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Laguna Beach

Animal Files

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

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

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

Animal Files baby goats

Click on photo for a larger image 

Photo by Scott Brashier

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

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

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

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

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

“The incident remains under investigation,” Beres said. 

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

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

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

Animal Files Miss Daisy scares snake

Click on photo for a larger image 

Photo by the Joilets

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

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

Animal Files huge snake slither

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by the Joilets

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

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

Sneaky snakes seem to be on the make

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

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

Yikes! Where next?

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

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

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

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

PMMC helps partially disentangle juvenile gray whale

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

Animal Files disentangles whale

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of PMMC

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

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

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

Animal Files tangled whale tail

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of PMMC

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

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

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

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

-By Suzie Harrison

Police Files

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

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

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

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

Police Files Darren Partch Police Files Wendi Miller

Darren Partch and Wendi Miller were murdered in Newport Beach

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

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

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

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

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

Police Files Double Homicide

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Lana Johnson

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

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

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

He was originally from Agoura Hills.

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

Local arrested for attempted murder

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bail was set at $500,000.

Passenger reportedly slapped in car over vehicle positioning near gas pump

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

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

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

According to police records medical attention was required.

Animal Files

Teens keep messing with our goats

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

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

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

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

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

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

Animal Files Goats

Click on photo for a larger image 

Photo by Scott Brashier

Laguna’s goats are being harassed again

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-By Suzie Harrison

Police Files

Two “fully nude” women reported at Woods Cove

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No bail was set.

Meth and stolen car lands duo behind bars

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

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

Police Files Hill Police Files Franklin

Photos courtesy of LBPD

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

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

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

-By Suzie Harrison

Animal Files

PMMC rescues a record 12 pinnipeds in four days

Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC) reported a record 12 pinniped rescues from Friday, April 12 to Monday, April 15, with six rescues on Friday alone.

The first rescue, at 7:04 a.m. on Friday, April 12, was an elephant seal pup at the 1300 block of Circle Way. The female seal, named Moscow, was rescued and brought back to PMMC. The seal was malnourished and dehydrated and is now resting at PMMC. 

The second case PMMC looked into, at 7:54 a.m., turned out to be an adult female sea lion at Thalia Street Beach. Since these animals are partially aquatic, sometimes they rest on non-crowded beaches. Because it was the early morning, not many people were at the beach yet. 

Animal Files injured seal

Click on photo for a larger image 

Courtesy of PMMC

PMMC has rescued 12 marine mammals since Friday, April 12, including this elephant seal

“PMMC went out to investigate and determined the animal did not need to be rescued and encouraged it back into the water as to not get harassed by pets and people,” PMMC’s Krysta Higuchi said.

The third rescue on Friday occurred at Shaw’s Cove at 2:46 p.m. following reports of a pinniped with a neck injury. 

“This would be the fourth out of six rescues we would perform that day. When we first got the call, our team was already out on two other rescues,” Higuchi said.

The PMMC team was able to pick up the animal and bring back it to PMMC. Once back at the center, a full exam was performed and it was determined a ratfish barb was in the elephant seal pup’s neck. 

Animal Files raftish barb

Click on photo for a larger image 

Courtesy of PMMC

Ratfish barb is found in the neck of an elephant seal among other injuries

“Our animal care team was able to remove the 4-inch barb. The animal has other wounds; a full X-ray and other exams will be performed to determine the full extent of the animal’s injuries,” Higuchi said.

Unfortunately, PMMC is also still without Internet and phones, which went out after a car hit a pole on Saturday night near PMMC. All phone calls to PMMC’s main line are being rerouted to a cell phone. 

To contact PMMC or report an injured pinniped, please call (949) 494-3050.

To make a donation to PMMC, visit

-By Suzie Harrison

Police Files

Local business owner critically injured in motorcycle accident on Monday

On Monday, April 15, at 7:55 a.m., LBPD officers responded to South Coast Highway and Anita Street for a vehicle versus motorcycle traffic collision involving two local residents.

“As the motorcycle approached, a Mercedes-Benz quickly accelerated across South Coast Highway and struck the right side of the motorcycle,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt. Jim Cota said. “The impact threw the rider several feet south of the intersection.” 

The motorcycle rider, 55-year-old Laguna Beach resident Scott Thompson, sustained major injuries, according to Sgt. Cota. The driver of the Mercedes-Benz is an 82-year-old Laguna Beach resident.

Thompson, owner of Sweetwater Car Wash, remains in critical but stable condition, according to Sgt. Cota.

LBPD arrests two in alleged home burglary

On Saturday, April 13, at 8:17 p.m., LBPD officers responded to a report of a possible residential burglary in progress at the 1100 block of N Coast Hwy. According to police reports, a neighbor called to report that she saw someone enter her neighbor’s backhouse, after seeing the lights go on and off.

According to Sgt. Jim Cota, LBPD officers arrived and observed two subjects inside of the residence. 

“It was confirmed by the property owner that no one was allowed to be inside of the residence. Officers attempted to contact the subjects, but they attempted to flee by climbing out a rear window. They changed their mind and decided to open the door for the officers,” Sgt. Cota said. “Officers conducted an investigation and determined that the two subjects, identified as Claire Whitaker and Mark Ornelas, had been staying at the residence for a couple of days, using the water, lights and other electrical items.”

Police Files Whitaker Police Files Ornelas

Photos courtesy of LBPD

Clare Whitaker and Mark Ornelas

Clare Elizabeth Whitaker, 46, of San Bernardino, and Mark Anthony Ornelas, 51, of Laguna Woods, were both arrested for violation of burglary, according to Sgt. Cota. Whitaker was found to have an outstanding warrant and Ornelas was found to be on parole for previous arrests and convictions of burglary. Both subjects have no fixed address, according to Sgt. Cota.

Bail was set at $25,250 for Whitaker. No bail was set for Ornelas.

LBPD arrests two on suspicion of stealing car

On Thursday, April 11, at 9:59 p.m., LBPD officers were advised of a stolen vehicle from Newport Beach PD. 

“The vehicle was located at Taco Bell and two occupants were observed walking away from the vehicle,” Sgt. Cota said. “The subjects were detained and after an investigation.” 

According to police records, the stolen vehicle was a white 2016 Ford Fusion. The car was reportedly unlocked and the keys left inside the vehicle.

Police Files Eastin Police Files Gonzalez

Photos courtesy of LBPD

Andrew Eastin and Leonard Gonzalez

Andrew James Eastin, 30, of Costa Mesa, and Leonard Gonzalez, 37, of Long Beach, were arrested for possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of narcotic paraphernalia, and possession of burglary tools.

Bail was set at $25,000 for both Eastin and Gonzalez.

LBPD and LBFD help with cut and rescue accident 

On Saturday, April 13, at 6:24 p.m., LBPD officers were dispatched, along with LBFD, to a cut and rescue traffic collision at the 20600 block of Laguna Canyon Road, near Pacific Marine Mammal Center. 

“Officers arrived and found a single vehicle crashed into a Verizon pole, shearing it from its base. The wires were hanging low across all lanes of traffic but were only obstructing one lane of travel,” Sgt. Cota said. “Traffic control was set up, LBFD arrived and tended to the injured female driver. The male passenger in the vehicle was uninjured. The female was found to have a fractured wrist and was transported to Mission Hospital – Laguna Beach.”

A traffic alert was sent out due to traffic being reduced to one lane for approximately 45 minutes. Edison arrived on scene and secured their portion of the wires. The pole belonged to Verizon, according to Sgt. Cota.

Laguna man arrested after allegedly making lewd comments to LBPD dispatch

On Saturday, April 13, at 12:21 p.m., 28-year-old Laguna Beach resident Maxwell Carlton Post allegedly began calling dispatch and making lewd comments and inappropriate requests to the dispatchers over the phone. 

“He was warned not to continue his behavior but he did not stop,” Sgt. Cota said. “An officer contacted Post’s parole officer, who issued a parole hold for him.” 

Officers responded to Post’s residence and arrested him for making annoying/obscene telephone calls and the parole hold.

No bail was set.

-By Suzie Harrison

Police Files (Cont.)

Man arrested for allegedly peeping under stall in women’s restroom

On Monday, April 8, at 8:20 p.m., LBPD officers responded to the Bus Depot, at the 300 block of Broadway Street, in reference to a male subject allegedly peeping in the women’s restroom. 

“Officers contacted Rogelio Molohoa on a bus bench near the gazebo. Molohoa was extremely intoxicated and did not speak English,” LBPD Spokesperson Sgt Jim Cota said. “A female victim was desirous of prosecution, and said he would not leave from peeping under the female stall even after she yelled at him.” 

Rogelio Molohua, 31, Laguna Beach, was arrested for violation of peeping and public intoxication.

Bail was set at $1,000.

Man arrested for allegedly stealing Cadillac Escalade

On Tuesday, April 9, at 9:50 a.m., dispatch advised LBPD officers of a stolen vehicle heading northbound on South Coast Highway from Nyes Street. The vehicle was a Cadillac Escalade recently stolen from the City of Costa Mesa. 

“Officers located the vehicle in the downtown area and the suspect appeared to notice police units and briefly accelerated to get away from the units,” Sgt Cota said. “A high-risk vehicle stop was initiated and the vehicle yielded in front of City Hall. The driver, Laguna Hills resident Gary Archuleta, was arrested without incident. Inside of the stolen vehicle were burglary tools.”

Gary Michael Archuleta, 55, of Laguna Hills, was arrested for being in possession of a stolen vehicle and being in possession of burglary tools. 

He was booked and transported to OC Jail.

Bail was set at $25,000.

-By Suzie Harrison

Police Files

LBHS lacrosse coach arrested on suspicion of inappropriately touching female students

A Laguna Beach High School lacrosse coach was arrested on Tuesday, April 8 on suspicion of inappropriately touching female students, according to LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota.

Three female student athletes reported that Robert Sant, head coach of the girls’ lacrosse team, had inappropriately touched them in non-intimate areas of their bodies, the department said.

“On Friday, April 5 at 1 p.m., School Resource Officer (SRO) Cornelius Ashton was advised by two female LBHS students that their LBHS lacrosse coach, Robert Stewart Sant, Irvine resident, inappropriately touched them in non-intimate areas on their bodies. The most recent [alleged] incident happened on a school bus on April 4 on the way home from a lacrosse game. SRO Ashton’s investigation led to a third female victim who was interviewed. LBUSD leadership was notified and took appropriate action,” Sgt Cota said.

Sant, who was in his first season as head coach of the team, is no longer an employee of LBUSD.

“He is no longer an employee of LBUSD as of April 5. The District is cooperating with law enforcement in their investigation,” said Leisa Winston, LBUSD Assistant Superintendent, Human Resources and Public Communications.

On Tuesday, April 9 at 1:07 p.m., SRO Ashton and LBPD detectives responded to the city of Irvine and arrested 37-year-old Robert Stewart Sant on suspicion of three counts of Lewd & Lascivious Acts with a Child.

Bail was set at $100,000, which Sant posted, according to Sgt Cota.

“This investigation is still ongoing,” Sgt Cota said.

Read more Police Files on Front Page II – click here

Police Files

‘Flocking,’ a new burglary scheme, hits Laguna

On Wednesday, April 3, at 8:27 p.m., LBPD officers responded to a residence, at the 200 block of Cajon Street, in reference to a suspicious female. According to the caller, the subject knocked on the front door, and when the door was opened, attempted to barge through into their home. The female was dressed up and stated, “I’m here, you called me.”

“The residents believe she may be casing the area,” LBPD PIO Sgt Jim Cota said.   

The incident could be what is being called “flocking,” a new burglary tactic targeting affluent neighborhoods that seems to be on the rise.

According to the website, “Flockers knock on front doors with the intent to find a residence with nobody home. Mostly, they have no idea whose home they are actually preying upon, ensuring they sometimes hit houses of the nation’s biggest entertainment and sports figures, police say.” 

Over the last couple of years, celebrities, singers, and athletes in Los Angeles have experienced being flocked such as actor Emmy Rossum, singer Alanis Morissette, and former LA Dodger Yasiel Puig, who now plays for the Cincinnati Reds. Victims have reported losses ranging from $150,000 to $2 million. 

Now it seems that some flockers have migrated south to Laguna Beach. 

Flocking “is a trending crime wave perpetrated by gang members who flock like birds to areas where residential heists provide the biggest payoff,” according to the website. “The groups rotate so the same people are not seen in same neighborhoods and become recognizable.”

Remember to just say “no” to strangers. Always put safety first and call LBPD at (949) 497-0701 if you believe you have been flocked or have seen suspicious flockers in your neighborhood.

Multiple reports of ‘Ding Dong Ditch’

On Saturday, March 30, at 11:39 p.m., LBPD received a report in reference to kids ringing a man’s doorbell and knocking on his window.

According to police reports, the caller stated that kids ran up ringing his doorbell three times and banged on the window. Approximately six kids, all boys between ages 11 and 14 years old, were reported. The incident occurred about 35 minutes prior to the report.

Then, on Wednesday, April 3, at 6:59 p.m., another occurrence of kids playing ding dong ditch was reported in town.

 “This was a patrol check call of a group of teenagers ‘Ding Dong Ditching’ the residence,” said Sgt Cota. “This occurred within a 10-minute period and were seen by the reporting party.”


Man submerged underneath boardwalk taken to the hospital, according to LBPD

On Friday, April 5, at 10:05 p.m., at the 300 block of S Coast Highway, LBPD responded to a call in reference to someone yelling underneath the boardwalk. According to witness reports, a male was underneath the boardwalk yelling obscenities, repeatedly “dunking” in and out of the water and refusing to come out.

According to Sgt Cota, "Officers made contact with the subject, who required paramedics for possible hypothermia. The subject was ultimately transported to Mission Hospital Laguna Beach for medical treatment."

-By Suzie Harrison

Police Files

Not a petting zoo: Goat gazers advised to stay away

It seems that throngs of people are trying to get to our goats in Laguna Beach. Stu News heard from one source that they had seen over 40 people at one time up on the trails watching the goats, and also that people were trying to feed and touch them.

Recent police records substantiate these reports.

On Sunday, March 31, at 6:54 p.m., at Dartmoor Street and Dunnegan Drive, LBPD received a report in reference to two men in their 20s, possibly intoxicated, pestering the goats. The two men were reportedly “hiding in the bushes, bothering the goats.”

The caller was standing on the fire road near the goats and reported, “Both subjects are walking back up toward the goats. They keep wanting to go into where the goats are.”

Personnel took action, arrived on scene, and escorted the subjects away from the goats.

Police Files Goats 1

Click on photo for a larger image 

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Please don’t feed, grab or nab the goats

Merely 48 hours later, on Tuesday, April 2, at 7:48 p.m., again at Dartmoor Street and Dunnegan Drive, LBPD received additional accounts of the goats being interfered with.

According to police records, a caller advised LBPD about an incident that had occurred earlier in the day at 5:50 p.m. The RP and her daughter were looking at the goats when she noticed “four male juvies messing with them.” The boys reportedly scattered after they saw her.

The caller also advised that when she went back later, there was a baby goat that appeared sick. Having worked with goats before, she picked up the goat and wanted to take it to the hospital in the canyon.

At one point during her reported do-good rescue efforts, the RP was carrying the goat, when she encountered the City’s goat herder. 

According to police records, due to a language barrier, she couldn’t convey the message that she was trying to care for the goat. “He grabbed the goat from her and put it back,” the report reads. “She’s requesting we contact the goat herder to explain she wasn’t trying to steal the goat. She also requested a welfare check from an Animal Services Officer.”

According to Jim Beres, LBPD Civilian Services Administrator, Animal Services Officers responded to both calls and no action was taken.

Police Files Goats 2

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Do not interact with the goats in any way, call LBPD if there’s a concern

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

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

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

The grazing goats are on the job and don’t appreciate harassment at the workplace. It’s not a petting zoo. 

FEMA report: Laguna’s goat vegetation management

According to a FEMA report, “Laguna Beach has been using goats as part of its fuel reduction and vegetation management program since the early 1990s. The program was expanded after a wildfire burned across 14,000 acres, destroying or damaging 441 homes in the beach community in 1993. 

Because of the climate, types of natural vegetation, and expansive wildlands in Southern California, including wildlands that reach into the city, there is an ongoing risk of wildfires. 

Police Files Goats 3

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Fully aware of the risk, Laguna Beach Fire Department is very proactive in vegetation management. One of the best ways to control wildfires is to control the amount of fuel available to feed the flames. These areas can be difficult to reach by most vegetation management equipment due to the nature of the terrain – rocks, canyons, and steep inclines. The introduction of goat herds in these areas has proven to be an ideal solution to the problem.

The goats work exclusively on 11 fuel modification zones located on the outside edges of the city. Since California weather allows it, the goats work year-round and are moved from place-to-place as needed. Depending on the amount of rain and vegetation growth each year, as few as 75 and as many as 600 goats are used. A movable goat pen with electric fencing keeps the goats from wandering off and protects them from coyotes and other wild animals.”

-By Suzie Harrison

Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

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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.

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