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Police Files

Alleged purse thief who attacked mom and her family in Laguna brought down

On Saturday, July 28, at 10:05 p.m., a male, later identified as 25-year-old James Michael Kelley, from San Bernardino, was walking southbound on Coast Highway in Laguna Beach. 

According to reports, as Kelley approached a family that was walking northbound on Coast Highway, he knocked the mother to the ground and took her purse. 

“The woman’s teenage son grabbed Kelley’s legs in an attempt to trip him. As the suspect lost his balance, he turned and struck the teenager with a black metal flashlight,” Laguna Beach Police Department PIO Sgt Jim Cota said.

“The woman’s husband chased after Kelley who had fled southbound on the sidewalk. When he caught up and confronted him, Kelley struck the husband in the head with the flashlight, causing a large cut,” Sgt Cota continued.

“Kelley then entered a white vehicle parked nearby and accelerated in reverse toward the husband and a nearby witness, before pulling the vehicle out onto South Coast Highway and fleeing northbound,” Sgt Cota said.

Shortly thereafter, a Laguna Beach Police officer located Kelley’s vehicle in north Laguna Beach. The vehicle initially yielded for the officer. However, when the officer attempted to hold the suspect at gunpoint, Kelley again fled. 

A pursuit was initiated and continued into Newport Beach. The Newport Beach Police Department assisted and placed spike strips on Coast Highway near Bayside Drive, deflating all four tires. 

Kelley was taken into custody without incident. The weapon was located and one of the victim’s credit cards was also found in the vehicle. Kelley was booked for robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, and reckless evading of a police officer.

Cota added that the family was on vacation in Laguna Beach from a small town in the Bay Area of North California when tragedy struck.

Bail was set at $100,000.

Fire Files

LBFD commends Brian Adams for graduating from Firefighter’s Paramedic School

LBFD congratulates and recognizes Firefighter Brian Adams for his recent successful completion of Paramedic School at Saddleback Community College. This process started for Firefighter Adams seven months ago and included three months of didactic classroom, two months of clinical shifts at a local trauma center and 576 hours of ride-out shift with OCFA at Station 19. 

Police Files Brian Adams

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Photos courtesy of LBFD

LBFD firefighter Brian Adams, seen here with his baby Rown on Father Day’s, graduated from Firefighter’s Paramedic School

Once Firefighter Adams becomes a Nationally Registered Paramedic, he will be working in the capacity of a Firefighter Paramedic at Station 1. Firefighter Adams’ paramedic training and position was funded through Measure LL. Once certified he will be one of 23 Paramedics in the Laguna Beach Fire Department.

Police Files Firefighters Congratulate

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Adams is congratulated be his fellow LBFD firefighters

Police Files

LBPD nails and jails three out-of-towners who assaulted locals at The Saloon

On August 11, 2017, at 1:30 a.m., LBPD officers responded to a fight in progress at The Saloon in the 400 block of S Coast Highway. Officers contacted two separate victims of an assault and began an investigation into who committed these acts of violence.

At the conclusion of the initial investigation, it was determined that three male subjects assaulted two male Laguna Beach bar patrons and a Good Samaritan female who tried to intervene. Both male victims sustained injuries, including broken bones and lacerations. The female victim sustained minor injuries.

Police Files Jeremy BishopLBPD detectives began a lengthy investigation in the search for the individuals responsible for the assault. Over a dozen interviews were conducted during the investigation and hours of video reviewed.

In January 2018, three male suspects were arrested. They subsequently pled guilty and were sentenced this week to the following charges:

Jeremy Bishop, 37, Ontario, was charged with assault with means likely to produce great bodily injury and sentenced to 180 days in jail and formal probation. Daniel Little, 28, Prescott Valley, Ariz., was found guilty of assault and battery and sentenced to 120 days in jail and formal probation. Joshua Little, 28, Prescott Valley, Ariz., was charged with assault with means likely to produce great bodily injury and sentenced to two years in prison and mandatory Post-Release Community Supervision (PRCS).

“This was the culmination of excellent police work coupled with a steadfast determination by our investigations unit to apprehend the offenders,” said Capt Jeff Calvert in a statement.

Suspected drug dealer caught hanging around North Laguna with Ecstasy, coke, and shrooms

On Tuesday, July 24, officers conducted a vehicle stop in the 200 block of Aster Street following an illegal turning violation just after midnight. Officers contacted the driver and passenger. Both from Banning, they denied being on probation or parole. 

A records search was conducted and it was learned that the driver, Matthew Schelin, 28, was indeed on probation.

He subsequently consented to a vehicle search.

Police Files Schelin“He was searched and a large amount of cash was located inside his wallet in smaller denominations,” said LBPD spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota.

According to Sgt Cota, he stated that he sells items on Amazon and [has] two Airbnb homes.

LBPD had reason to believe he was selling more than this.

“Ten Vicodin pills were located under the front driver’s seat that were not prescribed to him. In the rear passenger compartment was a dark backpack,” Sgt Cota said. “Inside the front pouch of the backpack were three pieces of psilocybin mushrooms and 29 Ecstasy pills. Inside one of the pockets was a baggie of cocaine.” 

Schelin came clean and stated that the backpack was his. 

He was arrested for possession of a controlled substance for sales twice. He was booked and transported to OCJ, with bail set at $25,000 for both charges.

Another one bites the dust on Third Street hill

On Tuesday, July 24, at 6:16 a.m., at Third Street and Mermaid Street, a large flatbed truck got stuck carrying a heavy load up the hill. Perhaps the idea of an alternate route didn’t cross his mind, obviously not a local. 

The event snarled traffic for an hour, prompting a Nixle alert from LBPD.

Stu News photographer Mary Hurlbut saw said truck in action, well, actually, inaction. 

Police Files Third Street

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Another one bites the dust on Third Street

“I saw the guy drive by with the very long, car transportation trailer, and I couldn’t believe he thought he could go up Third,” Hurlbut said. “Of course, he got stuck.”

“A large tow truck had to respond and was able to remove the truck,” said Jordan Villwock, LBPD Spokesperson and Emergency Services Coordinator.

When asked how prevalent Third Street “truck/bus stucks” are, Villwock stated, “My guess would be 1-2 times per year.”

Police Files

Teen boy rescued and airlifted from Emerald Bay Beach after boulder severs his arm

In a tragic accident, a 15-year-old boy was struck by a boulder, severing his arm and pinning him against the rocks at Emerald Bay Beach on Wednesday, July 18. He was airlifted to UC Irvine Medical Center in serious medical condition but is expected to survive. 

Local and county emergency services quickly responded to the teen who was walking along the rocks about 100 feet offshore at Emerald Bay Beach with a friend.

Orange County Fire Authority spokesperson PIO Capt Tony Bommarito said that he thinks the boy could be a local. 

Police Files Rescue 1

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Courtesy of LBPD

A teen loses his arm in tragic accident walking the rocks at Emerald Bay Beach; rescuers came fast airlifting him to UCI Medical Center

“His friend said that they’ve walked the area before. And his mom was with him. I can only speculate that they are [locals] unless they are a guest of someone,” Capt Bommarito said.

He explained that the boys were walking on the rocks along the waterline at the bottom of the cliffs. Basically along the waterline climbing up and down the rocks that were there, not scaling the cliffs or anything.

“His friend was with him. They were walking and a boulder came down about the size of a cooler, 400-500 pounds coming down. Hit him, knocked him down and basically landed on his right arm and severed his right arm in between his elbow and shoulder,” Capt Bommarito said.

 At the same time, he said the teen was knocked backwards and his foot got stuck in a crevice or a rock. They had to move the boulder so they could get him dislodged from where he was stuck.

“There’s no damage to his foot; it just kind of got lodged and they couldn’t get him out of it until they moved the boulder that cut off his arm,” Capt Bommarito said.

LBFD Engine 201 was integral in saving his life.

“They had what are called rescue airbags or heavy rescue airbags. They’re real flat, but we can stick them under things and in really small spaces, and we expand them with an air bottle,” Capt Bommarito said. 

The devices can lift thousands of pounds.

“They got the rock up enough so they were able to push it free from him and get him dislodged,” Capt Bommarito said. “They put him in a rescue basket, the OC helicopter came over, lowered the cable down and lifted him up into the helicopter and they went to UCI in serious condition.”

When asked how the teen was found and quickly rescued he said, “He started screaming or his friend started screaming which alerted the OC Parks lifeguards and one or two of them went over there, they put a tourniquet on his arm. That probably helped save his life, really.”

Police Files Rescue 2

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Courtesy of LBPD

Teen is expected to survive because of the quick response of local and county emergency agencies

Asked about a timeline of the events, Capt Bommarito said, “The fire department got the call at 3:20 p.m. He was extricated and being flown out at 4:01 p.m. I am thinking about 50 minutes total from the time of injury to when he was loaded into the helicopter.”

As of 4:30 p.m. Thursday, he said he hadn’t heard any updates about the teen’s condition. He went to the hospital on Thursday morning to check on him but was unable to see him.

Asking if he’ll be ok, he responded, “He’s going to live.” 

As for safety precautions in that situation for beachgoers or adventurers, he said there are really none. 

“You have to assume if you’re walking along a cliff that it’s unstable and unsafe until proven otherwise. And nobody is proving that it is, so you’ve just got to be cautious. Somehow you’ve got to be cautious,” Capt Bommarito said. “I’ve been a firefighter for 28 years. What it sounds like is just a fluke accident.”

He wanted to thank all the agencies involved in the rescue calling it a collaborative effort, which included OC Parks Lifeguards, LBFD and Orange County Fire Authority.

Large barge parks it at Thousand Steps Beach

On Wednesday, July 18, a large barge was spotted beached at Thousand Steps Beach. Stu News reader reports started coming in around 9 a.m. asking us what this barge was doing landing on our beach.

Stu News looked into the matter.

Greg Pfost, City of Laguna Beach Community Development Director, had some answers.

He explained that the barge was connected to a private residential project that is under construction at Thousand Steps Beach. The property has two structures, including a guest house right on the sand, and then it has a house further up the slope. 

“The house that’s on the sand has been deteriorating so the homeowner received approval from the City to remodel the lower structure that’s on the sand,” Pfost said. “We don’t have a lot of structures on the sand but that one is so they got approval from the City to refurbish the house because it’s falling apart.”

The City submitted the approval for the owner.

“The contractor, he worked out with this barge company to bring materials to the site off this barge because it would have been very difficult to deliver the materials, including steel, which is very heavy, from Coast Highway,” Pfost said. “There’s this steep slope and there’s no good way to get down Thousand Steps Beach.”

The only other option would have been to use a crane and crane it in, but that would have been more expensive and cost prohibitive. 

Police Files Barge

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Photo by Jim Peasley

A large barge at Thousand Steps Beach causes a stir among locals

“So they contracted this barge company. It’s the same barge company that was used by South Coast Water District years ago; they used the barge as part of their tunnel rehab project,” Pfost said.

The barge first made a trip on June 18 to bring in materials to the home site and this was the second trip, which was to remove materials.

The homeowner needed authorization from three agencies to move forward with their barge. The ocean is regulated by California Coastal Commission, the sand is a County beach in this case, and the home itself is on Laguna Beach land. 

“What I made sure before this barge had any authorization to land is that they had County Parks’ approval because they were landing on their beach. They got approval from OC Parks,” Pfost said. “I also let them know they were arriving in waters and needed Cal Coastal Commission, and they got approval from the Coastal Commission.” 

So they were able to land because they secured all of the authorizations from the agencies they needed. Aliso Fish & Wildlife was involved in the review as well.

The only other barge landing in recent history is the one he recalled earlier involving the South Coast Water District. 

Stu News reader Brett Keast shared a memory from the 1970s of a barge landing at Three Arch, although that area was not incorporated as part of Laguna Beach at the time. 

“Back in the early ‘70s my dad had a military barge land at Three Arch to bring in equipment and build volleyball courts and bathrooms,” he said.

Even with these three known barge landings over the past decades, none have been on a Laguna Beach City beach. 

“To my knowledge there have been no barge landings on City beaches,” said Pfost.

Do you have any interesting Laguna Beach barge or boat stories to share? Submit with details and photos to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Bad mix: pills, $100 bills, coke, and meth land Tustin woman in jail

On Tuesday, July 17 at 6:49 p.m., LBPD conducted a vehicle stop in the 900 block of Glenneyre Street near Thalia Street. According to LBPD PIO Sgt Jim Cota, officers contacted a female, identified as Tustin resident Dianna Tateyama, 55. 

“She was shaking and jittery as officers spoke to her. Officers observed a pill bottle of Ciprofloxacin, 15 pills, on the passenger side seat that was prescribed to Victor Hernandez,” Sgt Cota said. “She claimed the pills were hers and she did not know Victor Hernandez. This was a violation.”

Police Files TateyamaCiprofloxacin is an antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections.

Tateyama consented to a search of her vehicle. Inside the center console were three narcotic pipes and two empty baggies containing cocaine and methamphetamine. 

According to Sgt Cota, a female officer observed a clear plastic baggie hanging out of her bra. A search of the bra revealed two $100 bills and three small plastic baggies. Inside the baggies were cocaine and methamphetamine. Inside her wallet was $528.00 in cash. The baggies of narcotics were individually packaged with 4 grams of narcotics each. 

Tateyama was arrested and booked on four felony charges: possession of a controlled substance for sales, transporting a controlled substance on a highway, possession of a controlled substance, and sales of a controlled substance. 

Bail was set at $25,000.

Unknown substance sprayed on City Trolley, causing temporary panic

According to LBPD, on Thursday, July 19 at 4:24 p.m., officers responded to Laguna Avenue and South Coast Highway to a report of someone spraying an unknown chemical on a City Trolley. 

“Several people on the City Trolley reported they were coughing and having difficulty breathing,” Sgt Cota said. “As the investigation continued it was determined someone may have sprayed something by mistake, possibly sunscreen.” 

LBFD responded as well and found no caustic agent or anything suspicious. 

“Allegedly there were five people who were experiencing irritation after someone allegedly sprayed some sort of unknown substance on the trolley,” LBFD Chief Ed Valdez said. “There were two fire trucks and one ambulance that responded – a total of four paramedics and four EMTs.”

The person who allegedly sprayed the substance was gone upon emergency responders’ arrival. He had gotten off the trolley and walked away, according to witnesses.

The scene was cleared around 5 p.m. as if nothing had happened.

No one was taken to the hospital and all of the trolley riders declined medical attention. Some of the trolley riders even admitted that the symptoms they were feeling could be psychosomatic, induced by thoughts of possibly being harmed. 

Police Files

Tragedy strikes twice in Laguna on Saturday: Deaths have community in mourning

Alcohol suspected in fatal car crash on Saturday

On Saturday, July 14 at 8:55 p.m., LBPD and LBFD responded to a fatal injury traffic collision on Coast Highway and Country Club Drive, which resulted in the death of Francisco Rojas, 27, of Murrieta, and injured three other occupants in his vehicle, including his girlfriend, 22, and two children, ages 13 and 3, one confirmed to be his child.

 According to a LBPD investigation, Laguna Beach resident Marshall Glen Eichenauer, Jr., 57, was driving his Chevrolet Avalanche north on Coast Highway, near Aliso Beach, when he broadsided a Nissan Altima that was making an illegal left turn from Country Club Drive, directly in front of him.

LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said Eichenauer, the surviving driver, a South Laguna resident, was arrested on suspicion of DUI.

“Eichenauer displayed symptoms of alcohol intoxication. A DUI investigation was conducted and he was subsequently arrested for DUI. He consented to a blood test and we are awaiting results,” Sgt Cota said.

The results should be in within a week or so. 

The traffic collision investigation is still underway. LBPD traffic officers will be working with the OCDA’s office for the possible filing of charges. 

Coast Highway was closed for over four hours near the accident scene.

Eichenauer is the founder and president of a wealth management firm, Sagent Wealth Management, LLC located in Laguna Beach.

Swimmer dies despite rescue efforts at Thousand Steps Beach on Saturday

On Saturday, July 14 at 10:45 a.m., LBPD, LBFD and Marine Safety lifeguards responded to an unconscious swimmer pulled from the water at Thousand Steps Beach. 

“Lifeguards performed CPR and the person is unresponsive so far. Mercy Air is en route for transportation,” said Sgt Cota, as rescue efforts were occurring on Saturday.

Polices Files 7 17 18

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Courtesy of LBPD

OCFA helicopter Mercy Air takes an unresponsive swimmer in dire condition to Mission Hospital

“Our lifeguards responded to a victim in distress at 10:45 a.m. this morning [Saturday] and that person in the course of the rescue went unconscious and was not breathing,” said Jason Young, OC Lifeguards Chief. “Lifeguards were able to get him [the victim] to shore and extricate him up to the beach with the help of some bystanders. Our lifeguard personnel responded as well as fire.” 

Chief Young added, “Our lifeguards got to him, he was obviously struggling when the lifeguards got to him but he was alive.” 

A Mercy Air helicopter transported the victim to Mission Hospital Mission Viejo, where he was pronounced dead.

According to sources, the man was identified as Brian Riggs, 52, of Aliso Viejo.

“As far as the cause of what led up to the patient’s condition, the cause of death, I don’t think the coroner even knows that yet, they have to conduct their investigation,” Chief Young added.

“It’s very traumatic for the lifeguards that got to him. We obviously hoped for a different outcome,” Chief Young said. “We are taking care of our guards, we debrief with them and will be doing an after incident action review and looking at all the details. Getting help for anyone who needs it.”

A special edition of Police Files

Where the Wild Things Are…

Avid Stu News reader shaken by “tarantula-sized” cockroach

Hot of the press, yesterday at 11:04 p.m. in the Boat Canyon area of North Laguna, long-time resident Christopher Kling reported in a Stu News exclusive a horrific experience of the entomology variety. 

Kling said, “I thought I was all alone a couple days ago, sitting on the toilet, minding my own business, when an intruder the size of a tarantula, zipped into my bedroom from the bathroom. I was so mortified!”

The unwanted guest, a cockroach, was the size of a silver dollar coin, Kling said, and probably the biggest he had seen in his life.

“I told my neighbor about it, who reported back to me today, that he too had an intruder as well. Turns out the humidity is the culprit, and I want to confirm with all the neighbors that the roaches aren’t just at your place,” Kling said.

Keep your eyes peeled and beware, Laguna!

Police Files Cockroach

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Courtesy of the Internet

Cockroaches are on the rise in Laguna right now due to increased humidity

Extra-large raccoon and “wolves” reported on Catalina Street

On Sunday, July 8 at 9:41 p.m., at the 800 block of Catalina Street, a caller reported “a 30 lb. raccoon hanging around the house.” According to Wikipedia, the average raccoon weighs between 7.7 and 20 lbs, meaning this was a very large and well-fed raccoon.

A couple of days later, on July 10 at 9:21 p.m., also at the 800 block of Catalina, LBPD received a call from a resident about a “possible wolf” in their backyard. Moments later, the caller reported the “possible wolf” was now in their neighbors’ backyard.

Animal Services was notified of the incident via email…and rest is history/a mystery.

Duck, duck, geese, shoo them away please

Recently, at 9:19 a.m. at the 5500 block of Paseo Del Lago, a caller reported that geese were “defecating by the doors and [were] also near garages.” 

The caller went on to state that, “[the] Geese are not afraid of people and are coming very close to people.”

The resident requested further contact from Animal Services to resolve the situation. It is unknown what the next steps were.

Snaking around on the ground…those slithering snakes seem to abound

There have been at least five recent rattlesnake sightings reported locally, including one on Monday, July 9 at the 0 block of La Costa Court, and another one that day at the 900 block of Quivera Street; two on Thursday, July 5 – one at the 900 block of Park Avenue and one at the 3400 block of Bahia Blanca Way; and then two at the 3200 block of Bern Court within three days – one was an extra large snake and the other was likely a baby snake.

Police Files

Knifing on Laguna Beach trolley: argument escalates, juvenile reportedly stabs adult male

On Monday, July 11 at 3:55 p.m., LBPD officers were dispatched to 3rd Avenue and Coast Highway amidst reports of a stabbing that had just occurred on a city trolley. According to reports, a juvenile male stabbed an adult male during an argument that quickly escalated.

According to LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota, the suspect, a juvenile out of South County, pulled out a 3” to 4” folding knife and stabbed the victim in the hand. The physical and verbal altercation continued and the suspect tried to climb out of a window, which caused it to break.

“Once on scene, two people were detained in handcuffs and officers were directed toward “Lovers Beach” where the suspect supposedly ran,” said Sgt Cota. “As more officers arrived, a search was conducted and more witnesses came forward to direct the officers to the suspect. 

“Two officers on the hillside above the beach tried to make contact with the suspect who was hiding in a cavern on the beach. The suspect eventually came out, although he initially acted as if he had no idea what was going on. When he realized he had no place to run, the officers were able to talk him up the hillside where he surrendered. 

“Due to the public safety concern, he was asked where he hid the knife and finally told the officers he buried it in the sand. An officer scaled the hillside to the beach and retrieved the knife. Through the course of the investigation, it appears he and his friend were on the trolley and possibly tried to rob two female juveniles of one of their backpacks. This initial incident occurred around Solana and South Coast Highway. The female juveniles resisted, got off the trolley, and contacted their parents.”

The injured adult male was treated for a small cut on his left hand. According to Sgt Cota, the male juvenile suspect was eventually taken into custody for assault with a deadly weapon and later transported to juvenile hall.

In addition to creating quite a scare for fellow trolley goers, the incident also snarled traffic in South Laguna for hours. A traffic alert from the City notified residents of delays on Southbound Coast Hwy “due to police activity” starting at 4:14 p.m. The delays lasted for at least two hours.

Skateboarder without helmet gets nailed and jailed for drugs and a slew of other crimes

On Saturday, July 7 at 9:52 p.m., an LBPD officer saw a skateboarder at Aster Street and North Coast Highway not wearing a helmet per the Laguna Beach Municipal Code. The officer contacted the male subject and advised him the reason for the stop. 

“Officers asked him if he was probation or parole and he said “Yes” and asked if he had to give his name,” Sgt Cota said. “Terms of his probation were to always cooperate with law enforcement and not refuse to provide information.”

The male subject, who did not have any identification on his possession, was taken into custody for not wearing a helmet while skateboarding.

Police Files GalloiscosenzaHe was later identified as Huntington Beach resident Beau Galloiscosenza, 29.

“A search of Galloiscosenza revealed heroin and a pipe with methamphetamine inside of it. Galloiscosenza also had an outstanding warrant for his arrest for Battery with injuries,” Sgt Cota said. “Galloiscosenza was also in possession of several credit cards, not in his name, and a blank check in a large bag.” 

But that’s not all. Also inside the bag were stolen license plates that he allegedly took in Laguna Beach. 

Galloiscosenza was arrested for the outstanding warrant, possession of heroin and cocaine, possession of a narcotic pipe, and misappropriation of stolen property.

Bail was set at $20,000.

Trespassing juvie boys jump from 4th story into pool

On Saturday, July 7 at 9:26 p.m., in the 31500 block of Tablerock Drive, approximately four male juveniles, ages 12-16, were reported trespassing at the Tablerock Terrace Apartments. According to the RP, they were seen jumping from the 4th story into the pool with what “looked like cameras or GoPros in their mouth when they jumped.”

LBPD responded to the scene but the boys had already fled and were not located.   

Take heed pool-jumping boys, a Laguna pool-jumper known as “8booth” was still hobbled more than six months after shattering both feet following a pool jump at Pacific Edge Hotel in December 2016. A video of the incident showed him hitting the edge of the pool, falling into the water, and then crawling away from the scene. He was also charged with trespassing.

Police Files

Local chef injured by hit-and-run driver, grandmother pleads for help finding suspect

A local grandmother reached out to Stu News on the Fourth of July pleading for help in locating a hit and run driver who struck her 26-year-old grandson, also a Laguna Beach resident, on Tuesday night, leaving him injured on the side of the road.

The hit and run happened sometime between 9:20 and 9:30 p.m. on July 3, as the young man was going down the hill from Laguna Terrace, where he lives, approaching the Jewish Temple in the South Laguna shopping center of CVS/Gelson’s. 

If anyone saw anything or might know someone that was in the area at the time, any tip would be helpful.

“My name is Shirleen Blevins; my family and I have been Laguna Beach residents for the past 23 years. I am reaching out to inquire to post a notice in the paper to help find the SUV hit/run driver who hit and left my grandson injured last night,” she said.

According to Blevins, her grandson Andre sustained a fractured right elbow, a right radial head fracture and intensive abrasion of the upper extremity.

“He had some people over; he was taking his skateboard to grab a couple of things at Gelson’s. He was making a turn and someone hit him on the leg hard enough for him to lose his balance causing to him to fly off his board, sliding across the parking lot and ended up facing toward PCH,” Blevins said. “He didn’t have a helmet on but in his mind he was going on a quick trip. Even the doctor said there is no way the vehicle did not feel the impact of hitting Andre.”

Andre is about 6’4” or 6’5” and weighs around 185 lbs. He’s very active and walks to work to his job as a chef at Driftwood. It will take a couple months of rehabilitation to get him back on the job.

“He has abrasions, road rash all across his back and into his shoulder blades. The abrasions are really bad. There is so much swelling from him skidding,” Blevins said. “He’s right-handed, he was going down and tried to break his fall using his hand, where he has abrasions that go up to his forearm and elbow.”

She asked him to walk him through the accident and he said, “I just don’t remember.”

He doesn’t remember the license plate and he didn’t see the driver. He knew something was coming so he served. He was so focused on preventing getting hurt and trying to break the fall. He felt the bump of the car and he went skidding and everything else is just a blur,” Blevins said. “He thinks that the vehicle was an SUV, and maybe that it’s a Mercedes or BMW or something like that.”

She called the accident inhumane, just to leave and not think of the life of another human being.

“He’s really down. He’s really independent and thinks he can take care of himself. So last night when he had a moment of clarity he said, “So I won’t be able to go or make any money for six weeks minimum? It was just that simplistic kind of realization that hit him.”

LBPD really can’t do anything she said because he couldn’t give them any information to go on. 

Stu News has vowed to put the word out.

“We’re such a small town and everybody reads Stu News and everybody talks about everything, and I just thought, if just one person reads this and then maybe passes it on to another person someone might know something,” Blevins said. “That’s what I am hoping for.

“It’s inhumane to not care about the life of another human being. To just leave him there…it’s just not right,” Blevins said.

If you saw something or have any tips at all, please contact LBPD’s Sgt Jim Cota at (949) 464-6671.

“I appreciate your help to find this car/driver. He/she either lives or was visiting someone in Laguna Terrace,” Blevins said.

Let’s make it happen Laguna! We take care of our own!

Second suspect, LBHS grad and local bartender, arrested on felony coke sales charge

A second suspect has been arrested in conjunction with the Wednesday, June 27 LBPD arrest of William Hoglund for an outstanding DUI warrant outside of The Saloon. Hoglund was a security doorman at The Saloon and a search of his person revealed five grams of individually packaged cocaine for sale, according to LBPD. In addition to the warrant, he was charged with possession for sales of a controlled substance.     

LBPD Detectives followed up on the arrest and executed a search warrant at Hoglund’s residence. Inside the home, it was learned that Tyler Benson, 27, was a roommate of Hoglund. A search of Benson’s room revealed additional individually wrapped baggies of cocaine and a large sum of currency. 

According to LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota, “Over $9,000 in cash was found at their residence.”

Benson was also arrested that same day for felony conspiracy to commit a crime and felony possession for sale of a narcotic or controlled substance.

Police Files Tyler Benson

Courtesy of LBPD

Tyler Benson, 27 was arrested in conjunction with his roommate William Hoglund after a search for drugs and money by LBPD on Wednesday, June 29

Both Hoglund and Benson are employed at separate Laguna Beach bar and restaurant establishments. 

Benson is a graduate of LBHS and was formerly employed as a bartender at a restaurant on Glenneyre Street in downtown prior to his arrest.

“Our Downtown Foot Patrol Team has done a fantastic job developing partnerships with the restaurant and bar management and security throughout our town. This is an example of that partnership paying dividends in keeping our city a safe place to live, work and play,” said Cpt Jeff Calvert, LBPD.

According to public arrest reports, Benson’s bail was set at $25,000.

Hate speech and racial symbols found in backpack of LBUSD juvenile student 

On Monday, July 2, at the 200 block of Ocean Avenue, LBPD received a report of a black backpack sitting outside left unattended for a few hours. The caller told LBPD that they would like the owner to pick it up. Inside they found that the backpack contained an LBUSD laptop and schoolwork. 

“Inside the backpack were drawings of characters displaying racial symbols as well as possible hate speech items,” said LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota. “A name of a juvenile was located on the school work. The items will be sent to our Juvenile Detective for follow-up.”

Marine Safety Files

A colorful July 4th for Marine Safety, including 59 rescues

LB Marine Safety Cpt Kai Bond said that they have been incredibly busy over the last couple of days, especially on Fourth of July, and warns of dangerously high surf conditions through tonight.

“As far as our rescue count, we had 59 rescues; we had 69 medical aids, 6,592 public contacts and 3,101 prevents, which is when we talk to the public specifically if they are in a precarious situation and prevent them from doing anything that would put them in danger,” Cpt Bond said.

“We had 61 lifeguards working on the 4th. We work 24/7 but our operations began at 6 a.m. and went all the way through the fireworks show,” Cpt Bond said. “We had extras that day in order to deal with the conditions of the 4th of July crowd. I love the 4th; it’s just a really long day.”

As for beach attendance, Cpt Bond said that it’s one of the busiest days. Because of the holiday they saw large crowds as expected.

For the holiday, Laguna experienced warm water temperatures and air temperatures with a high temperature of 74 degrees and the water at about 70 degrees. The surf was 2 to 3 feet and the flag was green.

 Cpt Bond wanted to warn beachgoers about the dangerous high swell that’s occurring through Friday.

“We have a high surf advisory from the National Weather Service,” Cpt Bond said. 

On Thursday night, Laguna’s beaches had an orange surf advisory that will be elevated to a red surf warning and is expected to peak Friday.

“Expect five to eight-foot surf with some larger sets and strong rip currents, he warned. “Make sure to swim near a lifeguard, to check in, and to know your limitations and ability before you head into the water.” 


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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

High surf and strong rip currents are expected though the night today (Friday)

With the high-heat advisory, he expects to see large crowds through the weekend.

To be in the water, Cpt Bond says Marine Safety recommends that a person should be experienced and have two fins and swimming under an open lifeguard tower.

“Because these conditions are for experts only,” Cpt Bond said, “We recommend that people that don’t have the ocean experience and have two fins stay out of the water during these times of elevated surf.”

Although the high surf warning was supposed to expire at 9 p.m. Friday, an updated announcement from the National Weather Service said to expect high surf and strong rip currents expected through the night.

According to the updated warning, “expect 5 to 8 ft along south and southwest facing beaches of Orange and northern San Diego Counties, with occasional sets 10-12 ft at favored locations in Orange County.” 

Partly to blame are the south swells from Tropical Storm Fabio creating high surf at our local beaches and in the area. 

In addition to the surf, strong rip and longshore currents will make swimming hazardous. If caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore and back toward the beach when possible. Never attempt to swim against a rip current.

Swell and surf will gradually subside this weekend.

Police Files

Bomb on the beach: Boat Canyon evacuated Sunday

On Sunday, July 1, at approximately 11:30 a.m., an officer responded to Boat Canyon Beach amidst reports from lifeguards that a paddleboarder had found a possible phosphorous explosive device in the water.

“A lifeguard reported that the paddleboarder had brought it [the suspicious item] back to the beach,” said LBPD Spokesperson Sgt Jim Cota. “The lifeguard suspected it was a military explosive device, so LBPD was contacted. The beach was evacuated and the OCSD bomb squad was called to remove the device from the beach.” 

All access points to the beach were closed until the device was removed.

The field unit responded to the scene.

LB Marine Safety Cpt Kai Bond filled in more details. 

“Marine Safety cleared the beach and asked dispatch to notify the residents in the surrounding area. Because we didn’t know exactly what the device was at that point, we staged away and contacted the OC Sheriff’s Department,” Cpt Bond said. “One of their investigators came down and essentially determined that the suspected explosive device needed to be removed and that’s what they did.”

Police Files Explosive

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Photo provided by LBPD

A paddleboarder finds an explosive device on Boat Canyon Beach: Marine Safety and LBPD clear the area and call the OC Bomb Squad

“I have seen this type of incident before, but not at a high frequency,” Cpt Bond said. “Remember, if you ‘see something, say something,’ wherever it is, even the beach.”

Once Marine Safety receives a report and gets a visual of the object, they will call in the experts to remove it. 

“That’s not our field as far as determining exactly what it is. We need someone with that type of training,” Cpt Bond said. “Public safety is our number one priority.”

Four-year-old missing for 22 mins near Main Beach, Marine Safety rescues & reunites her with parents

On Saturday, June 30 at 3:42 p.m., at the 400 block of N Coast Highway, Marine Safety received a report of a four-year-old girl missing from Main Beach.

A frantic mother said that her daughter was last seen on the sand about 20 yards South of Main Beach. She described her daughter as having long brown hair and brown eyes, wearing a blue-ish-green one-piece swimsuit. 

Lifeguards and LBPD searched the area, south along the wet sand, checking the front of El Paseo and the Boardwalk, down to Oak and Cleo Street.

“The four-year-old-girl had been separated from her parents right in front of the playground and made her way all the way down to Bird Rock,” LB Marine Safety Cpt Kai Bond said. “The police department and lifeguards located her on the north end of Main Beach by Bird Rock Tower and reunited her with her mother.”

The search and find took 22 minutes, which must have been a long and agonizing time for her parents.

However, Cpt Bond said it’s not that unusual for parents and children to get separated at the beach.

“The best thing they can do is notify a lifeguard so they can get the appropriate resources to search for the missing child,” Cpt Bond said. “I would just urge people to keep a watchful eye on their children at the beach. But for whatever reason, if they are separated, they should notify a lifeguard.”

Saloon owner reaches out to locals after a former employee is arrested for allegedly selling cocaine

Michael Byrne, owner of The Saloon, who also owns Roux restaurant with his wife Cindy, went online to reach out to the community after the recent arrest of doorman, William Hoglund, outside The Saloon for an outstanding DUI warrant and also with cocaine for sale.

Devastated to hear the news, Bryne didn’t waste any time. He immediately responded to the news about his now-former employee.

 “Many of you have read Stu News Laguna today (Friday) and were hopefully shocked to see what was the top lead story. I was sickened. I’m coming on here today to apologize to our community for not being aware of everything that was allegedly going on in my bar,” Byrne said. “I’m embarrassed and have a responsibility for what goes on.”

 Byrne said he personally researched the incident for 36 hours. 

“No one who currently works at The Saloon had any knowledge of what was happening. From the day we took over The Saloon 15 years ago, we have not in any way turned a blind eye to the behavior that can develop in the service industry.”

 He said they were active in enforcing any illegal behavior and have been known as a bar that would never allow a drug atmosphere to survive. 

“Of course, there are things that go on that you can do nothing about because you have no knowledge of a customer’s behavior,” Byrne said. “Robert Doerr, my wife Cindy, and I, and all of our staff will from today forward step up our game to ensure you all that this sort of behavior will not happen again.”

He reiterated that The Saloon is not a drug bar, has never been a drug bar, nor will it ever be a drug bar. 

“This recent misfortune is a one and done,” Byrne said.

 “Meghan Markle” saved by a stranger, reunited with “Prince Harry”

Stu News is happy to let readers know that the trapped kitty reported in Friday’s Police Files is happy and healthy and sitting pretty. We heard the news thanks to reader Karl Williams who contacted Stu News, responding to a plea to contact the editor with information about the kitty. 

Williams is actually the hero rescuer in this only-in-Laguna scenario that ends with a feel-good finale of a freed-feline by a stranger who sprang into action. 

The trapped kitty, Megan Markel, a four-month-old kitten, adopted not long ago with her brother Prince Harry, hid in the wheel well of Susan Pivovaroff’s Jeep, unintentionally making the long hot trek from Whittier to Laguna.

“The woman who owned the car came into LGOCA gallery, where I was working that day. She told me about the cat. I got a screwdriver and ruler and took the panel off above her passenger-side front wheel,” Williams said. “I pulled the cat out and returned it to her. It was lodged in a ball between the side skirt and front panel.”

Pollice Files Cat

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Photo provided by Susan Pivovaroff

Good Samaritan artist Karl Williams rescues kitty Meghan Markle, who got stuck in the panel of a Jeep, making a long scary trek from Whittier to Laguna Beach

Meghan Markle was covered in dirt, he said. And if the cat was any bigger, she would not have been able to be rescued. But he had her out in six minutes.

“I am still processing it right now that her name is Meghan Markle, well, Miss Markle, this is lucky, very lucky this time. It’s not going to happen again,” Williams said.

“I’ve had a lot sadness lately. And this is just an uplifting – a very unique, sweet story that miracles do happen,” Pivovaroff said. “I cried. It just shows there are angels out there. I am so grateful to Karl.”

She had just got Meghan Markle and Prince Harry two weeks prior after wanting kittens for a long time. Before she pulled out of the driveway of their Whittier home she said she spotted Harry and Meghan playing together, so the coast was clear to hit the coast of Laguna.

“I was driving as fast as I could I couldn’t wait to get here,” Pivovaroff said. 

Meeting relatives in Laguna, they heard a series of meows for help.

“My heart dropped thinking that my kitty was stuck in there,” she said. 

They even called LBPD. They checked everywhere and even brought cat food and water, but to no avail.

After Williams rescued Meghan, Pivovaroff thanked him again for his heroics.

“He said, actually you made my day,” she said. “I felt truly like angels were there.”

Police Files

Bouncer from The Saloon gets bounced for allegedly selling coke

On Wednesday, June 27, in the early morning hours, LBPD patrol officers arrested the doorman of The Saloon, William Hoglund, outside of the downtown bar for an outstanding DUI warrant. 

Police Files Hoglund“A search of Hoglund revealed a cell phone and a container with four small individually wrapped baggies of cocaine,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said. “Texts on his cell phone revealed conversations of sales of cocaine.”   

The individual baggies of cocaine were approximately 1 gram each for a total of just over 4 grams.

William Anthony Hoglund, 27, of Dana Point, was arrested for Felony Conspiracy to Commit a Crime and Felony Possession for Sale of a Narcotic or Controlled Substance.

“Detectives took the case and wrote a search warrant for his residence,” Sgt Cota said.

According to arrest logs online, no bail was issued.

Under the same case number, it appears that a second person was involved and arrested on similar charges. However, at the time of press, LBPD was not able to comment on this, and said that more information will follow.

Vegas woman arrested for unpaid hotel room charges

On Tuesday, June 26, LBPD officers responded to the Laguna Beach Inn, at the 2000 block of South Coast Highway, where a woman was reportedly refusing to pay her hotel room balance. According to the caller, she became verbally aggressive toward staff.

According to reports, the woman checked in on Monday, June 11, stating that she planned to stay a few days. On Friday, June 15, she extended her stay. On Friday, June 21, she told hotel staff that she wanted to extend her stay again, stating that she wanted to pay in cash.

According to LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota, “The hotel did not accept cash, so she provided the same credit card that she checked in with. The card was declined. The staff said she did not care and did not provide another credit card. The woman was identified as Carmen Loera by her Nevada Driver’s License.

“Loera then claimed to have an allergic reaction to fruit and requested medical attention. She denied transportation to the hospital,” Sgt Cota said.

Police Files Loera“When the staff stated that they needed to discuss her balance, Loera said she had an agreement for $2,800 dollars for a month, but the general manager disputed this agreement was ever made,” Sgt Cota said.

“Loera claimed that the general manager stole her money and that she did not have a balance,” Sgt Cota said. 

According to Sgt Cota, “When Loera’s credit card was confirmed, she tried to avoid the issue or claim to have a medical problem. The total balance of her stay was $1,233.77. The hotel was desirous of prosecution.”

Carmen Reina Loera, 47, of Las Vegas, was arrested for Refusing to Leave a Hotel – Trespassing, a misdemeanor, and for Defrauding an Innkeeper of over $400, a felony.

She was transported to the LBPD where she was booked. 

Bail was set at $20,000.

Animal Files

Poor cat gets stuck, pinned and trapped in an SUV 

On Sunday, June 24 at 3:02 p.m., LBPD received a call from a woman at the 600 block of S Coast Highway, about her cat being stuck up inside her vehicle.

The woman told LBPD that her cat was lost inside her white Jeep Cherokee between the frame and the panel.

To make things worse, the cat had been stuck inside the SUV all the way since Whittier, a 40-mile trip. Poor kitty endured such a cat-a-strophic traverse! 

Meowing out for help, the cat could be heard but not seen.

According to reports, Animal Services was unable to extract the cat from the car. However, the cat’s dad, the caller’s husband, was a mechanic and would be driving to the scene to dislodge the cat.

Unfortunately, police logs ended there, and attempts to reach Animal Services for confirmation on the current status of the cat were unsuccessful.

If anyone has an update on the kitty, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Coyote mom and five pups show up to Laguna Beach home uninvited

On Tuesday, June 26 at 8:19 a.m., at the 3100 block of Via Serena, LBPD received a call about a coyote sighting, actually coyotes. The incident was reported to have occurred the night before, on Monday, at approximately 7:30 p.m. 

According to reports, the resident saw a coyote mom and her five pups up close and in person on their patio. The caller was concerned that the pack might hurt their animals and asked Animal Services to try to track the pack. “We [were] hurt by them last month,” the caller said.

Police Files Coyotes

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Photo found on Twitter posted by “Pete Fisher"

Coyote pups showed up uninvited to a Laguna Beach home on Tuesday with their mom

A similar incident occurred the day before in North Laguna, on Tuesday, June 26 at 9:23 a.m., at the 31100 block of Holly Street – except this time, the uninvited guests were bobcats.

The caller reported to LBPD that a bobcat and three cubs were “hanging out on Holly Street in the driveway.”

Police Files

Uber driver injures passenger, ejecting her from car

On Saturday, June 23 at 6:22 p.m., LBPD received a battery call from a distraught woman in the 20200 block of Laguna Canyon Road, who reported that she had been pushed out of a car by an Uber driver resulting in injuries to her arm and legs. According to police logs, the woman requested medics and waited at the entrance of the park for help to arrive. The Uber driver left about 10 minutes prior to her calling LBPD.

The woman told officers that the Uber ride was requested from a friend’s phone, and that she had information about the reported suspect. He was driving a black 2016 4-door Nissan with both Uber and Lyft stickers. She also gave LBPD his license plate number.

According to LBPD Emergency Operations Coordinator Jordan Villwock, “The Uber driver was driving inbound LCR and reported getting frustrated that his passenger was watching a video on her iPhone.”

“The driver pulled the car over and pulled the female from the vehicle causing some injuries, and complaint of pain,” Villwock said. “The female passenger was not intoxicated.”

According to Villwock, LBPD is forwarding a recommendation to the District Attorney’s Office for charges against the Uber driver.

Fire Files

Fire on Manzanita Saturday prompts neighborhood evacuations

On Saturday, June 23 at 3:44 p.m., LBFD and LBPD were dispatched to a structure fire in the 800 block of Manzanita Drive, just above the high school tennis courts. Emergency services received a call from the residents, who reported that there was heavy smoke in the upstairs bedroom.

LBPD officers arrived first and quickly evacuated the home, along with neighboring homes on all three sides of the primary residence, and blocked off both ends of Manzanita.

The fire was quickly upgraded to a working fire by LBFD, with reports that the fire was spreading and “coming from the rear side.”

Accordingly, evacuations were then quickly made for rear homes on Skyline Drive.

LBFD arrived shortly after and were able to knock down the fire quickly, containing it to a single residence.

Fire Gene Felder

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Photo by Michael Ellis

Black smoke billowed and flames rose from a home on Manzanita Drive on Saturday afternoon, a scary sight for residents

LBFD Chief Mike Garcia gave a timeline of the fire.

“Time of alarm was 3:44 p.m. and knockdown time was 4:01 p.m.,” Chief Garcia said. “It is estimated the fire started 10 minutes prior to dispatch time and the residents tried to extinguish the fire with multiple fire extinguishers prior to the first 911 call.”

LBFD dispatched a total number of 17 fire personnel, including one Battalion Chief, four LBFS Fire Engines, an ORCO Truck, and one ambulance to the scene.

 “We had a “working fire” assignment coming to the incident but [it] was shortly cancelled,” LBFD Chief Mike Garcia said.

Nine people were displaced from the residence, including seven adults and two minors, as well as two dogs and a pet snake. 

“One of the minor children was medically evaluated on scene for possible smoke exposure concerns; parents signed A.M.A.,” Chief Garcia said.

At 4:04 p.m., the Southern California Gas Company was contacted with an estimated 40 to 45 minute arrival time.

The Red Cross was contacted at 4:17 p.m. to help out the displaced residents.

Fire Johanna Felder

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Photo by Johanna Ellis

Saturday’s house fire on Manzanita Drive lands a yellow tag designation, deemed “un-habitational” with $125,000 in damages

The fire is estimated to have caused $125,000 in damages to the home and its contents, according to Chief Garcia. The Laguna Beach Building Division red tagged the entire second story along with the deck and the remaining home was yellow tagged for “un-habitational.”

“The cause is unknown and is still under investigation,” Chief Garcia said. 

Luckily, no injuries were reported.

FYI Files

Scoop on La Mirada house “arrest”

Buzzing all over social media…here’s the updated scoop on Saturday’s La Mirada house “arrest.”

On Saturday, June 23 in the morning, a post was made on Nextdoor regarding two people in the 1200 block of La Mirada near Summit being arrested. 

According to the post, “Undercover cops arrested two people at La Mirada near Summit this morning. They gathered some attention while staging at the corner of Ensenada and Miramar...The duo was renting the house and apparently the owners live in New Orleans.”

But the "undercover cops" were not so undercover; they were bail bond agents.

According to LBPD Emergency Operations Coordinator Jordan Villwock, “These were not undercover cops they are private bail enforcement agents who were working on behalf of a bail bonds company and were there to serve two warrants. The company notified us prior to making contact with the subjects. Since we did not make the arrest we don’t have any details on the specific charges or subject’s names.”

“They were working on behalf of a bail bonds company who were following up on individuals evading charges,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said. 

“Without confirming their credentials from the company, most personnel that work in this field attend PC 832 courses and get certified in arrest powers and laws of arrest. This course allows civilians the training certificate to make arrests for a bail bonds company,” Sgt Cota said. “Many are known as bounty hunters. This is legal and they work under the umbrella of a bail bonds company.”

Civilians take this course that work for bail bonds companies. The Arrest and Firearms (PC 832) course consists of two components, which total a minimum of 64 hours. The Arrest component has a 40-hour requirement, and the Firearms component has a 24-hour requirement. These components are divided into 14 individual topics, called Learning Domains. 

The Learning Domains contain the minimum required foundational information for given subjects. The training and testing specifications for a particular domain may also include information on required instructional activities and testing requirements.

Sounds like a case of drama ripe for cable, “Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do when they come for you? Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?”

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