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Laguna Beach

Police Files

SUV parked on street by home is reported stolen

On Tuesday, May 14, at 12:18 p.m., a stolen vehicle report was made by a Laguna Beach resident at the 21600 block of Ocean Vista Drive. 

According to police reports, the victim parked the vehicle on the street the night prior but “it was no longer there” in the morning. According to the victim, there were “lots of items left inside.”

“The vehicle was a silver 2018 Infinity QX30 SUV. The vehicle was not repossessed. The vehicle is still outstanding,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said.

Man arrested for meth, paraphernalia, and bringing drugs into jail, reports LBPD

On Monday, May 13, at 12:56 p.m., LBPD officers responded to the area of Cleo Street Beach, at the 700 block of Ocean Front, for a report of a suspicious male “jumping in and out of the storm drain,” according to Sgt Cota.

Officers contacted John Frazer and found he was in possession of unlawful paraphernalia, a narcotic pipe. He was taken into custody and transported to LBPD. 

“Frazer was read the drug admonishment before being brought into the jail but during the custody search narcotics were located, methamphetamine in his possession,” Sgt Cota said. “An additional charge of bringing drugs into a jail was added and Frazer was ultimately transported to OC Jail.”

John Scott Frazer, 54, of Laguna Beach, was arrested for possession of a controlled substance, controlled substance paraphernalia, and bringing drugs into a jail or prison.

Bail was set at $21,000.

LBPD advises teens who were allegedly throwing fireworks from their vehicle

On Monday, May 13, at 5:21 p.m., LBPD officers responded to a report of kids allegedly throwing fireworks from a vehicle. 

According to police records, the kids throwing the fireworks were in a green Ford Taurus headed southbound on South Coast Hwy and were seen pulling into the parking lot at CVS.

“Officers conducted a vehicle stop and advised the juveniles. No arrests or cites were issued,” said Sgt Cota.

LBPD arrests man allegedly trespassing in local home

On Sunday, May 12, at 12:20 p.m., LBPD officers responded to a house under construction in the 1300 block of Baja for a local transient subject who was reportedly inside of the residence. 

According to police records, the homeowners received a phone call from their neighbors stating that someone was breaking and entering. The neighbor was unsure where the subject made entry, but was sure he was there, and had not seen him exit.

The RP told LBPD that the issue was ongoing and that a previous report was taken.

“Officers contacted Robert Oxier. Oxier was arrested for trespassing. Oxier has no fixed address,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said.

Bail was set at $500.

Police Files

Signature swordfish sculpture swiped from Tommy Bahama

On Friday, May 3, at 7:35 p.m., LBPD officers responded to Tommy Bahama Restaurant, Bar & Store, at 400 South Coast Highway, for a report that a subject stole a decorative swordfish from the front of the business, the company’s signature marlin swordfish. 

According to police records, the subject was described as a white male in his 20s wearing shorts and a baseball cap. The reporting partner, a passerby, witnessed him running west toward El Paseo with a group of five to six other males in their 20s. Approximately 14 minutes later, just two males were seen running eastbound on Broadway Street, one carrying the signature swordfish sculpture. 

 “The metal swordfish was estimated to cost $200,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said. “The subject may have been caught on video camera and will face charges if arrested.” 

The manager at Tommy Bahama requested contact with LBPD regarding the unusual incident. 

“The incident will be forwarded to detectives for follow-up,” Sgt Cota said.

If anyone witnessed the crime or thinks they may have seen someone running with a steel swordfish sculpture on the day of the incident, or has seen someone with it since, please call LBPD at (949) 497-0701.

Animal Shelter needs blanket donations for our furry friends

As posted on Sgt Cota’s Twitter page, @LBPD_PIO_45, Laguna Beach Animal Shelter is in need of blankets for the animals. 

“The shelter needs fabric dog blankets that can be washed, so no electric blankets,” said Jim Beres, Civilian Services Administrator.

Police Files Animal Shelter

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of City of LB

Laguna Beach Animal Shelter is requesting blankets for furry friends in need

“People interested in donating blankets for the animals can deliver them to 20612 Laguna Canyon Rd, Laguna Beach, every day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.,” Sgt Cota said.

For more information, contact Laguna Beach Animal Shelter at (949) 497-3552.

Police Files

Alleged purse burglar arrested following LBPD investigation

On Wednesday, Feb 13, at 9:45 a.m., LBPD officers responded to a residence on Sunset Ridge Drive in reference to a burglary report. 

“The victim stated an unknown suspect broke into their garage and stole approximately $10,000 worth of purses containing credit cards and personal information,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said. 

The report was sent to Investigations for follow-up. Fast forward to last month…

Police Files Shane Duncan“Detectives identified the suspect after he began making fraudulent charges on their credit cards,” Sgt Cota said. “The video surveillance from one of the businesses captured a license plate of a suspect vehicle which linked Shane Duncan as a possible suspect.”

A record check revealed Duncan was on active parole. Detectives contacted Duncan’s parole agent, who positively identified Duncan from the surveillance footage. Detectives also learned that Duncan was taken into custody on April 26 on a parole hold for an unrelated charge.

“On May 1, detectives responded to the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside where Duncan was being held. Upon contacting Duncan, I immediately recognized him as the suspect in the surveillance footage,” Sgt Cota said. 

After he was released from the detention center, detectives re-arrested Shane Richard George Peter Duncan, 45, of Adelanto, on five counts of burglary, four counts of identity theft, and four counts of credit card fraud.

Bail was set at $95,000.

Local resident bilked out of $20K thinking he’s helping his friend get out of jail

On Thursday, May 2, at 12:48 p.m., an LBPD officer responded to a local residence in reference a fraud investigation. The victim, according to Sgt Cota, was an 87-year-old Laguna Beach resident. 

“He received a call advising that his friend had been arrested and the bail was $20,000,” Sgt Cota said. “The victim wired the funds and later learned that it was a scam and his friend had never been arrested.”

 A report was taken and submitted to Investigations for follow-up.

$1,250 sunglasses stolen from local boutique

On Thursday, May 2, at 2:31 p.m., LBPD officers were dispatched to Milano Eye Boutique, at 729 South Coast Hwy, for a reported theft. The reporting party described the suspect as a white male with a mustache, wearing a hat and pink shorts.

The suspect was last seen walking southbound on South Coast Highway away from the store. 

“The subject was inside the store for approximately 10-15 minutes, then exited the store. Officers were advised the subject removed a pair of Tom Ford sunglasses from the store without paying for them,” Sgt Cota said. “The sunglasses are valued at $1,250.” 

A report was taken and submitted to Investigations for follow-up.

Teens continue to harass their neighbor

On Saturday, May 4, at 8:57 p.m., LBPD received a report regarding approximately seven teens harassing a local resident.

“The teens were knocking on the RP’s garage and front door; it’s an ongoing issue according to the victim,” Sgt Cota said. 

According to police records, the caller said, “They have been doing this every Friday and the security from the front gate has logs of harassment from last week.”

“Officers were unable to locate the teens last seen in a golf cart,” Sgt Cota said.

Police Files

High-risk car chase though Laguna ends in Newport

A high-risk vehicle pursuit than started in Laguna Beach shortly after 3 p.m. on Wednesday, May 1, ended several hours later with the suspect’s capture in Newport Beach near Fashion Island.

At approximately 3 p.m., Richard Bloustine, who was suspected of fraudulent activity and had a no-bail warrant for his arrest, was seen driving a silver Mercedes westbound in the 200 block of Ocean Avenue. 

“LBPD officers attempted to stop him at Broadway Street and Coast Highway. Bloustine did not yield and shortly after, were in pursuit,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said. “The pursuit weaved through the downtown area and went northbound on North Coast Highway. At Beverly Street, Bloustine made a U-turn and continued southbound on North Coast Highway. The pursuit continued southbound into Dana Point at which time the OCSD helicopter ‘Duke’ arrived to assist.” 

Police Files Richard Bloustine

Courtesy of LBPD

Richard Bloustine

The pursuit continued onto the N/B SR-73 where CHP arrived to assist and took over. All LBPD police units cancelled their involvement in the pursuit at this point.

“One LBPD officer was assigned to trail the pursuit, so he could be at the conclusion because it was LBPD’s investigation and subsequent arrest,” Sgt Cota said. “Throughout the pursuit, Bloustine was on the phone with various agencies claiming he had a gun and would shoot officers or that officers would have to shoot him.” 

According to NBPD PIO Heather Rangel, “At 4:01 p.m., the Newport Beach Police Department entered into the pursuit at the request of pursuing units as the suspect entered into Newport Beach. As the suspect continued to evade pursuing police cars, the suspect was on the phone with NBPD Dispatch.”

The pursuit ended and turned into a standoff in Newport Beach after suspect brought his vehicle to a stop in the 1441 Avocado Dr parking lot.

“Although initially not compliant with officer’s orders to exit the vehicle, the suspect spoke with the Newport Beach Police Department Crisis Negotiation Team by phone,” Rangel said. “Through telephonic communication, the Crisis Negotiation Team was able to get the suspect to exit his vehicle and surrender to NBPD.”

At 4:57 p.m., Bloustine gave up and was taken into custody by NBPD and OCSD. LBPD officers took custody of Richard Scott Bloustine, a 53-year-old Newport Beach resident, and transported him to LBPD where he was booked and later transported to OC Jail. No weapons or contraband were found in Bloustine’s vehicle.

In February of 2016, Bloustine was sentenced to seven years in prison after writing more than $200,000 in bad checks. His sentence included an order by the Orange County District Attorney to pay restitution to victims and attached a fine of $444,000.

His bounced checks included one for $15,000 to a Laguna Beach car dealer, a $32,000 check for the lease on a house, $13,000 to furnish that residence and $80,000 for dental work that he received in Newport Beach.

According to the District Attorney, Bloustine has more than a dozen fraud-related misdemeanor and felony convictions in Orange County.

His record also includes previous arrests and convictions in Arizona, Santa Barbara County and Hawaii for fraud related incidents.

 “The Laguna Beach Police Department is pleased with the outcome of the arrest and glad it ended peacefully. A tremendous thanks to our law enforcement partners over at Newport Beach PD, Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD), and the California Highway Patrol (CHP), for their continued partnership,” Sgt Cota said. “Mr. Bloustine is someone who needed to be in custody and at the end of the day, community safety is everything to us.”

Offensive racial language tagged on local’s wall

On Sunday, April 28, at 10:51 a.m., at the 800 block of High Drive, a local resident contacted LBPD in reference to graffiti that was spray-painted on his block wall that faces Coast Highway.

According to Sgt Cota, “An unknown person wrote ‘Jews are asois’ with a black sharpie pen on the wall. The writing was 2x2 inches.” 

According to Sgt Cota, the caller told LBPD he would repair the graffiti himself since it was on his property.

Suspected drunk motorcyclist hits parked car and ends up in hospital

On Wednesday, May 1, at 11:52 a.m., LBPD officers responded with LBFD to an injury traffic collision involving a motorcyclist at Upland Road and Glenneyre Street. 

“The motorcycle rider, was riding eastbound uphill and due to the steep incline and intoxication level was unable to negotiate his acceleration properly and fell over. When he fell over, he struck a parked vehicle, his chin, and his wrist,” Sgt Cota said. “He sustained a broken wrist, laceration to his chin, and there was minor damage to the parked vehicle.” 

The motorcyclist was subsequently arrested on suspicion of DUI and treated at the hospital.

Police Files

Possible motives emerge in murder of Wendi Miller and Darren Partch, last seen in Laguna Beach

Media reports are saying that double-murder suspect Jamon Buggs “was possibly after men he believed had a romantic history with a woman from his past,” according to detectives.

Those reports came following Buggs’ attempted burglaries in Irvine where he allegedly went “looking for a Caucasian man by the name of Jared.” Instead, Buggs came across a residence with a man by that same name, but of Asian descent. 

Meanwhile, according to Eyewitness News, suspicious surveillance footage has surfaced which includes a man “resembling Buggs.” A resident of Corona del Mar told the television station that his vehicle was broken into a week ago Friday. “Three days earlier, the same suspect (Buggs) was seen in his neighbor’s backyard in Corona del Mar.”

The CdM resident added that his former neighbor was Darren Partch, one of the victims in the double homicide.

Still, however, police officials are saying that there is no evidence that Wendi Miller, the other victim, had any prior interaction with Buggs.
Police Files Buggs

Courtesy of Irvine Police Department

Jamon Rayon Buggs

Yesterday, Buggs was in the Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach for his scheduled arraignment, however, it was postponed until May 17. He is currently being held without bail.

His charges include the two counts of murder, attempted burglary of an inhabited dwelling, discharging a gun at an inhabited dwelling, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. If convicted, Buggs faces a minimum sentence of life without the possibility of parole and a maximum sentence of the death penalty. 

Buggs had a prior conviction for an assault on a police officer in San Diego County in 1995.

Buggs is accused of murdering Darren Donald Partch, 38, of Newport Beach, and Wendi Sue Miller, 48 of Costa Mesa. The two were found deceased inside a residence in the 2100 block of East 15th Street in Newport Beach on the evening of April 21.

Partch and Miller were last seen at the Loft and Sandpiper in Laguna Beach early Saturday morning, April 20, at approximately 1:45 a.m.

Miller was the CEO for the nonprofit organization Wings for Justice, an advocacy group for children in the family court system. Partch was a former minor league hockey player and most recently worked for Atrinsic, an Irvine-based financial services company, as an account executive.

Funeral arrangements for both have been planned. For Miller, a service is scheduled for this Friday, May 3 at 2 p.m., at Mariners Church in Irvine in the Community Center. For Partch, there is a Celebration of Life planned for Saturday, May 4 at the Harbor Lawn-Mt. Olive Memorial Park and Mortuary in Costa Mesa at 5:30 p.m.

Accident downs pole, closes Canyon for hours on Monday

On Monday, April 29, at 9:16 a.m., LBPD sent out a Nixle alert warning residents that Laguna Canyon Road would be closed in both directions for at least two hours due to a traffic collision into a pole.

According to LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt. Jim Cota, the accident was a single-vehicle traffic collision into a tree, which caused pole lines to fall into the roadway.

Police Files accident

Click on photo for a larger image 

Courtesy LBPD

A single-vehicle accident downs a pole and closes the Canyon for hours on Monday

At 10:13 a.m., LBPD sent out a second alert stating that Laguna Canyon Road between the area of Big Bend and Canyon Acres Drive would be closed until 2 p.m.

Luckily, at 12:02 p.m., an all-clear alert was sent. “All lanes of Laguna Canyon Road are now open. Please drive safe.”

Local woman receives email death threat, warned to pay $70,000 and not contact LBPD

On Sunday, April 28, a local woman received a death threat via email demanding she pay the suspect $70,000 or she would be killed. 

The email said verbatim, “I want you to read this message very carefully, and keep the secret with you till further notice, There is no need knowing who i am or where am from, Until i secure a place to meet up, I have being paid $35,000.00 in advance to terminate you with some reasons listed to me by my employer, Someone i believe you call a friend. Informations like your phone number and address.

“i have watched you closely for one week and three days and have seen that you are innocent of the accusation, Do not contact any Law enforcement or try to send a copy of this to them, If you do it is at your risk as i would be aware, and might be pushed to do what i have being paid for, Note this is the first time i am breaking my code of honor and i really doubt i should.

“Listen, Arrangement for us to meet in person would be made but before that i will need you to pay the sum of $70,000.00 and there will be nothing to be afraid of. I will be meeting you at your work place or home depending on where you wish we meet { Most likely a crowded area }, with no cameras, you should have no bugs to record our conversation (That might be the end of it). 

“My employer is in my control now, You will need to pay $50,000.00 to the account i will be providing you, After that we can set our first meeting, after you have made the advance payment to the provided account, i will meet you and deliver the tape containing the request for your assassination then you can pay the rest up front, The tape contains enough evidence to take my employer to court (if you wish to).

“You don’t need my phone contact for now till am assured you are ready to comply. Do not reply directly to this email. Reply to this email if you want all this to be in the past. Good Luck.”

The woman contacted LBPD and reported the incident, which she believed to be a scam.

Laguna man on scooter is ejected and lands in ER

On Saturday, April 27, at 12:50 p.m., LBPD officers and LBFD were dispatched to the 1900 Block of Laguna Canyon Road in reference to an injury traffic collision involving a single motor scooter. A good Samaritan called in the accident to emergency personnel. 

According to police records, the RP was not involved in the accident but reported that he saw it happen.

The driver was identified as Laguna Beach resident Steven Cardoza, according to Sgt. Cota. He was travelling inbound on Laguna Canyon Road when he was injured.

“It appears he applied his breaks too hard and was ejected from his scooter. He complained of pain to his left shoulder and was transported to Mission Hospital, Mission Viejo,” Sgt. Cota said.

The inbound lane of Laguna Canyon Road was closed for about 15 minutes.

Male suspect flees after allegedly assaulting a man who was dancing with his wife at local restaurant

On Saturday, April 27, at 10:56 p.m., LBPD officers responded a restaurant in the 200 block of Broadway Street for a report of an assault that had allegedly just occurred. 

According to police records, the caller stated that he was “just hit in the head by another male patron.” The RP said that he was dancing with his wife when the subject walked up and hit him. He also said he had “a video of the suspect confronting him after he was hit.”

“Officers arrived and located the victim. They attempted to locate the suspect, but he had fled the scene prior to their arrival,” Sgt. Cota said. “No medical assistance was required for the victim. A report was taken.”

Police Files

Double homicide suspect arrested for alleged murder of Wendi Miller and Darren Partch

On Thursday, April 25, the Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) arrested Jamon Rayon Buggs, a 44-year-old resident of Huntington Beach, for the alleged murder of Darren Donald Partch, a 38-year-old resident of Newport Beach, and Wendi Sue Miller, a 48-year-old resident of Costa Mesa, who was reported missing after a night out in Laguna Beach. According to an NBPD spokesperson, Buggs was already in police custody following a string of residential burglary attempts in Orange County on Saturday and Sunday.

Police Files Buggs

Courtesy of NBPD

Jamon Buggs, double homicide suspect, is in policy custody

The victims were found deceased inside a residence in the 2100 Block of East 15th Street in Newport Beach, at the Villa Siena condominium complex, located across the street from Newport Harbor High School at 15th Street and Irvine Avenue.

A roommate of the male victim was returning home around 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 21, from a weekend in the desert when he discovered the bodies.

According to friends, Miller was last seen at the Loft and Sandpiper in Laguna Beach early Saturday morning. She hadn’t been seen or heard from since. 

Police Files Wendi Miller Police Files Darren Partch

Wendi Miller and Darren Partch were murdered in Newport Beach

At the time of his arrest, Buggs was in custody at the OC Jail on unrelated charges. He had been arrested by the Irvine Police Department in connection with a series of attempted residential burglaries that happened on Saturday night, April 20, and Sunday morning, April 21, in the area, where he is also suspected of firing a handgun outside a home that he attempted to burglarize.

The next day, on Monday, April 22 after 12 a.m., Irvine police detectives were surveilling the neighborhood where the two attempted residential burglaries occurred when they noticed a suspicious vehicle. 

Irvine officers tried to stop the vehicle and a short pursuit ensued into an adjacent neighborhood. The suspect abandoned his vehicle after a minor collision with a parked car, and then ran into a backyard nearby. 

At approximately 4 a.m., the suspect was seen running, trying to flee from an unoccupied house that he had broken into earlier, when he was detained by officers without incident. 

Buggs was arrested and booked at OC Jail for attempted burglary, shooting into an inhabited dwelling, possession of a firearm by a felon, evading a police officer, and hit and run.

Buggs is currently being held on a $1,000,000 bail pending double murder charges.

According to an NBPD spokesperson, “This is an open and ongoing investigation and no additional details are available at this time. Anyone with information regarding this case or with information on the recent activities and whereabouts of Buggs prior to his arrest should contact Detective Rick Henry at (949) 644-3797.”

Three suspects arrested for assault by force and battery with serious bodily injury

On Sunday, April 21, at 1:39 a.m., officers responded to a physical fight in progress in the 400 block of S Coast Hwy outside of a local bar. According to PIO Sgt. Jim Cota, officers were informed there were approximately 10 people involved. 

“Officers detained a group of suspects attempting to flee the scene. One suspect remained on scene and was cooperative with officers. One male subject (victim) was lying in the #2 lane of South Coast Highway and appeared to have sustained a head injury. This subject was not alert when officers were rendering first aid. LBFD arrived on scene and transported the male to Mission Hospital MV with unknown head trauma. The suspect who remained on scene admitted to fighting with the victim and was ultimately arrested for Assault with a Deadly Weapon and Battery with Injuries. Two of the suspects who attempted to flee and were detained by officers and were positively identified by witnesses as also participating in the assault of the victim. They were also arrested and charged with the same listed violations. All three suspects were all transported to OCJ,” said Sgt. Cota.

Police Files Provenzino Police Files Cutts Police Files Dias

Photos courtesy of LBPD

Matthew Provenzino, Nicholas La Marche Cutts, and Keith Dias

Matthew Anthony Provenzino, 25, of Westminster, Nicholas Michael La Marche Cutts, 23, of Citrus Heights, and Keith Ryan Dias, 23, of Dana Point, were arrested for assault by force and battery with serious bodily injury.

“At the time of the incident the victim sustained a minimal head injury and a facial fracture. He is conscious and talking,” Sgt. Cota said. “This investigation is still ongoing so motive cannot be provided at this time.”

According to police records, bail was set at $50,000 each.

-By Suzie Harrison

Animal Files

Teen allegedly steals baby goat from herd, posts it on social media

On Sunday, April 21, at 11:09 a.m., at the 500 block of Dartmoor Street, LBPD received a disturbing report of a stolen baby fire goat being posted on social media by a Mission Viejo teen.

Civilian Services Administrator Jim Beres reports, “Laguna Beach Animal Services became aware that a baby goat from the fire goat herd in North Laguna had been taken by a juvenile female subject back to her home in Mission Viejo. There had been postings on social media about the baby goat.”

Animal Files baby goats

Click on photo for a larger image 

Photo by Scott Brashier

 A baby fire goat (not pictured) was allegedly snatched from its herd by a teen and exploited on social media

According to Beres, an Animal Services officer responded to Mission Viejo to retrieve the baby goat and successfully returned the goat back to its mother in the fire goatherd.

The concerned caller reported the alleged crime to LBPD after her kids “showed her a post on social media” of the baby goat.

According to police records, the caller believed that the baby goat was not in good hands and requested this info get passed on to an Animal Services officer.

The baby goat was described as being black and white. The goat herder was contacted and apprised of the illegal incident. 

“The incident remains under investigation,” Beres said. 

Scarily, over the past month, there have been myriad reports of fire goat harassment reported to LBPD. The inclination to grab and take the baby goats seems to have gone too far. From adoring teens to fascinated families, please know, no matter the reason, it is a crime and suspects will be arrested.

Laser focus drives Miss Daisy to the rescue – cat alerts family of huge rattlesnake

This week a Laguna Beach family received an unannounced and unwelcome visitor, a large rattlesnake. Luckily, the family cat, Miss Daisy, saved the day. 

Animal Files Miss Daisy scares snake

Click on photo for a larger image 

Photo by the Joilets

Cat’s craze-like gaze at a rattlesnake saves family from close encounter

 “Miss Daisy’s intense focus out of the window saved us from a dangerous close encounter,” Tom and Gayle Joliet said. “When we looked over her shoulder, we saw this ‘nice’ rattlesnake ‘saunter’ down the driveway to the shade by our path to the laundry room. Carrying a basket of clothes would have blocked our view of this viper on our walkway.”

Animal Files huge snake slither

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by the Joilets

Miss Daisy is a Laguna hero-cat staring down this huge rattlesnake

It seems like the snake needs to clean up his act instead of airing his dirty laundry.

Sneaky snakes seem to be on the make

According to police records, there continues to be a steady influx of snakes and they’re seemingly on the make. Laguna Beach, watch out for this profusion of intrusion.

On Sunday, April 21, at 8:25 a.m., at the 30800 block of S Coast Hwy, LBPD received a report of a large rattlesnake to the front bush area of the caller’s house. According to police records, the caller was keeping watch on the snake’s tail, noticing its route. The snake was last seen “underneath the flowers to the front left of the house.”

Yikes! Where next?

When a snake comes a knocking, don’t answer!

Later on Sunday, April 21, at 1:19 p.m., at the 28900 block of Top of the World Drive, LBPD received a report of a sneaky snake trying to enter the caller’s house without permission. According to the report, the rattlesnake was inside the house “wedged between the front door and screen.”

The next day, on Monday, April 22, at the same Top of the World residence, at 10:29 a.m., the rattlesnake was reported to be back outside the caller’s front door. 

Then, on Tuesday, April 23, at 9:11 a.m., at the 2400 block of Irvine Cove, a resident called LBPD to report a snake in their house.

PMMC helps partially disentangle juvenile gray whale

On Saturday, April 21, Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC), as a part of the Orange County Large Whale Entanglement Response Team, alongside National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Sea World, Coast Guard Auxiliary, California Department of Fish & Wildlife, and OC Sheriff’s Department Harbor Patrol, worked to free a juvenile gray whale from monofilament gillnet and line wrapped around its tail and flukes. Significant cuts were made to the gear. However, the mission was called off before completion late Saturday afternoon for visibility and safety concerns. The team attached a small lightweight poly ball to the entanglement for easier re-sight of the whale the next day.

Animal Files disentangles whale

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of PMMC

PMMC helped NOAA and other agencies partially disentangle a juvenile gray whale from gillnet and line wrapped around its tail and flukes

The team dispatched three boats on Sunday to locate the gray, along with the help of various whale watching boats and Orange County Harbor Patrol. Because of the various sightings of the whale on Sunday in multiple locations and after search grids from Dana Point to Newport Beach were conducted, the team was unable to pinpoint an exact location for further disentanglement efforts.

“While this weekend’s outcome didn’t end in a full disentanglement, significant strides and documentation of the type of gear were very successful. The collaboration between all organizations and within the whale watching community was essential in locating and responding to this whale,” said Keith Matassa, PMMC Director of Zoological and Conservation Programs and Orange County Large Whale Entanglement Response Team member. “These events can take days if not weeks. We are not giving up yet.”

Animal Files tangled whale tail

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of PMMC

If you see a whale with an orange PMMC buoy attached to it, call (949) 494-3050

If an animal is re-sighted, and conditional and resources allow, another response may be mounted. If boaters see the whale with an orange PMMC buoy attached to it, please report to 1-877-SOS-WHALE or to PMMC at (949) 494-3050. 

PMMC would like to thank Capt. Dave’s Dolphin Safari, Dana Wharf, OC Harbor Patrol and Robert Snook for first reporting the whale to NOAA and standing by until the response team could arrive. 

Pacific Marine Mammal Center is a part of the Large Whale Entanglement Response Program. Due to the dangerous nature of responding to entangled large whales, PMMC’s responders go through extensive training and many years of apprenticeship to learn the proper techniques and protocols to ensure their safety and that of the animal. These activities are conducted under the authority of permit # 18786-03, a permit held by NOAA’s Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program.

-By Suzie Harrison

Police Files

Woman reported missing, last seen in Laguna Beach, murdered in double homicide 

A local woman who was reported missing after a night out in Laguna Beach was found murdered along with a Newport Beach man on Sunday, April 21.

The Orange County Coroner’s office identified the deceased yesterday as Wendi Miller, 48, a Costa Mesa resident and CEO of Wings for Justice, and Darren Partch, 38, of Newport Beach.

Miller and Partch were found dead Sunday night, April 21, at the Villa Siena condominium complex across the street from Newport Harbor High School at 15th Street and Irvine Avenue. Newport Beach Police are calling the deaths a double homicide.

Police Files Darren Partch Police Files Wendi Miller

Darren Partch and Wendi Miller were murdered in Newport Beach

A roommate of the male victim was returning home around 9:30 p.m. on Sunday from a weekend in the desert and discovered the bodies. At the time, he did not recognize the identity of the female.

Newport Beach Police have yet to release any further details, other than to say that there didn’t appear to be any signs of a forced entry.

A family member reported on Wendi’s death saying, “She had been shot and (we were) told that she did not suffer.”

Police are investigating and have “no information on a suspect at this time.”

Miller was last seen, according to friends, at the Loft and Sandpiper in Laguna Beach early Saturday morning, and she hadn’t been seen or heard from since. She was driving a white convertible Lexus.

Police Files Double Homicide

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Lana Johnson

Newport Beach Police cordoned off the area in front of the Villa Siena condominium complex at 2101 E. 15th St., Newport Beach

A neighbor in Villa Siena told Stu News that two vehicles were impounded from the scene earlier yesterday.

Partch was a retired hockey player from the San Diego Gulls organization where he last played in 2005-06. He also played for the Long Beach Ice Dogs back in 2003-04. 

He was originally from Agoura Hills.

Laguna Beach detectives are assisting Newport Beach detectives in the investigation and will be involved in the overall investigation.

Local arrested for attempted murder

On Saturday, April 20, at approximately 12:30 a.m., Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) deputies were called to a residential complex in Aliso Viejo regarding multiple subjects who were reportedly shot at by an unknown male in a truck. 

The suspect allegedly fired approximately three to four gunshots, but none of the subjects were hit. The suspect fled the area in the vehicle. Witnesses provided a description of the suspect, the vehicle, and a direction of travel to dispatchers. The suspect was described as a white male with black hair, wearing a gray shirt and driving an older gray Toyota truck. 

The weapon was described as a black, semi-automatic handgun. Responding deputies were unable to locate the vehicle in the area, but further investigation revealed the possible identity of the suspect.

Police Files McGuinness“LBPD was contacted to assist in the investigation as the suspect’s last known address was in the 31000 block of Holly Drive. LBPD officers located a vehicle similar to the one described by witnesses at the address and determined the suspect had several weapons including a gun similar to the one described, registered to him,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said. 

Sgt Cota continued, “While LBPD officers were surveilling the residence, the suspect exited with a gun in his hand. LBPD officers were able to take the suspect into custody and bring this dangerous situation to an end without anyone being injured.” 

The suspect, Zachary James McGuinness, 23, of Laguna Beach, was arrested for attempted murder and illegal discharge of a firearm with negligence. 

The investigation into this incident is ongoing. For further information, contact Sergeant Jim Cota at (949) 494-6671 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Bail was set at $500,000.

Passenger reportedly slapped in car over vehicle positioning near gas pump

On Sunday, April 14, at 4:32 p.m., LBPD officers responded to the 500 block of South Coast Highway for a report of an alleged assault. 

“The female RP reported that another female reached into her car and slapped her passenger. The suspect female fled before the arrival of officers,” Sgt Cota said. “This incident occurred over a verbal altercation at a gas station over the way the vehicles were positioned near the pumps.” 

According to police records, the slapper was reportedly driving “a black late-model Cadillac sedan.” The RP was driving a “black BMW X3.”

According to police records medical attention was required.

Animal Files

Teens keep messing with our goats

They’re baaaaaaaack, the ever-present grabby goat gazers: people who think our workhorse fire goats are some sort of menagerie. It seems they can’t keep their hands off our beloved cloven firefighters.

Case in point, on Sunday, April 14, at 6:08 p.m., at the 500 block of Dartmoor Street, LBPD received a report of misplaced goat adoration.

According to police reports, the caller stated that she saw a group of six to seven teenagers hopping the fence and touching the goats. “The RP is concerned for the goats,” reads the report.

Perhaps our grazing goats turned the tables a la a private residence. On Tuesday, April 16, at 9:04 a.m., at the 1100 block of Balboa Avenue, LBPD received a call stating there were “40 to 50 goats” in the caller’s backyard area.

According to the caller, they woke up and noticed the goats “somehow got in” and were “ruining everything.”

According to reports, the RP was trying to locate the goatherder to no avail. 

Animal Files Goats

Click on photo for a larger image 

Photo by Scott Brashier

Laguna’s goats are being harassed again

That evening, at 6:03 p.m., back at the 500 block of Dartmoor Street, a caller connected with LBPD to report a concern over a kid or baby goat. 

The concerned caller stated, “There is a baby goat that looks very ill. It looks like it’s dying.”

According to reports, the caller said that she and a group of people were there and “would like someone to respond and check on the baby.”

Later that night, at 7:23 p.m., at the same Dartmoor locale, it seems the goat drama was taken to a whole new level. Per police records, a caller reported that, “About 20 minutes ago, a young male subject took a baby goat and ran away with it.”

The grab-and-go goat thief was described as a young male with blond hair, about 5’9”.

Luckily, according to reports, the young goat grabber changed his mind.

The RP said, “The male brought the baby goat back and stated he did it because his friends challenged him to do it.”

However, the baby goat didn’t seem to fare as well.

According to the RP, the baby goat was back with its mom, but still “looked ill.”

Animal Services advises residents and visitors not to approach the goats, no matter their intention. 

“The fire goats are there for a specific reason, to eat the overgrown weeds and vegetation that could develop into a fire hazard. People should leave the goats alone, they are working goats,” Jim Beres, LBPD Civilian Services Administrator, Animal Services Officers advised.

“Do not touch or feed the goats. If someone has a concern about the health and welfare of the goats, they should call the Police Department at (949) 497-0701 to report their concerns,” Beres said. “Our Dispatch Center has the contact information for the goat herder and can contact him quickly if necessary.”

Two and then three reports of the goat caper were called in to LBPD. Now, that’s Neighborhood Watch in action!

-By Suzie Harrison

Police Files

Two “fully nude” women reported at Woods Cove

On Friday, April 12, at 12:22 p.m., LBPD officers were dispatched to Woods Cove in reference to a public nudity complaint. 

“The suspects were described as two fully nude females in their twenties,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said. “The reporting party was offended by the females due to her minor children being present at the beach.” 

According to police records, the caller reported “two females exposing their breasts to kids on the beach. The RP told them to stop and they became verbally abusive and using profanity at the RP and the kids on the sand.”

One alleged “nudie” had very short black hair and the second suspect sans swimsuit was described as having a brown ponytail. A brown dog was reportedly with them wearing full fur.

The caller requested contact with an LBPD officer. A few minutes later, the pair reportedly packed up their items and was later spotted by the RP fully clothed sitting in a black Ford truck.

According to police records, the caller said, “They were completely nude until they put their clothes on.”

“The females left the area prior to officers arriving,” Sgt Cota said. “A report was taken.”

Alleged vandal caught in the act of tagging at Tablerock, LBPD reports

On Wednesday, April 17, at 4:10 a.m., LBPD dispatchers received two calls regarding a vandalism that was occurring on Tablerock Beach. Officers arrived on scene and contacted Sophal Nam.

Police Files Nam“Nam had a history of arrests and contacts by officers in South Laguna. He is on probation and his probation officer was contacted,” Sgt Cota said. “Witnesses photographed Nam using a permanent red marker tagging the rocks close to the water’s edge and the wood base of the stairs.”

One witness returned to the scene and positively identified Nam as the suspect. He was arrested for a probation violation, vandalism, and possession of graffiti tools.

No bail was set.

Meth and stolen car lands duo behind bars

On Wednesday, April 17, at 5:39 p.m., LBPD officers were alerted to stolen license plate on a vehicle traveling northbound from Nyes Place. The vehicle was a silver Infiniti with a stolen California license plate on the vehicle.

“An officer located the vehicle and initiated a vehicle enforcement stop in the 200 block of Jasmine Street. The female driver, San Pedro resident Christin Hill, and front passenger William Franklin, from Laguna Niguel, were contacted,” Sgt Cota said. 

Police Files Hill Police Files Franklin

Photos courtesy of LBPD

A records check of the vehicle’s VIN revealed it had been stolen out of Santa Ana on March 22.

“Inside the vehicle, officers located methamphetamine, marijuana, burglary tools, stolen property, and several stolen credit cards. Hill claimed she purchased the vehicle from a friend for $500 but [officers] knew something was not right,” Sgt Cota said. 

According to Sgt Cota, both Hill and Franklin were arrested and transported to Orange County Jail pending criminal charges.

-By Suzie Harrison

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Alexis Amaradio, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Maggi Henrikson, Marrie Stone, Sara Hall, Stacia Stabler and Suzie Harrison are our writers and/or columnists.

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