clear sky


Laguna Beach

Police Files (Cont.)

Mercedes crew arrested for meth and more

On Sunday, March 10, at 8:29 a.m., LBPD officers responded to a suspicious vehicle in the 30600 block of Marilyn Drive. 

According to police records, the caller advised officers of what appeared to be some type of drug activity, stating that LBPD responded approximately a week ago, at which times the suspects allegedly fled when units arrived.

Five occupants were contacted in a black Mercedes SUV, including three males and two females. According to LBPD, two of the males were in possession of drug paraphernalia and issued citations. 

“One male was identified as Fernando Najar. He was in possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said. 

He was issued a citation and taken into custody on a probation hold. 

“The females were identified as Amy Allan and Imiko Maki. Both females originally falsely personated another person because they each had outstanding warrants,” Sgt Cota said. “They were taken into custody for impersonation and the outstanding warrants.”

Fernando Najar, 27, of San Juan Capistrano, was arrested for violating parole and being in possession of methamphetamine and controlled substance paraphernalia. No bail was set.

Imiko Ariel Maki, 22, of Laguna Beach, was arrested on warrants for possession of a controlled substance, possession of controlled substance paraphernalia, and possession of methamphetamine. Maki was also arrested for false impersonation, and again for possession of a controlled substance and possession of controlled substance paraphernalia.

Bail was set at $51,000.

Amy Elizabeth Allan, 35, of Laguna Beach, was arrested on warrants for driving with a suspended license due to a DUI and for a DUI. At the time of the incident, Allan was also arrested for false impersonation.

Bail was set at $50,000.

Lexus stolen after woman reportedly leaves doors unlocked and keys in car

On Tuesday, March 12, at 7:33 p.m., an LBPD officer responded to a parking lot in the 1900 block of South Coast Highway for a stolen vehicle report. 

According to Sgt Cota, “The unlocked vehicle was a white 2006 Lexus 430 and the ignition key was left in the center console. The vehicle has personalized plates with a bedazzled license plate frame.”

A report was taken.

Local man hits utility pole and city-owned electronic sign board in the Canyon

On Wednesday, March 13, at 7:23 p.m., LBPD and LBFD personnel responded to the 2000 block of Laguna Canyon Road for the report of a traffic collision involving a vehicle that had struck a utility pole. 

“Emergency personnel arrived and found that an inbound Toyota had struck a city-owned electronic sign board and a utility pole. The sign board was knocked onto its side, but the utility pole did not appear damaged,” Sgt Cota said. “The driver of the Toyota was identified as a 44-year-old Laguna Beach resident. He was examined by paramedics but declined transportation to the hospital.”

The sign board was transported to the city parking lot and a report was taken. Inbound traffic was diverted into the center double left turn lane. The road was cleared and traffic was back to normal within 20 minutes.  

-By Suzie Harrison

Police Files

Locals charged in largest college bribery scandal in history

On Tuesday, March 12, more than 50 people were charged by the Department of Justice in the largest college admissions scam in US history. Dubbed “Varsity Blues” by the FBI, the arrests include Laguna Beach residents, prominent business executives Douglas Hodge and Robert Flaxman, as well as fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli and his wife, actress Lori Loughlin, who owned a home in Laguna Beach for many years.

According to the 204-page affidavit, dozens of individuals indicted and arrested, including 13 defendants in Orange County and Los Angeles, were allegedly involved in the nationwide conspiracy that aided admission of students to elite universities through facilitated cheating on college entrance exams and purported athletic recruits.

Suspects allegedly paid bribes to sports coaches and administrators to help get the students admitted to top college institutions, including University of Southern California, University of California Los Angeles, Yale, Stanford, Georgetown, and Wake Forest University, among others, regardless of athletic or academic abilities. At this time, no university admissions personnel are suspected of any wrongdoing or crimes. 

At the center of the scandal is Newport Beach resident William “Rick” Singer, 58. Singer has acknowledged collecting approximately $25 million dating back at least a decade, through his for-profit college counseling and preparation business company, Edge College & Career Network, also known as “The Key,” and a nonprofit corporation he started as a purported charity.

Singer was charged with racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, and obstruction of justice.

Those with Laguna Beach ties facing charges include Douglas Hodge, 61, Laguna Beach, former CEO of prominent investment management companies. According to reports, prosecutors allege Hodge used bribery to get his children admitted to USC and Georgetown as purported athletic recruits.

Hodge was charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. The defendant appeared in Boston on Wednesday, March 13, and was released on conditions including a $500,000 secured bond. 

Founder and CEO of real estate development firm Robert Flaxman, 62, of Laguna Beach, was charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. His initial appearance in federal court in Boston is set for March 29 at 2:30 p.m.

Fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, 55, and his well-known actress wife Lori Loughlin, 54, of Los Angeles, were charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. The defendants made their initial appearance in the Central District of California and were each released on $1 million bail. 

Loughlin and Giannulli used to own a home in Laguna Beach, which they reportedly listed for sale in 2009 for $12.99 million.

According to court documents, Giannulli and Loughlin submitted to USC’s admissions offices photos of their daughters on rowing machines. The couple allegedly paid $500,000 to have their two daughters attend the university by way of the school’s crew team, even though neither was reportedly a crew athlete.

Loughlin, known for her role as Aunt Becky in Full House and Fuller House, has also starred on Hallmark Channel on myriad projects, including When Calls the Heart. It was announced yesterday that Loughlin has been fired from Hallmark Channel and Netflix, according to reports.

Also charged for her alleged involvement in the scheme is Golden Globe-winning actress Felicity Huffman, among the 33 parents and 13 coaches and associates of Singer’s businesses, including two SAT and ACT test administrators. 

The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

-By Suzie Harrison

Read more Police Files on our Front Page II – click here

Animal Files

More rescues for PMMC, nonprofit calls on community for donations to help

On Thursday, March 7, at 4:20 p.m., the Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC) responded to a live dolphin at Crystal Cove State Beach. 

“PMMC had people in the back bed of our RAM rescue truck holding the dolphin, so we called police to let them know. They in turn gave us a police escort to get the dolphin and the team back to PMMC as quick and safe as possible,” Krysta Higuchi, PMMC Events and Public Relations Coordinator said. “Once back at PMMC our team was able to fully examine her. She had multiple seizures and it was deemed humane euthanasia was the best course of action.”

On Saturday, March 9, at 12:28 p.m., at the 31500 block of Bluff Drive, LBPD and PMMC received reports regarding a whale close to shore.

According to Jim Beres, LBPD Civilian Services Administrator, “A whale in distress was reported to be in the water near the sand at West Street Beach. The reporting party thought the whale might be injured.” 

“The whale swam back out,” Higuchi said. “Right now it is migration season for gray whales so it is fairly common to see these whales off our shores. The moms tend to stash their calves close to shore while they go off and forage.”

Donations badly needed at PMMC to help save pinnipeds

In all, PMMC rescued four pinnipeds over the weekend, including three sea lions from Huntington Beach and one elephant seal from Newport Beach, bringing PMMC’s 2019 rescue count up to a record-high 46.

Higuchi said that donations are badly needed.

“The animals just keep coming in and we have not even hit our typical peak time yet,” Higuchi said. “Right now we are going through fish, medical supplies and funds faster than anticipated. Any amount is greatly appreciated.”

Animal Files bath

Click on photo for a larger image 

Courtesy of PMMC Instagram

California sea lion that was rescued by PMMC

Donations can be made at check out PMMC’s wish list at for other items in need. 

For more information about PMMC, call (949) 494-3050.

PMMC is located at 20612 Laguna Canyon Rd.

Police Files

Two virtual kidnapping scams in 24 hours have Laguna parents on high alert

On Thursday, March 7, a Laguna Beach resident reported to LBPD that he had become the victim of a fraud involving the fake kidnapping of his daughter.  

“At 2:30 p.m., the victim received a cell phone call from a suspect who stated he had kidnapped the victim’s daughter and was holding her, and wanted $5,000 or he would kill her. The suspect ordered the victim to stay on the phone with him throughout the incident,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said. “The victim became fearful for his daughter and after briefly hearing a female scream into the phone stating she had been kidnapped, he went to his bank and withdrew $5,000.”  

The victim was then directed to go to various wire transfer locations outside the city where he transferred the money to an account in Mexico.  

“At about 6:30 p.m., as the victim was completing the last transaction, he received a call from his daughter who was fine in Laguna Beach,” Sgt Cota said. “His daughter had not been kidnapped and had no knowledge of what was occurring.”

The father had just completed the last transaction and could not stop the transfer of the funds.

LBPD thwarts wire transfer in second virtual kidnapping scam

Then, the next day, on Friday, March 8, at 11:42 a.m., LBPD received another virtual kidnapping call similar to the one received on Thursday.

“The incident involved another Laguna Beach resident withdrawing money, however, we, LBPD, were able to intervene prior to the money being wired to an account in Mexico,” Sgt Cota said. “The resident contacted her daughter, who is a college student in Chicago and found out she was safe.”

“SRO Ashton created an information piece that was immediately sent to all of the schools in Laguna Beach, including private schools, for dissemination to the parents,” Sgt Cota said. “Two virtual kidnapping incidents within 24 hours is unacceptable. Luckily, we were able to stop the second one.”

The success of a virtual kidnapping scheme depends on speed and fear. Criminals know they have a limited amount of time before the victim catches onto the scam or law enforcement gets involved.

If you suspect a real kidnapping is taking place or you believe a ransom demand is a scam, please contact the Laguna Beach Police Department at (949) 497-0701.

Signs of a virtual scam:

--Callers go to great lengths to keep you on the phone, insisting you remain on the line

--Calls do not come from the supposed victim’s phone

--Callers try to prevent you from contacting the “kidnapped” victim

--Callers include demands for ransom money to be paid via wire transfers to Mexico; ransom amount demands may drop quickly

If you receive a phone call from someone demanding a ransom for your family member, the following should be considered:

--In most cases, the best course of action is to hang up the phone

--If you don’t want to risk ending the call, drive to the nearest police station

--Try to remain calm and slow the situation down

--Do not share any information about your family during the call and don’t use the alleged victim’s name

--If you hear the a voice or screaming in the background, try to ascertain if it really is your child

--Attempt to contact the “kidnapped” victim via phone, text, a messaging app or social media to see where they are and if they are safe

--Ask to speak to the victim

--Ask questions that only the victim would know

--Ask the caller to call back using the victim’s phone

--Try to buy time by repeating the caller’s demands and telling the caller you need to write things down or need time to complete the transaction

--Don’t challenge or argue with the caller

--Write down the phone number the caller is calling from

For additional information, please contact School Resource Officer Cpl Cornelius Ashton at (949) 497-0773.

Police Files

Convicted killer charged a second time for brutal 1978 murder of Laguna man 

Walter Lawrence Dalie, a 60-year-old convicted killer, was charged for a second time for the brutal 1978 murder of Laguna Beach resident Brent Stapleton Tobey. On Monday, March 4, he pleaded not guilty to charges that were previously dismissed by prosecutors on August 18, 2015.

According to Rebecca Moss, Public Affairs Specialist, OC District Attorney’s Office, “Dalie is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on March 19, in Department H-1, Harbor Justice Center, Newport Beach. He was arraigned and pleaded not guilty to all charges on March 4.” 

According to the criminal complaint, Dalie is charged with one count of murder “with malice and aforethought” and two sentencing enhancements for murder during the commission of a robbery, and for “personally using a knife as a dangerous and deadly weapon,” in the commission of murder.

Police Files Dalie

Courtesy of OCDA

Walter Dalie was 19 years old in 1978 when local architect Brent Tobey was brutally murdered

Tobey, a prominent local architect, 55 at the time of his death, was stabbed 17 times in the back, head, and chest on November 20, 1978.

The original 2011 case against Dalie was dismissed in part by prosecutors because two critical witnesses had died since a preliminary hearing in the Tobey killing. And at the time, the Orange County Crime Lab was unable to conduct a detailed forensic analysis of evidence from the crime scene.

The day of his murder, Tobey and a friend, who lived nearby, had plans to have dinner together to celebrate the conviction of local James Scramlin for the 1977 murder of their friend Albert Willard. The two friends had found Willard’s dead body in his home.

With not enough to go on, the case went cold. Unsolved for 33 years, it wasn’t until 2002 that the OC Crime Lab found another person’s DNA on Tobey’s clothes. In 2010, they learned that it matched Dalie’s DNA.

When the DNA match was found, Dalie was serving a 50-year prison sentence in Connecticut for the murder of his girlfriend in 1985 with a hammer. With the new DNA evidence LBPD reopened the case.

At the time of the murder, Dalie was 19 and working as a gardener in Laguna Beach and lived in Newport.

Dailie grew up in nearby Dana Point and was a graduate from Dana Hills High School.

Moss said, “No further details about this case will be available until they are presented in court.”

Man arrested twice in four hours for trespassing at same location

On Sunday, March 3, at 8:33 a.m., LBPD officers responded to Stop N Go, 1390 N Coast Hwy, in reference to a man refusing to leave the property.

According to police reports, the caller stated that customers were afraid of the man and that they requested the clerk walk outside with them.

 “Officers made several attempts to persuade Ira Britton to leave the property, however he still refused and was subsequently arrested for trespassing and released after the booking process at LBPD,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said. “At 12:21 p.m., Ira Britton returned to Stop N Go and continued to trespass and refused to leave. He was arrested again and transported to OCJ.”

Ira Lloyd Britton, 41, of Huntington Beach, was arrested for trespassing. Bail was set at $500.


Male allegedly disrobes and exposes self at beach

On Tuesday, March 5, at 11:49 a.m., LBPD officers responded to Table Rock Beach following reports of a male allegedly disrobing and exposing himself to beach goers.

“The subject approached women asking if they wanted him to rub lotion on them, then asked another group of girls if they wished to be in a porn movie with him,” LBPD Sgt Cota said. “The subject was contacted near the beach and cited for public nudity.”

Police Files

Man arrested four times in four days

On Wednesday, Feb 27, at 1:42 p.m., an LBPD officer contacted Kyle Winton at Main Beach in reference to reports he was creating a disturbance. He was described as a male wearing no shirt yelling at passersby.

“As the officer approached Winton, he witnessed Winton push two individuals on the boardwalk and run northbound on the grass. The officer tackled Winton on the grass and placed him under arrest for battery and resisting arrest,” said LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota. “Once Winton was arrested, he began manipulating his handcuffs in an attempt to escape officers.” 

Police Files Kyle WintonWilton was ultimately transported to the LBPD Jail, where he was booked and later released pending criminal charges.

Bail was set at $1,000.

On Thursday, Feb 28, at 4:08 p.m., at the 200 block of Broadway Street, Winton was allegedly throwing coins at LBPD Beach Patrol and walking into traffic. According to police records, the reason for LBPD contact was jaywalking.

Winton was detained, slipped his cuffs, and put in custody. He was arrested for resisting arrest and assault and battery.

Bail was set at $1,000.

On Friday, March 1, at 7:29 p.m., LBPD officers responded to the Laguna Presbyterian Church, at the 400 block of Forest Ave, for another complaint about Winton.

According to Sgt Cota, “He was intoxicated and causing a disturbance taking his clothes off at the cold weather shelter. Officers arrived and placed Winton under arrest for trespassing. The staff and the homeless subjects being sheltered were all very appreciative.”

Laguna Presbyterian Church offers an additional shelter when the weather is below a certain cold temperature, privately run by the church.

Bail was set at $500.

On Saturday, March 2, at 9:52 p.m., LBPD officers responded to the 300 block of Broadway Street following the report of Winton creating another disturbance.

Officers arrived and contacted Kyle Winton. He was placed under arrest for trespassing. 

“After Winton was taken into custody, he spat at officers several times. One officer was struck on the side of his head. A spit mask was applied. Winton also refused to move and walk to the patrol car,” Sgt Cota said. “Officers were forced to physically carry Winton to the transport vehicle. The additional charges of assault on a police officer, battery on a police officer, and obstructing/delaying a police officer were added.” 

Because of Winton’s behavior, he was transported to OCJ by a jailer and an officer.

Bail was set at $2,000.

Tow truck crash last night closes Canyon for hours, results in major injury

On Monday, March 4, at about 5:30 p.m., a flatbed tow truck with a car on its flatbed lost its braking capabilities while exiting the southbound off-ramp of the 73 Freeway. 

“The tow truck collided into a car traveling on Laguna Canyon Road, which caused the tow truck to flip on its side and slide across the road,” Sgt Cot said. “The tow truck hit the guardrail with the car still on the flatbed and rolled down a ravine in the wilderness area next to Laguna Canyon Road. The tow driver was transported to Mission Hospital, Mission Viejo with head trauma.” 

The passengers of the other vehicle were uninjured. Outbound Laguna Canyon Road was closed between El Toro Road and the 73 Freeway. Traffic was diverted to El Toro. Laguna Canyon Road was expected to be closed for about two hours. 

At 7 p.m. another alert from the City went out: “One inbound lane is open. Both outbound lanes [are] closed for another hour until the tow truck can be extracted. Heavy duty tow equipment is being utilized.”

40-foot Eucalyptus tree falls damaging two cars

On Saturday, March 2, at 3:09 p.m., LBPD received a report of a large tree falling and damaging two parked vehicles. The cars were described as a 2011 black Prius and a Toyota Corolla.

“The tree was a privately-owned Blue Gum or Eucalyptus Globulus located on the property at…El Bosque. We estimate that the tree was about 40-feet tall. We are unaware of any reports of injury,” said Shohreh Dupuis, Assistant City Manager, Director of Public Works. “Portions of the tree hit two vehicles. One in the driveway…and one parked in front [of the residence].”

Police Files tree falls crashing on car

Click on photo for a larger image 

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

40-foot Eucalyptus tree falls after more rains, causing damage

Dupuis said Public Works has no information on the owner of the car parked on the street and no information on the level of damage to either vehicle as this was a private property issue.

When a private tree falls onto public roadways, in order to reopen the roadway, the emergency Public Works crew removes portions of the tree to the limits of the roadway, and up to the car on the street, explained Dupuis.

Police Files Tree falls on car

Click on photo for a larger image 

Courtesy of LBPD

A huge Eucalyptus tree falls on two cars

“We do not remove private trees from private property or from cars that may be hit by private trees,” Dupuis said. “The portions of the tree in the roadway were removed by approximately 5:30 p.m. on March 2, the day of the incident. The Public Works.”

Black-masked burglar reported at Irvine Cove

On Friday, March 1, at 10:29 a.m., LBPD officers were dispatched to a residence in the 100 block of Irvine Cove Circle in reference a residential burglary investigation. The reporting party was the housekeeper. 

“She observed a large front window smashed. Officers searched the residence and determined a burglary did occur,” Sgt Cota said. “The homeowners were out of the country so an exact loss is unknown. Surveillance cameras show a male suspect wearing a black mask inside the residence three days prior.”

 The incident was documented and an investigation in ongoing.

LBPD debuts new patrol vehicles on Sunday

On Sunday, March 3, LBPD’s newly designed patrol vehicle hit Laguna’s streets.

“The department and I couldn’t be more excited. It is time to move on from the old, outdated white patrol vehicles and catch up with the rest of the county’s police vehicles,” Sgt Cota said. 


Click on photo for a larger image 

Courtesy of LBPD

LBPD’s newly designed police vehicles hit the streets on Sunday night

“We feel we have the best looking vehicles now in the county and the approval from all of the officers is overwhelming in support. A big thanks to Chief Farinella, City Manager John Pietig, and the LB City Council for their support,” Sgt Cota added.

Police Files

Local man rescued by lifeguard at Community Pool

On Sunday, Feb 25, at 12:22 p.m., LBPD officers and LBFD were dispatched with lights and sirens to the Community Pool at 670 Park Ave, in reference to a medical aid call. The patient was identified as a 78-year-old male and a Laguna Beach resident. 

“He appeared to have sustained a heart attack while swimming laps. He began to submerge under the water and the on-duty city lifeguard entered the pool and rescued the subject,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said. “The lifeguard performed CPR on the subject who responded to the efforts and was transported to Mission Hospital, Mission Viejo.”

Prowler flees from resident’s window when spotted

On Tuesday, Feb 26, at 10 a.m., an LBPD officer was dispatched to a residence in the 700 block of Pelican Drive in reference to a possible interrupted residential burglary.

“The property owners had an elderly house guest staying at their residence. The house guest reported that approximately one hour prior to calling dispatch, she observed an unknown male wearing dark clothing inside one of the bedrooms,” Sgt Cota said. “After being noticed, the male fled the residence via an open window. There was no forced entry, no loss, and no further description of the male suspect.”

 A report was taken.

Stolen Andrus Plumbing truck caught on camera driving out the Canyon

On Wednesday, Feb 27, at 7:28 a.m., an LBPD officer responded to 855 Glenneyre St in reference to a stolen Andrus Plumbing truck. The plumbing truck was reported stolen from their lot on Tuesday night, sometime between 5 p.m. and 1 a.m.

According to Sgt Cota, “City cameras recorded the truck going outbound on Laguna Canyon Road at 1:02 a.m. This incident has been turned over to detectives for follow-up.”

Animal Shelter needs donated dog blankets

 The Laguna Beach Animal Shelter is in need of donated dog blankets. The shelter needs fabric dog blankets that can be washed, so no electric blankets. 

“Any assistance you can provide in helping to get the word out would be greatly appreciated by the animal shelter staff,” LBPD Civilian Services Administrator Jim Beres said.

The Laguna Beach Animal Shelter is located at 20612 Laguna Canyon Rd. For more information, call (949) 497-3552.

Police Files

Intoxicated, combative man arrested after cliff rescue at Whiskey Cove, reports LBPD

On Sunday, Feb 24, at 12:46 p.m., LBPD, LBFD, and Marine Safety personnel responded in reference to a cliff rescue at the 0 block of Smithcliffs. A male subject, later identified as John Wilson, was seen on the rocks and appeared to be stuck. 

 “Wilson was heavily intoxicated and uncooperative with first responders. OCSD’s helicopter responded to assist as Wilson scaled the cliffside,” LBPD PIO Sgt Jim Cota said. “Wilson was able to get up and head northbound on the rocks to Emerald Bay where he began throwing rocks at Marine Safety personnel.”

IMG 5623 (003)

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of LBPD

OCDA helicopter rescues intoxicated man stuck on beach rocks, transports him to Riddle Field to finalize his arrest

Wilson then ended up making his way back southbound on the rocks to a secluded cove called Whiskey Cove, which was only accessible by a residence in the 100 block of McKnight Drive. 

“Wilson ended up falling on the rocks and was moving very slowly. The OCSD helicopter performed a hoist extraction on Wilson. Officers made contact with Wilson where he was immediately detained,” Sgt Cota said. “The OCSD helicopter took custody of Wilson along with an LBPD officer and transported them both to Riddle Field where they landed.”

Police Files John Wilson2

Courtesy of LBPD

John Wilson

Officers arrested John Andrew Wilson, 59, Laguna Beach, for resisting arrest and being drunk in public.

Bail was set at $1,000.

Animal Shelter no longer needs donated newspapers, thanks locals for all the generous donations

A few months ago, Stu News ran a piece about newspaper donations needed at the Animal Shelter. The response from locals has been overwhelmingly generous. 

“The Animal Shelter is overflowing with newspapers, the public has been very generous. However, the shelter is full of donated newspaper and has nowhere to store the excess newspapers that people are dropping off,” LBPD Civilian Services Administrator Jim Beres said. “We would like to thank the community for their very generous response, but no additional donated newspapers are necessary at this time.”

Police Files

Bobcat accidentally hit by LBPD mending well

On Tuesday, Feb 19, at approximately 3:45 p.m., an on-duty LBPD officer hit an adult bobcat with his police vehicle in the 2700 block of Laguna Canyon Rd. 

“The bobcat ran across the highway in front of the officer’s vehicle and the officer was unable to avoid the collision. The officer immediately stopped and asked for an Animal Services Officer to respond,” LBPD Civilian Services Administrator Jim Beres said. 

The animal services officer transported the injured bobcat to the Serrano Wildlife Hospital in Lake Forest. 

“As of today [Thursday, Feb 21], the bobcat is responding to treatment and doing very well,” Beres was happy to report.

Eucalyptus and other trees topple, causing damage

Over the past week, at least three trees have fallen in town causing damage, due to the heavy rains.

On Sunday, Feb 17, at 12:16 p.m. a large City-owned Red Ironbark Eucalyptus failed at 456 Locust St, falling partially on a resident’s property and partially on the road. The tree was estimated to be 50 feet tall.

Police Files Eucalyptus

Click on photo for a larger image 

Courtesy of City of Laguna Beach

A large 50-foot city-owned eucalyptus tree falls on private property

“The tree was uprooted and fell over on the fence in front of the home which was damaged. No other damage or injuries were reported,” said Shohreh Dupuis, Assistant City Manager/Director of Public Works.

Also on Sunday, Feb 17, at 1:23 p.m., a large City-maintained Torrey Pine tree fell on the County Flood Control Channel fence just above the Milligan Bridge, at Milligan Drive and Laguna Canyon Road.

 “The only damage was to the fence. Due to the size of the tree requiring a crane for removal which was not available that day, the tree was left in place and then removed on Monday,” Dupuis said.

Police Files Torrey Pine

Click on photo for a larger image 

Courtesy of City of Laguna Beach

A City-owned Torrey Pine tree fell on the Laguna Channel fence on Sunday

On Monday, Feb 18, at 5:01 p.m., at the 600 block of Glenneyre Street, LBPD received an in-person report of a traffic collision involving a fallen tree. 

According to police records, the RP stated that a branch from a tree fell on his car and left moderate damage.

The RP was reportedly parked in his driveway when the tree limb from an adjacent property fell on his car causing the damage.

Stay tuned for more information from Public Works to be reported about fallen tree totals in an upcoming issue.

 “We are currently compiling a list of all failed or removed trees in the past month due to weather and the number of rockslide/mudslides and slope failures,” Dupuis said.

Police Files

Grenade found in local’s wall, Bomb Squad removes it

On Saturday, Feb 16, at 5:43 p.m., at the 1600 block of Thurston Drive, LBPD received a report of a found hand grenade on a fire block with the release lever missing. 

According to LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota, “The residents had recently moved into the home and found an old hand grenade in a garage wall while making renovations.”

Police Files Grenade found

Courtesy of LBPD

Hand grenade found in garage wall while making renovations

 “Two members of the OCSD Bomb Squad responded. An X-ray of the grenade showed that it contained no filler, but they collected it in case it contained any residual powder. The device is believed to be a World War I era British hand grenade,” Sgt Cota said.

Husband struck crossing S Coast Hwy still in grave condition 

Last Wednesday, Feb 13, LBPD officers responded to a vehicle versus pedestrian collision on South Coast Hwy at Mountain Road. A husband and wife were crossing S Coast Hwy from the inland side to the ocean side. They had crossed the northbound lanes and the number one southbound lane, where a vehicle stopped. 

As the male crossed into the number two southbound lane, he was struck by a southbound vehicle who had failed to stop.

“The injured male is 79 years old and still in grave condition. He is from Indio, California and was here on his anniversary,” Sgt Cota said. “The injuries to the male were severe and he was transported to Mission Hospital, Mission Viejo. Alcohol was not a factor. The traffic investigation is ongoing.”

Locals report encountering mountain lion while hiking

According to Nextdoor, a hiker who lives in Bluebird Canyon recently encountered a mountain lion while hiking to Laurel Canyon Waterfall in Laguna Beach. Right before he and fellow hikers found the falls they had a brief standoff with the large wildcat, he reports.

“From about 20 yards, the large cat turned to us to decide what to do while we stood frozen. We barely had enough time to just broaden our shoulders, in an attempt to seem larger, and he turned on the trail and trotted away. We continued with caution yelling calls and tossing rocks into the bush. 

We brandished club size sticks whacking at bushes along the trail. There were no signs of tracks and no more sightings. Anyone planning to hike there should be aware that a big cat roams that territory. We would not have been carelessly walking the trail so quietly if we had known the danger that could be around the next corner. 

Remember to always have a plan in the wild and continue to make noise so predators make themselves scarce well before you unexpectedly come upon them. Good luck, stay safe.”

Several locals on Nextdoor responded to the post saying they also had mountain lion sightings in Laguna Beach over the years.

Bus gets stuck on Agate Street, needs to be pulled out

Police Files Bus Stuck

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Keith Greer

On Sunday, Feb 17, around 9 a.m., a bus reportedly tried to go up Agate Street next to Mozambique and got stuck. The bus had to be jacked up and pulled out via a semi-trailer wrecker. It took at least an hour.

Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor & Writer.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut is our Chief Photographer.

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

Stacia Stabler is our Social Media Manager & Writer.

We all love Laguna and we love what we do.

Email: for questions about advertising


Email: with news releases, letters, etc.


© 2019 Stu News Laguna - All Rights Reserved.