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Police Files

Home invasion robbery suspects arrested

On Tuesday, July 23, Laguna Beach Police Department (LBPD) detectives and the Fullerton Police Department arrested Hector Fernando Cardoso, 42, of Riverside, in connection with a violent home invasion robbery that occurred in a Laguna Beach home in June 2018.

Cardoso was wanted on a $1 million arrest warrant, after fleeing Newport Beach’s Harbor Court following an appearance there for the case last week.

Cardoso joined his alleged co-conspirator, Robert James Glover, in Orange County Jail. Glover, 51, also of Riverside, was previously arrested by LBPD detectives in September 2018 for his alleged role in the robbery.

Police Files Cardoso Police Files Glover

Photos courtesy of LBPD

Hector Cardoso and Robert Glover

On June 11, 2018, at 11:06 p.m., LBPD received a 911 call from a 71-year-old woman, still partially bound, reporting that she was the victim of a home invasion robbery on Laguna Canyon Road. She informed dispatchers that two men dressed in all black entered her home, brandished handguns, and stated they were looking for drugs and money. The two suspects proceeded to ransack the house and ultimately fled with several stolen firearms, money, and other personal items.

“After a lengthy and extensive investigation, along with the assistance of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, and Riverside County Gang Task Force, LBPD Detectives arrested Robert James Glover and Hector Fernando Cardoso in connection with the robbery,” said LBPD in a statement released to the media.

If you have any information about this crime, please contact the Laguna Beach Police Department at (949) 497-0701 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

Woman arrested for alleged vandalism and battery at Pavilions 

On Wednesday, July 24, at 10:32 p.m., LBPD officers responded to a possible petty theft from Pavilions at the 600 block of N Coast Hwy.

According to Sgt Cota, “As officers were responding, LBPD dispatch advised to respond with lights and sirens because a female suspect was now vandalizing property and was attempting to strike the RP with a pole.” 

LBPD officers arrived and immediately located and detained a female suspect, identified as Amber Castillo.

 “Castillo was paranoid, sweating, and hallucinating due to [allegedly] being under the influence of a controlled substance,” Sgt Cota said. 

Amber Kristin Castillo, 41, was arrested for alleged vandalism and battery on a person.

Bail was set for $25,000.

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

-By Suzie Harrison


Animal Files

Sea lion hangs out at beach with local residents, concerned calls pour in but PMMC says she is ok

On Friday, July 19, at 7:28 p.m., a local female California sea lion made waves when she decided to take a little “R & R” at the beach. The pinniped parked it at Bluebird Beach, at the 1500 block of South Coast Highway, amongst dozens of spectators.

According to LBPD Civilian Services Administrator Jim Beres, “We received a report of a sea lion on the sand at Bluebird Beach.”

 Beach Patrol Officers responded to assess the animal and determine if a response from Pacific Marine Mammal Center would be necessary. 

“The sea lion was not sick or injured, it was just resting on the beach between the shoreline and the rocks,” Beres said.

According to police records, the RP was concerned because they thought the sea lion was beached and “people [were] letting their dogs sniff it.”

To help mitigate the situation, Beres said, “A sign was posted to advise the public not to disturb the marine mammal. The sea lion left the beach the following morning and swam back into the ocean.”

Animal Files Sea Lion Sunning

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Molly Zurflueh

Local California sea lion hangs out at the beach on Friday night

PMMC public relations and events coordinator Krysta Higuchi said, “We did not respond to this pinniped. We received the call late in the day from animal control. The animal is a yearling that is known for going up to people and has been spotted a few times this month. Right now, the animal has been placed ‘on watch,’ as to monitor her behavior. We don’t want to cause undue stress by capturing her.”

Higuchi said there’s no reason to be alarmed yet, which is why PMMC is continuing to monitor her if she comes back.

“She doesn’t have any alarming physical indications that she needs help, and has been aggressive at approach, which is a good sign. But we will continue to monitor her. Not all rescues are cut and dry and [some] need a little bit of time. If her condition changes or worsens, we will change our game plan,” Higuchi said.

When asked if this type of behavior was common amongst sea lions, Higuchi responded, “It’s hard to say if its common or not, we believe she was just resting and got caught up on a crowded beach.”

 She explained that California sea lions are common to the area, and that they are partially aquatic and known to lay out on beaches. 

“The abnormal thing is they tend not to on crowded beaches,” Higuchi said.

-By Suzie Harrison


Police and Fire Files

Man saved in alleged heroin overdose behind Glenneyre parking structure

On Friday, July 19, at 9:44 p.m., LBPD and LBFD provided medical aid to a man who allegedly overdosed on heroin in the alley behind the Glenneyre parking structure, at the 400 block of S Coast Hwy. 

According to LBFD Captain Crissy Teichmann, the man was approximately 40 years old. “Paramedics arrived to find the patient in the alley behind the restaurants around 9:45 p.m.” 

According to LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota, “The subject was face down on arrival. The reporting party located a syringe near [him], which was confiscated and booked for destruction at LBPD.”

According to police records, the patient was “[allegedly] down for 30 minutes, unconscious and not breathing.”

Captain Teichmann said, “The patient was alert upon paramedic arrival but needed continued monitoring. [He] was evaluated and required paramedic monitoring and transport to the closest hospital.”

 “[He] was transported to Mission Hospital, Laguna Beach for medical treatment. No charges are pending,” Sgt Cota said.

Motorcyclist sent to hospital after crash with truck

On Thursday, July 18, at about 4 p.m., two motorcyclists were traveling northbound on South Coast Highway approaching 9th Street, when a pickup parked on the inland side of the highway allegedly attempted to make a U-turn from the shoulder in front of the motorcyclists. 

According to Sgt Cota, “One of the riders was able to stop in time. The other rider struck the side of the truck and went down. The injuries appeared minor, but the rider was transported to Mission Hospital, Mission Viejo for treatment.”

One southbound lane of South Coast Highway was closed for about 30 minutes.

Alleged “man with a gun” suspect arrested in high-risk traffic stop

On Wednesday, July 17, at 1:45 p.m., LBPD officers responded to the area of 1000 Steps Beach for an alleged “man with a gun” suspect from Tustin Police Department. 

According to Sgt Cota, “The male subject was reported to be involved in a road rage incident in the city of Tustin where the suspect [allegedy] pointed a gun at the victim.”

Tustin Police Department was able to track the suspect via his cell phone. Officers arrived in the area and located the suspect’s vehicle but it was reportedly unoccupied. 

Tustin Police Department detectives responded to the area to conduct surveillance. 

“At 4:10 p.m., the suspect returned to his vehicle and began driving northbound on Coast Highway. Tustin Police Detectives requested assistance conducting a high-risk traffic stop. LBPD officers arrived on scene and conducted a high-risk vehicle stop at South Coast Highway and Agate Street. The suspect was taken into custody without incident. Tustin Police transported the suspect back to Tustin PD for questioning,” Sgt Cota said.

Skimming device found at local hotel ATM

On Saturday, July 20, at 9:03 a.m., an LBPD officer responded to Surf and Sand Resort, at 1555 S Coast Hwy. 

According to Sgt Cota, “A card skimming device was found by the Surf and Sand security manager. The device was found attached to the ATM located next to the gift shop.”

The device was allegedly placed on the ATM between noon on Friday, July 19 and 8:35 a.m. on Saturday, July 20. 

“No suspects were seen and no there are no surveillance cameras located by the ATM,” Sgt Cota said.

Mercy Air rescues woman at 1000 Steps Beach 

On Friday, July 19, at 5:08 p.m., Emergency Services responded to a report of an injured woman at 1000 Steps Beach, at the 31900 block of S Coast Hwy.

According to Sgt Cota, “Mercy Air landed for a 32-year-old female with a back injury walking down the stairs to 1000 Steps Beach.”

Captain Teichmann elaborated on the rescue.

 “The call was for a 32-year-old female with severe back pain after walking down the steps. She was treated by Laguna paramedics. She was unable to walk up so a medical helicopter was requested to continue her treatment and transport her to the hospital,” Capt Teichmann said.

She was taken to Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo.

According to police records, the woman was in front of the stairs in a tent and couldn’t get up, when the emergency call was made.

Scam alert: telephone scam requests money to post bail for nonexistent DUI

On Saturday, July 20, at 11:20 a.m., an LBPD officer responded to a residence on the 300 block of Heather Place for the report a telephone scam. 

According to Sgt Cota, “The caller stated that the RP’s grandson was arrested for DUI and needed to post bail. The caller was requesting money for the bail amount. No money was given. The RP wanted the police department to know and document the call for service.”

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

Bike stop leads to arrest for alleged meth sales, 25 grams of meth recovered

On Monday, July 15, at 3:12 p.m., an LBPD officer conducted a bike stop that led to the discovery of a hefty amount of meth.

Police Files David CrossnoAccording to LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota, “During the stop, Crossno was extremely sweaty, fidgety, and kept adjusting the rear of his shorts as if he was attempting to conceal something. A search of his person revealed approximately 25 grams of methamphetamine between his buttocks. The officer also located a couple of small clear baggies which led him to believe Crossno was selling methamphetamine.” 

According to drugtimes.org, 25 grams of meth has an estimated street value of $1,500 to $2,000.

David Mark Crossno, 53, was arrested for alleged possession and sales of a controlled substance and on a probation violation.

No bail was set.

Not a piece of cake, couple makes in-person complaint about a bad restaurant experience to LBPD

On Tuesday, July 16, at 9:32 p.m., an LBPD officer met with a couple at the front counter of the PD that had a complaint about their experience at a local Laguna Beach restaurant. They reported that along with their meal, they purchased an expensive birthday cake for their party. 

According to Sgt Cota, “After the meal, the staff packed up the leftovers to take home. When the couple arrived home, they discovered that the staff had only packed nine of the ten leftover pieces of cake. When the couple called the restaurant the next day to complain about the missing piece of cake, they found the manager to not be very sympathetic.”

Cota said, “The officer explained the limitations of law enforcement’s ability to assist them in such a frustration and provided them with alternative methods of following up with the restaurant.”

300 attend full moon drumming at Aliso Beach on Tuesday, LBPD cites three on alleged drunk in public violations

On Tuesday, July 16, the Aliso Beach Drum Circle drew an estimated 300 visitors. There were two LBPD beach patrol officers and two OC Parks rangers monitoring the drum circle.

“LBPD officers, beach patrol officers, and cadets patrolled the event with OC Parks rangers. Three citations were issued for alcohol violations,” Sgt Cota said.

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

Helicopter assists in stolen car arrest ending in Taco Bell parking lot

On Thursday, July 11, at 6:45 p.m., LBPD officers responded to the area of Ledroit Street and North Coast Highway regarding a vehicle possibly involved in a robbery in Santa Ana with two named suspects. 

According to LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota, “The black Dodge Charger was used in an armed robbery in Santa Ana on Saturday, June 22, and frequents Laguna Beach…A helicopter was requested and responded to assist in our area search of the vehicle. Officers were unable to locate the Dodge Charger.”

Sgt Cota said, “While looking for the robbery vehicle, officers were notified of a stolen vehicle entering Laguna Beach. The Chevy Prism had been stolen out of Santa Ana on Monday, July 8. An officer located the stolen vehicle at Legion Street and South Coast Highway, occupied by four passengers”. 

Additional LBPD officers arrived on scene and assisted. A high-risk vehicle stop was conducted in the Taco Bell parking lot. 

According to Sgt Cota, “The driver, Manuel Garcia, knew the vehicle was stolen but bought it from a friend for $300.”

Manuel Arreola Garcia, 28, was arrested for alleged possession of a stolen vehicle, taking a vehicle without owner consent, possession of burglary tools, and driving with a suspended driver’s license. 

The rear left male passenger, Juan Jesus Belman, 19, had a no bail warrant for his arrest regarding weapons violations.

The two female passengers were juveniles and later released to parents.

“Belman and Garcia were booked at LBPD and later transported to Orange County Jail,” Sgt Cota said.

Bail was set at $21,500 for Garcia and no bail was set for Belman.

$2,000 in wet clothes stolen from laundromat 

On Friday, July 12, at 9:41 p.m., at Legion Laundromat, at the 300 block of Legion Street, a victim noticed some of her laundry had gone missing.

According to Sgt Cota, “The victim placed her clothes in four separate washers and then went outside to her vehicle where she waited. During that time, a 20-30-minute period, an unknown person(s) took her designer clothes, including pants, jackets, and dress shirts, but left her socks and underwear.”

 The approximate loss is allegedly between $2,000 to $3,000.

Man arrested after allegedly kicking officer in the shin

On Saturday, July 13, at 11:58 p.m., downtown foot patrol officers contacted Sun City resident Steven Jackson, who had run across traffic from Skyloft to Laguna Avenue and El Paseo Street. 

According to Sgt Cota, “Jackson was uncooperative and aggressive with officers so he was detained in handcuffs during their investigation. Jackson continued to be upset and aggressive towards officers. Jackson charged an officer and kicked him in the shin.” 

Steven Michael Jackson, 41, was placed under arrest for alleged battery on a peace officer, resisting an executive officer, and resisting arrest. 

Sgt Cota said, “He was later transported to Orange County Jail. While in a cell at LBPD, Jackson flooded the cell and pushed water into the hallway.” 

Bail was set at $25,000. 

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

-By Suzie Harrison


Police Files

Suspect re-arrested nearly two years after alleged citywide crime spree, bail set at $150,000

On Monday, July 8, at 9:02 a.m., Reed Swingley was arrested on a warrant related to an alleged crime spree that occurred in the summer of 2017. 

According to LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota, “Detectives located him in Riverside where he was re-arrested without incident.” 

 Sgt Cota said, “During the summer of 2017, Reed Swingley [allegedly] went on a crime spree in the City of Laguna Beach generating multiple cases within a few days. Victims included Mozambique restaurant, Horst Architects, as well as numerous Laguna Beach residents and visitors.”

The crimes Swingley allegedly committed included commercial, residential, and vehicle burglaries, as well as petty and grand thefts. Items stolen included a safe, a large amount of cash, an antique saxophone, and a bronze statue.

According to Sgt. Cota, a review of surveillance video from one of the businesses, as well as the residence, identified a person of interest and a suspect vehicle. 

 “Thanks to video surveillance and diligent police work by patrol officers, detectives, and dispatchers, Swingley was identified. Swingley ultimately was arrested in the City of Laguna Beach and much of the stolen property was recovered from Swingley’s vehicle during the arrest,” Sgt Cota said of the 2017 arrest.

Before Swingley was arrested on Monday he had previously been released.

“Based on the amount of victims and follow-up required, the OCDA’s office elected to release Swingley pending further investigation. Following an extensive investigation, an arrest warrant [for] $150,000 was eventually obtained for Swingley’s arrest,” Sgt Cota said.

Reed Myron Swingley, 56, was arrested on a warrant. Bail was set at $150,000.

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

Several boxes of jewelry stolen while resident is out of town

On Tuesday, July 9, at 1:37 p.m., LBPD officers were dispatched to a residence in the 1600 block of Tahiti Avenue for a reported burglary. The officers arrived and found unknown suspects(s) had smashed a bathroom window and entered the house. It appears the crime was focused on the master bedroom and one wardrobe and dresser. 

According to Sgt Cota, the victim was on vacation at the time, but was contacted by the officers and according to her verbal confirmation, it looks as though several boxes of jewelry of substantial value was taken. 

CSI was conducted and a report was taken. Detectives responded and will assume the investigation going forward. 

-By Suzie Harrison


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

Click on photo for a larger image 

Submitted photo

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

Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor & Writer.

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Mary Hurlbut is our Chief Photographer.

Alexis Amaradio, Barbara Diamond, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Lynette Brasfield, Marrie Stone, Maggi Henrikson, Samantha Washer, and Suzie Harrison are our writers and/or columnists. Scott Brashier is our photographer.

Stacia Stabler is our Social Media Manager & Writer.

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