesday, April 4

Glenneyre Street | 300 Block | Petty Theft

8:16 a.m. A cell phone was reported to have either been lost or stolen at the library. Details of the cell phone were not made available by the RP.

Ledroit Street | Sexual Battery

11:45 p.m. An incident of sexual battery was said to have taken place. An investigation into the incident is currently underway.

Wave Street | 200 Block | Fraud

2:59 p.m. A report was taken regarding an instance of fraud.

S. Coast Hwy | 200 Block | Drunk in Public

4:22 p.m. A 64-year-old man from Laguna Beach was arrested for being drunk in public.

Tuesday, April 3

Laguna Canyon Road | 20600 Block | Trespassing

4:01 p.m. Police on foot patrol arrested Jonah Boehmer Castaneda, 24, Laguna Beach, for misdemeanor trespassing. Bail was set at $500.

Laguna Avenue | 200 Block | Traffic Control

3:59 p.m. It was necessary for the LBPD to conduct traffic control at the location.

Glenneyre Street | 300 Block | Disturbance, Disorderly Person

3:43 p.m. A report was placed about an individual disturbing the peace.

Catalina Street | 200 Block | Stolen Vehicle

2:33 p.m. There was a report made of a stolen vehicle last being seen at the location.

Oak Street | 500 Block | Fraud

2:23 p.m. The RP stated that they had received an email from Apple.com confirming a purchase of an Apple iMac for $1,190.17. The iMac was purchased using an American Express associated to the RP’s Apple ID account.

N. Coast Hwy | 600 Block | Health and Safety

1:33 p.m. A report of a possible health and safety code violation was placed.

Paseo De Valencia, Laguna Hills | 24500 Block | Detective Activity

11:31 a.m. LBPD’s detective unit was conducting work at the location.

Coast Hwy | Sexual Battery

10:41 p.m. An incident of sexual battery was said to have taken place. An investigation into the incident is currently underway.

Canyon View Drive | 600 Block | Battery

9:41 a.m. An officer responded to the 500 block of Thalia Street in order to meet with the RP, a US postal worker, who stated that a construction truck driver yelled obscenities at her and pushed her, after she advised the man to not park in front of mailboxes in the future. The incident was documented, but no further investigation was desired.

S. Coast Hwy | 100 Block | Warrant

9:04 a.m. Officers were looking into a violation of the city’s no smoking policy, when Perry Edward, 30, of Bloomingdale, Illinois, was arrested on a felony bench warrant.

S. Coast Hwy | 100 Block | Disorderly Person, Disturbance

8:36 a.m. A report was placed about an individual disturbing the peace.

Monday, April 2

Cortez & La Mirada | Battery

8:18 p.m. An incident of battery was reported to have taken place.

Broadway Street | 400 Block | Warrant

5:47 p.m. After officers pulled over a vehicle for a seatbelt violation, Rashed Kaasem, 21, Corona, was arrested on outstanding San Bernardino warrant for reckless driving. Bail was set at $50,000).

Coast Hwy & 3rd Avenue | Warrant

4:12 p.m. After being pulled over for a traffic stop due to having expired registration tags from February displayed, a further search was conducted which led to the subject’s arrest. Robert Lee Scott, 31, Corona, was arrested on an outstanding Orange County warrant for possession of marijuana. Bail was set at $2,500.

Park Avenue | 2500 Block | Grand Theft

3:33 p.m. An incident of grand theft was reported by the RP.

N. Coast Hwy | 100 Block | Vandalism

2:12 p.m. The RP stated that an incident of vandalism had occurred.

S. Coast Hwy | 100 Block | Petty Theft

10:18 a.m. An incident of petty theft was reported to have taken place.


Incident Reports

Sunday, April 1

Laguna Canyon Road | 600 Block | DUI

9:27 p.m. A 53-year-old man from Los Angeles was arrested for DUI. Bail was set at $2,500.

Canyon Acres Drive & Laguna Canyon Road | DUI

12:32 a.m. A 36-year-old man from Anaheim was arrested for DUI. Bail was set at $2,500.

Gaviota Drive | 1200 Block | Warrant

12:53 a.m. David Charles Edgar, 22, of Rancho Santa Margarita, was arrested on a Harbor court warrant for DUI, as well as for driving without a license.

S. Coast Hwy| 400 Block | Battery, Drunk in Public

1:02 a.m. Amy Cristine Salgan, Illinois, 34, was arrested for committing battery on a person, reportedly punching a bouncer in the face. She was also arrested for being drunk in public.

Brooks Street | 100 Block | Drunk in Public

1:53 a.m. A 31-year old from Santa Fe Springs was arrested for being drunk in public.

Brooks Street | 200 Block | Drunk in Public

2:17 a.m. A 31-year old man from Santee and a 37-year-old man from Laguna Beach were both arrested for being drunk in public.

Saturday, March 31

El Moro Canyon Road & Coast Hwy |Drugs

9:19 p.m. Thomas Edward Stewart, 59, of Anaheim, was arrested for being in possession of a controlled substance.

S. Coast Hwy | 100 Block | Indecent Exposure

2:32 p.m. An incident of indecent exposure was reported.

Broadway Street | 200 Block | Shoplifting

12:37 p.m. Juarin Dean Renner, 27, Tennessee, was arrested for shoplifting. The subject reportedly attempted to steal a bottle of champagne from Whole Foods.

Locust Street | 300 Block | Vehicle Burglary

9:23 a.m. A vehicle burglary was reported.

Wave Street & N. Coast Hwy | Probation Violation

3:12: a.m. Katie Lynn Ahlen, 29, Los Angeles, was arrested on a Los Angeles probation violation warrant. No bail was issued.

Wave Street & N. Coast Hwy | Drugs

3:12 a.m. Valerie Susan Franz, 30, Long Beach, was arrested for being in possession of drug paraphernalia, as well as for being in possession of a controlled substance.

S. Coast Hwy | 100 Block | DUI

2:35 a.m. A 34-year-old man from Laguna Beach was arrested for DUI. Bail was set at $2,500.

Park Avenue & Glenneyre Street | Warrant, DUI 

1:53 a.m. Anthony Sanchez, 24, Anaheim, was arrested on a bench warrant. A 24-year-old woman from Anaheim was arrested for DUI.

Canyon Acres & Laguna Canyon Road | DUI

1:52 a.m. A 47-year-old man from Mission Viejo was arrested for DUI. Bail was set at $2,500.

Glenneyre Street & Brooks Street | DUI

1:52 a.m.A 40-year-old woman from Laguna Niguel was arrested for DUI. Bail was set at $2,500.

Friday, March 30

Sleepy Hollow Lane & S. Coast Hwy| DUI

11:51 p.m. A 63-year-old man from Newport Beach was arrested for DUI. Bail was set at $2,500.

N. Coast Hwy | 600 Block| Warrant

8:17 p.m. Timothy David Yale, 55, Laguna Beach, was arrested on a warrant for driving with a suspended license.

Forest Avenue | 400 Block | Drunk in Public, Illegal Lodging, Loitering, Refusing to Give ID

5:35 p.m. Renan Yvette Gray, 67, Long Beach, was arrested on charges related to being drunk in public, disorderly conduct, loitering, illegal lodging, and refusing to provide ID.

Coast Hwy | 31800 Block| Warrant

8:34 a.m.Christine Lidnsey Frost, 30, Mission Viejo, was arrested on a bench warrant.

Mountain Road & S. Coast Hwy | Warrant

1:15 a.m. Jose Manuel Rodriguez, 22, Pasadena, was arrested on a bench warrant.

Thursday, March 29

Broadway Street | 300 block | Restraining Order Violation

7:58 p.m. David Mark Crossno, 61, Laguna Beach, was arrested on a restraining order violation.

S. Coast Hwy | 100 Block | Brandishing a Weapon

1:53 p.m. Claude Merchant, 59, Laguna Beach, was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon with great bodily injury likely, a felony. The suspect reportedly brandished a knife. Bail was set at $25,000.

Ledroit | 300 Block| Warrant

12:30 p.m. Angel Popoca Bara, 30, Santa Ana, was arrested on a Central Court warrant for three different driving law violations.

Calliope Street | 200 Block | Resisting Arrest, Drugs

10:41 a.m. Nancy Sandoval, 30, San Bernardino, was arrested for being in possession of a controlled substance, as well as for resisting an officer.

Cleo Street | 200 Block | Probation Violation, Possession of Burglary Tools

9:39 a.m. Honore Gordon Hess, 34, Huntington Beach, was arrested for violating probation, as well as for possession of burglary tools.

N. Coast Hwy | 600 Block |  Drunk in Public

8:45 a.m. A 70-year-old man from Laguna Beach was arrested for being drunk in public.

Wednesday, March 28

N. Coast Hwy | 600 Block | Petty Theft

4:40 p.m. An incident of petty theft was reported.

Coast Hwy | 30800 Block | Brandishing a Weapon

4:24 p.m. The RP stated that an individual was brandishing a weapon at the location.

Pinecrest Drive| 300 Block | Petty Theft

2:12 p.m. An incident of petty theft was reported.

Goff Street | 500 Block | Petty Theft

1:33 p.m. An incident of petty theft was reported.

High Drive | 100 Block | Vandalism

1:05 p.m. Vandalism was spotted at the location.

N. Coast Hwy | 600 Block | | Petty Theft

11:25 a.m. An incident of petty theft was reported.

Lookout Drive | 300 Block | Burglary, Vehicle

10:55 a.m. An incident of vehicle burglary was reported. It was unknown whether or not the vehicle was locked at the time of the incident.

S. Coast Hwy | 500 Block |  Burglary, Vehicle

10:33 a.m. A car burglary was reported. It was unknown whether or not the vehicle was locked at the time of the incident.

Algarrobo | 5300 Block | Animal Call/ Bite

09:29 a.m. The RP reported an animal bite.

Coast Hwy & Aliso Circle | Stolen Vehicle

7:20 a.m. A stolen vehicle was last seen at the location.


Incident Reports

Sunday, April 15

El Toro Road & Laguna Canyon Road | DUI

1 a.m. Marcus Deshane Shelby, 48, Irvine, was arrested on suspicion of DUI. Bail was set at $10,000.

S. Coast Hwy | 100 Block | Sexual Battery

1:38 a.m. An incident of sexual battery was reported.

N. Coast Hwy | 100 Block | Battery

12:18 a.m. An incident of battery was reported.

Cress Street & S. Coast Hwy | Warrant

11:40 p.m. Melaina Kaitlyn Espinosa, 25, Irvine, was arrested on a misdemeanor bench warrant. Bail was set at $1,500.

Saturday, April 14

S. Coast Hwy | 400 Block | Assault, Warrant

11:15 p.m. According to LBPD Spokesperson Sgt Jim Cota, officers were dispatched to Skyloft in reference to a battery investigation. The female suspect was identified as Jihane Guettar, 36, of Quebec, Canada. She reportedly struck a male customer inside the bar area, and then, as she was being escorted out by security staff, struck one of the Skyloft employees in the face. The male customer was not desirous of prosecution, however the Skyloft employee was. Guettar was taken into custody for battery. Her bail was set at $500. A record check of the customer, Josphat Kungu Kinyanjui, 26, Covina, revealed that he had an outstanding warrant so he was taken into custody also. His bail was set at $60,000. 

Legion Street & S. Coast Hwy | Warrant

10:07 p.m. Daniel Robert Stern, 22, Corona, was arrested on a misdemeanor warrant. Bail was set at $35,000.

Ocean | 200 Block | Possession of Controlled Substance, Paraphernalia

6:25 p.m. Danny Martin Loros, 61, Cherry Valley, was arrested for possession of a controlled substance and controlled substance paraphernalia. Bail amount was not available.

Friday, April 13

S. Coast Hwy | 400 Block | False ID, Defrauding an Innkeeper

5:25 p.m. Marcus Ray McClinton, 40, Santa Ana, was arrested for providing false identification, and for defrauding an innkeeper ($400 or less). Bail amount was not available.

Coast Hwy | 31800 Block | Probation, Possession of Burglary Tools, False ID, Possession of Controlled Substance Paraphernalia, Transporting/Selling a Narcotic/Controlled Substance

9:42 a.m. Daniel Eric French, 32, Laguna Niguel, was arrested for violation of probation, possession of burglary tools, providing false ID, possession of controlled substance paraphernalia, and possession of a controlled susbstance with the intent to sell. No bail was set.

Thursday, April 12

Virginia Way | 31700 Block | Possession of Controlled Substance, Paraphernalia, Possession of Access Card w/Intent to Sell or Use, Mail Theft

8:52 a.m. Savannah Rose Mendes, 22, Pacifico, was arrested for possession of an access card with intent to sell or use it, possession of controlled substance paraphernalia, and possessing identifying info to defraud. Bail amount was not available.

Haley Ruml, 22, Huntington Beach, was arrested for possession of an access card with intent to either sell use it, possession of controlled substance paraphernalia, possession of a controlled substance, making/passing a ficticious check, and possessing identifying info to defraud. Bail amount was not available.

Joseph Sedeno, 29, Orange, was arrested for providing false ID to a peace officer, and for violating a court order to prevent domestic violence. Bail amount was not available.

Annastacia Angel Stevens, 27, Mission Viejo, was arrested for possession of controlled substance paraphernalia, a felony charge for possession of a controlled substance with the intent to sell, possession of personal identifying information with the intent to defraud, and possession of burglary tools. Bail amount was not available.

Cory James Weil, 25, Garden Grove, was arrested for acquiring an access card without consent with the intent to sell, mail theft, possession of personal identifying information with the intent to defraud, and possession of controlled substance paraphernalia.

Sunset Terrace | 100 Block | Fraud

6:52 p.m. An incident of fraud was reported.

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.

•••••

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