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Laguna Beach

Police Files

Vehicle crashes into La Sirena Grill, Gelson’s also involved

On Sunday at 6:32 p.m., emergency personnel responded to the Gelson’s shopping center in South Laguna for a vehicle that had struck the building of La Sirena Grill. No injuries were reported, and alcohol and drugs were not a factor. Initial fears of terrorism appear on social media, are unfounded, to everyone’s relief.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Art Z of Sawdust Festival

A crash that was frightening for everyone, but fortunately there were no injuries

“Initial investigation appears the driver was attempting to park the vehicle, but pressed on the accelerator instead of the brakes,” said Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD. 


Two arrested in stolen vehicle – chase ends on Balboa Island

On Thursday, Feb. 23, officers were alerted that a Honda CRV reported stolen out of Santa Ana the previous day had entered the city. Officers located the vehicle near Forest Avenue heading north on Coast Highway.

When the vehicle turned into a gas station lot, a male passenger exited the vehicle and attempted to flee on foot. Officers detained and arrested Ryan Shelton, 34, San Juan Capo, for resisting arrest. 

Ryan Shelton                           Logan Carson

“The vehicle fled north on Coast Highway and officers continued to pursue the vehicle into Newport Beach,” said Kleiser. “The vehicle stopped on Balboa Island and the driver fled on foot, but was quickly found by the officers.”

The driver, Logan Carson, 33, Newport Beach, was arrested for felony vehicle theft, felony evading, and possession of a controlled substance. 


Stuck truck on Summit causes traffic headaches after crane fire

Summit Drive was closed for about an hour last Saturday afternoon when a tow truck that had been called in to remove an inoperable crane got stuck. The crane had caught on fire while working on a home the previous day. 

Click on photo for larger image

Photo by Michelle Bentcliff

Stuck truck on Summit Drive

Police Files

Vigilance is the key this weekend – as always!

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. 

Don’t drink and drive – and don’t use drugs and drive – choose a designated driver

DUI Saturation Patrols will deploy on Saturday, Feb 25 between the hours of 8 p.m. and 3 a.m. in areas with high frequencies of DUI collisions and/or arrests. 

Be vigilant, for yourself and others! Make sure you have a designated driver.

Another reason to be vigilant

Another reason to be vigilant: Recent package thefts have been reported, including one taken from the front porch of a home in the 700 block of Gaviota. 

“Neighbors should continue to be vigilant and call the police when they see something or someone suspicious,” recommended Sgt. Kleiser of the LBPD. 

Speaking of odd behavior…

On Sunday at 7:56 p.m., officers responded to the 1300 block of S. Coast Hwy for a verbal dispute between a male and a female.

“While officers were on scene, the male told the officers the shelter was hiding the female friend of his,” said Kleiser. “Officers had earlier responded to the location in regards to the man’s claims about the female, which was determined to be untrue by the officers.”

What was true was that the male was intoxicated, and that he got into a van and drove away.

Officers located the van in the Ralph’s parking lot and arrested Eric Hertle, 60, no fixed address, for driving under the influence. 

Drive carefully!

On Tuesday evening, emergency personnel responded to High Drive & Myrtle Street for a traffic collision – a moving vehicle had collided with a parked vehicle.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Patrick Gallis

Accident on High and Myrtle – no one injured

No one was injured and the cause of the collision is under investigation – but the vehicle had to be towed away from the scene.

Police Files

Man attempts to spring his car from tow lot – but instead he’s locked up…

On Saturday at 5:32 p.m., officers responded to the tow lot on Laguna Canyon Road following a report about male who had entered the tow yard without permission.

“The RP also told our dispatcher the male got into a vehicle and was trying to drive it away,” said Sgt. Tim Kleiser. “The officers found out it was his car.”

The tow truck driver who originated the call blocked the vehicle from leaving. At one point, the male exited the vehicle and attempted to open the motorized gate, causing it to become inoperable and causing approximately $500 in damages.

Officers arrested the male, 23-year-old Miles McGlothlin from Texas, for felony vandalism and misdemeanor trespassing. 

Lots of storm damage on Friday

Friday’s storm brought at least 45 reports of downed trees or tree branches, one report of the roof blown off a house, and one report of a hillside coming down, requiring a geologist to declare the area stable before residents were allowed to reenter their home. 

Trees damaged at least six vehicles and there were several reports of downed wires. 

“The Emergency Operations Center was open from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. and our dispatchers received a total of 192 calls for service,” said Kleiser. “Compare that to the previous Friday; during the exact same hours we had 70 calls for service.”

  Hats off to the police department, fire department, public works, and all other emergency personnel who helped us get through the storm.

Police Files

A fly-by-night scheme?

Seems like it’s been the calm before the (literal) storm…no major criminal incidents reported this week…except for a theft of 100,000 frequent flyer miles: Is the perpetrator a flight risk? We await the outcome with high anxiety.

Stay safe in the storm, everyone.

Police Files

One helicopter and 100 motorbikes: so much for a pleasant valley Sunday in the Canyon

On Sunday around 11:45 a.m., Newport Beach Police notified Laguna Beach that there were about 100 motorcycles heading in to the city on Coast Hwy.

“Officers followed and monitored the motorcycles up to Alta Laguna near the park,” said Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD. “Our officers did issue one citation to a rider who failed to stop for a stop sign.”

Newport also told the LBPD that one of their officers got into a pursuit with one rider who fled the area, but the outcome of the pursuit was unknown.

Meth-busters: Officers arrest mule

On Wednesday night at 10:22 p.m., Laguna Beach Police officers approached a vehicle, making contact with its occupant – who happened to be carrying meth.

Heather Tiffany Pflug, 41, Laguna Hills was arrested for possession of a controlled substance, but it wasn’t long before the officers found the rest of the meth, 7.92 grams in total. Pflug’s charges were upgraded to transportation of a controlled substance for sales with $25,000 bail.

Police Files

Bong bang could have been bad for butter-fingered burglar but burgled bong-seller declines to prosecute

On Monday, officers responded to a business on the 600 block of S. Coast Hwy regarding a robbery. Earlier, while a store employee had temporarily stepped outside the business, a male had gone behind the counter, taken a large bong and placed it under his shirt.

According to the police log, as the employee tried to stop the male from fleeing, “he used the bong to hit her.” Officers were unable to locate the suspect, but the employee did find a piece of paper that the man had dropped, which included his name.

Social media can be a bummer if you burgle

“The employee was able to locate the male with an online social media account and sent him a message the next day that a police report had been filed,” said Sgt. Kleiser of the LBPD. 

“The male replied back and apologized for the incident and agreed to pay for the item he had taken,” – a $560 bong.

The employee agreed to handle the incident civilly and not seek prosecution. The suspect’s name was not available once the business declined to prosecute.

Thanks to the civil arrangement the male and the employee agreed upon, the contrite suspect avoided a major felony. Lucky bong burglar!

Police Files

Pair of bad girls went to jail

In two separate incidents just an hour apart this weekend, Laguna Beach police officers arrested two women.

The first was on Saturday at 11:32 p.m. An officer stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation and while he was speaking to the driver, he saw an open can of beer on the rear floorboard and a vape pen with marijuana. After conducting a DUI investigation, Arianna Medicina, 23, Oceanside, was arrested for DUI. But that wasn’t all.

“During a search of the car, the officers found 13 pills of Alprazolam, a bottle of nitrous, and 3 pieces of candy laced with LSD,” said Sgt. Tim Kleiser. She was also charged with felony transportation of a controlled substance for sales, felony possession of a controlled substance, and felony possession of a controlled substance for sales.

Sunday morning at 12:41 a.m., officers stopped a woman for public intoxication. 

“When the officers were searching her, she kicked one of the officers on the leg,” said Kleiser. “When they were escorting her to jail she spit at two other officers.”

Nicole Adams, 25, Mission Viejo, was charged with being drunk in public and violence to prevent an officer from doing their duty.

Stolen Prius leads to arrest

On Friday evening at 8:59 p.m., officers were alerted to a Toyota Prius entering Laguna Beach via Laguna Canyon Road that had been reported stolen to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

The vehicle was stopped on S. Coast Hwy at Cleo Street. The driver, 19-year-old Jason Plunkett-Salvador from Huntington Beach, was arrested for felony vehicle theft. 

Police Files

Call the right play for Super Bowl 51 – pass the keys to a sober driver before the big game begins

On Sunday, Feb 5, football fans across the country will tune in to watch Super Bowl 51. For many of them, the game experience will include alcohol. The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) is teaming up with law enforcement agencies across the state for a special Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk campaign, urging all football fans to call the right play on Super Bowl weekend and pass the keys to a sober driver before the drinking begins. 

As part of the Super Bowl Sunday enforcement efforts, police, sheriff and the CHP will be on heightened alert ready to stop and arrest any impaired driver. 

Fans don’t let fans drive drunk

Impaired driving can be deadly. A driver is considered alcohol-impaired with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher, but even a small amount of alcohol can impair judgment and reaction times enough to make driving unsafe. Many medications (prescription and over-the-counter), marijuana, and illicit drugs can also lead to impairment and unsafe driving, resulting in a DUI. 

 “Volunteer to be a designated driver to help your family and friends get home safely,” said OTS Director Rhonda Craft. “Impaired driving only leads to disaster and tragedy. It is never worth the risk. If you do plan to drink, and/or are taking medications or using marijuana, plan now to pass the keys to a sober driver before kickoff.” 

For those who plan to drink, leave your keys at home. For those who do plan to drive, refrain from consuming any alcohol. Instead, enjoy the game with food and non-alcoholic drinks. 

Download an app for a designated driver

Drivers can also download OTS’s Designated Driver VIP, or “DDVIP,” free mobile app to get connected with free designated-driver incentives at local establishments or to order a sober ride from Uber, Lyft, or Curb. 

This enforcement effort is funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration who reminds everyone to be alert and ‘Report Drunk Drivers – Call 911’ if you see a dangerous driver call immediately!

Police Files

Man, 24, left a trail of crimes along Park Avenue

Police dispatch received a 9-1-1 call early last Wednesday evening reporting that a man was walking in the roadway near the high school on Park Avenue carrying a stick and swinging it at people’s cars. Traffic, the caller said, had stopped and was backed up on both sides of the street.

Officers arrived on scene and had him detained four minutes after the initial call. Alexander Steven Tracy, 24, Laguna Niguel, was soon in custody for being drunk in public. Among his possessions was a Head tennis racquet.

Meanwhile, another officer responded to the 900 block of Park Ave to take a report for a residential burglary.

LBPD Sgt. Tim Kleiser said, “The resident arrived home and found his front and rear doors open. Officers checked the house and found property that belonged to Tracy. The victim noticed two Head tennis racquets had been taken, one of which was in Tracy’s possession and also a bottle of tequila was missing.”

A little while later, an officer responded to the 800 block of Park Ave for a report of vandalism Sgt. Kleiser added, “The resident arrived home around 6:45 and noticed the mailbox had been damaged and broken glass on the driveway. The glass was from the bottle of tequila taken from the residence where the burglary was reported.”

Tracy ended up going to jail for residential burglary, a felony, vandalism and being drunk in public. He was also on probation leading to his status being changed to being a probation violator and he was held without bail.

A man left a watermelon at the front door of the PD

At 10:24 Friday morning, the surveillance camera at the front door of the Police Department revealed a man described as being in his late 40s or early 50s placing a watermelon in front and then walking away.

Police are enhancing the video in the hope of being able to identify the man.

Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD said, “We don’t know what the purpose of this was, but we think it maybe in regards to the high school incident.”

Remember, for a complete listing of crimes and arrests in town, scroll down to Police Beat at the bottom of our second front page

Police Files

Sounds as if this burglary may been an “inside job”

When we think of burglaries, we rarely consider them to be an inside job, i.e., someone who had or has knowledge of where the money is and the best time to go for the taking.

There’s no evidence from the LBPD that we are correct in our deduction, but we want you to see what “fake news” can be.

A woman left her Laguna Beach from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. When she got home, she saw that an outside door to her laundry was open and upon looking around, she saw that an office desk drawer was open.

$15,000 in cash was missing.

Laguna Beach PD detectives are on the case. 

Tree outside Urth Caffe is benched by the storm

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Dianne Russell

No, this is not the controversial tree in North Laguna

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