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Laguna Beach


Police Files

Duo arrested for alleged DUIs after allegedly switching seats following hit-and-run accident

On Saturday, July 6, at 8:01 p.m., LBPD officers responded to Anita Street and South Coast Highway in reference to an alleged hit-and-run non-injury traffic collision.

According to LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota, “The witness observed the female and male switch seats as the suspect vehicle had fled the scene prior to officers’ arrival.” 

A vehicle description was provided by the RP and an officer located the vehicle and initiated a vehicle enforcement stop at Legion Street and South Coast Highway. 

Sgt Cota said, “The three occupants were all intoxicated and admitted to the minor traffic collision. The driver was arrested for DUI. The witness who observed the traffic collision responded to the scene and identified the female passenger and the driver during the original collision. She was also arrested for DUI and hit and run.”

Sgt Cota explained that the suspects were both driving at separate times. “The female was driving during the accident, then they switched and were stopped with the male driving.”

The female, a 27-year-old from Downey, was arrested for alleged DUI and for the hit and run. Bail was set at $3,000.

The male, a 30-year-old from Los Angeles, was arrested for an alleged DUI. Bail was set at $2,500.

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.

Back-to-back earthquakes rock Laguna and the Southland, the biggest in SoCal in decades

Laguna Beach along with the rest of the Southland felt the impact of two heavy-hitting earthquakes, occurring within 36 hours of each other. Fireworks were felt early on Thursday, July 4, at 10:33 a.m., with a 6.4 magnitude earthquake in the Barstow area followed by an even greater 7.1 magnitude earthquake recorded nearby in the Ridgecrest area on Friday, July 5, at 8:19 p.m. According to reports, Friday’s rolling shakes were felt north to San Francisco and east to Las Vegas, as well as in Mexico to the south.

Luckily, no fatalities were reported, and despite the widespread damage, the quakes are not being called catastrophic. 

According to Sgt Cota, “Laguna Beach experienced significant shaking but no injuries or property damage was reported. Mission Hospital in Laguna Beach was checked to make sure they did not sustain any damage. Officers immediately began checking their assigned beats for poles, wires, or trees down. Also, the gas stations were checked for gas leaks, none reported.”

The two tremblers were the strongest earthquakes to hit the Southern California area in 20 years.

Police Files City Emergency Kit backpack

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Laguna-specific emergency backpacks are available, be prepared

With all this new seismic activity, being prepared for emergencies has never been more important. To help in emergencies, a Laguna Beach-specific Emergency Kit Backpack has been created and is available for purchase. The kit includes an AM/FM hand crank radio with flashlight and cell phone charger, a 4-in-1 gas and water utility shut off tool, glow sticks, bio-hazard bags, nitrile gloves, a N95 mask, 54-piece first aid kit, duct tape, emergency poncho, solar blanket, and personal hygiene kit. 

The kit also contains emergency plan templates and disaster-specific information. Each red backpack features an official City of Laguna Beach seal.

Laguna Beach specific Emergency Kit Backpack can be purchased for $50 on the City’s website via https://bit.ly/2DlnFGy or in person at the Community and Susi Q Center, 380 Third Street, during normal business hours.

During an earthquake, Earthquake County Alliance advises to “Drop, Cover, and Hold. According to their website (www.earthquakecountry.org/dropcoverholdon): 

--DROP where you are, onto your hands and knees. This position protects you from being knocked down and also allows you to stay low and crawl to shelter if nearby.

--COVER your head and neck with one arm and hand. If a sturdy table or desk is nearby, crawl underneath it for shelter. If no shelter is nearby, crawl next to an interior wall (away from windows). Stay on your knees; bend over to protect vital organs.

--HOLD ON until shaking stops. Under shelter: hold on to it with one hand; be ready to move with your shelter if it shifts. No shelter: hold on to your head and neck with both arms and hands.

-By Suzie Harrison


Police Files

Man allegedly makes criminal threats to lifeguard, says he is going to “rip his throat out”

On Sunday, June 30, at 4:07 p.m., LBPD officers were dispatched to Main Beach to assist the tower lifeguard with a male that was allegedly threatening him and causing a disturbance. 

According to LBPD Emergency Operations Coordinator Jordan Villwock, “The male was identified as Anthony Scarpinato. He [allegedly] told the 18-year-old lifeguard that he was going to ‘rip his throat out.’”

According to police records, “The subjects were [allegedly] upset because they were advised to remove the[ir] dog from the beach.”

Anthony James Scarpinato, 52, was arrested for allegedly making criminal threats with intent to terrorize and resisting an executive officer.

 Bail was set at $70,000.

Frequent arrestee taken in for alleged burglary

On Tuesday, July 2, at 8:04 a.m., LBPD officers were dispatched to the 1100 block of Gaviota Drive for an alleged burglary in progress. 

According to Villwock, when officers arrived, they found and contacted Daniel Moretti inside and he was subsequently arrested. “At this time, it is unknown how Moretti entered the home,” said Villwock. “However, he did [allegedly] steal a bottle of champagne, which he still had the cork to in his pants pocket.”

Daniel James Moretti, 40, was arrested for alleged burglary.

Bail was set at $50,000.

Two days earlier on Sunday, June 30, at 8:55 a.m., at the 100 block of Cliff Drive, Moretti was arrested for alleged trespassing.

According to police records, it was reported that a male was walking by that appeared to be “casing the place.” The suspect appeared to be stopping and hiding in between parked cars as people passed him.

Bail was set at $500.

Two weeks prior, on Saturday, June 15, at approximately 3:06 a.m., LBPD officers were conducting a foot patrol in the area of Marine Way. The officers were doing residence checks due to the recent burglaries in the area. 

“While checking a residence in the 1000 block of Marine Way, officers noticed a broken pane of glass on the upper portion of the side kitchen door,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said. “Officers made entry into the residence and eventually located a male subject in one of the upstairs bedrooms.” 

The subject was detained and later identified as Daniel Moretti. Moretti admitted to throwing a rock through the window in order to gain entry to the residence, Sgt Cota said. 

He was transported to LBPD for booking for alleged vandalism and trespassing.

Bail was set at $20,000.

A couple of weeks prior, on Friday, May 31, at 6:34 a.m., Moretti was also arrested for alleged trespassing, this time at the 100 block of Crescent Bay Drive.

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

Alleged altercation and robbery at Table Rock Beach lands Riverside man in jail

On Saturday, June 29, at 10:30 p.m., LBPD and LBFD personnel responded to Table Rock Beach, at the 31500 block of Bluff Drive, in reference to an alleged altercation with injuries. 

According to LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota, “Upon the officer’s arrival, five male subjects and one female were detained related to the incident. The five male subjects were hanging out drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana prior to getting into a verbal altercation, which led to the stealing of victim’s hat by force. A physical altercation resulted in one victim needing stitches.”

The suspect, Jonathan Bodine, admitted to the alleged altercation and stealing the hat from the victim, Sgt Cota said. 

Jonathan Daniel Bodine, 23, of Riverside, was placed under arrest for alleged robbery and later transported to OC Jail.

Bail was set at $100,000.

Three men arrested after large street fight downtown

On Saturday, June 29, at 1:36 a.m., LBPD officers responded to Laguna Avenue and South Coast Highway in reference to a reported 20 people allegedly fighting in the street. 

According to Sgt Cota, “Downtown foot patrol officers were first on scene and placed Yannis Konugres in custody for battery and resisting arrest. Konugres was not cooperative, neither were his friends.

“Another subject identified as Milan Torne threatened to fight an officer on scene and would not comply with commands. Torne fought with officers as they attempted to take him into custody. Torne was ultimately placed under arrest,” Sgt Cota said. 

According to Sgt Cota, at this point, several people began to circle the officers in attempts to record with their cellphones and/or obstruct the duties of the officers. The local bars had just let out and there were dozens of unruly people in the streets.

“Another subject, Patrick Domagala, was also arrested for obstructing officers as they attempted to disperse the crowd and de-escalate the incident,” Sgt Cota said.

Yannis Sotirios Konugres, 22, of Mission Viejo was arrested for alleged battery and resisting arrest. Bail was set at $1,000.

Milan Andres Torne, 22, of Los Alamitos, was arrested for allegedly resisting an executive officer, resisting arrest, and disturbing the peace. Bail was set at $1,500.

Connor Patrick Domagala, 21, of Coto de Caza, was arrested for allegedly resisting arrest. Bail was set at $500.

Teen arrested for alleged possession of a firearm and concealed firearm

On Thursday, June 27, at 11:16 p.m., three citizens reported being contacted by a male subject outside of the Mobil gas station, at the 200 block of Broadway Street. 

According to Sgt Cota, “The citizens reported that the subject had a handgun in his waistband. Officers arrived and detained a 17-year-old and found an unloaded Sig Sauer P229 .40 caliber handgun concealed in the [teen’s] waistband as well as a pocketknife in his pants pocket.” 

He was a reported runaway from Laguna Niguel. 

“The handgun was registered to a resident of Laguna Niguel, but it was not reported stolen,” Sgt Cota said. “LBPD dispatchers and OCSD deputies tried to contact the handgun’s owner, but were unsuccessful.” 

Sgt Cota said, “The juvenile was booked for minor in possession of a firearm and possession of a concealed firearm.” 

According to Sgt Cota, his family was notified and he was transported to Juvenile Hall.

Alleged drunk driver careens into two parked cars

On Saturday, June 28, at 1:34 a.m., LBPD and LBFD responded to an injury traffic collision at 9th Avenue and South Coast Highway for a single vehicle accident hitting two parked cars. 

According to Sgt Cota, “The 22-year-old female driver of Placentia was driving her blue BMW at approximately 90 mph northbound when she collided into the rear left bumper of a parked Ford van, sending the van into the nearby hillside, causing major damage to both vehicles.” 

The BMW then collided into the rear of a parked U-Haul box truck causing moderate damage to the truck and more major damage to the BMW. [The suspect] was visibly injured when officers arrived on scene and she was immediately transported to Mission Hospital in Laguna Beach. 

Police Files crash

Courtesy of LBPD

Alleged drunk driver hits two parked vehicles going 90 mph early Saturday

Sgt Cota said, “An officer responded to conduct a DUI investigation. [The suspect] smelled of a strong order of an alcoholic beverage. [She] was placed under arrest for DUI and completed a blood test. She was released from the hospital after being medically treated.”

 Public Works responded to the scene due to the heavy amount of debris in the roadway. The traffic collision scene on South Coast Highway was closed for approximately two hours.

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

Alleged “open house” burglars arrested

Two suspects accused of wreaking havoc on local homeowners and realtors in a spree of burglaries occurring during “open houses,” including three incidents in late May in Laguna Beach, were arrested by the Huntington Beach Police Department (HBPD) on Wednesday, June 19, according to Laguna Beach Police Department (LBPD) Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota.

HBPD arrested Sara Neal and Richard Maloney in relation to a series of residential burglaries occurring during realtor “open house” events.

According to Sgt Cota, the suspect’s allegedly posted as potential buyers, with the male distracting the listing agent while the female suspect quickly went from room to room stealing desired items. “LBPD officers and detectives quickly narrowed in on two suspects through the use of video surveillance, victim/witness photo lineups, and law enforcement databases,” Sgt Cota said.

HBPD arrested Sara Jane Neal, 28, of Whittier, on two counts of alleged burglary, conspiracy, identity theft, and one count of alleged grand theft. Neal’s bail was set at $110,000. Richard Shea Maloney, 29, also of Whittier, was arrested on two counts of alleged burglary and conspiracy and one count of alleged identity theft. Maloney’s bail was set at $50,000.

“On Sunday, May 26, and then on the following day, LBPD received three reported thefts from three different residences in the city,” Sgt Cota said. “All of the victims who reported a theft were discovered to have hosted ‘open houses’ earlier that day.” 

A petty theft incident was reported during an “open house” at the 700 block of Manzanita Drive on that Sunday, at 6:36 p.m. The victim was a local realtor.

According to police reports, her purse was taken along with her driver’s license, a credit card, an iPhone, and approximately $20 in cash. The suspects reportedly began using her credit card in nearby cities immediately, before being shut down.

Another “open house” burglary occurred on Monday, May 27, at 1:12 p.m.

“During an open house at a residence on North Vista De Catalina, unknown suspects entered the residence and stole approximately $4,700 in camera equipment, personal items, and jewelry,” Sgt Cota said at the time.

A report was taken and forwarded to Investigations. On Tuesday, June 25, LBPD detectives interviewed Neal and Maloney at Orange County Jail. 

“Neal admitted to the Laguna Beach crimes, while Maloney remained vague about his involvement,” Sgt Cota said. “Neal and Maloney are believed to be responsible for over seven residential burglaries related to ‘open houses’ throughout the state.”

LBPD has not filed charges yet.

According to the OC Sheriff’s Department, the duo is due in court on July 1.

Man arrested for alleged battery of woman at the beach

On Tuesday, June 25, at 12:35 a.m., LBPD officers responded to the 600 block of South Coast Highway in reference to an alleged battery report involving a male and female. 

According to LBPD Sgt Jim Cota, “The female victim reported Brian O’Connor had assaulted her on the beach and was currently sleeping at the bottom of Sleepy Hollow stairs. The two had been drinking all day together and O’Connor [allegedly] became violent and hit the female.” 

“She was desirous of prosecution and officers located O’Connor on the beach,” Sgt Cota said.

According to police records, the suspect and the victim met earlier in the day. 

Brian Kieth Michael O’Connor, 51, was placed under a private person’s arrest for alleged battery and transported to the LB Jail. 

His bail was set at $500.

According to Stu News records, O’Connor has been arrested by LBPD an additional 23 times since September 2018 for various alleged offenses.

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 arrested for allegedly stealing resident’s car in the Canyon

On Saturday, June 22, at 9:55 p.m., LBPD officers responded to a report of a vehicle that had just been stolen from a residence on Sun Valley Drive. The vehicle was seen traveling inbound on Laguna Canyon Road. 

Police Files MatekelcAccording to LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota, “Officers located the vehicle northbound in the 400 block of North Coast Highway. The driver made a U-turn and stopped along the west curb at the intersection of Jasmine Street and North Coast Highway. A high-risk traffic stop was conducted and the driver, local homeless subject Michael Matekel, was arrested.”

“The registered owner of the vehicle was still on 911 with LBPD dispatch and responded to the scene to make a positive identification as well as retrieve his vehicle. Matekel was transported to LBPD for booking and later taken to OC Jail,” Sgt Cota said. 

Michael Hays Matekel, 30, was arrested for alleged possession of a stolen vehicle.

Bail was set at $20,000.

According to Stu News records, Matekel has been arrested by LBPD an additional 15 times since May 2018 for various alleged offenses.

Suspects arrested for allegedly stealing beer and bologna, also for meth

On Saturday, June 22, at 5:33 p.m., LBPD officers were contacted by employees at Pavillions, at the 600 block of N Coast Hwy, regarding two subjects who allegedly shoplifted items and were running to their vehicle. 

According to Sgt Cota, “Officers immediately located and detained the subjects in the parking lot. An investigation was conducted as were searches of their persons and vehicle. A third subject was located inside the vehicle pretending to be sleeping.”

 Sgt Cota said, “It was discovered that the two subjects had stolen two cases of beer, a bag of chips, and a package of bologna. The store requested prosecution for the shoplifting. The items were located inside of the suspect’s vehicle as was two methamphetamine pipes and a small amount of methamphetamine.” 

Two of the subjects were identified as Moses Alderette and Kevin De La Cruz. The third subject was a 16-year-old juvenile male. 

“While inside of the store, the juvenile recognized De La Cruz and asked for a ride home. Once he secured the ride, the juvenile left the store with De La Cruz and headed towards his vehicle to leave,” Sgt Cota said.

Kevin Ulices De La Cruz, 25, of Costa Mesa, was arrested for alleged shoplifting, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of a narcotic pipe. Moses Jasso Aldrette, 26, of Montclair, was arrested for alleged possession of a narcotic pipe.

The juvenile was detained and transported to LBPD. He was released to the custody of a juvenile home in north Orange County.

De La Cruz’s bail was set for $1,500. Alderette’s 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.

-By Suzie Harrison


Police Files

Suspect arrested in alleged head butting incident at the library

On Monday, June 17, at 10:31 a.m., LBPD officers responded to the Laguna Beach Library for a reported fight in progress. According to LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota, when officers arrived, they found local transient John Wilson, 58, and another transient as well as witnesses to the front of the library. Wilson was extremely agitated.

According to a witness, Wilson had head butted another transient during an argument. During the argument a library staff member tried to intercede and was reportedly spat upon by Wilson.

Police Files library

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LBPD officers respond to alleged head butting incident at the library on Monday

According to Sgt Cota, Wilson was screaming at and taking an aggressive stance with officers, but eventually calmed some. 

“He threatened to seriously injure the other transient because he believes that transient is dealing drugs and he also threatened officers on scene. He was arrested for the battery, threatening officers, and [making] terrorist threats...he was transported directly to OC Jail,” said Sgt Cota.

Wilson’s bail was set at $50,000.

Couple busted for allegedly trying to cash a counterfeit money order at the Post Office

On Wednesday, May 19, at 4 p.m., an employee of the Laguna Beach Post Office called LBPD to report a fraud in progress. The employee said that a male was attempting to cash a counterfeit Postal Money Order. 

“Officers arrived and detained the male suspect inside the Post Office. During the investigation, his girlfriend entered the Post Office and was identified by another Post Office employee as having passed a counterfeit money order the day before,” Sgt Cota said. 

The woman’s vehicle was reportedly backed into a parking space in the Post Office parking lot. A search of her vehicle recovered an additional counterfeit money order.

Dejuan Antoine Beverly, 32, and Asia Brenae Taylor, 28, of Palmdale, were arrested for commercial burglary, grand theft from a building, and making/passing a fictitious check.

The couple was booked at LBPD for and later transported to OC Jail. 

Bail was set at $20,000 for both of them.

More juvies harassing the city’s goats?

On Sunday, June 16, at 7:01 p.m., LBPD officers responded to the 3200 block of Alta Laguna Blvd in response to reports of goat harassment by local juveniles.

According to police records, a “group of juvies [were] agitating the goats… taking Instagram shots with the goats.” The small group of juvies was reportedly on the fire road.

Two days later on Tuesday, June 18, at 2:59 p.m., at Sommet Du Monde, LBPD received a report regarding a “group of juvies chasing and harassing the goats.” 

The goat herder was advised.

• • •

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.


Police Files

Local grocery store employee reportedly assaulted, punched in the face

On Saturday, June 15, at 9:56 a.m., LBPD officers responded to Whole Foods, at the 200 block of Broadway Street, in reference to a felony battery investigation. The victim was a male employee. 

“Without instigation, the RP said the suspect ran towards the victim and punched him in the face,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said. “The suspect fled the scene and was located shortly after in the 500 block of S Coast Highway. The force of the punch fractured the victim’s nose.” 

The suspect, Fernando Ramirez, 29, of San Clemente, was positively identified by an independent witness and the victim. He was subsequently taken into custody for felony battery.

Bail was set at $20,000.

Group of juvies reportedly assaults developmentally disabled adult

On Wednesday, June 12, at 2:09 p.m., LBPD officers responded to West Street Beach for the report of an assault that allegedly occurred earlier at the 31500 block of Bluff Drive.

“When officers arrived, the parties had been separated and they found approximately 13 juveniles and one adult had been involved,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota. “The fight was alcohol-induced and the victim was a 20-year-old developmentally disabled adult.”

Sgt Cota said, “The altercation began when a group of about thirteen 16-year-olds was hanging out on the beach. The 20-year-old walked over and attempted to mix in with the group and a fight ensued.”

According to Sgt Cota, all of the involved parties were identified and a report was taken. All of the juveniles were picked up by their parents and counseled.

Minor injuries were treated at the Lifeguard Tower. No medics were needed.

Local transient arrested after breaking into home

On Saturday, June 15, at approximately 3:06 a.m., LBPD officers were conducting a foot patrol in the area of Marine Way. The officers were doing resident checks due to the recent burglaries in the area. 

“While checking a residence in the 1000 block of Marine Way, officers noticed a broken pane of glass on the upper portion of the side kitchen door,” Sgt Cota said. “Officers made entry into the residence and eventually located a male subject in one of the upstairs bedrooms.” 

The subject was detained and later identified as local transient Daniel Moretti. Moretti admitted to throwing a rock through the window in order to gain entry to the residence, Sgt Cota said. 

Daniel James Moretti, 40, of Laguna Beach, was transported to LBPD for booking and charged with vandalism and trespassing.

Bail was set at $20,000.

Local woman threatened by scammers who said they would “cripple her” 

On Friday, June 14, at 8:19 a.m., a local woman reported to LBPD that she had received threatening phone calls. The calls began at 6 a.m. from an unidentified person stating they were the Publishers Clearing House and requested she send them money. 

According to police records, the subject told her that she had won a prize, a couple of million dollars. But in order to receive her prize she was asked to send money.

 “When the RP said no, she hung up. She received approximately 10 more calls and at one point they told her if she did not send the money, they would cripple her,” Sgt Cota said. 

While there was no loss of money, LBPD took action and added extra patrol checks for her address.

Dog snatched by coyote on Catalina Street

On Saturday, June 15, at 7:52 a.m., LBPD received a report regarding a coyote attack at the 900 block of Catalina Street.

According to police records, the RP’s brown dog was taken by a coyote early that morning. The RP stated that they had a video of the dog being snatched, and wanted to inform LBPD and also emailed Animal Services officers. 

 According to the Dog Tales website (www.dogtales.ca), suggestions to avert a coyote attack on your canine include not feeding coyotes or any wild animals; avoid off-leash walks in high risk areas; pick up the pooch’s poop, as it can attract predators; always be there and ensure your pet is safe at all times; build a fence at least 8 feet by 12 feet, as coyotes are expert climbers; stay calm if you encounter a coyote while with your dog, at the same time wave your arms and stomp your feet; stick to lighted areas or carry your own light source, as coyotes are less likely to be in well-lit areas; clean your garden, so there is nowhere for predators to hide; report any sightings; and spread the word. 

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

Unidentified man found dead in Laguna Canyon on Monday, autopsy to be performed this week

On Monday, June 10, at approximately 7 p.m., Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) was notified by LBPD that the body of a deceased male was found in a brush area off Laguna Canyon Road near Woodland Drive. 

LBPD was called to the area at approximately 6 p.m. after a person in the area found the body. It was determined that the area was county unincorporated, not in LBPD’s jurisdiction, so OCSD personnel responded.

“From initial on-scene examination by the coroner, the body appears to be that of an adult male, age unknown, and has not been identified,” OCSD PIO Carrie Braun said. 

Braun added, “The body was decomposed and investigators are unable to determine a preliminary cause of death due to the decomposition and environmental factors. The environmental factors may have factored into the condition of the body, but this will be determined.”

It’s unknown at this time how long the body had been there. 

The coroner investigators are handling the ongoing death investigation to include determining the identity of the decedent and additional information surrounding the circumstances of the death.

“Due to the condition of the body at the time of discovery, it is being handled as a death investigation unless the autopsy and investigation provide additional information,” Braun said. “As is the case in all deaths where the cause is not immediately known”.

The deceased will be examined during an autopsy to be performed later this week.

Unresponsive Laguna Beach male at Main Beach revived by Emergency Services and taken to hospital 

On Wednesday, June 12, at 5:15 p.m., LBPD, LBFD, and Marine Safety personnel were dispatched to Main Beach for an unresponsive male subject.

“Lifeguards arrived on scene and administered Narcan to a local homeless subject,” Sgt Cota said. 

Sgt Cota said the Narcan was successful in reviving the 46-year-old Laguna Beach subject and that he was transported to the hospital for medical treatment.


Police Files

Dead body found in Laguna Canyon

On Monday, June 10 at approximately 7 p.m., Orange County Sheriff’s Department responded to a call from LBPD that a body was located in a brush area off Laguna Canyon Road near Woodland Drive. 

LBPD was called to the area at approximately 6 p.m. after a person in the area found the body. It was determined that the area was county unincorporated, and Orange County Sheriff’s Department personnel responded.

According to an official statement from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, the body was decomposed, and investigators were unable to determine a preliminary cause of death due to the decomposition and environmental factors. The decedent is an adult male, age unknown, and has not been identified. 

At this time, Coroner investigators are handling the ongoing death investigation, to include determining the identity of the decedent and additional information surrounding the circumstances of the death, and he will be examined during an autopsy to be performed later this week.

Resident reports suspicious man offering to “wash her windows”

On Thursday, June 6, at 5:30 p.m., LBPD officers responded to a suspicious persons call at a residence in the 1600 block of Bluebird Canyon Drive. 

The RP stated that a male came to her door and offered to wash the windows to her house. 

“He further stated that the RP’s son ordered it and wanted to pay it forward,” Sgt Cota said. “Once the male at the door saw that the resident was not alone, he immediately fled the area in a small silver Toyota.”

According to police records, the suspect was described as a man with a dark complexion, “wearing a white shirt, gray tight jeans, and a nice watch.” 

Officers checked the area but did not locate the subject.

Rear window of home smashed, bed and shower used without owner’s permission

On Wednesday, June 6, at 10:44 a.m., LBPD officers were dispatched to the 1200 block of Ocean Front in reference to a burglary investigation. 

“One of the rear windows to the property was smashed. It was determined no property was stolen, however a bed and shower were used,” Sgt Cota said. 

According to police records, the RP said that he thought the suspect was living on the property. “A long-term renter just left, the RP just had the place clean[ed] on Tuesday, and everything was fine at the time. Now there [is] possibly some damage to the floors from moving furniture.”

An unknown piece of hair was located and collected as evidence, according to police records. The incident was forwarded to the Investigations Division.

Bouncer at local bar arrested for alleged battery of patron

On Saturday, June 8, at 1:16 a.m., LBPD officers were dispatched to a local bar, at the 200 block of Forest Avenue, for a report of a physical fight that had allegedly just occurred. 

“It was reported that a member of the security staff had assaulted a patron. Officers arrived on scene and located a male victim, who had swelling on his forehead,” Sgt Cota said. 

According to Sgt Cota, the victim’s friends stated they had cell phone video of the incident. The victim was treated by LBFD after reportedly being struck in the face and hitting his head on the sidewalk. 

“Officers were able to locate and detain the security staff member. Officers conducted a thorough investigation and watched the video of the incident,” Sgt Cota said. 

At the conclusion of LBPD’s investigation, Nicholas David Avenado, 20, of Buena Park, was arrested for alleged battery. 

The victim was transported to Mission Hospital, Laguna Beach for medical treatment, according to Sgt Cota.

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.

-By Suzie Harrison


Police Files

Alleged DUI driver involved in hit and run collision seen driving on wrong side of road

On Saturday, June 1, at 2:21 a.m., LBPD and LBFD personnel were dispatched to a report of a traffic collision involving a vehicle crashing into the Royal Hawaiian. 

As emergency personnel were enroute, the suspect, driving a black Toyota SUV, was seen leaving the scene, driving on the wrong side of the road. 

As officers approached Forest Avenue, the heavily damaged Toyota was seen driving directly at them in their lane of travel, according to LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota. Fortunately, the Toyota was going slowly and swerved back into its lane to avoid a collision. 

“Officers initiated a traffic stop and the driver of the Toyota yielded by driving onto the sidewalk in front of 577 S Coast Hwy,” Sgt Cota sad. “The driver was immediately detained.”

According to Sgt Cota, the suspect did not claim any injuries, but was examined by paramedics as a precaution. 

“During the investigation, officers learned the that the Toyota was proceeding southbound when it struck a parked 1964 Chevrolet van. The van was propelled onto the sidewalk and came to rest approximately 70 feet away,” Sgt Cota said. “The van struck and damaged the metal patio fence of the Royal Hawaiian, but the building was not damaged.” 

The driver of the Toyota was identified as William Louis Alton, 54, from Carlsbad. He was arrested on suspicion of DUI and for hit and run.

Bail was set at $3,000.

Man caught stealing booze takes police on foot chase

On Tuesday, June 4, at 6:31 p.m., LBPD officers responded to CVS, at the 30800 block of S Coast Hwy, in reference to a male subject reportedly stealing liquor and placing it in his duffle bag. 

The suspect left the store and fled to a nearby white Honda with temporary plates. 

“The vehicle fled southbound on Coast Highway where an officer located it. An enforcement stop was conducted on a female driver and the suspect in the passenger seat,” Sgt Cota said. “The male suspect began reaching into his waistband and was fidgeting around in the vehicle. Additional officers were requested.” 

Once officers were attempting to get the passenger out of the vehicle, he chose to flee on foot. A short foot pursuit ensued and the suspect was apprehended. 

“A search of his person revealed a magnet device to remove the alarm scanner from alcohol and clothing,” Sgt Cota said. “The suspect was identified as 24-years-old Los Angeles resident Joe Medina.” 

Joe Perez Medina, 24, of Los Angeles, was arrested for resisting arrest, burglary, possession of burglary tools, and on an outstanding warrant out of Texas.

“The female driver fled the scene during the foot pursuit but she was later identified,” Sgt Cota said.

No bail was set.

Woman busted for drugs at gas station

On Friday, May 31, at 8:23 p.m., LBPD officers responded to the Mobil gas station, at the 100 block of N Coast Hwy, for the report of a possible drug transaction involving the female driver of a white Honda Accord.

“Officers located the Honda and conducted a traffic stop. Laguna Hills resident Heather Pflug was arrested,” Sgt Cota said. 

 Heather Tiffany Pflug, 43, of Laguna Hills, was arrested for possession of narcotics, possession of dangerous drugs, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Bail was set at $1,500.

Concerned citizen turns in note threatening to kill cops

On Sunday, June 2, at 5:04 p.m., LBPD Officers responded to the lifeguard headquarters for a note that was turned in, which referenced a “cop killer.” 

According to Sgt Cota, the note said, “I’m a cop and I’m going to kill cops.”

It was unknown who wrote the note. But it was found by a concerned citizen in front of the Mobil gas station, at the 100 block of N Coast Hwy. LBPD Investigations Division was notified.

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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