Probation search turns up unusual weapon

State law mandates that anyone on formal probation is subject to a search of their person, vehicle and home at anytime without notice or a search warrant.

This Wednesday evening at about six o’clock, Laguna Beach police and the OC Probation Dept made a probation search at the South Laguna residence of 63-year-old Joseph Nicoletti on Ocean Vista.

In the course of the search, authorities found a .22LR pen gun along with 150 rounds of .380 ammunition – a larger caliber than the pen gun uses.

Pen Gun Photo

Stinger pen pistols from website

Pen gun IllustrationThis graphic explanation of how a pen pistol breaks down for use was also on the website. It fires a single round then has to be completely reassembled to fire again or there is a possibility of “shooting yourself” according to the explanation!

These Stinger pen pistols, made of stainless steel, aren’t cheap with a cost of $200 plus. Accessories include a flare launcher.

Under the terms of Nicoletti’s probation, police said, he is not allowed to own either a gun or ammunition of any type. He was taken into custody for violation of probation, which is a no bail offense, and felony charges of a felon in possession of the firearm and ammunition.

Man grabbed woman and attempted to force her into car at a Laguna Canyon Rd bus stop last Wednesday


A 55-year-old woman reported that a man got out of his silver Honda two-door and grabbed her arm in an effort to get her to go with him.

The report was logged in at 11:02 last Wednesday morning after the woman had left a bus bench in the 2200 block of Laguna Canyon Road across from Laguna College of Art and Design and gone to a “neighbor’s home.”

She told the 9-1-1 dispatcher that a Middle Eastern-looking man with a strong accent had stopped his car, lowered the passenger side window and asked her if she wanted a ride and said he would taker her “…wherever she wanted to go.” She said no thank you only to have the man ask her again and again. She had said she was going to Irvine.

The woman then said the man got out of his car and came around to the bus bench and grabbed her arm saying, “I know exactly where you want to go and I will take you there.” She left the location and went to where he called a “neighbor’s house.”

It isn’t known if she is a student at LCAD or a resident or both.

The woman described her assailant as being in his mid twenties, about 5’8” with a think build, clean shaven and wearing a light blue shirt with a collar and jeans. He was last seen driving away eastbound in the silver Honda.

Arrest in credit card skimming at N. Laguna Shell

LBPD detectives arrested Akop Tadevosovich Changryan, 27, at his home in Glendale last Thursday night in connection with a credit cards skimming scam at the Shell station in North Laguna last summer.

Police allege that Changryan placed camouflaged skimming devices on the station’s gas pumps that allowed him to return after the station closed and retrieve credit card account information, which he would then use to create fake credit cards.

Police said only that several “…unauthorized charges on the cards occurred without the victim’s knowledge… The nine known victims had thousands of dollars worth of merchandise charged to their accounts.”

According to Lt. Jason Kravetz, Commander of the LBPD Investigations Division, crime scene investigation at the Shell station turned up physical evidence that allowed detectives to identify Changryan “…after a long investigation…”

Changryan is in custody after being “…charged with multiple counts of using unauthorized credit card information to purchase items at locations in Los Angeles, Laguna Beach, New Mexico, and Arizona,” Kravetz said.

Police learned that the suspect was on felony probation for “use of account information without consent”, and his bail was set at $100,000.

Forgery suspect arrested at Bank of America


Kevin Leroy James, Jr., was arrested and charged with three felonies when he attempted to deposit a $6,000 check that authorities say had been forged.

Police said that a Bank of America teller became suspicious last Friday when James tried to deposit the check into his B of A savings account and said he needed a new ATM card after explaining, for no apparent reason, that he hadn’t been able to obtain cash from his account when using his ATM. B of A does not allow cash to be withdrawn from a savings account with an ATM card. The teller alerted a supervisor.

The account holders of the check that James, 21, had presented were called and they informed B of A that they hadn’t written a check to him and that neither husband nor wife knew the suspect.

Police were called and took James (who gave a Long Beach address) into custody late Friday afternoon without incident. He was charged with commercial burglary, forgery and knowingly passing a fraudulent check. Each charge carried $20,000 bail.

Laguna Beach police Sgt Bob Rahaeuser said, “The victims had ordered new checks, which they never received.

“It’s important to let people know that if new checks they order don’t show up in ten days or so that they need to notify their bank.”

Driver in Coast Hwy standoff last Friday night charged with DUI & evading by Newport Beach PD

Newport Beach identified the woman who drove the Ford Expedition involved in the standoff on Friday night, Jan 14, on S. Coast Hwy here as Kelly Sheree Taylor, 48, of Bellflower. She was taken into custody four and a half hours after driving into town from Newport. She was charged with evading and driving under the influence of drugs. A Newport police statement did not identify the drug.

Taylor’s SUV had been the subject of 9-1-1 callers on PCH in Newport Beach at about 6:45 p.m. for erratic driving. Police attempted to stop her on PCH in the Crystal Cove area but she refused to yield and continued southbound at slow speeds toward Laguna Beach.

She drove into the north end of Laguna at 6:52 with her lights off at about 20 mph. Five minutes later a police radio report said she was, “…all over the road…no lights…10 mph at Legion Street…” After running a red light at Thalia St, the SUV pulled over and made a futile effort to park along the curb on the ocean side of Coast Hwy between Pearl and Diamond Streets at ten minutes after entering the city.

Additional police units from Newport Beach and Laguna along with a police helicopter arrived in the area within two minutes and the standoff began.

The situation escalated when an officer in the copter told ground units that the driver – alone in the car – had reached under the passenger seat and put what appeared to be a small caliber handgun next to her right leg. Later, the copter said she was holding a handgun in her left hand and had her right hand down her waistband.

Newport officers immediately began treating the situation as an armed and barricaded suspect. The immediate area’s businesses and residences were evacuated and Coast Hwy was closed to traffic in both directions.

SWAT teams were called in from Newport, Irvine and the OC Sheriff’s Dept along with a long rifle team and an Irvine K-9 unit. SWAT attempted to make contact with Taylor for about two hours after the scene had been secured for that scenario. Taylor never responded.

A flash-bang charge was used at the right rear of the SUV at 10:53 and Taylor calmly exited and walked onto the southbound lanes of Coast Hwy before turning around and getting back into her car. Newport Beach police said they used “non-lethal measures” to remove Taylor and added that she had refused medical treatment at 11:27 p.m. While unconfirmed, that would be consistent with the use of a taser.

A police source not authorized to officially comment on the situation said that no handgun was located.

There were no injuries.

The most unsuccessful serial robber ever?

48-year-old David Brian Mattson is either the least successful, the weirdest or the dumbest “armed robber” you’ve ever heard about.

Over a period of a month or so, Mattson is alleged to have been the suspect in 30 armed robbery investigations in Orange, Riverside and San Diego counties. All of the crimes were at fast food restaurants.

Mattson would enter a drive through and place an order for food. When he pulled up to the window, he would have a plastic bag over his head and a gun in his hand pointed at the employee. He would demand money.

In 29 of the 30 robberies, the employees closed the window and ducked or ran out of the way. The robber would then take off.

In just one did he leave the drive through with any money. It isn’t known if he also got his food order.

At one-for-thirty, he has a batting average lower than Brandon Wood.

Mattson’s luck was worse than usual Wednesday evening. At 8 p.m., employees of Jack-in-the-Box called “911” to report an armed robbery, which had just occurred. They reported that the suspect had pulled through the drive through and pointed a handgun at the employees while demanding money from the cash register. Scared employees slammed the window shut and ran to the back of the business. The suspect left in a dark colored vehicle without obtaining any money or his order from the business.

While patrol officers responded to Jack-in-the-Box, Sergeant Eric Lee, the duty watch commander, drove into the Village Mart gas station at Broadway and Coast Hwy to have a good vantage point should the suspect leave town that way.

As Sgt. Lee parked, well, Mattson was inside Village Mart trying to rob the clerk. He had a plastic bag over his head and brandished the handgun. Then, according to police, Mattson saw the police car occupied by Lee and decided to make his escape via a route that would require him to walk past Lee.

As Mattson headed toward where he’d parked his black 2006 Chevy Malibu, the clerk he’d tried to rob ran outside and yelled, “He has a gun!” In a flash, Sgt. Lee leapt from his vehicle with gun drawn and ordered Mattson to the ground. He took the suspect into custody without incident.

Mattson, described by police as having no fixed address although his car is registered in Lake Forest, was booked on one count of commercial burglary and booked at the city jail.

Lieutenant Jason Kravetz said Mattson was still in custody here as of late Thursday afternoon while investigators from the several other police agencies where he tried to pull off his crimes began the process of photo lineups with the victims/witnesses in their jurisdictions. He will eventually be taken to Orange County Jail and arraigned at Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach.

Kravetz added that Mattson tried to rob just about every fast food chain but did not say which one he got money from.

Mattson’s photo cannot be released until the photo lineups are complete.

Musician Anthony Jasso pleaded guilty to federal charges of child pornography


Anthony Jasso, a well known singer/musician in Laguna Beach and south OC pleaded guilty in May of this year to federal charges of participating in an international Internet bulletin board club where images and videos of child pornography.

In a press release this week from the FBI in Los Angeles Jasso was also named as being a member of an exclusive male club known as “Boy Lovers”. That group, the release said, was based in Southern California and its members gathered to watch child pornography and meet with kids.

Jasso, 46, used the code name of “Bottles & Cans” to keep his identity a secret. He is one of 16 male defendants from the US who have been accused of publishing a handbook about how adults can find and “groom” young boys for sex, the FBI said.

He is one of five defendants to have entered a guilty plea to conspiracy to advertise child pornography. According to federal prosecutors, that charge carries a minimum 15-year sentence in federal prison.

He will be in federal court for sentencing on March 7, 2011.

Jasso has appeared solo and with various groups in this area at clubs and festivals since the 1980s. In 2009, he appeared with his teenage daughter at one of the Third Thursday Street Faires on Forest Avenue downtown.

He lived in Laguna Beach for years and also in Redlands according to the FBI press release.

Suspicious packages close Park Ave Saturday

Suspect Package Photo 1

Staff photos by Maggi Henrikson

HAZMAT team members begin an assessment of suspicious packages

Two packages, which have been identified only as “suspicious” by local authorities, arrived in the mail at a home in the 2800 block of Park Ave prompting a call to police Saturday morning. Three officers arrived and at least one is reported by a witness to have become nauseous. Paramedics responded and the scene was treated as a hazardous materials situation.

Deputy Fire Chief Jeff La Tendresse said firefighters were dispatched at 10:22 a.m. (shortly after police) and remained on scene until 4 p.m. while members of the County’s Joint Hazardous Assessment Team checked the packages and eventually turned them over to US Postal Service inspectors who, along with the FBI, responded to the scene.

The Postal inspectors are handling the continued investigation and have not authorized local agencies to release any information at this time, LBPD Sgt. Louise Callus said Monday.

“The County has cross trained members of the Fire Authority’s HazMat unit, paramedics and the Sheriff’s Bomb Squad for these situations. If a suspicious package is found by the HAZMAT team to contain a bomb, the joint team can handle it immediately,” said Chief La Tendresse. He added that the packages had not contained anything such as anthrax or other such material.

Chief La Tendresse said over 20 personnel responded from the various agencies. He listed apparatus consisting of one Laguna Paramedic engine, two OCFA HAZMAT units, an OCFA paramedic, a ladder truck, one bomb squad unit, two fire command vehicles as well as police units and vehicles used by the USPS Inspectors and the FBI.

Park Avenue was closed in both directions until an assessment of potential dangers had been made

Suspect Package Photo 2

Members of the OC Joint Hazardous Assessment Team receive a briefing from a US Postal Inspector on Park Ave around noon Saturday

Man arrested after trying to evade cops

San Bernardino man did donuts in middle of Coast Hwy before intentionally ramming into a patrol car in pursuit

A San Bernardino man evinced some bizarre behavior on Laguna’s streets early Monday morning. Jerome Scott McAfee, 66, was arrested on a felony charge of assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer, evading a pursuit, DUI and a citizen’s arrest for battery.

A resident called 9-1-1 at 12:35 a.m. reporting that two men were having a heated argument at Glenneyre near Diamond Streets. The caller said one of the men had used the word “gun” but that no weapon had been seen.

The first arriving police unit was flagged down by the RP who pointed to one of the men who was leaving the area in a vehicle. The female officer turned on her patrol unit’s overhead lights to make a car stop as the vehicle headed west on Diamond. McAfee allegedly didn’t yield as he ran a red light and turned south onto Coast Hwy.

With the police car following, McAfee slowed down and began doing donuts in the middle of Coast Hwy near Upland Road. He then rammed the officer’s patrol unit before stopping for other officers who removed him from his vehicle at gunpoint.

Sgt. Louise Callus said that when an officer asked McAfee why he’d rammed the officer’s car, McAfee responded, “I didn’t know if she was a good cop or a bad cop.”

When police returned to Glenneyre and Diamond to speak with the other man they learned that McAfee had followed him as he rode home on his bicycle from work. The man said he tried to hide from McAfee who got out of his vehicle and punched the man in the face.

Police assisted him in making a citizen’s arrest for battery.

McAfee was booked here and taken to county jail and held in lieu of posting $50,000 bail.

Drive thru menu board swiped at Jack-In-The-Box

Someone apparently can’t get enough of the fare offered at Laguna’s only fast food stop – Jack-In-The-Box.

Police said the manager at the restaurant located at Brooks Street and S. Coast Hwy reported that the outside menu board had been stolen sometime in the wee hours of Sunday morning or late Saturday night.

There were no obvious clues, however, if you visit someone who has a menu board with a Jumbo Jack pictured and you’re not at the home of Rodney Allen Rippy, call the cops.

Shaena Stabler is the Owner and Publisher.

Lynette Brasfield is our Editor.

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor.

The Webmaster is Michael Sterling.

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Alexis Amaradio, Cameron Gillepsie  Allison Rael, Barbara Diamond, Diane Armitage, Laura Buckle, Maggi Henrikson, Marrie Stone, Samantha Washer and Suzie Harrison are staff writers.

Barbara Diamond, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Laura Buckle and Suzie Harrison are columnists.

Mary Hurlbut, Scott Brashier, and Aga Stuchlik are the staff photographers.

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