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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 www.pacificmmc.org

-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 www.securitysales.com 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


Police Files

Intoxicated woman enters Justin Beiber's Montage room uninvited, reports LBPD

On Tuesday, March 26, at 12:17 p.m., LBPD officers responded to Montage resort to assist hotel security with a female guest who had been escorted off the hotel property, only to return and be found trespassing in Justin Bieber’s hotel room. 

LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota reports that the suspect was intoxicated and supposedly walked into Bieber’s room accidentally.

“She was a guest of other people at the resort and was kicked out of the room earlier and then returned thinking that his room was the room she was previously in,” Sgt Cota said. “She returned and entered the room that belonged to celebrity Justin Bieber. He demanded she leave the room; his security team followed her as she fled the hotel.” 

Sgt Cota continued, “It is unknown how she gained access into his room but it is our belief he was waiting for room service and had the door slightly ajar. The female and her guests were asked to leave by security [earlier] because they were being too loud and disruptive in the room.

“The Montage is a world class resort and handled the incident swiftly and professionally. The female was arrested based on her actions and the likelihood it would continue. It was the right decision.” 

LBPD officers located her across the street from the hotel. She was arrested for trespassing and transported to LBPD where she was booked and later released.

According to police records, the suspect is a Huntington Beach woman in her late 30s, 5’ 8” with blonde hair, and was wearing a floral dress at the time of the alleged crime.

Bail was set at $500.

Man assaulted by unknown suspect at Sleepy Hollow

On Monday, March 18, at 4:05 p.m., a male subject was at Sleepy Hollow Beach, at the 600 block of S Coast Hwy, when an unknown suspect punched him and then fled.

 “Officers responded and conducted an area check but were unable to locate the suspect,” Sgt Cota said. “The suspect was described as a white male, in his late 30s, wearing a blue short-sleeve shirt and jeans, and carrying a dark backpack.”

Mock forensics at Thurston with LBPD is exciting for middle schoolers

On Tuesday, March 19, at 9 a.m., SRO Cornelius Ashton, patrol officers, and detectives assisted Thurston Middle School’s forensics class with investigating a mock crime scene at Alta Laguna Park. 

Police Files Thurston Crime Scene

Click on photo for a larger image 

Courtesy of LBUSD

Thurston students learn the ropes with LBPD at their forensics class

“The mock crime scene was well controlled and the students received guidance from PD personnel on crime scene management and evidence collection,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said.

Police Files Thurston Police scrubs

Click on photo for a larger image 

Courtesy of LBUSD

Thurston students make a great forensic team at mock event at Alta Laguna Park

Thanks to an “Innovation in Education” grant awarded to teacher Michelle Martinez by Cox Charities, a philanthropic arm of Cox Communications that is funded through employee donations and a company match, the students have been learning about forensic science with various hands on learning exercises both out in the field and at school. 

The forensic event received media attention so Sgt Cota was present to assist with comments.

LBPD SRO Ashton and local 16-year-old Riley Russo honored at awards ceremony Thursday

LBPD Cpl Cornelius Ashton and 16-year-old Laguna Beach resident Riley Russo were honored last night at the 2019 TIP-Heroes with Hearts awards at the Great Wolf Lodge in Garden Grove.

 “Riley is the youngest Trauma Intervention Program volunteer ever and Cpl Ashton was LBPD’s award winner,” Sgt Cota said yesterday. “Very well deserved to the both of [them].”

Police Files Youngest Trauma Prevent Program Volunteer

Click on photo for a larger image 

Courtesy of LBPD

(L-R) LBPD Cpl Ashton, TIP volunteer Riley Russo, and Sgt Cota

According to the TIP OC website, TIP is a group of specially trained volunteers who provide emotional aid and practical support to victims of traumatic events and their families in the first few hours following a tragedy. TIP Volunteers are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 

They are called by police officers, firefighters, paramedics, and hospital personnel to assist family members and friends following a natural or unexpected death; victims of violent crime including rape, assault, robbery, or burglary; victims of fire; disoriented or lonely elderly persons; people involved in motor vehicle accidents; people who are distraught and seeking immediate support; and survivors of suicide.

For more information on TIP, visit www.tiporangecounty.org.

LBPD’s Sgt Cota and Stu News’ Shaena Stabler raise over $2,400 and counting for KX 93.5 “takeover”

LBPD Sgt Jim Cota and Stu News’ leader extraordinaire Shaena Stabler have raised over $2,400 and counting as part of KX 93.5’s “takeover” fundraiser for Laguna’s cherished community radio station.

The two hosted a show together live on the radio on Tuesday from noon to 2 p.m. Click here to hear their podcast.

To make a donation in their names or in someone else’s, visit www.kx935.com/kxtakeover

KX Takeover is a friendly-but-stiff competition where the guest DJ that raises the most money receives the coveted “Silver Tongue Award.” 

Sgt Cota and Stabler are currently in second place in the competition, a few dollars ahead of jewelry mogul Cookie Lee in the standings; Tyler Russell’s mother Liz McCusker is in first place and Councilman Peter Blake is in fourth.

As of this morning, the station had raised over $41,000 with the goal being $50,000. Listen in live at www.kx935.com.

-By Suzie Harrison


Police Files

Suspicious man arrested with 40 grams of meth

On Wednesday, March 20, at 1:58 a.m., LBPD officers responded to the 2900 block of Mountain View Drive in reference to a suspicious vehicle. Officers contacted Riverside resident Corey Alberty inside his dark gray Prius. 

“Alberty was behaving suspiciously. A search of Alberty and his vehicle revealed a folding knife and BB gun on the passenger seat,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said. “Over 40 grams of methamphetamine was also found in the center console.”

According to drugstimes.org, the average street value for a gram of meth is $180 or $7,200 for 40 grams. 

Corey Jermaine Alberty, 33, of Riverside, was arrested for possession of a controlled substance.

“Alberty was also on probation,” Sgt Cota said. “Alberty was taken into custody for possession of a controlled substance and later released.”

Bail was set at $500.

Transient charged with battery, elder abuse and false imprisonment

On Thursday, March 21, at 8:24 a.m., an LBPD officer was dispatched to Mission Hospital – Laguna Beach in reference to an assault report, which allegedly occurred the night prior.

The reporting party, a 76-year-old man who routinely sleeps behind the Main Beach Toys store according to LBPD, reportedly got into an argument with transient Daniel Troen over a minor issue. 

The victim reportedly tried to waive Troen off and walk away from the argument. According to police records, the victim believed the suspect was high on meth.

Police Files Troenb“Troen grabbed him from behind and body slammed him to the asphalt causing injuries,” Sgt Cota said. “He held him on the ground for several minutes while threatening him and preventing him from leaving.”

 Eventually Troen let him go. The victim went to the ER, where he was treated for a cut on his hand, a large wound on his upper arm, and complaint of pain from his neck to his hips. 

Troen was detained, at approximately 10:04 a.m., and brought to the station for questioning. Troen was also identified by his picture and the fact that he was wearing a bright red flight suit at the time of the crime and arrest. 

Daniel Mossing Troen, 32, of Maryland, was taken into custody at 11:13 a.m., for elder abuse, battery, and false imprisonment. Both subjects reported no fixed addresses.

Bail was set at $95,000.

CVS bandits busted following thefts of “teeth whiteners and toiletry items”

On Wednesday, March 20, at 8:30 p.m., an LBPD officer responded to CVS, at 30800 S Coast Hwy, for the report of a theft that had occurred earlier in the evening. The store manager was notified that a suspect had entered several CVS locations in south Orange County to commit thefts that evening.

“The manager remembered that a similar subject had set off the shoplifting alarm at about 6 p.m.,” Sgt Cota said. “Upon review of the surveillance video, the manager found that the suspect had stolen a large number of over-the-counter medications, teeth whiteners, and other toiletry items.” 

While the officer was on scene taking the report, he was advised that OCSD had taken two suspects in custody. 

The officer met with deputies and the two suspects in San Clemente. The suspects were in custody for thefts from three CVS stores in Laguna Niguel, one in Dana Point, and one in San Clemente. A deputy had heard the reports of the thefts from the other CVS location on the radio. 

“He staked out the CVS in San Clemente and caught one of the suspects leaving the store with stolen property in hand. A search of the suspects’ car revealed several large bags filled with stolen items,” Sgt Cota said. “An inventory of the items showed that the loss from the Laguna Beach CVS was approximately $2,200.” 

The two suspects were Eric Camacho, 22, and Shane Pacheco, 22, both Los Angeles residents. OCSD retained custody of the suspects.

“One admitted to the thefts and said they were stealing anything they could easily sell,” Sgt Cota said.

-By Suzie Harrison


Police Files

Woman arrested on suspicion of DUI in injury crash

On Tuesday, March 19, at 2:14 a.m., LBPD and LBFD personnel responded to the Big Bend area of Laguna Canyon Road in reference to an injury traffic collision. 

“Officers contacted the driver, Cypress resident Marie Markarian, who hit an Edison pole on her way back to Cypress after dropping off a friend,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said. “Markarian’s front right passenger…needed to be transported to Mission Hospital Mission Viejo for her injuries.”

According to Sgt Cota, the passenger suffered a laceration to her forehead and left ear due to the collision. The vehicle was towed from the scene and Edison was contacted regarding the damage to the pole.

Samantha Marie Markarian, 24, Cypress, was arrested for felony DUI. 

Bail was set at $100,000.

Traffic stop sends Oceanside man to jail for myriad offenses

On Sunday, March 17, at 11:08 a.m., an LBPD officer initiated a vehicle stop on North Coast Highway at Emerald Bay. 

“The driver handed the officer a fake driver’s license. The driver was later arrested for presenting the false identification to the officer,” Sgt Cota said. “The driver was booked for a felony because the driver’s license number came back to a real person.”

Jose Alfonso Gomezresendiz, 41, Oceanside, was arrested for false impersonation, driving without a valid license, driving without a valid license, and possession of controlled substance paraphernalia.

Bail was set at $21,500.

 Guest leaves firearm behind at Montage, LBPD reports

On Monday, March 18, at 1:23 p.m., at the Montage Resort, at the 30800 block of S Coast Highway, security called to report that a guest had checked out of a room and left a firearm behind. The weapon was found by housekeeping. 

LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said, “An officer responded and took custody of the handgun. The firearm was booked in at the police department for safekeeping.”


Police Files

Man reportedly tries to throw meth pipe on roof, instead lands next to LBPD officer

On Friday, March 15, at 7:21 p.m., an LBPD officer conducted a pedestrian stop on a male subject, later identified as Darren Gallagher, at the 200 block of Broadway Street. 

“While the officer was talking with the subject, Gallagher attempted to throw a glass object onto the roof of the Whole Foods store. The glass object did not land on the roof and fell next to Officer Meyer and Gallagher,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said. “The object was found to be a methamphetamine pipe.” 

Darren Lawrence Gallagher, 50, of Costa Mesa, was arrested for possession of narcotic paraphernalia and destruction of evidence. 

“It was later found that Gallagher originally gave a fictitious name and was also charged with violation of giving a police officer a false name,” Sgt Cota said.

Bail was set at $15,500.

Sad song, violin and parts stolen valued at $53,500 

On Thursday, March 14, at 10:10 a.m., a report was taken at the LBPD station concerning a possible burglary from Stephen R. Davey Violins at 31662 South Coast Hwy. The reporting party said that about two to three weeks ago during the rainstorms, he noticed an antique violin and miscellaneous violin parts missing from his shop.

“The missing violin was valued at $50,000, which was on consignment,” Sgt Cota said. “The violin parts are valued at approximately $3,500.”

According to Sgt Cota, there is no surveillance video available and there are no witnesses to the crime.

The total loss is estimated at $53,500.

Paparazzi reportedly stalk Justin Bieber at Montage pool

On Saturday, March 16, at 11:26 a.m., LBPD received a report of paparazzi trespassing and stalking a VIP at the Montage, at the 30800 block of S Coast Highway.

According to police records, a “high priority VIP on the property in the pool area” was being stalked by paparazzi. The star-struck subjects reportedly took off running toward the celebrity. Once LBPD arrived, the subjects were advised not to come back on the property.

According to Sgt Cota, “It was Justin Bieber. The paparazzi were trying to get photos.”

-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. Scott Brashier is our photographer.

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