Police Files

‘Goddesses’ defaced, Sawdust mural tagged by vandal, leaving evidence behind

On Tuesday, May 22 at 6:44 a.m., LBPD received a report that a mural outside of the Sawdust Art Festival had been vandalized, tagged with black spray paint. Located at the 900 Block at Laguna Canyon Road, the mural is on the north end of the Sawdust property facing the street. 

Upon arrival at the scene, LBPD discovered that a glove and the tip of a spray paint can had been left behind. 

According to Sawdust Marketing and PR Coordinator Franky Duschane, the mural, “Goddesses,” by Charmaine Olivia and Alec DeMarco, was defaced during the late evening of Monday, May 21.

 “At this time, we do not know who is responsible for the vandalism nor do we know why, but we are actively working with local law enforcement to ensure it does not happen again,” Duschane said. “Charmaine and Alec generously donated the mural to us and are graciously committed to its restoration. Sawdust Art Festival’s 2018 mural was reviewed and approved by the Laguna Beach Arts Commission.”

Sawdust Board President Kelly Akins is appalled.

What a despicable act that was perpetrated on the beautiful art being created for our summer mural,” Atkins said. “The artists, Alec and Charmaine, were devastated by this, but they are amazing and working harder than ever to fix the vandalism and have the mural ready for our opening.”

Click on photo for a lareger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Sawdust art mural tagged, the crime of defacing art in Laguna is highly unusual

There has been public outcry on Facebook with Laguna Beach residents coming together to support the beloved local art festival. Lifetime Sawdust exhibitor Doug Miller posted pictures of the defaced mural on Facebook with details of the egregious crime.

“Mural at Sawdust was defaced with black spray paint…the police are on it,” Miller said. “If anyone knows anything, please report it.”

Like the rest of the Laguna Beach community, City Cultural Arts Manger Siân Poeschl was angered. 

 “This type of vandalism is highly unusual and unacceptable in our community,” Poeschl said. “These young artists had yet to complete the work, and we had not had an opportunity to enjoy it.”

Sawdust glass artist Maggie Spencer echoed Poeschl’s sentiments.

“It is disgraceful that such a vulgar act of vandalism would happen to any work of art,” Spencer said. “But to have it happen in this art community is particularly vile.”

As of 8 p.m. on Thursday, nearly 300 people had responded to Miller’s post, including over 116 comments. In an update, Miller later said, “The artists are going to repaint and protect it with an anti-graffiti clear coat.”

Neighbor Mark Orgill, Laguna Creative Ventures’ President of Strategy and Development was sympathetic. “These things are very unfortunate,” he said. 

Orgill has been instrumental in the Laguna Civic Art District improvements, including the recent murals added to The Hive (formerly the Festival Center).

Fortunately, those murals are protected.

“The product we use is Sher-Clear by Sherwin-Williams,” Orgill said.

Stu News will provide updates on the investigation of this crime by LBPD.


LBPD will be going door-to-door to enforce that local canines are ‘properly licensed’, it says

Fido might be fined if he’s an unlicensed canine. Beginning June 1, the knock at the door could be LBPD Animal Services Officers, who will begin going house-to-house to verify that dogs are properly licensed.  

In a press release issued by LBPD Police Chief Laura Farinella, locals are reminded that dog licenses are required by law and that a rabies tag is not a dog license.

“Many dog owners do not realize that state and local laws require all dogs over four-months of age to be licensed, and to wear a dog license tag at all times,” Chief Farinella said. “New residents or dogs newly acquired shall obtain a dog license within 15 days.”

During the neighborhood rover to find rogue rovers, Animal Services Officers may leave a door hanger to remind residents that their dog licenses are expired and need to be renewed. 

On the up side, securing a dog license is an important part of identification and can assist Animal Services if your pet becomes lost.

Courtesy of PetWorld website

A real picture of a puppy, just for illustrative purposes, not an actual pup that may or may not live in Laguna Beach, or may or may not be licensed 

Since dogs need to get tagged annually, think of it as routine maintenance, like an annual exam. The cost is $48 for canines that are not spayed or neutered pets and half the cost, $24, for pets that can no longer produce pups. And senior citizens, ages 65 and older, receive a 50 percent discount of the applicable fee. 

However, don’t shirk the money due on that Shar-Pei, there is a late fee of $17 if the dog license is not purchased by the due date. Pet registrations are not transferable or refundable. 

To procure a new dog license, download an application form from the City website and mail it with a check made payable to the Laguna Beach Animal Shelter. Or, if you prefer to take care of it face-to-face, visit The Animal Shelter or the Cashiers Counter at City Hall during regular business hours. 

The Animal Shelter is open seven days a week, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. City Hall is open Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m, and alternating Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. (City Hall is closed on the other alternating Fridays). Check the City website calendar if needed at For information, call the Laguna Beach Animal Shelter at (949) 497-3552.