Laguna Beach

Police Files

Homeowners and realtors beware: crimes at open houses on the rise

On Sunday, May 26, at 6:36 p.m., LBPD received a report regarding a petty theft incident during an open house, at the 700 block of Manzanita Drive.

“As the victim, a local realtor, was cleaning up for the day, she placed her purse near the front door. As she was leaving, she could not find her purse,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said. “She suspects that a male/female couple that had just come through before closing up took it and fled.”

Her purse contained a driver’s license, a credit card, an iPhone, and approximately $20 in cash. According to reports online, the suspects began using her credit card in nearby cities immediately, before being shut down.

The victim reported that there were two suspects. One was described as a thin white male, 5’10” to 5’11” tall with “reddish” hair, 20 to 30 years old, wearing all black and having tattoos. The second suspect is a white female, 20 to 30 years old, with short dark hair and wearing mostly black clothing.

“An officer took a report and the incident will be submitted to Investigations for follow up,” Sgt Cota said.   

A second open house incident occurred on Monday, May 27, at 1:12 p.m.

“During an open house at a residence on North Vista De Catalina, an unknown suspect(s) entered the residence and stole approximately $4,700 in camera equipment, personal items, and jewelry,” Sgt Cota said. “A report will be taken and forwarded to Investigations.”

 Laguna Board of REALTORS® provided a link to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Realtor Safety Program with helpful tips to protect realtors and their clients belongings at

Some of the safety tips include: 

--Show properties before dark. 

--Limit the amount of personal information you share. 

--Always let someone know where you are going and when you will be back.

--Leave the name and phone number of the client you are meeting and schedule a time for your office to call you to check in. 

--Don’t assume that everyone has left the premises at the end of an open house. Check all of the rooms and the backyard prior to locking the doors. 

--Be prepared to defend yourself, if necessary. 

--Whenever possible, take your own car to a showing. When you leave your car, lock it.

--Tell your sellers not to leave personal information like mail or bills out in the open where anyone can see it. 

--And be sure to lock down your computer and lock up your laptop and any other expensive, easy-to-pocket electronics, like iPods, before your showing.

Buzzed BBQ buddies cause havoc at Heisler

On Sunday, May 26, at 5:26 p.m., LBPD officers responded to the lawn bowling area at Heisler Park. According to Sgt Cota, four male subjects had been there congregating most of the day, BBQ-ing and consuming alcohol. Officers received several calls for service about them causing disturbances throughout the day. 

“Beach Patrol Officers contacted the suspects, who had their personal belongings and trash scattered all over the area,” Sgt Cota said. “At the time of the last call for service, one of the suspects, Kyle Winton, was consuming from a bottle of vodka when Beach Patrol Officers asked him to put the vodka down. Winton chose to finish the vodka and then left the area. Beach Patrol Officers requested patrol officers to assist.”

According to Sgt Cota, Winton returned to the area shortly thereafter. 

When patrol officers and a supervisor arrived on scene, Cota said that Wilson and Winton were climbing through the bushes, screaming, and yelling at other park goers. Both Wilson and Winton were reportedly intoxicated and placed under arrest for public intoxication.

Kyle Albert Winton, 39, of Laguna Beach, and John Andrew Wilson, 59, of Laguna Beach were both arrested for disorderly conduct related to alcohol.

Bail was set at $1,000 for Winton and $500 for Wilson.

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect or defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

Police Files

Laguna male nanny charged with alleged child molestation and possession of child pornography

A man who served as a male nanny for families across Southern California, including in Laguna Beach, faces four felony child molestation charges for allegedly victimizing two young boys under his care. He is also charged with one felony count of possessing child pornography.

Matthew Antonio Zakrzewski, 30, of Costa Mesa, was arrested on May 17 by Laguna Beach Police Department detectives at a local airport after deplaning an international flight. 

Zakrzewski is charged with three felony counts of alleged lewd and lascivious acts with a minor under the age of 14, and one felony count of oral copulation of a child under the age of 10. He was also charged with one felony count of possession of child pornography.

If convicted, Zakrzewski could face 90 years to life in prison for victimizing children in his care.

Zakrzewski pled not guilty on Tuesday, May 21. He is currently being held at the Orange County Jail on $1 million bail.

In early May, a Laguna Beach couple reported to LBPD that their babysitter, Zakrzewski, had touched their 8-year-old son inappropriately and they were concerned for the safety of their son and potentially other children. 

The couple hired Zakrzewski to care for their 8-year-old child through one of his several babysitting websites. LBPD’s Major Crimes & Intelligence Unit immediately opened an investigation, which led to the identification of a second 7-year-old victim in Los Angeles.

Police Files Matthew Zakrzewski

Courtesy of LBPD

Matthew Zakrzewski

On one of his professional websites,, the suspect says, “I’m Matthew, the original Sitter Buddy! In the 8th grade I discovered what a joy it was to work with children and be a positive impact in their lives through my school’s ‘Buddy Program.’ Now, I am a full-service TrustLine Certified provider of regular & on-demand child care, as well as mentoring services for children.”

Zakrzewski’s website is similar. He calls himself “a Professional Manny & Sitter/Buddy” as well as a “babysitter, big brother, role model and mentor.” His services include “regular care, overnights, travel care, mentoring, and occasional.” Dozens of videos and pictures of Zakrzewski interacting with children fill his online galleries.

LBPD is asking for the public’s help in locating any other potential victims. Anyone who has information related to this investigation or any other unreported incidents involving Zakrzewski is urged to call the Investigations Division line at (949) 715-1300.

“This investigation could last several months and that is fine with us. We will continue working with our law enforcement partners to ensure that Mr. Zakrzewski remains in custody for a long time,” Sgt Cota said. “We will continue to pursue every lead we receive till we feel this investigation is exhausted and all children he had contact with are safe.”

Zakrzewski is scheduled to appear at the Harbor Justice Center, Department H1 at 8:30 a.m. on May 31. Senior Deputy District Attorney Heidi Garrel of the Sexual Assault Unit is prosecuting this case.

Guns drawn at Mozambique over stolen Range Rover

On Monday, May 20, at 2:44 p.m., LBPD officers were advised of a stolen vehicle from the city of Escondido. The vehicle, a 2019 black Range Rover, was located parked in the Mozambique parking lot. 

“Officers positioned their police vehicles away from the restaurant and a plain clothes detective walked into the restaurant and contacted the manager so he could review security video to identify who had exited the vehicle,” Sgt Cota said.

 “While inside and without looking at the video, he identified two subjects who may have driven the vehicle. As the two subjects exited the restaurant, an officer watched them approach and then enter the vehicle,” Sgt Cota said. 

Guns were drawn and officers converged on the vehicle to prevent the vehicle from leaving the lot. The driver and passenger were detained. According to Sgt Cota, the driver lied about his name and was arrested for possession of a stolen vehicle. The passenger was arrested for an outstanding drug and theft warrant out of San Bernardino. 

“At the station, their fingerprints provided officers with the driver’s true name and revealed he had an outstanding no-bail warrant,” Sgt Cota said.

Guillermo Sandoval, 32, of South Gate, was arrested for possession of a stolen vehicle, false impersonation, and on an outstanding felony warrant. No bail was set.

Celeste Ann Hernandez, 38, of Los Angeles, was arrested on an outstanding drug and theft warrant. Bail was set at $25,000.

Two vehicles stolen off Laguna streets

On Monday, May 20, a local man parked and locked his vehicle, a 2005 black Toyota Prius, in the 300 block of Popular Street. The next day, on Tuesday, he returned and the vehicle was gone. A report was taken.

During the same time period, on Tuesday, May 21, at 11:14 a.m., the owner of a silver Mercedes Benz CLS 500 reported that his vehicle was stolen from the 700 block of Summit Way. The theft occurred between 9 p.m. the previous night and just prior to the time of the call.

According to police records, the RP said the suspect is unknown.

Driver runs red light causing multi-collision accident, luckily, only minor injuries reported

On Tuesday, May 21, at 10:31 a.m., a FedEx van and another vehicle were traveling northbound on the 73 Toll Road off-ramp at El Toro Road. The light was green and they proceeded into the intersection. 

“The driver of a vehicle traveling westbound on El Toro Road failed to see the westbound light was red and entered the intersection. The van struck the westbound vehicle at the driver’s door,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said. “The impact spun the westbound vehicle causing it to strike a light pole and come to rest against the curb. The vehicle next to the FedEx van struck the left rear side of the van causing additional minor damage.” 

The driver of the westbound vehicle was transported with minor injuries. The other two drivers were uninjured.

An arrest or indictment contains allegations that a suspect or defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

-By Suzie Harrison

Police Files

Man allegedly tries to stab White House staff with fork

On Friday, May 17, at 9:29 p.m., LBPD officers were contacted by White House security in reference to a male subject who allegedly attempted to stab a security guard from the establishment at the 300 block of South Coast Hwy. 

“Officers arrived on scene and immediately detained Laguna Beach citizen Craig Dunlap for the assault. An investigation was conducted and it was determined that Dunlap was inside of the establishment and making a large scene. When he was asked to leave, he tried to stab a security guard with a fork,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said. 

Security was able to stop the attack and escort Dunlap outside and hold him until police arrived.

Craig Bland Dunlap, 67, of Laguna Beach, was arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon.

Bail was set at $25,000.

Laguna man arrested in alleged bike theft

On Thursday, May 16, at 7:41 p.m., LBPD officers responded to the 1100 block of Glenneyre Street for a report of an attempted theft. 

The RP reported the suspect had jumped the fence into her yard and tried to take her bicycle. 

“Officers arrived in the area and based on the description given detained a male just down the street near the entrance to Bluebird Beach,” Sgt Cota said. “She positively identified the male as the suspect and was desirous of prosecution.”

According to police records, the RP said that when she confronted the suspect he said, “I’m sorry, I just needed a bike.”

Laguna Beach resident Ryan Terrance Conley, 18, was arrested for violation of trespassing, loitering, and attempted theft.

According to Stu News records, this is the fifth arrest for Conley by LBPD in the last year. Other arrests by LBPD included arrests on suspicion of shoplifting and battery, among others.

Bail was set at $1,000.

Cut & rescue crash, man transported to hospital

On Sunday, May 19, at 11:05 p.m., LBPD and LBFD personnel responded to Laguna Canyon Road and Phillips Road in reference to a cut and rescue traffic collision.

“Upon the officers’ arrival, the male driver, a 22-year-old Lake Elsinore resident, had extricated himself and was standing outside his vehicle,” Sgt Cota sad. “He had collided with a yellow parking pole, a fire hydrant, the Phillips Road street sign and an Edison pole before overturning his vehicle.” 

Police Files cut and rescue

Photo provided by LBPD

A 22-year-old Lake Elsinore man is in the hospital after a cut and rescue 

car collision in the Canyon 

According to Sgt Cota, the suspect was arrested for suspicion of DUI and transported to Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo for medical assistance.

-By Suzie Harrison

Police Files

SUV parked on street by home is reported stolen

On Tuesday, May 14, at 12:18 p.m., a stolen vehicle report was made by a Laguna Beach resident at the 21600 block of Ocean Vista Drive. 

According to police reports, the victim parked the vehicle on the street the night prior but “it was no longer there” in the morning. According to the victim, there were “lots of items left inside.”

“The vehicle was a silver 2018 Infinity QX30 SUV. The vehicle was not repossessed. The vehicle is still outstanding,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said.

Man arrested for meth, paraphernalia, and bringing drugs into jail, reports LBPD

On Monday, May 13, at 12:56 p.m., LBPD officers responded to the area of Cleo Street Beach, at the 700 block of Ocean Front, for a report of a suspicious male “jumping in and out of the storm drain,” according to Sgt Cota.

Officers contacted John Frazer and found he was in possession of unlawful paraphernalia, a narcotic pipe. He was taken into custody and transported to LBPD. 

“Frazer was read the drug admonishment before being brought into the jail but during the custody search narcotics were located, methamphetamine in his possession,” Sgt Cota said. “An additional charge of bringing drugs into a jail was added and Frazer was ultimately transported to OC Jail.”

John Scott Frazer, 54, of Laguna Beach, was arrested for possession of a controlled substance, controlled substance paraphernalia, and bringing drugs into a jail or prison.

Bail was set at $21,000.

LBPD advises teens who were allegedly throwing fireworks from their vehicle

On Monday, May 13, at 5:21 p.m., LBPD officers responded to a report of kids allegedly throwing fireworks from a vehicle. 

According to police records, the kids throwing the fireworks were in a green Ford Taurus headed southbound on South Coast Hwy and were seen pulling into the parking lot at CVS.

“Officers conducted a vehicle stop and advised the juveniles. No arrests or cites were issued,” said Sgt Cota.

LBPD arrests man allegedly trespassing in local home

On Sunday, May 12, at 12:20 p.m., LBPD officers responded to a house under construction in the 1300 block of Baja for a local transient subject who was reportedly inside of the residence. 

According to police records, the homeowners received a phone call from their neighbors stating that someone was breaking and entering. The neighbor was unsure where the subject made entry, but was sure he was there, and had not seen him exit.

The RP told LBPD that the issue was ongoing and that a previous report was taken.

“Officers contacted Robert Oxier. Oxier was arrested for trespassing. Oxier has no fixed address,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said.

Bail was set at $500.

Police Files

Signature swordfish sculpture swiped from Tommy Bahama

On Friday, May 3, at 7:35 p.m., LBPD officers responded to Tommy Bahama Restaurant, Bar & Store, at 400 South Coast Highway, for a report that a subject stole a decorative swordfish from the front of the business, the company’s signature marlin swordfish. 

According to police records, the subject was described as a white male in his 20s wearing shorts and a baseball cap. The reporting partner, a passerby, witnessed him running west toward El Paseo with a group of five to six other males in their 20s. Approximately 14 minutes later, just two males were seen running eastbound on Broadway Street, one carrying the signature swordfish sculpture. 

 “The metal swordfish was estimated to cost $200,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said. “The subject may have been caught on video camera and will face charges if arrested.” 

The manager at Tommy Bahama requested contact with LBPD regarding the unusual incident. 

“The incident will be forwarded to detectives for follow-up,” Sgt Cota said.

If anyone witnessed the crime or thinks they may have seen someone running with a steel swordfish sculpture on the day of the incident, or has seen someone with it since, please call LBPD at (949) 497-0701.

Animal Shelter needs blanket donations for our furry friends

As posted on Sgt Cota’s Twitter page, @LBPD_PIO_45, Laguna Beach Animal Shelter is in need of blankets for the animals. 

“The shelter needs fabric dog blankets that can be washed, so no electric blankets,” said Jim Beres, Civilian Services Administrator.

Police Files Animal Shelter

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of City of LB

Laguna Beach Animal Shelter is requesting blankets for furry friends in need

“People interested in donating blankets for the animals can deliver them to 20612 Laguna Canyon Rd, Laguna Beach, every day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.,” Sgt Cota said.

For more information, contact Laguna Beach Animal Shelter at (949) 497-3552.

Police Files

Alleged purse burglar arrested following LBPD investigation

On Wednesday, Feb 13, at 9:45 a.m., LBPD officers responded to a residence on Sunset Ridge Drive in reference to a burglary report. 

“The victim stated an unknown suspect broke into their garage and stole approximately $10,000 worth of purses containing credit cards and personal information,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said. 

The report was sent to Investigations for follow-up. Fast forward to last month…

Police Files Shane Duncan“Detectives identified the suspect after he began making fraudulent charges on their credit cards,” Sgt Cota said. “The video surveillance from one of the businesses captured a license plate of a suspect vehicle which linked Shane Duncan as a possible suspect.”

A record check revealed Duncan was on active parole. Detectives contacted Duncan’s parole agent, who positively identified Duncan from the surveillance footage. Detectives also learned that Duncan was taken into custody on April 26 on a parole hold for an unrelated charge.

“On May 1, detectives responded to the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside where Duncan was being held. Upon contacting Duncan, I immediately recognized him as the suspect in the surveillance footage,” Sgt Cota said. 

After he was released from the detention center, detectives re-arrested Shane Richard George Peter Duncan, 45, of Adelanto, on five counts of burglary, four counts of identity theft, and four counts of credit card fraud.

Bail was set at $95,000.

Local resident bilked out of $20K thinking he’s helping his friend get out of jail

On Thursday, May 2, at 12:48 p.m., an LBPD officer responded to a local residence in reference a fraud investigation. The victim, according to Sgt Cota, was an 87-year-old Laguna Beach resident. 

“He received a call advising that his friend had been arrested and the bail was $20,000,” Sgt Cota said. “The victim wired the funds and later learned that it was a scam and his friend had never been arrested.”

 A report was taken and submitted to Investigations for follow-up.

$1,250 sunglasses stolen from local boutique

On Thursday, May 2, at 2:31 p.m., LBPD officers were dispatched to Milano Eye Boutique, at 729 South Coast Hwy, for a reported theft. The reporting party described the suspect as a white male with a mustache, wearing a hat and pink shorts.

The suspect was last seen walking southbound on South Coast Highway away from the store. 

“The subject was inside the store for approximately 10-15 minutes, then exited the store. Officers were advised the subject removed a pair of Tom Ford sunglasses from the store without paying for them,” Sgt Cota said. “The sunglasses are valued at $1,250.” 

A report was taken and submitted to Investigations for follow-up.

Teens continue to harass their neighbor

On Saturday, May 4, at 8:57 p.m., LBPD received a report regarding approximately seven teens harassing a local resident.

“The teens were knocking on the RP’s garage and front door; it’s an ongoing issue according to the victim,” Sgt Cota said. 

According to police records, the caller said, “They have been doing this every Friday and the security from the front gate has logs of harassment from last week.”

“Officers were unable to locate the teens last seen in a golf cart,” Sgt Cota said.

Police Files

High-risk car chase though Laguna ends in Newport

A high-risk vehicle pursuit than started in Laguna Beach shortly after 3 p.m. on Wednesday, May 1, ended several hours later with the suspect’s capture in Newport Beach near Fashion Island.

At approximately 3 p.m., Richard Bloustine, who was suspected of fraudulent activity and had a no-bail warrant for his arrest, was seen driving a silver Mercedes westbound in the 200 block of Ocean Avenue. 

“LBPD officers attempted to stop him at Broadway Street and Coast Highway. Bloustine did not yield and shortly after, were in pursuit,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said. “The pursuit weaved through the downtown area and went northbound on North Coast Highway. At Beverly Street, Bloustine made a U-turn and continued southbound on North Coast Highway. The pursuit continued southbound into Dana Point at which time the OCSD helicopter ‘Duke’ arrived to assist.” 

Police Files Richard Bloustine

Courtesy of LBPD

Richard Bloustine

The pursuit continued onto the N/B SR-73 where CHP arrived to assist and took over. All LBPD police units cancelled their involvement in the pursuit at this point.

“One LBPD officer was assigned to trail the pursuit, so he could be at the conclusion because it was LBPD’s investigation and subsequent arrest,” Sgt Cota said. “Throughout the pursuit, Bloustine was on the phone with various agencies claiming he had a gun and would shoot officers or that officers would have to shoot him.” 

According to NBPD PIO Heather Rangel, “At 4:01 p.m., the Newport Beach Police Department entered into the pursuit at the request of pursuing units as the suspect entered into Newport Beach. As the suspect continued to evade pursuing police cars, the suspect was on the phone with NBPD Dispatch.”

The pursuit ended and turned into a standoff in Newport Beach after suspect brought his vehicle to a stop in the 1441 Avocado Dr parking lot.

“Although initially not compliant with officer’s orders to exit the vehicle, the suspect spoke with the Newport Beach Police Department Crisis Negotiation Team by phone,” Rangel said. “Through telephonic communication, the Crisis Negotiation Team was able to get the suspect to exit his vehicle and surrender to NBPD.”

At 4:57 p.m., Bloustine gave up and was taken into custody by NBPD and OCSD. LBPD officers took custody of Richard Scott Bloustine, a 53-year-old Newport Beach resident, and transported him to LBPD where he was booked and later transported to OC Jail. No weapons or contraband were found in Bloustine’s vehicle.

In February of 2016, Bloustine was sentenced to seven years in prison after writing more than $200,000 in bad checks. His sentence included an order by the Orange County District Attorney to pay restitution to victims and attached a fine of $444,000.

His bounced checks included one for $15,000 to a Laguna Beach car dealer, a $32,000 check for the lease on a house, $13,000 to furnish that residence and $80,000 for dental work that he received in Newport Beach.

According to the District Attorney, Bloustine has more than a dozen fraud-related misdemeanor and felony convictions in Orange County.

His record also includes previous arrests and convictions in Arizona, Santa Barbara County and Hawaii for fraud related incidents.

 “The Laguna Beach Police Department is pleased with the outcome of the arrest and glad it ended peacefully. A tremendous thanks to our law enforcement partners over at Newport Beach PD, Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD), and the California Highway Patrol (CHP), for their continued partnership,” Sgt Cota said. “Mr. Bloustine is someone who needed to be in custody and at the end of the day, community safety is everything to us.”

Offensive racial language tagged on local’s wall

On Sunday, April 28, at 10:51 a.m., at the 800 block of High Drive, a local resident contacted LBPD in reference to graffiti that was spray-painted on his block wall that faces Coast Highway.

According to Sgt Cota, “An unknown person wrote ‘Jews are asois’ with a black sharpie pen on the wall. The writing was 2x2 inches.” 

According to Sgt Cota, the caller told LBPD he would repair the graffiti himself since it was on his property.

Suspected drunk motorcyclist hits parked car and ends up in hospital

On Wednesday, May 1, at 11:52 a.m., LBPD officers responded with LBFD to an injury traffic collision involving a motorcyclist at Upland Road and Glenneyre Street. 

“The motorcycle rider, was riding eastbound uphill and due to the steep incline and intoxication level was unable to negotiate his acceleration properly and fell over. When he fell over, he struck a parked vehicle, his chin, and his wrist,” Sgt Cota said. “He sustained a broken wrist, laceration to his chin, and there was minor damage to the parked vehicle.” 

The motorcyclist was subsequently arrested on suspicion of DUI and treated at the hospital.

Police Files

Possible motives emerge in murder of Wendi Miller and Darren Partch, last seen in Laguna Beach

Media reports are saying that double-murder suspect Jamon Buggs “was possibly after men he believed had a romantic history with a woman from his past,” according to detectives.

Those reports came following Buggs’ attempted burglaries in Irvine where he allegedly went “looking for a Caucasian man by the name of Jared.” Instead, Buggs came across a residence with a man by that same name, but of Asian descent. 

Meanwhile, according to Eyewitness News, suspicious surveillance footage has surfaced which includes a man “resembling Buggs.” A resident of Corona del Mar told the television station that his vehicle was broken into a week ago Friday. “Three days earlier, the same suspect (Buggs) was seen in his neighbor’s backyard in Corona del Mar.”

The CdM resident added that his former neighbor was Darren Partch, one of the victims in the double homicide.

Still, however, police officials are saying that there is no evidence that Wendi Miller, the other victim, had any prior interaction with Buggs.
Police Files Buggs

Courtesy of Irvine Police Department

Jamon Rayon Buggs

Yesterday, Buggs was in the Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach for his scheduled arraignment, however, it was postponed until May 17. He is currently being held without bail.

His charges include the two counts of murder, attempted burglary of an inhabited dwelling, discharging a gun at an inhabited dwelling, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. If convicted, Buggs faces a minimum sentence of life without the possibility of parole and a maximum sentence of the death penalty. 

Buggs had a prior conviction for an assault on a police officer in San Diego County in 1995.

Buggs is accused of murdering Darren Donald Partch, 38, of Newport Beach, and Wendi Sue Miller, 48 of Costa Mesa. The two were found deceased inside a residence in the 2100 block of East 15th Street in Newport Beach on the evening of April 21.

Partch and Miller were last seen at the Loft and Sandpiper in Laguna Beach early Saturday morning, April 20, at approximately 1:45 a.m.

Miller was the CEO for the nonprofit organization Wings for Justice, an advocacy group for children in the family court system. Partch was a former minor league hockey player and most recently worked for Atrinsic, an Irvine-based financial services company, as an account executive.

Funeral arrangements for both have been planned. For Miller, a service is scheduled for this Friday, May 3 at 2 p.m., at Mariners Church in Irvine in the Community Center. For Partch, there is a Celebration of Life planned for Saturday, May 4 at the Harbor Lawn-Mt. Olive Memorial Park and Mortuary in Costa Mesa at 5:30 p.m.

Accident downs pole, closes Canyon for hours on Monday

On Monday, April 29, at 9:16 a.m., LBPD sent out a Nixle alert warning residents that Laguna Canyon Road would be closed in both directions for at least two hours due to a traffic collision into a pole.

According to LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt. Jim Cota, the accident was a single-vehicle traffic collision into a tree, which caused pole lines to fall into the roadway.

Police Files accident

Click on photo for a larger image 

Courtesy LBPD

A single-vehicle accident downs a pole and closes the Canyon for hours on Monday

At 10:13 a.m., LBPD sent out a second alert stating that Laguna Canyon Road between the area of Big Bend and Canyon Acres Drive would be closed until 2 p.m.

Luckily, at 12:02 p.m., an all-clear alert was sent. “All lanes of Laguna Canyon Road are now open. Please drive safe.”

Local woman receives email death threat, warned to pay $70,000 and not contact LBPD

On Sunday, April 28, a local woman received a death threat via email demanding she pay the suspect $70,000 or she would be killed. 

The email said verbatim, “I want you to read this message very carefully, and keep the secret with you till further notice, There is no need knowing who i am or where am from, Until i secure a place to meet up, I have being paid $35,000.00 in advance to terminate you with some reasons listed to me by my employer, Someone i believe you call a friend. Informations like your phone number and address.

“i have watched you closely for one week and three days and have seen that you are innocent of the accusation, Do not contact any Law enforcement or try to send a copy of this to them, If you do it is at your risk as i would be aware, and might be pushed to do what i have being paid for, Note this is the first time i am breaking my code of honor and i really doubt i should.

“Listen, Arrangement for us to meet in person would be made but before that i will need you to pay the sum of $70,000.00 and there will be nothing to be afraid of. I will be meeting you at your work place or home depending on where you wish we meet { Most likely a crowded area }, with no cameras, you should have no bugs to record our conversation (That might be the end of it). 

“My employer is in my control now, You will need to pay $50,000.00 to the account i will be providing you, After that we can set our first meeting, after you have made the advance payment to the provided account, i will meet you and deliver the tape containing the request for your assassination then you can pay the rest up front, The tape contains enough evidence to take my employer to court (if you wish to).

“You don’t need my phone contact for now till am assured you are ready to comply. Do not reply directly to this email. Reply to this email if you want all this to be in the past. Good Luck.”

The woman contacted LBPD and reported the incident, which she believed to be a scam.

Laguna man on scooter is ejected and lands in ER

On Saturday, April 27, at 12:50 p.m., LBPD officers and LBFD were dispatched to the 1900 Block of Laguna Canyon Road in reference to an injury traffic collision involving a single motor scooter. A good Samaritan called in the accident to emergency personnel. 

According to police records, the RP was not involved in the accident but reported that he saw it happen.

The driver was identified as Laguna Beach resident Steven Cardoza, according to Sgt. Cota. He was travelling inbound on Laguna Canyon Road when he was injured.

“It appears he applied his breaks too hard and was ejected from his scooter. He complained of pain to his left shoulder and was transported to Mission Hospital, Mission Viejo,” Sgt. Cota said.

The inbound lane of Laguna Canyon Road was closed for about 15 minutes.

Male suspect flees after allegedly assaulting a man who was dancing with his wife at local restaurant

On Saturday, April 27, at 10:56 p.m., LBPD officers responded a restaurant in the 200 block of Broadway Street for a report of an assault that had allegedly just occurred. 

According to police records, the caller stated that he was “just hit in the head by another male patron.” The RP said that he was dancing with his wife when the subject walked up and hit him. He also said he had “a video of the suspect confronting him after he was hit.”

“Officers arrived and located the victim. They attempted to locate the suspect, but he had fled the scene prior to their arrival,” Sgt. Cota said. “No medical assistance was required for the victim. A report was taken.”

Police Files

Double homicide suspect arrested for alleged murder of Wendi Miller and Darren Partch

On Thursday, April 25, the Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) arrested Jamon Rayon Buggs, a 44-year-old resident of Huntington Beach, for the alleged murder of Darren Donald Partch, a 38-year-old resident of Newport Beach, and Wendi Sue Miller, a 48-year-old resident of Costa Mesa, who was reported missing after a night out in Laguna Beach. According to an NBPD spokesperson, Buggs was already in police custody following a string of residential burglary attempts in Orange County on Saturday and Sunday.

Police Files Buggs

Courtesy of NBPD

Jamon Buggs, double homicide suspect, is in policy custody

The victims were found deceased inside a residence in the 2100 Block of East 15th Street in Newport Beach, at the Villa Siena condominium complex, located across the street from Newport Harbor High School at 15th Street and Irvine Avenue.

A roommate of the male victim was returning home around 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 21, from a weekend in the desert when he discovered the bodies.

According to friends, Miller was last seen at the Loft and Sandpiper in Laguna Beach early Saturday morning. She hadn’t been seen or heard from since. 

Police Files Wendi Miller Police Files Darren Partch

Wendi Miller and Darren Partch were murdered in Newport Beach

At the time of his arrest, Buggs was in custody at the OC Jail on unrelated charges. He had been arrested by the Irvine Police Department in connection with a series of attempted residential burglaries that happened on Saturday night, April 20, and Sunday morning, April 21, in the area, where he is also suspected of firing a handgun outside a home that he attempted to burglarize.

The next day, on Monday, April 22 after 12 a.m., Irvine police detectives were surveilling the neighborhood where the two attempted residential burglaries occurred when they noticed a suspicious vehicle. 

Irvine officers tried to stop the vehicle and a short pursuit ensued into an adjacent neighborhood. The suspect abandoned his vehicle after a minor collision with a parked car, and then ran into a backyard nearby. 

At approximately 4 a.m., the suspect was seen running, trying to flee from an unoccupied house that he had broken into earlier, when he was detained by officers without incident. 

Buggs was arrested and booked at OC Jail for attempted burglary, shooting into an inhabited dwelling, possession of a firearm by a felon, evading a police officer, and hit and run.

Buggs is currently being held on a $1,000,000 bail pending double murder charges.

According to an NBPD spokesperson, “This is an open and ongoing investigation and no additional details are available at this time. Anyone with information regarding this case or with information on the recent activities and whereabouts of Buggs prior to his arrest should contact Detective Rick Henry at (949) 644-3797.”

Three suspects arrested for assault by force and battery with serious bodily injury

On Sunday, April 21, at 1:39 a.m., officers responded to a physical fight in progress in the 400 block of S Coast Hwy outside of a local bar. According to PIO Sgt. Jim Cota, officers were informed there were approximately 10 people involved. 

“Officers detained a group of suspects attempting to flee the scene. One suspect remained on scene and was cooperative with officers. One male subject (victim) was lying in the #2 lane of South Coast Highway and appeared to have sustained a head injury. This subject was not alert when officers were rendering first aid. LBFD arrived on scene and transported the male to Mission Hospital MV with unknown head trauma. The suspect who remained on scene admitted to fighting with the victim and was ultimately arrested for Assault with a Deadly Weapon and Battery with Injuries. Two of the suspects who attempted to flee and were detained by officers and were positively identified by witnesses as also participating in the assault of the victim. They were also arrested and charged with the same listed violations. All three suspects were all transported to OCJ,” said Sgt. Cota.

Police Files Provenzino Police Files Cutts Police Files Dias

Photos courtesy of LBPD

Matthew Provenzino, Nicholas La Marche Cutts, and Keith Dias

Matthew Anthony Provenzino, 25, of Westminster, Nicholas Michael La Marche Cutts, 23, of Citrus Heights, and Keith Ryan Dias, 23, of Dana Point, were arrested for assault by force and battery with serious bodily injury.

“At the time of the incident the victim sustained a minimal head injury and a facial fracture. He is conscious and talking,” Sgt. Cota said. “This investigation is still ongoing so motive cannot be provided at this time.”

According to police records, bail was set at $50,000 each.

-By Suzie Harrison

Animal Files

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

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

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

Animal Files baby goats

Click on photo for a larger image 

Photo by Scott Brashier

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

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

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

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

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

“The incident remains under investigation,” Beres said. 

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

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

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

Animal Files Miss Daisy scares snake

Click on photo for a larger image 

Photo by the Joilets

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

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

Animal Files huge snake slither

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by the Joilets

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

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

Sneaky snakes seem to be on the make

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

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

Yikes! Where next?

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

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

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

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

PMMC helps partially disentangle juvenile gray whale

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

Animal Files disentangles whale

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of PMMC

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

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

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

Animal Files tangled whale tail

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of PMMC

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

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

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

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

-By Suzie Harrison

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, 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.


© 2020 Stu News Laguna - All Rights Reserved.