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Police Files

Man dies following self-inflicted vehicle fire at Aliso Beach

On Tuesday, Dec 18, at 9:09 a.m., at the 31100 block of S Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach Emergency Services received an emergency call about a vehicle fire. Local residents, including those dining at nearby Lost Pier Café, also reported the sound of a large explosion.

Sadly, according to LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota, “This was self-initiated and so far appears to be an attempt of suicide. There was no bomb, but an excessive amount of gas was located, so it appears the sound of an explosion was the gas and fire igniting the vehicle.”

 The man involved in this tragic incident is described as a 56-year-old man from Lake Forest. Sgt Cota said no drugs were involved.

The man was pulled from his vehicle by emergency personnel after at least one local resident was unable to extricate him on their own due to the significant car damage sustained.

The man, who was still alive as of Thursday after being transported to Orange County Global Hospital in Santa Ana by Mercy Air, died this morning (Friday, Dec 21), according to a message from Sgt Cota.

Police Files Car

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Photo by Scott Brashier

A 56-year-old Lake Forest man who was saved from his burning vehicle by emergency personnel on Tuesday has died

LBFD Division Chief Api Weinert said the man sustained “Head to toe burns, all the way from the head to the toe. I would say the gamut from first, second and third-degree burns.”

Chief Weinert reiterated Sgt Cota’s statement that a bomb was not responsible for the vehicle fire.

“It was not a bomb. Although bystanders did report hearing a loud explosion,

anytime you have confined combustion, you can hear what sounds like an explosion or a pop,” LBFD Chief Weinert said.

The event was hard to fathom and to experience.

“Even though we see horrible accidents throughout our careers, it doesn’t mean they don’t accumulate over time or just that one accident that some of our members haven’t seen before won’t affect us,” Chief Weinert said. “We reached out to Trauma Intervention Program (TIP), not just for ourselves but for bystanders. They are an incredible organization. TIP made contact with the civilians, police officers, firefighters, and first responders that were there.”

Holidays are a particularly rough time of year for depression and death.

“A lot of people think we’re really slow, but we’re actually really busy,” Chief Weinert said. “The holidays can be an intense time for people.”

Suicide prevention help is available. If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please reach out to www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In Orange County, you may also visit this site.

Know the warning signs. Some warning signs may help you determine if a loved one is at risk for suicide, especially if the behavior is new, has increased, or seems related to a painful event, loss, or change. If you or someone you know exhibits any of these, seek help by calling the Lifeline. Behavior includes:

--Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves

--Looking for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun

--Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live

--Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain

--Talking about being a burden to others

--Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs

--Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly

--Sleeping too little or too much

--Withdrawing or isolating themselves

--Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge

--Extreme mood swings

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Police Files (Cont.)

Man hits three parked cars, light pole and fire hydrant in cut & rescue in the canyon, DUI suspected

On Tuesday, Dec 18, at 3:55 a.m., LBPD officers responded to a traffic collision on Laguna Canyon Road at Big Bend. The traffic collision was a single vehicle rollover, cut and rescue, with the driver trapped in the vehicle. 

“Officers arrived on scene and attempted to pull the driver, later identified as Anaheim resident Tyler Tripp, from the vehicle, but the damage was too extensive. LBFD arrived on scene and began rescue efforts to extricate Tripp from the vehicle,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said. 

The outbound lane was closed for approximately one hour, but due to the early morning hour, traffic was not a factor. 

“Tripp was eventually rescued from the vehicle and transported to Mission Hospital, Mission Viejo. Prior to being transported, Tripp submitted to a Preliminary Alcohol Screening test and his BAC exceeded .08 percent,” Sgt Cota said. “Tripp was ultimately arrested for DUI.” 

The collision involved Tripp’s vehicle, three parked vehicles, a light pole, and a fire hydrant, according to Sgt Cota. Edison and the Water Department arrived on scene to make the necessary repairs. Fortunately, the fire hydrant capped itself upon being sheared off and no flooding or water damage occurred as a result of the collision. 

Tripp was released from the hospital later in the day after receiving medical treatment.

Tyler Mitchell Tripp, 23, of Anaheim was arrested on suspicion of DUI, his first.

Bail was set at $2,500.

Man asleep at the wheel of idling car wakes up to a DUI arrest, charges for cocaine and loaded Glock 

On Sunday, Dec 16, at 8:34 a.m., LBPD officers responded to the Laguna Drug parking lot, at 239 Broadway St, to check on the welfare of a man reportedly passed out inside of a black Toyota RAV 4. 

According to police reports, the man was “slumped over the wheel and the vehicle [was] idling.” The reporting person knocked on the window and the subject didn’t respond.

“The male was identified as Mission Viejo resident Charles Furis. It was determined he was under the influence of alcohol and a stimulant,” Sgt Cota said. “He was subsequently arrested for DUI. A loaded Glock handgun and cocaine were located inside the vehicle.” 

Charles Alexander Furis, 31, Mission Viejo, was arrested on suspicion of DUI, possession of a narcotic controlled substance, and possession of a controlled substance while armed with a loaded gun. According to Sgt Cota, booking information shows he is employed by Whittier Hospital doing lab work.

Bail was set at $3,500.

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Police Files

Email bomb threat hits North Laguna resident

On Thursday, Dec 13, at 11:43 a.m., at the 1000 block of N Coast Hwy, a person that lives in the same building as the Guitar Shoppe reported receiving an email bomb threat sent to her personal email, extorting money.

According to police reports, she said, “They are trying to extort money from [me] – if the subject does not receive the money, he is going to blow up the building.”

The woman reported that she didn’t believe the email was legitimate but wanted to report it just in case. The woman rents an apartment at the location and works out of her home.

The email read, “Explosive device petrol has been carried into your building. If any unusual activity is noticed my mercenary will activate the bomb.”

The person demanded $20,000 by the end of the day or the building would be blown up. 

The threat also stated, “We are not terrorist [sic] and do not assume responsibility of other explosives at other buildings. A mercenary is in the area watching. He will be called off when the payment is made in full.”

According to LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota, “This was the day people and places all over the US were receiving bomb threats. This was a scam and sent to a personal email with no direct affiliation or threat to the specific business.

Kidnapping threat by caller from Mexico thwarted

On Friday, Dec 14, at 12:48 p.m., at the 1200 block of Park Ave, a Laguna Beach resident received a phone call from a Mexico based phone number claiming her child was kidnapped and a demand for money was made. 

“The reporting party stated she could hear a child crying in the background but knew the child’s voice did not sound like her children’s voices,” Sgt Cota said. “SRO Corporal Ashton was able to confirm that the reporting party’s kids were actively in school: Thurston and TOW.”

Sgt Cota explained that this phone call was a scam consistent to the recent ones that have been ongoing in our country. LBPD investigations was advised of the incident and a report was taken.

As reported in Police Files last spring, for over three consecutive weeks spanning from the end of April to mid-May, several women in Laguna were targeted in a virtual kidnapping scam, a billion-dollar crime that continues to stalk the country. 

“If anybody receives a telephone call or email that they find suspicious in the least, please call the police department and we will verify the information you are receiving or the person that is calling you,” said Sgt Cota. “Don’t give credit card information, don’t give your social security number, and if at any point, you don’t recognize the number, the person or the company contacting you, call us to verify they are legit. One of our staff will personally call that number to make sure they are who they say they are.”

In most cases, the best course of action is to hang up the phone and call 9-1-1. For more tips and information, contact Sgt Cota at (949) 497-0701 or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Police Files (Cont.)

Husband & wife busted for alleged thefts and meth

On Thursday, Dec 13, at 8:10 a.m., LBPD officers responded to Hillcrest Drive and Louise Street for a suspicious unoccupied vehicle. Upon the officer’s arrival, it was determined the registered owner of the vehicle, a Lincoln Continental, was on probation.

Police Files Elizabeth FulcePolice File John Sparks“A probation search of the interior of the vehicle revealed several stolen wallets and other items. During the investigation, Laguna Hills resident John Sparks walked back to the vehicle and was contacted by officers,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said. 

John James Sparks, 31, of Laguna Hills, was arrested for possession of stolen property, petty theft, and a probation violation. 

“A probation search of Sparks and his wife’s residence revealed several other stolen items,” Sgt Cota added.

His wife, Elizabeth Dawn Fulce, 27, of Laguna Niguel, was also arrested for possession of narcotic paraphernalia and possession of methamphetamine.

Sparks and Fulce did not receive bail.

Fight at Main Beach – drugs and altered flare gun found

On Thursday, Dec 13, at 10:40 a.m., LBPD received a call regarding two male subjects who were reported to be pushing and arguing with each other at 312 Broadway St.

“Officers made contact and after searching the subjects they found homeless subject, Kenneth Koestler, to be in possession of a small amount of heroin,” Sgt Cota said.

Kenneth Lee Koestler 43, of Laguna Beach, was cited for possession of a controlled substance and trespassing. 

“The second subject, homeless subject Kelly Smith, was also found to be in possession of a methamphetamine, hypodermic needles, and four pills,  Alprazolam/Xanax, a schedule IV benzodiazepine, without a physician’s prescription,” Sgt Cota said.

“Additionally, a flare gun that was altered to resemble a firearm was located in his duffle bag,” Sgt Cota continued. “Smith was arrested and ultimately cited out from the station for possession of a controlled substance, possession of prescription pills without a physician’s prescription, trespassing, and possession of narcotic paraphernalia.”

Bail was set at $1,000 for Koestler. Bail is unknown for Smith.

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Police Files

Unlicensed driver from Dana Point demolishes three cars and injures two, DUI suspected

On Thursday, Dec 13, at 2:16 a.m., LBPD officers and LBFD personnel responded to Thalia Street and South Coast Hwy for a reported injury traffic collision. 

“When officers arrived on scene, they discovered three vehicles scattered along South Coast Hwy and Thalia Street,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said. 

LBPD and LBFD described the aftermath, “One of the vehicles, a white BMW, was facing eastbound in the number one northbound lane about 100 feet south of Thalia Street. Another vehicle, a Jeep, was at the southwest corner of Thalia and Coast and suffered major rear end and significant damage to both the driver and passenger sides. A third vehicle, a Tesla, had been moved from the roadway and was parked in the 200 block of Thalia,” Sgt Cota explained. “The right rear wheel of the Tesla was ripped off and was sitting in the number one southbound lane of Coast Hwy at Thalia Street.” 

Police Files Car Crash one

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Courtesy of LBPD

South Coast Hwy was closed for several hours Thursday following suspected DUI crash that injured two people and totaled three cars

Sgt Cota explained how the accident happened. According to reports, the driver of the BMW was traveling southbound in the number one lane of Coast Hwy approaching Thalia Street at a high rate of speed. The BMW collided into the rear of the Jeep which was also southbound. The impact forced the jeep into a spin at which point it struck a tree and a traffic light pole on the northwest corner of Thalia Street and Coast Hwy ripping both from the ground.

The BMW continued southbound and struck the right rear of a Tesla, which was in the southbound left turn pocket to make a turn onto Thalia Street. This impact ripped the right rear wheel from the Tesla. The BMW continued southbound for about another 100 feet where it came to rest. 

“The driver of the Jeep, a Newport Beach resident, suffered a broken left arm. The passenger in the BMW received a broken hip and unknown damage to her vertebra. The driver of the Tesla was uninjured,” Sgt Cota said.

Police Files Car Crash two

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Photo courtesy of LBPD

Guillermo Garcia Ventura, 29, Dana Point, was arrested on felony charges

The unlicensed driver of the BMW, Guillermo Garcia Ventura, 29, of Dana Point, was arrested on suspicion of DUI with a blood alcohol level over .08 percent, a felony charge.

Bail was set at $100,000.

Owner who reported stolen BMW finds car at Pavilions

On Tuesday, Dec 11, at 3:57 p.m., at the 600 block of N Coast Hwy, LBPD received a report of a stolen white BMW 328i. But instead of it actually being stolen, it turns out rather the BMW was parked in a safe location unscathed.

According to Sgt Cota, “The vehicle was located in the Pavilion’s parking lot. It is suspected the vehicle was left here and not actually stolen.”

Sizeable male genitalia symbol tagged at Crescent Bay Beach

On Sunday, Dec 9, at 8:47 a.m., an LBPD officer responded to the Crescent Bay Beach restrooms in response to vandalism at the 1200 block of Cliff Drive. The officer saw red paint on the side of the restrooms with the words “Derick” coupled with a very large genitalia symbol. 

According to Sgt Cota, “The graffiti was 3 feet by 10 feet wide. Public Works was notified to remove it asap.”


Police Files

Local man allegedly attacks local couple in Pavilions parking lot, cuts husband with knife

On Thursday, Dec 6, at 9:18 p.m., at the 600 block of N Coast Hwy, two Laguna Beach residents got into a verbal confrontation. According to reports, a 50-year-old Laguna Beach resident was in his car stopped in front of Pavilions waiting for his wife, who was finishing her shopping in the store. 

Just prior to the wife exiting the store, the 69-year-old suspect, Thomas Giles, also a Laguna Beach resident, reportedly knocked on the driver side window of the couple’s vehicle, a Mini Cooper.

“When the driver rolled his window down, Giles told the driver to move his “F---in” car. Giles then pulled a knife and poked it at the driver,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said.

Sgt Cota added, “The driver’s wife approached and Giles [allegedly] threatened to stab her. In an attempt to protect his wife, the husband exited the car and a verbal and physical fight ensued.”

Police Files GilesAccording to Sgt Cota, the husband sustained a laceration to the left side of his head. Medics were reportedly requested.

The suspect threw the knife into nearby bushes and then attempted to flee as officers arrived, reportedly leaving his BMW in the parking lot, said Cota.

“Giles was caught and the knife was located. The victim sustained a minor cut near his ear,” Sgt Cota said. 

Thomas Allen Giles, 69, Laguna Beach, was arrested for multiple charges including assault with a deadly weapon and criminal threats. Per his booking information, he listed his occupation as night auditor at Crystal Cove Cottages.

Bail was set at $80,000.

BMW stolen out of garage in North Laguna

On Wednesday, Dec 5, at 9:05 a.m., LBPD officer responded to a residence in the 600 block of Cliff Drive for a report of a stolen vehicle. The officers met with the reporting party, who stated that she parked her BMW 328i in the garage the day prior. 

“The vehicle was left unlocked with the key inside. She closed the garage door and took the remote with her,” Sgt Cota said. “The day of the incident she could not locate the garage remote, so she used a key to enter the garage and noticed her BMW had been stolen.” 

The reporting person believes that the suspect(s) located the garage door remote that she may have dropped outside. There are no suspects at this time, Sgt Cota added.


Police Files

Marine Safety wants beach-goers to be aware and be prepared for stormy conditions 

Marine Safety Capt Kai Bond said it’s important to take heed of the rainy conditions that have hit the area and Laguna’s beaches. 

“Anytime there’s lots of rain and lots of surf we tell people to be aware of their surroundings and stay off the rocks,” Capt Bond said.

He warned that the rocks with the high surf and high tides can be very dangerous, as can lightning. When lightning strikes there’s a protocol that Marine Safety and the City addresses when it hits within a certain distance of the beach.

“We essentially close the beach and water for a certain period of time until that lightning is no longer there,” Capt Bond said. “The particular closure that happened Thursday [yesterday] at 1:40 p.m. It was approximately 30 minutes based on the fact that there was a lightning strike within a 10-mile radius of the area.” 

It’s important for people in the water to get out as quickly as possible and seek shelter. 

Police Files Storms

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Laguna’s beaches closed on Thursday due to lightning danger

 “Heed the warning of any public safety personnel closing any particular area for any particular reason; it is for the good of public safety,” Capt Bond said. “Whether it be beach access or in this case a beach due to lightning, it’s important to follow the direction and warning from our police, fire, marine safety, and public works personnel.”

In any rain event, OC Health recommends that people stay out of the water up to 72 hours due to beach runoff.

“The Environmental Health staff advises swimmers that levels of bacteria can rise significantly in ocean and bay waters adjacent to storm drains, creeks and rivers during and after rainstorms. The elevated levels of bacteria can continue for a period of at least three days depending upon the intensity of the rain and the volume of the runoff. Swimmers should avoid coastal waters impacted by discharging storm drains, creeks and rivers, and beach users should avoid contact with any runoff on the beach during dry or wet weather conditions,” according to OC Health Agency at www.ocbeaches.com. 

Myriad bacteria, chemicals, debris, and trash among other hazards from runoff can contaminate ocean waters and beaches after rain.

City’s first SRO puts students first hoping to 

make an impact that lasts

LBPD Corporal Cornelius Ashton is the City’s first SRO for LBUSD and he couldn’t be happier. He worked hard to make the position become a reality for Laguna Beach schools, importantly for the kids. 

Corporal Ashton has 18 years of law enforcement experience, including 15 years at the San Diego Community School District, and three years with LBPD.

With his prior role as a juvenile crime detective, Cpl Ashton found that whenever he was going to the high school or any of the schools it was always for negative situations.

“I started taking a hard look at what our police department is doing for positive engagement with our kids. I saw the need to have an SRO for our schools,” Cpl Ashton said. “I started looking further and saw that we were the only city to not have a dedicated School Resource Officer.”

Police Files Ashton High Five

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Courtesy Instagram @lagunabeachpd_sro

Cpl Ashton loves engaging with students; he has a smile on his face everyday, living his dream

He dove in, researched, and wrote a proposal and gave it to his command staff. Through his findings, they saw a need for the SRO role. 

Starting this school year, he was given a two-year contract, and he’s making the most of every minute.

“I do so many things. I do a lot of mentoring for kids. They’re virtually implementing me into their school curriculum. Anywhere they feel I can educate the kids from a police perspective, I teach. It can be anything from health education to government to economics to just going to the classes,” Cpl Ashton said. “I have been working with the social emotion counselor on resilience, stress management, and I could go on and on. I do a lot of co-teaching.”

He takes part in a lot of school events, including WEB Wednesday, “Where Everybody Belongs”. It’s for diversity and inclusion.

“It shows that everyone can come together and everyone has a place,” Cpl Ashton said.

Police Files Ashton at El Morro

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Courtesy Instagram @lagunabeachpd_sro

Cpl Ashton teaching El Morro Elementary students about Halloween Safety

He attends events and is really present on the campuses in myriad capacities. 

“My goal is for all the kids here to essentially grow up with a police officer,” Cpl Ashton said. “I feel the more positive interaction they have with police officers the more comfortable they are going to be around them in adulthood and the less likely they’re going to be involved in criminal activity.”

He explained that he wears a lot of different hats working with students, staff, parents, and administration.

“The synergy is just amazing. It’s so extremely positive,” he said.

While people think that there are so many issues going on at the local schools, he said it’s not true.

The main issue is learning coping skills.

“Helping kids to understand to slow things down and take things one at a time and not try to do so much at once. They get flustered easily they want to do well in every aspect of their life,” Cpl Ashton said. “I tell them they need to take time to break things down and sometimes they just need someone to hear them.”

He really encourages communication. He greets each student and asks how they are and really listens before he talks to the next student. It’s critical for each student to be heard and to empower them to be better.

“It’s more than I expected. I feel like I am living out my destiny in this role. My gifts are empowering and motivating. I am like a life coach. As a police officer, I have always had this gift to help people though problems, make them smile again, and see the best within themselves. It’s the most amazing feeling ever.” 

LBPD Cpl Ashton, SRO, wanted to make sure that anyone who wants to reach out to him can find him on Instagram at www.instagram.com/lagunabeachpd_SRO or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Police Files

Rare dolphin stranded multiple times at Emerald Bay sadly needs to be euthanized 

On Saturday, Dec 1, at 11:45 a.m., Pacific Marine Mammal Center received a call about a rare dolphin that had stranded itself multiple times at Emerald Bay, according to LBPD Civilian Services Administrator Jim Beres. 

“PMMC sent a rescue team and decided to bring the dolphin back as the animal was clearly in distress,” PMMC Events and Public Relations Coordinator Krysta Higuchi said. “Upon further examination, humane euthanasia was determined as the best course of action. The dolphin was seizing, had severe raking, a severe jaw injury and was in respiratory distress.” 

According to Higuchi, a necropsy was performed Sunday and it was determined that the animal was a striped dolphin, rare for coastal California waters, normally found in tropical waters.

“The dolphin was found to have serious jaw injuries directly causing other life threatening complications,” Higuchi said. “Injuries were determined to not be human caused but possibly from fights with other dolphins or species over food sources or aggressive mating behaviors.” 

Police Files Dolphin one

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Photo by Mark Girardeau/Courtesy of PMMC

A rare dolphin strands itself multiple times at Emerald Bay, sadly needs to be euthanized

The dolphin was determined to be a juvenile female. Two have been reported,  both within the last 30 days, in Northern California.

“PMMC is hoping this isn’t a sign that warmer waters are again hitting our coastline; changes in ocean patterns like these can adversely affect marine life and our coastal ecosystems,” Higuchi said.

She lauded others involved who played an integral part in facilitating looking out for the well-being of the dolphin.

“Thank you to Newport Coastal Adventure and the public beach goers for reporting the animal so quickly,” Higuchi said. “Though it was a sad outcome, the animal was clearly suffering and the quick and respectful direction and action from everyone at the beach created what would be best for that animal.” 

Mark Girardeau, a wildlife photographer aboard the Newport Coastal Adventure boat, captured the attempted rescues via a live video on social media that showed the young dolphin as it tried to get back to shore.

PMMC is located at 20612 Laguna Canyon Road. For more information about PMMC or to make a donation, visit www.pacificmmc.org or call (949) 494-3050.

Arson at Bus Depot, LBFD and LBPD quick to respond 

On Sunday, Dec 2, at 9:23 a.m., LBFD and LBPD officers responded to the Bus Depot public restrooms in reference to an arson investigation in the men’s restroom. 

According to LBPD Spokesperson PIO Jim Cota, it was determined the toilet paper dispenser in the handicap stall had been set on fire. Several feet of wall tile were damaged as a result. The estimated damage cost is $2,500. 

“A homeless subject was in the area at the time of the incident. He approached officers and claimed he put the fire out with his spare clothes,” Sgt Cota said. “His actual involvement is unknown at this time.”

Alleged graffiti tagger gets tagged by LBPD

Police Files Jason RobertsOn Monday, Nov 12, at 5:27 p.m., LBPD officers responded to the 200 block of Ocean Avenue regarding reports of vandalism that had just occurred. Employees at Ocean at Main reportedly observed a suspect spray-painting graffiti on five walls located behind Ocean at Main, behind the former theater, and on the side of Dan Miller Jewelry.

“The restaurant manager tried to detain the suspect and place him under a private person’s arrest. The suspect fled on foot but was caught by the manager and a couple of his employees a short distance away,” Sgt Cota said. “They put the resistive suspect on the ground and held him until officers arrived.”

Laguna Beach resident Jason Travis Roberts, 41, was placed under arrest for vandalism.

Bail was set at $25,000.


Police Files

LBPD seizes arsenal of 57 guns, Nazi regalia during criminal threats investigation

On Thursday, Nov 15, at 6:48 p.m., at the 800 block of Cliff Drive, a Laguna Beach resident reported receiving threatening phone calls and texts involving suspect Mitchell Todd.

Todd owns and operates the business Orange County Dove Release, which provides the release of doves at events, primarily at weddings and funerals. 

Todd was hired by the reporting party to release doves at his son’s funeral. According to reports, based upon a dispute on the day of the funeral involving scheduling and payment, Todd did not render his services nor was he paid. 

Police Files Arsenal one

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Courtesy of LBPD

During criminal threats investigation, LBPD finds arsenal of guns at suspect’s home

Following the funeral, according to LBPD, Todd began sending the victim text messages and voicemail messages demanding payment and making threats.

“Upon listening to the voicemail messages from Todd to the victim, Todd first threatened with court proceedings, but quickly appeared to become upset and further threatened to have specific people come to his work and to his relatives’ home until he was paid,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said. “The last voicemail message from Todd to the victim was the distinct sound of a handgun slide being pulled back and released as if a cartridge (bullet) was being chambered.”

In a voicemail to the reporting party, Todd allegedly said that it was time for him to go where his son went.

Police Files Arsenal two

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Courtesy of LBPD

Laguna Beach resident reports receiving threatening voicemails and text messages that escalated

Upon service of the search warrant on Todd’s Huntington Beach residence, 57 firearms of various styles and calibers were seized, along with thousands of rounds of ammunition. Todd also had numerous Nazi paraphernalia that was photographed and documented by LBPD. Out of the 57 guns seized, only 12 were registered to him and many others were not registered at all, according to Sgt Cota.

Police Files Arsenal three

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Courtesy of LBPD

57 firearms of various styles and calibers were seized, along with thousands of rounds of ammunition and Nazi paraphernalia

“I am extremely proud of all of the detectives for the teamwork they exhibited on the Mitchell Todd investigation and arrest. They arrested a person that clearly showed behavior that was extremely dangerous,” Sgt Cota said. “Additionally, they took 57 weapons away from someone who clearly should not be in possession of them. As a supervisor of the Investigations Division, I am very pleased with the outcome.”

Police Files Mitchell Todd

Courtesy of LBPD

Mitchell Ralph Todd 

Mitchell Ralph Todd, 51, of Huntington Beach, was taken into custody by LBPD detectives for criminal threats without incident. According to Sgt Cota, further charges may be added.

Bail was set at $50,000.

Panga boat lands at West Street Beach on Thursday – 9 detained, authorities search for more suspects

Police Files Panga boat two

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Courtesy of LBPD

Another panga boat landing, this time at West Street Beach

On Thursday, Nov 29, at 6:58 a.m., LBPD received two calls from residents reporting a panga boat landing at West Street Beach. Both callers said that all the occupants ran from the boat as soon as it came ashore. 

According to Sgt Cota, “They were last seen running towards the cliff area below Coast Highway.”

Police Files Panga life vests

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Courtesy of LBPD

Residents report panga boat landing on Thursday morning 

LBPD, LB Marine Safety, and LBFD immediately responded to the area and worked alongside the US Customs and Border Patrol, US Coast Guard, State of California Department of Parks and Recreations, and OC Sheriff’s Department. 

“With the assistance of all the partner agencies, a thorough search of the area was conducted and ended with the capture of nine adults,” Sgt Cota said. “Seven came from the panga boat and two were waiting in vehicles parked on Coast Highway.”

Police Files Panga Authorities on scene

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Courtesy of LBPD

LBPD and Marine Safety rushed on scene working with a handful of agencies

The investigation remains ongoing as law enforcement continues to search for outstanding subjects. 

For further information, contact the lead agency, US Customs and Border Patrol, at (619) 216-4182.


Police Files

Vodka-fueled threats and racial slurs land man in jail for 5th time

On Friday, Nov 23, at 3:37 p.m., LBPD officers contacted known homeless subject Braden Bolton, who was reported to be highly intoxicated carrying a bottle of vodka, at S Coast Hwy and Forest Ave. According to reports, Bolton had no shirt on and was provoking fights.

Police Files Braden Bolton“Upon contact with Bolton, he called the officers the “N” word and threatened to assault them. Bolton has had numerous contacts with LBPD over the years,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said. “Bolton was taken into custody for public intoxication but resisted to walk to the police vehicle. He continued with the threats, insults, profanity, and racial slurs.”

According to police logs, he was saying, “You don’t want to mess with me,” as he “threatened people with a bottle of Absolute Vodka.” LBPD received several calls reporting the incident.

Braden Elliot Bolton, 34, of Laguna Beach, was arrested for disorderly conduct related to alcohol. He was transported to OCJ in lieu of the LBPD jail. 

According to Stu News Laguna records, this is Bolton’s fifth arrest with LBPD in eight months.

Bail was set at $500.

7-person rescue at Sleepy Hollow Beach, swimmers caught in riptide

On Friday, Nov 23, at 12:31 p.m., at the 600 block of Sleepy Hollow Lane, Marine Safety received a 911 call for six people caught in a rip current approximately 100 yards off shore at Sleepy Hollow Beach. They were described as male adults.

“For us it’s a multiple person rescue, so we sent two of our lifeguard units to Sleepy Hollow to make the rescue. When we got on scene, we found that the number was actually seven people,” LBPD Marine Safety Capt Kai Bond said. “We had four lifeguards swim out and rescue the seven people from the rip current and bring them into shore.”

Marine Safety considers a rescue to be a multiple rescue when it involves more than one person.

“Multi-victim rescues can happen often, especially when there is large surf and the rip currents are strong,” Capt Bond said. “On Friday, the surf was 2 to 4-feet; it was green flag conditions. But we did have some significant west wind, which tends to push people down the beach, when they swim offshore. They happened to get into a rip current.”

It’s always a good idea to be aware of the conditions when swimming in the ocean.

“The first thing someone can do to be safe is to swim in front of an open lifeguard tower. Then they can get the most updated information on where those rip currents are from the tower lifeguard. That’s the most important thing,” Capt Bond said.

But as far as identifying a rip current, look for brown discolored water that is forming and going out to sea. Sometimes it’s easy to identify, while other times it’s difficult.

“If you’re in the water and you feel like you’re getting pulled out, you could possibly be in a rip current,” Capt Bond said.

If you get caught in a rip current, Capt Bond offers the following key advice:

“The best thing you can do is swim parallel to shore until you’re out of the rip current,” Capt Bond said. “And if you’re in a situation where you’re in need of a rescue, raise your hand and call for help.” 

Rip currents occur on a daily basis in varied conditions, so there could be a small wave day where there are a lot of rip currents. That’s not abnormal. Typically during yellow flag days and red flag days, there are usually more large, identifiable rip currents. Rip currents can occur on green flag days as well, as it was on Friday, when the multiple-erson rescue took place. 

“None of the victims taken out of the water needed medical aid,” Capt Bond said. “So that’s the good news.”

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