Laguna Beach

Police Files

Man robbed at gunpoint in Mobil parking lot

Police responded to the Mobil station at 10:30 last Thursday night after a man reported that he had been robbed at gunpoint as he walked to his car in the parking lot of the gas station.

Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD said, “He told the officers that a black male approached him from the passenger side and had a gun in his hand. The suspect asked for everything in the victim’s pockets. The victim handed the male his wallet that contained credit cards and also gave the suspect some methamphetamine he had in his pocket.”

The victim provided only a sparse description and added that an Asian woman was with the suspect when they fled from the area.

Woman taken for $11,000 by man she met on the web

A woman came to the police station and told an officer that a man she had met on Facebook recently had convinced her to give him nearly $11,000 in three different wire transfer transactions in May.

Sgt. Tim Kleiser said she gave him $1,260.00 to assist him with paying for shipping of some items and later wire transferred $6,289 and $3,000.

When she was unable to make contact with the man, she realized that she had been scammed and came to the police station.

This type of fraud is commonly called the “sweetheart scam”.

Police didn’t release any further details at this time.  

Routine investigation takes a bad girl off the streets

A traffic stop in the 100 block of Brooks Street at 2:57 a.m. Sunday resulted in the arrest of Dava Voss Spears, 46, Irvine, for four Central Court felony warrants – three with no bail.

The charges on the warrants included auto theft, grand theft, three counts of drug possession, false personation of another person when charged with a felony, possession of stolen property from a public entity and possession of drugs while incarcerated in a penal institution.

She was booked at the police station and taken to county jail.

Police Files

Murder conviction overturned in 2009 beating death of Damon Nicholson in his North Laguna apartment

Damon Nicholson was murdered with a baseball bat in his Dolphin Way apartment in October 2009. At the time, the 40-year-old man was the banquet manager at Hotel Laguna and well known around town.

After an investigation, Laguna Beach Police detectives arrested two Lake Forest men, Matthew Dragna and Jacob Quintanilla, both 19, for Nicholson’s murder. Both men had gone to the Dolphin Way residence to have sex with Nicholson.

Dragna had been there on more than one occasion and court records show that he invited Quintanilla to the location on the night of the murder.

Dragna and Quintanilla were convicted of the murder in separate jury trials with Dragna convicted in December 2013 and later sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Last week, a three-judge panel of the Fourth District Court of Appeals reversed that conviction finding that Laguna Beach detectives had continued to question Dragna after he had invoked a request for an attorney. That, the court ruled, was a violation of Dragna’s rights under Miranda v. Arizona. That ruling removed the evidence that had been obtained during the questioning.

California’s Attorney General’s office acknowledged that the detectives made the error but argued that there was other independent evidence sufficient to convict Dragna. That evidence included DNA. 

The Orange County DA is expected to file charges for a new trial but have made no announcement.

A spokesperson for the Laguna Beach PD said they have no comment at this time.   


New “Coast to Coast” seat belt enforcement effort starts May 23 and aims to increase Click It or Ticket participation, save lives 

From May 23 to June 5, local law enforcement personnel will participate in the national Click It or Ticket campaign in an effort to save lives through increased seat belt use. This education enforcement period comes ahead of the Memorial Day holiday, one of the busiest travel weekends of the year. 

According to research conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, while 88.5 percent of passenger vehicle occupants buckled up in 2015, almost 50 percent of occupants of fatal crashes nationwide are not restrained. In some states, the rate is as high as 70 percent unrestrained in fatal crashes. In California, more than a half million people travel our roadways at grave risk without proper restraints. These facts highlight the need for increased education, awareness, and enforcement of seat belt use. Law enforcement agencies statewide are joining the Click It or Ticket effort to emphasize the “Coast to Coast” seat belt safety awareness campaign in all 50 states. 

“As law enforcement, we have a special role in helping protect the safety of our citizens,” said Lt. Jeff Calvert. “Time after time, we see the deadly results that come from drivers and passengers refusing to wear a seat belt. Wearing a seat belt is one of the most important steps in increasing survivability in a crash. Our job is to stop those who are not buckled up, and to keep them from repeating this potentially deadly mistake.” 

In 2014, nearly half of the 21,022 passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes nationally were unrestrained, according to NHTSA. During the nighttime hours of 6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m., that number increased to 57 percent of those killed. 

“Hundreds of thousands of citizens will be traveling this Memorial Day weekend, as well as throughout the summer vacation season. We want to make sure that people are buckling up to keep themselves and their families safe. It is the greatest defense in a vehicle crash,” said Rhonda Craft, Director of the California Office of Traffic Safety. 

For more info on the Click It or Ticket campaign, visit

Police Files

Laguna man, 26, arrested for felon with a gun while he was arrested for stealing a car on Laguna Canyon Rd

A Laguna Beach man, 26, was arrested last Wednesday afternoon for felony vehicle theft and felon in possession of a gun after he was detained about a block away from where a 2006 Mazda SUV had been reported stolen about three hours earlier in the 21000 block of Laguna Canyon Road.

LBPD Sgt. Tim Kleiser said Michael Matekel was observed in the area of the stolen Mazda after a patrol officer had found it in the 20400 block of Sun Valley. 

“The officer watched it from a distance. While the officer was there, a man approached the patrol car from the rear. The officer exited the patrol car and saw a wooden handle of a pistol sticking out of one of his pockets.”

Matekel also had the keys to the stolen Mazda in his possession along with the .22 caliber pistol.

Detectives nab two Inland Empire women trying for a $20K fraud

A plastic surgery center reported earlier in the month that a woman had paid for over $4,500 in surgery after submitting a fraudulent credit application.

LBPD Sgt. Tim Kleiser explained that a detective followed up on the report and while investigating the original fraud, discovered that two other women had pulled off the same type of fraud.

“Those two were approved for their surgery costs after filing the fraudulent application and had charged a total of $20,400 in deposits with the financing firm,” Sgt. Kleiser said.

The two women, both from Moreno Valley, had set appointments for their initial surgical consultation for this coming week, which they cancelled.

Both women, Donicka Baker, 39 and Makeida Blackman, 27, drove to the surgery center last week and attempted to have their deposit amounts returned and credited to their actual credit cards.

They were detained by detectives and arrested on felony charges of grand theft, ID theft, impersonating another person to obtain credit, and obtaining money under false pretenses.

Police Files

Weaving crimes together never ends up as a good thing

Sometimes, people create what police call a cluster @#&} while trying to score big on a crime spree. We have two of those to report today – one that happened way back in March and the other this past Monday and Tuesday. We promise there won’t be a quiz after you read these…

A reader sent us this photo in March

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Jeff Greenough

A woman was arrested on Jasmine Street

An alert officer’s attention was drawn to suspicious occupants, a man and a woman, of a car when the officer saw the man walk away from a parked car near Cypress on Jasmine Street in North Laguna back in March. When the officer spoke to the man, Jason Sacdalan, 45, Costa Mesa, he admitted going into the parked car but hadn’t taken anything.

Sacdalan had been in a car driven by Emily Blaney, 20, of Huntington Beach, which was parked on Jasmine.

Meanwhile, another officer was taking a report on High Drive and Poplar Street for items taken from a vehicle. That officer recognized the description of the car stopped on Jasmine as the same as had been given by the victim on High Drive.

It was also at about that time that the officer on Jasmine arrested Sacdalan for two West Court warrants for drug possession with $20,000 bail.

The officer from the High Drive report assisted in a search of the car that Blaney and Sacdalan had driven, which, it turned out, was also a stolen car.

Property stolen on High Drive was inside the stolen car as was a considerable amount of other property that may have been stolen. Even now, all of it has not been accounted for, which is why we didn’t have the details to write this…before…

When the officers who responded to the scene turned their attention toward Blaney, they soon determined that she was a 10:30 in the morning drunk driver. 

Once sorted through, Blaney was charged with felony auto theft, DUI, and possession of stolen property.

Sacdalan was held for the two warrants, false information to a police officer, felony auto theft, possession of stolen property, misdemeanor possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia. 

Earlier this week…

An officer took a simple shoplifting report at Montage Laguna Beach early Monday evening for a purse valued at $488. Security told police that the suspect had been seen taking the purse by a witness before he drove off.

On Tuesday morning at 10:37, an officer responded to Urth Caffe on N. Coast Hwy about a suspicious man who matched the description Montage security had for the suspect from Monday.

When the man was contacted, according to Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD, “He was standing near a vehicle on Coast Highway in front of the restaurant with a purse that matched the description of the one stolen at Montage. The purse was later confirmed to be the one taken and the man was also identified as the person who took it.”

For good measure, the vehicle the man had driven off from Montage in and he had parked on Coast Highway was a stolen car form LA County.

Lebarr Darell Littlejohn, 34, Imperial Beach, was arrested for felony vehicle theft, possession of stolen property and shoplifting.

Police Files

18-year-old arrested for impersonating a police officer

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo courtesy LBPD

Allan Sauer, 18, Costa Mesa, was arrested at 1:31 Sunday morning near West Street on Coast Hwy in South Laguna after being stopped for speeding.

Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD told us Monday, “The officer initially thought the vehicle (above) was possibly associated with a law enforcement agency as the vehicle was a white Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor model that also had a front push bar. When the officer was speaking with the driver he noticed the vehicle was equipped with a prisoner cage in the rear seating area, a laptop computer mounted in the center console similar to what police agencies have and it had spotlights on both A-pillars.”

A search of the car turned up “…a California Department of Fish and Game citation book, yellow ‘Sheriff’s Do Not Cross’ tape, and several other items that were law enforcement associated. They also noticed the vehicle was equipped with emergency lights and siren,” Sgt. Kleiser added.

The driver was wearing green pants and a jacket that resembled what OC Sheriff’s deputies wear as their regular uniforms.

Sauer denied that he was a police officer.

He was charged with misdemeanor impersonating a police officer.

Laguna Beach man among four charged with bilking investors of over $1 million in development scheme

The OC District Attorney said that Jourdan Tyson Groves, 37, Laguna Beach, and three other South OC men have been charged with 12 felony counts of using an untrue statement in the purchase or sale of a security and one felony count of using a device with a scheme to defraud with sentencing enhancement allegations for over $100,000 loss, aggravated white collar crime over $100,000, aggravated white collar crime over $500,000, property damage or loss over $65,000, and property loss over $200,000. If convicted, Groves and the other men each face a maximum sentence of 24 years in state prison. Groves is out of custody on $1 million bail.

The charges stem from a plan to develop a project to build a miniature golf course, restaurant, and water park in San Clemente.

They are accused of using the money to pay for attorney fees, pay themselves salaries, and taking large cash withdrawals without disclosing it to investors and of misappropriating investor funds by spending investment money on restaurants, gas, hotels, utilities, air travel and at retail stores.

IRS scammers convince Laguna resident to pay $5000 

A Laguna Beach resident received a phone call last Thursday from a female who said she was an IRS employee who demanded that the victim immediately deposit $5,000 into a specified bank account to avoid an immediate arrest.

The victim complied because the $5,000 was the amount actually owed to the IRS in taxes. 

The victim became suspicious when the female called again and demanded that an additional $3,750 be deposited.

According to the police log a call to the IRS by the victim resulted in their being informed that the IRS system had been breached.

The victim then called the Laguna Beach PD and made the fraud report. 

Police Files

Man arrested inside women’s room taking pictures

Jonathan Celis-Sorrosa, 25, of Santa Ana, was arrested for invasion of privacy with a camera and resisting arrest early Sunday morning at the White House.

Police were called after a woman told a security guard that a man had taken photos of her while she was inside a stall of the women’s restroom.

Police responded at 1:51 a.m. and found Celis-Sorrosa still in the restroom and escorted him outside.

Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD said, “He attempted to pull away several times from the officers and after a brief struggle, was placed in handcuffs.”

No further details were available.   

Two stolen cars led to numerous charges and three in custody

LBPD patrol officers successfully stopped two stolen cars on Laguna streets on Thursday and Sunday resulting in three suspects being arrested on felony charges.

Early Sunday morning, a 2016 Nissan Sentra that had been reported stolen in Anaheim on Friday was stopped at S. Coast Hwy and Legion Street.

After clearing the car at gunpoint at 4:49 a.m., officers found burglary tools on board and arrested the two men who had been in the car.

Michael Moran, 27, Santa Ana, was charged with felony vehicle theft, possession of stolen property and possession of burglary tools. Nestor Garcia, 28, also from Santa Ana, was arrested for the same charges plus false ID to a police officer and driving on a suspended/revoked license.

On Thursday at 1:14 a.m., police stopped a red Honda CRV in the 600 block of Laguna Canyon Road. It had been stolen in Bishop on Wednesday.

LBPD Sgt. Tim Kleiser said Monday, “During a search of the vehicle, officers located a methamphetamine pipe and methamphetamine.”

Seattle, WA resident Anthony Wendell Evans, 37, was arrested on charges of felony vehicle theft and possession of a controlled substance.

Laguna resident defrauded by IRS phone scammers

The FBI made a national announcement last Thursday about a phone scam that was being reported all over the country.

That same afternoon, LBPD learned from a North Laguna resident that scammers claiming to be IRS agents had instructed that two Apple gift cards be purchased in the total amount of $800 to satisfy a tax debt.

The victim complied and gave the caller the card numbers and lost $800.

One sure thing, cops will be out in droves on Cinco de Mayo

Fiesta time or jail time?

If you are planning to party this Cinco de Mayo, keep this number in mind: 343 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes over the Cinco de Mayo holiday weekend in 2014. Of those 343 people who lost their lives, 34 percent (116) died in drunk-driving crashes. And the drivers in those crashes weren’t just a little drunk. Sadly, almost one out of five (17 percent) of all the drivers in fatal crashes that weekend had blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) of .15 percent or higher – almost twice the legal limit in every state.

Everyone should be mindful also that if you’re taking medication – whether prescription or over-the-counter – drinking even small amounts of alcohol can greatly intensify the level of impairment.

LBPD will have additional patrol units all over town looking for impaired drivers this Thursday evening with the goal of lowering the number of deaths and injuries.

Police Files

Man swam nude off Aliso for two-plus hours Thursday and refused to allow lifeguards to pull him to safety

South Laguna resident Linda Saville told us Thursday morning that she had shook her head when she saw a man trotting down Coast Hwy near Aliso Beach with only a white towel around his waist. “It was way too chilly for that,” she added.

That was about 9:36.

She arrived at her nearby home and looked toward the beach after she heard a siren. The man had dropped the towel. “He didn’t have anything else on and was swimming out from shore. After about 10 minutes, a lifeguard entered the water and went after him.”

Linda said that she watched the situation and the man constantly put on a burst of speed to avoid whatever the lifeguards tried to get him out of the water.

“He was a very good swimmer against the wind and current […and chilly water],” she said adding that he was out near the mile buoy quickly and still swimming easily.

Meanwhile, the Sheriff’s Harbor Patrol boat and wave runner arrived on scene and made attempts to get to the man – who kept swimming away from them.

At about noon, after he’d been in the water in the buff for two hours, lifeguards had convinced the unidentified man to allow them to pull him from the water and take him to shore. He was loaded into an ambulance and taken to hospital for a 72-hour mental evaluation, police said.

Police Files

Mountain biker tumbled 200 feet down sheer cliff above Laguna Canyon Rd Friday afternoon is still listed to be in critical condition

An unidentified mountain biker in his 50s fell from his bike along Telonic Trail Friday afternoon and tumbled some 200 feet down a sheer cliff to a ledge, fire authorities said. The cliff is located above the 2800 block of Laguna Canyon Road between Alta Laguna and the canyon floor.

The man suffered fractures and internal injuries that included his chest area and was still listed in critical condition at Orange County Global Medical Center in Santa Ana as of late Monday evening. 

Laguna Beach and Orange County Fire Authority firefighters and paramedics along with a fire authority copter responded to the remote rescue after the 4:02 p.m. 9-1-1 call from a friend of the fallen biker. Rescue operations were begun from both above and below the cliff ledge.

The difficult and dangerous terrain made reaching the injured man a challenge and it took about an hour for a paramedic to be lowered to the ledge. The paramedic did what could be done to stabilize the victim and at the same time, made observations as to the safest and best way to extricate the biker who was barely conscious.

Harnesses were established and a stokes basket was lowered that allowed the fire authority copter to airlift the man to Santa Ana leaving the area at about 6:40 p.m.

The biker was wearing a helmet, authorities said.

Capo Beach man arrested for delivering marijuana

Robert Cadman, 57, Capistrano Beach, was arrested Saturday evening for possession of marijuana for felony sales and furnishing marijuana. 

At 5:42 Saturday afternoon, an officer made contact with a man seated in a car in the 200 block of Fairview Street, Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD said, Monday.

“During the conversation, the officer learned the male had marijuana in the vehicle that he claimed he was delivering,” Sgt. Kleiser explained.

Non-profit collectives can make deliveries under current Laguna Beach law.

Sgt. Kleiser added, “The man admitted to receiving money form people he delivers to.” Collectives don’t do that.

Cadman was in possession of a little more than a pound and a half of marijuana.

Police Files

High school acted as soon as it learned of the threats

We have heard concerns from parents that the high school was tardy in notifying them that a student had made serious threats against the safety of the students and staff. Our information would disagree with that conclusion.

The first two sentences of a release by Laguna Beach High School on Tuesday, April 19, may have caused the problem:

“On Monday, April 11, a Laguna Beach High School student reported information to school officials that he overheard a student make suspected threats against the school. LBHS staff immediately notified the Laguna Beach Police Department (LBPD) and the information was thoroughly investigated.”

The student who reported the information that he had heard on Monday waited until Friday, April 15, to inform school officials.

The police department’s log shows a 10:16 a.m. incident on April 15 and it is the only entry in the log from LBHS about the threats.

Police immediately responded to the school and began speaking with the boys involved finally detaining one boy at 2:16 before taking him to the police station where he was questioned.

Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD said the boy’s parents cooperated with police and that they facilitated a search of their South Laguna home Friday, a search as noted in the police log. Sgt. Kleiser confirmed that evidence was found there but would not elaborate or speak to any additional information since the case is under investigation for the possibility of having the OC District Attorney file criminal charges against the boy.

The release from LBUSD also contained the following:

The District’s proactive, ongoing educational programs encourage students to report information regarding threats of violence. From elementary to high school, students are told that if they “See something,” they should “Say something.” The District’s recent programs on social-emotional supports have also improved the staff’s ability to intervene with students who are struggling, and more students are coming forward to share information directly with school officials and through the LBHS Text-a-Tip program.

Student safety is the top priority of the District, and all safety policies and procedures were followed in this case. While the District understands the community’s desire to know details about this specific incident, the District cannot disclose further details about the students involved, nor any proposed or implemented disciplinary action that has or may occur due to privacy laws.

Police Files

Scam alert from the LBPD – their officers never solicit money – but there are scammers claiming to be with the LBPD who are 

Late last week the Police Department was made aware of telephone scam where the calling party identified themselves as a Police Captain with the Laguna Beach Police Department and appeared to be calling from its non-emergency number. The individual demanded that they withdraw $2,000 in order to not be arrested for a supposed warrant for not attending jury duty.

Neither the Laguna Beach Police Department nor any governmental agency will ever call and solicit money for fines and does not solicit warrant information by phone. The Police Department will never ask you to get a money order, gift card, or wire transfer. If you receive this type of phone call, always verify who the caller truly is, do not use a phone number they provide you as verification. Usually, the number provided by the thief will go to a voice recording/message. 

Call the Laguna Beach Police Department to verify any solicitation.

If you have sent money or believe that you are a victim of a crime, please call the Laguna Beach Police Department to report the incident.

Anyone with information regarding this crime can contact Sgt. Tim Kleiser, Public Information Officer, mailto: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 949-464-6671.

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