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Police Files

Male nanny charged with additional child molestation felonies, faces 490 years to life for allegedly molesting boys as young as four

A man who served as a male nanny for families across Southern California. including in Laguna Beach, was charged with additional felony child molestation charges on Friday, Aug 30 for allegedly victimizing 12 young boys under his care. The boys ranged in age from 4 to 10 years old.

Matthew Antonio Zakrzewski, 30, of Costa Mesa, was arrested on May 17, 2019 by LBPD detectives at a local airport after deplaning an international flight.

In early May 2019, a Laguna Beach couple had reported to LBPD that their babysitter, Zakrzewski, had touched their 8-year-old son inappropriately and was concerned for the safety of their son and potentially other children.

Police Files Zakrzewski

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Submitted photo

Matthew Zakrzewski faces 490 to life for allegedly molesting over a dozen young boys under his care, including a Laguna Beach victim

The couple had hired Zakrzewski to care for their son through one of his several babysitting websites. LBPD’s Major Crimes & Intelligence Unit immediately opened an investigation, which led to the identification of a second 7-year-old victim in Los Angeles, and 10 more boys from across Southern California.

“These parents were led to believe that they could trust this man with the most precious thing in their entire world – their children,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. “Instead, he preyed on these innocent boys and violated that trust in a vile and sadistic way.”

Zakrzewski was originally charged with three felony counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor under the age of 14, and one felony count of oral copulation of a child under the age of 10. He was also charged with one felony count of possession of child pornography.

Zakrzewski now faces a total of 25 felony counts, including 19 felony counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor under the age of 14, one felony count of oral copulation of a child under the age of 10, and one felony count of possession of child pornography. 

He also faces one felony count of using a minor for sex acts, two felony counts of distributing pornography to a minor for the purpose of engaging in sexual conduct, and one felony count of an attempted lewd or lascivious act with a minor under the age of 14.

LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said, “Our detectives have worked tirelessly on this investigation and will continue the investigation until every child victim is identified. This case has impacted every detective in our division as well as myself. LBPD Detectives will continue working in partnership with the OCDA to make sure the suspect, Zakrzewski, is held accountable for each of these serious offenses.”

Sgt Cota added, “We are at 20 victims as of this morning [Tuesday] and expected to go up.”

Zakrzewski pleaded not guilty to the original charges in May and pleaded not guilty to the additional charges filed against him on August 30. He is currently being held at the Orange County Jail on $1.25 million bail.

Prosecutors allege the crimes were committed between Jan 1, 2016 and May 17, 2019. He faces 490 years to life if convicted on all charges.

Investigators asked for the public’s help in locating any other potential victims. As the investigation progressed, additional victims were identified through video evidence and tips from the public, resulting in additional charges being filed against Zakrzewski.

Anyone who has information related to this investigation or any other unreported incidents involving Zakrzewski is urged to call the Laguna Beach Investigations Division line at (949) 715-1300.

Zakrzewski is scheduled to appear in court on November 8 at the Harbor Justice Center. Senior Deputy District Attorney Heidi Garrel of the Sexual Assault Unit is prosecuting this case.

Elderly man plows truck into local resident’s bedroom

On Wednesday, Aug 28, at 12:07 p.m., LBPD officers responded to a traffic collision in the 500 block of Mystic Way.

According to Sgt Cota, “An elderly male subject was parking his vehicle when he confused the gas and brake. The driver’s truck went down an embankment and crashed into a house. The driver was uninjured and there was moderate damage to the vehicle and residence.”

According to police records, the “vehicle entered a bedroom.”

At one point the driver, who lives in the neighborhood, was trapped in his vehicle, but he was able to get out.

According to LBFD Engineer/Paramedic Pat Cary, the man “was evaluated by paramedics on Engine 1 and he signed a medical release form [indicating he was not injured].”

LBPD helps man get his valuables back after suspect tries selling stolen items at local restaurant

On Thursday, Aug 29, at 5:29 p.m., LBPD officers staged a sting at a local restaurant, where a suspect was allegedly in possession of and trying to sell the victim’s valuables, which had been stolen.

According to Sgt Cota, “Officers were informed that the RP had items stolen from his vehicle in Costa Mesa and located the subject who was trying to sell the stolen items.”

Sgt Cota said, “He arranged a meeting at Maro and wanted officers on scene to facilitate the return of his items. Officers arrived contacted the suspect, who had the stolen items in his possession.”

According to police records, some of the stolen items include a MacBook retina 13-inch, a Smith & Wesson combat knife, Maui Jim sunglasses, two Ray-Ban Aviators, and Wayfarers sunglasses.

The total value was approximately $3,000. 

“The suspect, Santa Ana resident David Alan Gilmore, 30, was arrested for violation of Burglary and Possession of Stolen Property,” Sgt Cota said.

Bail was set at $20,000.

Woman allegedly threatens to stab Public Works employee with a pencil, also throws trash at him

On Friday, Aug 30, at 7:31 a.m., LBPD officers were dispatched to Main Beach for an alleged threats report, according to Sgt Cota.

The alleged victim was a City of Laguna Beach Public Works employee who was emptying trash cans on Main Beach. 

According to Sgt Cota, “Amber Castillo [allegedly] threw an aluminum can at the victim and then later threatened to stab him with a pencil. Amber Kristen Castillo, 41, was arrested for Criminal Threats.” 

According to police records, “Castillo [allegedly] became angry after asking Public Works for bags and was throwing trash at him.”

Castillo was booked and transported to OC Jail.

Bail was set at $50,000.

According to Stu News Laguna records, Castillo has been arrested 12 times by LBPD in the last 12 months.

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect has committed a crime. Every suspect is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

-By Suzie Harrison


Police Files

Collision between alleged drunk driver and pedestrian sends victim to hospital with injuries

On Sunday, Aug 25, at 7:16 p.m., LBPD and LBFD personnel responded to South Coast Highway at Thalia Street for a vehicle versus pedestrian injury traffic collision. 

According to LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota, “A white Mercedes driven by a female from Oceanside was making a left turn from the 100 block of Thalia Street to the number one northbound lane of South Coast Highway when it struck a pedestrian crossing in the crosswalk.”

 The pedestrian was identified as a female from Laguna Niguel. According to Sgt Cota, she was transported to Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo with non-life-threatening injuries to her head and arm. 

Sgt Cota said, “The female driver, Anna Hope Newell, 34, was arrested for [alleged] felony DUI.”

Northbound traffic was diverted to Glenneyre Street for 30 minutes.

Bail was set at $100,000.

Traffic stop leads to myriad drug charges

On Tuesday, Aug 27, at 12:48 a.m., LBPD officers made a traffic stop on a car bearing evidence of false registration. 

According to Sgt Cota, “The investigation revealed that the driver was in possession of illegal drugs. An OCSD K9 unit responded and alerted to the presence of drugs in various locations in the car.” 

Sgt Cota said, “Officers recovered 46.8 grams of methamphetamine, 15 Alprazolam pills, 5 Viagra pills, a small amount of marijuana, a small amount of hash, a narcotic pipe, and a digital scale. Konrad Krauss was arrested on a litany of drug charges.”

Costa Mesa resident Konrad Walter Krauss, 48, was arrested for alleged possession of a narcotic controlled substance, possession of a narcotic controlled substance for sale, possession of controlled substance paraphernalia, and possession of 28.5 grams of marijuana.

Bail was set at $26,500.

Traffic collision leads to discovery of alleged stolen LCAD computers

On Tuesday, Aug 27, at 4:13 a.m., Irvine PD notified LBPD dispatch center that their department was investigating a single-vehicle injury traffic collision.

According to Sgt Cota, “The driver of the involved vehicle he was driving [allegedly] contained several computers labeled LCAD. He admitted to Irvine officers that he stole the computers from the campus a few hours prior.”

The suspect was admitted into the hospital for injuries sustained during the collision. 

Sgt Cota said, “A Laguna Beach PD officer met with the security director from LCAD and determined the computers were stolen from the campus and from a vehicle belonging to LCAD.” 

18-year-old man arrested for alleged carjacking

On Sunday, Aug 25, at 10:19 p.m., LBPD officers were advised of an alleged stolen vehicle taken during a carjacking earlier in the day in Corona, Sgt Cota said. The vehicle reportedly had a cracked windshield.

According to Sgt Cota, “An LBPD officer located the Kia Sorrento and made a high-risk vehicle stop in the Ralphs parking lot.”

An officer detained one female adult, one female teenager, and two male teenagers. All were from the Perris area. 

Sgt Cota said, “One of the male teenagers was arrested for possession of a stolen vehicle. He was booked and subsequently released to a parent. The two females were positively identified as the suspects in the carjacking by the victim. They were released to Corona PD detectives.”

Dorian Yuliana Gaona, 18, of Perris, was arrested for alleged carjacking.

The remaining male teenager was released to his parents without charges.

Bail was set at $100,000 for Gaona.

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect has committed a crime. Every suspect is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

-By Suzie Harrison


Police Files

Sewage spill in South Laguna fully contained, house yellow-tagged out of caution

On Friday, Aug 23, at 11:02 a.m., an LBPD officer observed running water/sewage from a residence on Virginia Way in South Laguna. 

According to Jordan Villwock, LBPD Emergency Operations Coordinator, “It was determined to be sewage, which required several departments to respond including Fire, Water Quality, Building Inspectors, etc.” 

The spill was determined to be under the jurisdiction of South Coast Water District, which services that area of town.

“South Coast Water District is investigating the blockage that occurred on August 23, in the 31000 block of Virginia Way in South Laguna, in its mainline and has taken measures to remove and extract any influent that made its way into the house,” said Sonja Morgan of SCWD. “The District is a member of the Association of California Water Agencies Joint Powers Insurance Authority (ACWA JPIA) who was contacted regarding this matter and is currently investigating the incident. All sewage was fully contained within the District’s collection system.”

“The sewage was cleaned up and the house was yellow-tagged out of caution,” Villwock said.

Police seek help finding vandalism suspect

On Saturday, Aug 24, at 7:21 p.m., at the 500 block of Glenneyre Street, a male suspect vandalized several areas on and within the Glenneyre parking structure with spray paint, according to Villwock. 

“The male was described as dirty looking, riding a skateboard fleeing the scene carrying a boogie board,” Villwock said.

Police Files vandalism suspect

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Courtesy of LBPD

Vandalism suspect caught on camera at Glenneyre Parking structure

Anyone with information regarding the suspect should contact LBPD at (949) 497-0701.

Two men arrested after being accused of harassing Muslim women at Main Beach

On Saturday, Aug 24, at 8:28 p.m., at the 100 block of S Coast Hwy, local transients Robert Oxier and Timothy Libby were contacted at Main Beach near the basketball courts in reference to alleged harassment of three female Muslims, according to police.

“The reporting party tried to intervene and have Libby and Oxier stop their [alleged] derogatory comments, however they [allegedly] challenged the reporting party to a fight,” stated Villwock.

LBPD officers arrived on scene and noticed several open containers of alcohol near Libby and Oxier. 

Villwock said, “Both Oxier and Libby were clearly intoxicated and aggressive with officers as well. Libby and Oxier claimed they made the [derogatory] remarks to each other and not the females wearing hijabs.” 

Robert Oxier, 37, and Timothy Michael Libby, 34, were arrested on suspicion of public intoxication. Bail was set at $500 for each suspect.

Spate of beer theft by juvies reported at Circle K

On Saturday, Aug 24, at 8:13 p.m., LBPD officers were dispatched to Circle K, at the 800 block of Glenneyre Street, for an alleged petty theft that had just occurred. 

According to Villwock, “Three male juvies, with black and red sweaters [allegedly] stole two tall cans of beer. An area search was conducted but officers were unable to locate the suspects.”

According to the RP, this had been “going on all day with juvies in and out of the store stealing beers.”

Man arrested for alleged domestic violence near Laguna Dog Park

On Thursday, Aug 22, at 8:14 a.m., LBPD officers contacted two local transients, including Shane Hardin, in the area of the Dog Park at the 20600 block of Laguna Canyon Road, Villwock said. 

According to Villwock, “During the contact officers noticed the victim’s eye was red and swollen. The officers conducted an investigation and determined Hardin had [allegedly] punched her in the eye in violation of corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant.”

Shane Christopher Hardin, 44, was arrested and later transported to OC Jail. His bail was set at $50,000.

The alleged female victim was given medical treatment, according to Villwock.

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect has committed a crime. Every suspect is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

-By Suzie Harrison


Police Files

Riverside man arrested for alleged vehicle theft after lengthy pursuit

On Tuesday, Aug 20, at 3:30 a.m., LBPD officers began looking for a stolen Ford F350 inbound on Laguna Canyon Road. 

According to LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota, “The Ford had been reported stolen in Fontana on Thursday, Aug 15. Officers located the Ford and tried to initiate a high-risk traffic stop.” 

The Ford turned around and fled outbound on Laguna Canyon Road. 

Sgt Cota said, “The first two police units initiated a pursuit. The pursuit traveled out the canyon and southbound on the I-5 freeway. A CHP police unit arrived to assist, but the Ford exited the freeway and tried to re-enter going the wrong way.”

Because Caltrans had the transition closed, the Ford became stuck. 

“The driver fled across the freeway on foot with two CHP officers and two LBPD officers in foot pursuit. An OCSD deputy headed off the driver and detained him at gunpoint,” Sgt Cota said. “The pursuing officers caught up and took the driver into custody without further incident.” 

Sgt Cota said, “The driver was identified as Riverside resident Israel Castellanos Jr, 26, with priors for burglary, possession of a stolen vehicle, receiving stolen property, and a variety of drug charges.” 

According to Sgt Cota, “He was placed under arrest for [alleged] vehicle theft, felony evasion, evading while driving in opposite traffic, and resisting arrest.” 

Castellanos Jr was transported to OC Jail. No one was injured in this incident.

Bail was set at $20,000.

House under construction tagged with skull graffiti

On Sunday, Aug 18 at 2 p.m., LBPD officers responded to a graffiti report at a house under construction in the 31300 block of S Coast Hwy. 

It was reported that an unknown suspect(s) spray painted graffiti on the north wall and window. 

According to Sgt Cota, “The graffiti consisted of a skull and an illegible moniker on the tile. The graffiti occupied about 30-40 square feet of space on a window and similar amount on the tile wall.”

 The victim reports that the repair including labor will be as much as $20,000. 

“A report was taken and forwarded to investigations,” Sgt Cota said.

Porsche 911 stolen overnight on Saturday on Anita St 

On Sunday, Aug 18 at 7:36 a.m., a resident in the 600 block of Anita Street, called LBPD to report his white 1988 Porsche 911 with historical plates had allegedly been stolen during the night. 

According to Sgt Cota, “All keys were accounted for. A report was taken and forwarded to investigations.”

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect has committed a crime. Every suspect is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

-By Suzie Harrison


Police Files

Trio arrested in suspected meth sales bust at Mobil

On Saturday, Aug 17, at 11:38 p.m., at the 100 block of N Coast Hwy, an LBPD officer conducted an occupied vehicle check at the Mobil gas station. 

According to Jordan Villwock, LBPD Emergency Operations Coordinator, “In plain sight the officer saw a syringe within the vehicle. After a further search was conducted, an ounce of methamphetamine and baggies were located.” 

One female allegedly possessed a syringe and another female allegedly possessed a syringe and had an outstanding warrant from Redondo Beach Police Department, Villwock said.

“The male was arrested for possession of a controlled substance for sale and transportation of a controlled substance for sale,” Villwock said. “Additionally, a Walmart barcode scanner was recovered inside one of the female’s purses and she was subsequently charged with possession of lost property.” 

Richard Charles Flanagan II, 55, of Nevada, was arrested for alleged possession of methamphetamine for sale and transporting or selling methamphetamine. His bail was set for $1,000.

Tina Lynn Stattman, 33, of Nevada, was arrested for alleged possession of controlled substance paraphernalia. Her bail was set at $500.

Kelly Gene Scharrer, 42, of Nevada, was arrested for alleged possession of controlled substance paraphernalia and on a warrant for possession of controlled substance paraphernalia, possession of methamphetamine, and possession of a controlled substance. Bail was set at $35,000 for Scharrer.

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect has committed a crime. Every suspect is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

LBPD receives reports of juvies throwing water balloons at pedestrians

On Thursday, Aug 15, at 1:28 p.m., at South Coast Highway and West Street, LBPD received a report in reference to “several vehicles of juvies throwing water balloons at pedestrians.”

According to police records, “When [the] RP got down to the beach several other people advised that the same thing happened to them as well.”

According to Villwock, “Unfortunately the officers were unable to locate [the juveniles]. If located, and they were either observed by a police officer or a victim wanted to sign a citizen’s arrest, they could cited.”


Police Files

65-year-old man arrested at Mobil with meth and juveniles

On Tuesday, Aug 13, at 3:01 a.m., LBPD officers conducted an occupied vehicle check at Mobil, at Broadway Street and North Coast Highway. The vehicle was occupied by four individuals.

According to LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota, “During the course of the contact, it was discovered that the driver, Robert Mason, had an active restraining order with the protected person being the 15-year-old juvenile female in the front passenger seat.” 

Sgt Cota said, “Mason, 65, was arrested for violation of a court order and during a search of his person officers located methamphetamine and he was also charged with possession of a controlled substance.” 

The three passengers inside of the vehicle were all juveniles. 

“One male juvenile was reported missing and had an outstanding No Bail warrant out of Los Angeles Sheriff’s Office,” Sgt Cota said. 

The rest of the juveniles were eventually released to their parent/guardians, according to Sgt Cota.

No bail was set.

Reports of “guns in the Canyon,” although unfounded, lead to other arrests

On Sunday, Aug 11, at 3:22 p.m., LBPD officers responded to the 2900 block of Laguna Canyon Road for what the RP described as a male subject allegedly pulling what appeared to be an air soft rifle out of a trash can. 

According to Sgt Cota, “Another RP said it possibly looked like a gun but the subject was not brandishing it. The officer located homeless individual Shane Sutton, who had a piece of wood that appeared carved into the shape of gun.”

No crime was committed.

Sgt Cota said, “However, Shane Michael Sutton, 40, did have an outstanding narcotic related warrant.” 

His bail was set at $15,000. 

Later on Sunday, at 7:31 p.m., LBPD officers once again responded to the 2700 block of Laguna Canyon Road. 

According to Sgt Cota, “This time there were three calls reporting a female homeless individual allegedly holding what looked like a rifle.” 

One caller said the item looked like a World War II rifle. Another caller reported that the rifle was fake. 

According to Sgt Cota, officers arrived and contacted the woman who told officers that she had found a fake gun and threw it into the bushes.

Sgt Cota said, “Officers recovered a broken airsoft replica of a World War II era MP-40. The airsoft gun was taken and booked for destruction.”

Man arrested for use of a stick in alleged assault with a deadly weapon 

On Monday, Aug 12, at 10:25 a.m., an LBPD officer was in the 200 block of S Coast Hwy when, according to Sgt Cota, “he observed homeless individual Christopher Mack assaulting another subject with a stick.”

 According to Sgt Cota, “The officer immediately stopped Mack from continuing his activity.”

 Christopher Paul Mack, 51, was then taken into custody without further incident. 

Sgt Cota said, “He was booked for [alleged] assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct. He was ultimately transported to Orange County Jail.”

Bail was set at $25,000.

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect has committed a crime. Every suspect is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

-By Suzie Harrison


Police Files

Transient male arrested for alleged indecent exposure and lewd acts in public

On Saturday, Aug 10, at 12:42 a.m., LBPD officers were approached by a couple outside of Brussels Bistro, at the 200 block of Forest Ave.

According to LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota, “They had walked past a male homeless subject sitting on a bench in front of Kush Fine Arts who was masturbating. Officers [also] observed him masturbating.” 

Sgt Cota said, “Officers contacted James Garcia Santos and subsequently arrested him for indecent exposure and lewd acts in public.” 

Santos, 67, was on probation and an arson registrant, according to Sgt Cota. Officers obtained a no-bail probation hold and Santos was transported to OC Jail.

No bail was set.

Woman arrested for battery after allegedly dumping hot water on victim’s head

On Tuesday, Aug 8, at 5:24 p.m., at the 1300 block of S Coast Hwy, LBPD officers responded to a report of a woman allegedly “dumping boiling water” onto another person’s head.

“The officers responded with lights and sirens due to the nature of the [reported] assault that was [allegedly] occurring. Upon arrival, officers immediately detained the suspect in handcuffs,” Sgt Cota said.

 After an investigation it was discovered that there were no injuries from the water because it was not scalding hot, according to Sgt Cota.

The suspect, Kristen Noelle Chinwe Edington, 33, was arrested for alleged battery.

Bail was set at $500.

Juvies allegedly use American flag to start fire at Aliso Beach

On Friday, Aug 9, at 7:01 p.m., at the 31100 block of S Coast Hwy, LBPD received a report regarding “a group of juvies toward the south end of the beach using a firepit and an American flag to start the fire.”

According to Sgt Cota, “Officers could not gather any evidence that the American flag was burned because the fire was already fully engulfed. Unfortunately, it is not a crime to burn the American flag. It is your first amendment right.”

Caller alerts police of woman wearing suggestive thong-style bikini

On Friday, Aug 9, at 5:02 p.m., at S Coast Hwy and Montage Resort Dr, LBPD received a report regarding a woman allegedly wearing suggestive swimwear.

According to Sgt Cota, “This was a call for service for a woman wearing a thong-style bikini walking near the Chabad Center.”

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect has committed a crime. Every suspect is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

-By Suzie Harrison


Police Files

Underage girl accosted on trolley by man who allegedly “pulled her hair”

On Friday, Aug 2, at 1:37 p.m., LBPD dispatch received a call from a female juvenile on a city trolley bus. 

According to LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota, “The girl reported a male subject was on the bus trying to touch her and a group of younger girls. The male was also reported to have been making comments about shooting up schools.”

Officers responded and the trolley stopped on South Coast Highway at Nyes Place. 

Sgt Cota said, “When the bus stopped the girls tried to get off bus and the subject [allegedly] grabbed one of the girl’s hair and pulled it. He also blocked another girl from reaching the doorway and the girl had to turn around and run for the back door.”

Officers detained the suspect, local transient Kyle Winton. 

Kyle Albert Winton, 39, was arrested on charges of child annoyance, false imprisonment, and battery on a minor. Winton, currently on probation for criminal threats, was placed on a probation hold. 

He was booked and transported to OC Jail.

No bail was set.

Two days earlier, on Wednesday, July 31, at 12:32 p.m., LBPD officers contacted Winton in the 200 block of South Coast Highway, who appeared to be heavily intoxicated. 

“Winton was unable to care for himself due to his level of intoxication and he was arrested without incident,” Sgt Cota said.

Bail was set at $500.

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect has committed a crime. Every suspect is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

Woman reports man standing at the foot of her bed watching her at local hotel

On Wednesday, July 31, at 3:24 p.m., an LBPD officer was dispatched to the front counter for a citizen contact. The reporting party stated she was staying at a local hotel on July 10, at the 30800 block of South Coast Highway.

According to Sgt Cota, “While she was in bed with her partner she saw a male employee standing at the foot of their bed watching them. The victim contacted hotel security who stated they would investigate the issue.”

When the victim followed up with the hotel, she was reportedly told the employee no longer works there. 

“A police report was taken,” Sgt Cota said.

Falling trees and wires cause problems over the weekend

On Friday, Aug 2, at 7:17 p.m., a caller reported a 40-foot tree branch had fallen onto electrical wires on Castle Rock Road.  

According to Sgt Cota, “LBFD arrived and confirmed the live wires belonged to Edison. Edison responded and fixed the wires.”

 Also on Friday, at 8:21 p.m., a caller reported a large tree had fallen onto a parked car in the 100 block of Acacia Street.  

“Officers arrived and determined the tree had not struck the vehicle however it was blocking the southbound lane of Acacia,” Sgt Cota said. “The tree did not belong to the city and was on the apartments at 100 Cliff Drive.”

 Acacia Street was closed in both directions for 3.5 hours while the property owner of 100 Cliff Drive called a tree trimming service to cut down and remove the tree.  

Sgt Cota said, “A Nixle alert regarding the closure was sent. Tree trimming service arrived at 11 p.m. and the roadway was reopened at midnight.” 

Then on Saturday, Aug 3, at 12:29 p.m., LBFD received a call about a blown transformer and a minor power outage at Calliope Street and Glenneyre Street.

“This call was a blown transformer possibly caused by a bird. Edison notified and rectified the problem,” Sgt Cota said. 

Two people reported a bird ran into the wire initially causing some smoke and sparks.

The bird was reportedly a crow and “fried.”

-By Suzie Harrison


Police Files

Rollover crash on Wednesday lands driver in hospital

On Wednesday, July 31, at 8:55 a.m., LBPD officers and LBFD responded to a rollover traffic collision at South Coast Highway and West Street. 

According to LBPD, a BMW X5 was involved in a possible road rage incident and speeding northbound on South Coast Highway.

 “The BMW reportedly drove in the two-way left turn lane before quickly turning back into the northbound lanes and colliding with a Nissan Sentra,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said. “The BMW flipped over during the collision and came to rest on its roof.” 

LBFD engineer paramedic Pat Cary said LBFD received a report of an overturned vehicle with occupants trapped.

“Engine 4 arrived on scene with Laguna Beach Battalion 2 and we found an overturned BMW with one occupant attempting to crawl out the side window,” Cary said. 

The driver of the BMW was able to exit through the passenger side door with minor injuries.

Police Files car crash

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Diane Armitage

BMW flips over during traffic collision

“The patient was a male in his 50s. He had lacerations to his arms and small abrasions to his legs and feet. He was alert and oriented and he self-extricated,” Cary said. “The patient was wearing his seatbelt. Airbags were deployed.”

The patient was assessed by LB paramedics on Engine 4 and due to the mechanism of injury (rollover) and some of his injuries, he was transported to the hospital.

“It was deemed appropriate to transfer him to Mission Hospital, Mission Viejo, which is a trauma center,” Cary said.

The driver of the Nissan was reportedly uninjured. 

Sgt Cota said, “South Coast Highway was shut down to one lane in each direction. All lanes were reopened at 10 a.m.”

LBPD helps residents with two fraud scams

On Wednesday, July 31, at 1:30 p.m., an LBPD officer was dispatched to a residence in the 1400 block of Coral Drive for a fraud report. The victim had been called from someone claiming to work for Apple. 

“The victim was tricked into providing the suspect with access to their computer and bank information. The suspect stole $500 from the victim’s bank account online,” Sgt Cota said. 

A report was taken to document the incident and the officer also forwarded the information to the FBI.

Also, on Wednesday, at 2:25 p.m., an officer was dispatched to the LBPD front counter for a fraud report. The victim had been called by someone claiming to be his grandson. 

“The caller told the victim that he had been involved in a traffic collision and had been arrested. The suspect talked the victim into sending $9,800 cash to an address in Florida for ‘bail,’” Sgt Cota said. “After they received the money, they stated the victim needed to send $17,000 for surgery expenses.” 

The victim sent $17,000 cash to an address in New Jersey. 

“While the package was on the way, the victim received a phone call from their grandson and realized it was a scam,” Sgt Cota said.

 The victim was able to cancel the shipment and the money was returned. A report was taken.

Man who allegedly threw heroin out of his vehicle window arrested on myriad charges

On Tuesday, July 30, at 12:04 a.m., at South Coast Highway and St Ann’s Drive, LBPD officers made a traffic stop and watched as the driver threw something out the passenger side window. 

According to Sgt Cota, “Officers recovered a small foil ball containing heroin. Mission Viejo resident Timothy David Bonner, 38, was subsequently arrested for possession of narcotics, possession of drug paraphernalia, driving on a suspended license, and a probation violation.” 

A probation hold was granted and he was transported to OC Jail.

No bail was set.

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect has committed a crime. Every suspect is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

-By Suzie Harrison


Police Files

Man sentenced to life without possibility of parole for murdering Laguna Beach man

On Friday, July 26, Edward Younghoon Shin, 41, of Irvine, was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for murdering his business partner, Laguna Beach resident Christopher Smith, in their San Juan Capistrano office to gain control of the victim’s shares of the company.

In 2010, Shin co-owned an Internet advertising business, 800xchange, with 33-year-old Christopher Smith, a Laguna Beach resident.

According to an Orange County District Attorney spokesperson, “On June 4, 2010, Shin murdered Smith in their San Juan Capistrano office and disposed of the body. He committed the murder for financial gain with the intention of gaining full ownership of the business. After the murder, Shin produced documents containing a false signature from Smith signing the rights of the business over to the defendant.”

Police Files Christopher Smith

Courtesy of OCSD

Laguna Beach resident Christopher Smith was murdered by his business partner Edward Shin

Shin was convicted in December 2018 of one felony count of murder with a sentencing enhancement for murder for financial gain.

Smith lived in Laguna Beach at the time of his murder. LBPD began investigating the case as a missing persons case based on a report filed by the victim’s family in April 2011. Shin had been sending fake emails from Smith’s account to his family and friends after he murdered him, pretending to be Smith, which stated he was traveling abroad.

 “From the onset of this investigation, Ed Shin mislead Laguna Beach Detectives and tried to cover up for his crime,” LBPD Capt Jason Kravetz said.

Police Files Edward Shin

Courtesy of OCSD

Edward Shin’s OCSD booking photo; Shin murdered Laguna Beach resident Christopher Smith, his business partner 

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) took over as the lead investigating agency based on evidence that the victim had been murdered in his San Juan Capistrano business, Capt Kravetz explained. 

“We were pleased that the jury found Ed Shin guilty of murder, but disheartened by the fact that he refuses to tell [Christopher’s] family where [he] is buried.” Capt Kravetz said. “His life sentence closes one door for the family, but they are unable to properly bury Chris until Ed Shin discloses where he left the body.”

Shin was arrested on Aug 28, 2011, by OCSD Investigators at Los Angeles International Airport sitting onboard a flight awaiting departure to Canada. 

Senior Deputy District Attorney Matt Murphy of the Homicide Unit prosecuted this case.

Woman suffers serious head injury behind Glenneyre parking structure 

On Thursday, July 25, at 1:27 p.m., an LBPD officer responded to Peppertree Lane, at the 400 block of S Coast Hwy, for a trip and fall report.

According to LBFD engineer paramedic Pat Cary, “Engine 1 responded to find an unknown aged female transient who was unresponsive. She had what appeared to be a laceration and hematoma to her head due to the mechanism of injury. Due to her level of consciousness it was deemed necessary to transfer her to Mission Hospital, Mission Viejo for further evaluation from the trauma team.”

As of press time, no status update was available.

Snake sneaks into resident’s bedroom

On Saturday, July 28, at 12:50 a.m., at the 2000 block of Temple Hills Drive, a resident called to report that a rattlesnake was inside a bedroom closet in her home. 

According to LBPD Civilian Services Administrator Jim Beres, “The resident’s pet dog located the snake in the bedroom. The dog was not injured.”

He continued, “An animal services officer (ASO) was quickly dispatched to handle the matter. While the ASO was enroute to the resident’s home, the snake moved to a bathroom next to the bedroom.”

Beres explained that the snake might have gained access through an open door or screen door.    

After the ASO arrived at the resident’s home, the ASO determined that the snake was a non-venomous gopher snake, not a rattlesnake. 

“When the ASO arrived, the snake had moved outside to the backyard area,” Beres said.

The ASO removed the snake.

“The gopher snake was caught behind a tool shed in the resident’s backyard. The snake was released back into the wilderness area,” Beres said.

Helicopter rescue at 1000 Steps Beach on Sunday

On Sunday, July 28, at approximately 6 p.m., emergency services received a call regarding a young female in duress at 1000 Steps Beach.

According to LBFD engineer paramedic Pat Cary, “Engine 4 ran a call to 1000 Steps for a young adult female patient who had what was described as a possible allergic reaction.”

Treatment was started on scene by Laguna Engine 4 paramedics. OC Fire Department Engine 30 and OC Lifeguards helped coordinate the landing of Mercy Air helicopter. 

“The patient was successfully extricated and transferred to Mission Hospital, Mission Viejo via helicopter for further care,” Cary said.

As of press time, no status update was available.

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect has committed a crime. Every suspect is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

-By Suzie Harrison

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