Back to Top

Police Files

A fly-by-night scheme?

Seems like it’s been the calm before the (literal) storm…no major criminal incidents reported this week…except for a theft of 100,000 frequent flyer miles: Is the perpetrator a flight risk? We await the outcome with high anxiety.

Stay safe in the storm, everyone.

Police Files

One helicopter and 100 motorbikes: so much for a pleasant valley Sunday in the Canyon

On Sunday around 11:45 a.m., Newport Beach Police notified Laguna Beach that there were about 100 motorcycles heading in to the city on Coast Hwy.

“Officers followed and monitored the motorcycles up to Alta Laguna near the park,” said Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD. “Our officers did issue one citation to a rider who failed to stop for a stop sign.”

Newport also told the LBPD that one of their officers got into a pursuit with one rider who fled the area, but the outcome of the pursuit was unknown.

Meth-busters: Officers arrest mule

On Wednesday night at 10:22 p.m., Laguna Beach Police officers approached a vehicle, making contact with its occupant – who happened to be carrying meth.

Heather Tiffany Pflug, 41, Laguna Hills was arrested for possession of a controlled substance, but it wasn’t long before the officers found the rest of the meth, 7.92 grams in total. Pflug’s charges were upgraded to transportation of a controlled substance for sales with $25,000 bail.

Police Files

Bong bang could have been bad for butter-fingered burglar but burgled bong-seller declines to prosecute

On Monday, officers responded to a business on the 600 block of S. Coast Hwy regarding a robbery. Earlier, while a store employee had temporarily stepped outside the business, a male had gone behind the counter, taken a large bong and placed it under his shirt.

According to the police log, as the employee tried to stop the male from fleeing, “he used the bong to hit her.” Officers were unable to locate the suspect, but the employee did find a piece of paper that the man had dropped, which included his name.

Social media can be a bummer if you burgle

“The employee was able to locate the male with an online social media account and sent him a message the next day that a police report had been filed,” said Sgt. Kleiser of the LBPD. 

“The male replied back and apologized for the incident and agreed to pay for the item he had taken,” – a $560 bong.

The employee agreed to handle the incident civilly and not seek prosecution. The suspect’s name was not available once the business declined to prosecute.

Thanks to the civil arrangement the male and the employee agreed upon, the contrite suspect avoided a major felony. Lucky bong burglar!

Police Files

Pair of bad girls went to jail

In two separate incidents just an hour apart this weekend, Laguna Beach police officers arrested two women.

The first was on Saturday at 11:32 p.m. An officer stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation and while he was speaking to the driver, he saw an open can of beer on the rear floorboard and a vape pen with marijuana. After conducting a DUI investigation, Arianna Medicina, 23, Oceanside, was arrested for DUI. But that wasn’t all.

“During a search of the car, the officers found 13 pills of Alprazolam, a bottle of nitrous, and 3 pieces of candy laced with LSD,” said Sgt. Tim Kleiser. She was also charged with felony transportation of a controlled substance for sales, felony possession of a controlled substance, and felony possession of a controlled substance for sales.

Sunday morning at 12:41 a.m., officers stopped a woman for public intoxication. 

“When the officers were searching her, she kicked one of the officers on the leg,” said Kleiser. “When they were escorting her to jail she spit at two other officers.”

Nicole Adams, 25, Mission Viejo, was charged with being drunk in public and violence to prevent an officer from doing their duty.

Stolen Prius leads to arrest

On Friday evening at 8:59 p.m., officers were alerted to a Toyota Prius entering Laguna Beach via Laguna Canyon Road that had been reported stolen to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

The vehicle was stopped on S. Coast Hwy at Cleo Street. The driver, 19-year-old Jason Plunkett-Salvador from Huntington Beach, was arrested for felony vehicle theft. 

Police Files

Call the right play for Super Bowl 51 – pass the keys to a sober driver before the big game begins

On Sunday, Feb 5, football fans across the country will tune in to watch Super Bowl 51. For many of them, the game experience will include alcohol. The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) is teaming up with law enforcement agencies across the state for a special Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk campaign, urging all football fans to call the right play on Super Bowl weekend and pass the keys to a sober driver before the drinking begins. 

As part of the Super Bowl Sunday enforcement efforts, police, sheriff and the CHP will be on heightened alert ready to stop and arrest any impaired driver. 

Fans don’t let fans drive drunk

Impaired driving can be deadly. A driver is considered alcohol-impaired with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher, but even a small amount of alcohol can impair judgment and reaction times enough to make driving unsafe. Many medications (prescription and over-the-counter), marijuana, and illicit drugs can also lead to impairment and unsafe driving, resulting in a DUI. 

 “Volunteer to be a designated driver to help your family and friends get home safely,” said OTS Director Rhonda Craft. “Impaired driving only leads to disaster and tragedy. It is never worth the risk. If you do plan to drink, and/or are taking medications or using marijuana, plan now to pass the keys to a sober driver before kickoff.” 

For those who plan to drink, leave your keys at home. For those who do plan to drive, refrain from consuming any alcohol. Instead, enjoy the game with food and non-alcoholic drinks. 

Download an app for a designated driver

Drivers can also download OTS’s Designated Driver VIP, or “DDVIP,” free mobile app to get connected with free designated-driver incentives at local establishments or to order a sober ride from Uber, Lyft, or Curb. 

This enforcement effort is funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration who reminds everyone to be alert and ‘Report Drunk Drivers – Call 911’ if you see a dangerous driver call immediately!

Police Files

Man, 24, left a trail of crimes along Park Avenue

Police dispatch received a 9-1-1 call early last Wednesday evening reporting that a man was walking in the roadway near the high school on Park Avenue carrying a stick and swinging it at people’s cars. Traffic, the caller said, had stopped and was backed up on both sides of the street.

Officers arrived on scene and had him detained four minutes after the initial call. Alexander Steven Tracy, 24, Laguna Niguel, was soon in custody for being drunk in public. Among his possessions was a Head tennis racquet.

Meanwhile, another officer responded to the 900 block of Park Ave to take a report for a residential burglary.

LBPD Sgt. Tim Kleiser said, “The resident arrived home and found his front and rear doors open. Officers checked the house and found property that belonged to Tracy. The victim noticed two Head tennis racquets had been taken, one of which was in Tracy’s possession and also a bottle of tequila was missing.”

A little while later, an officer responded to the 800 block of Park Ave for a report of vandalism Sgt. Kleiser added, “The resident arrived home around 6:45 and noticed the mailbox had been damaged and broken glass on the driveway. The glass was from the bottle of tequila taken from the residence where the burglary was reported.”

Tracy ended up going to jail for residential burglary, a felony, vandalism and being drunk in public. He was also on probation leading to his status being changed to being a probation violator and he was held without bail.

A man left a watermelon at the front door of the PD

At 10:24 Friday morning, the surveillance camera at the front door of the Police Department revealed a man described as being in his late 40s or early 50s placing a watermelon in front and then walking away.

Police are enhancing the video in the hope of being able to identify the man.

Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD said, “We don’t know what the purpose of this was, but we think it maybe in regards to the high school incident.”

Remember, for a complete listing of crimes and arrests in town, scroll down to Police Beat at the bottom of our second front page

Police Files

Sounds as if this burglary may been an “inside job”

When we think of burglaries, we rarely consider them to be an inside job, i.e., someone who had or has knowledge of where the money is and the best time to go for the taking.

There’s no evidence from the LBPD that we are correct in our deduction, but we want you to see what “fake news” can be.

A woman left her Laguna Beach from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. When she got home, she saw that an outside door to her laundry was open and upon looking around, she saw that an office desk drawer was open.

$15,000 in cash was missing.

Laguna Beach PD detectives are on the case. 

Tree outside Urth Caffe is benched by the storm

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Dianne Russell

No, this is not the controversial tree in North Laguna

Police Files

Greeter’s waving hampered by a set of handcuffs

Michael Minutoli, 57, no fixed address, aka “The Greeter”, was arrested last Wednesday afternoon in North Laguna.

A local hotel called police reporting that a known suspect had taken a cable TV box and damaged the TV set from a room.

After taking the report, the officer saw him at the Stop ‘N Go in North Laguna. When Minutoli saw the officer, according to the police log, he ran into a restroom and refused to come out for sometime.

Police were eventually able to get him to come out of the restroom – after they had located the cable box where it had been thrown as Minutoli ran through a backroom on the way to the restroom.

He was arrested for theft and vandalism.

Police Files

Woman, 25, beats on man near Taco Bell – gets jailed

Police responded to a reported fight by Taco Bell on S. Coast Hwy at 1 p.m. Sunday and made contact with a man and a woman.

After an interview by police, it was determined that the woman, Stephanie Nichole Mancuso, 25, Ohio, had been trespassing on the man’s property. Their argument continued to the area where the call originated and Mancuso allegedly began to physically assault the man and pushed him according to LBPD Sgt. Tim Kleiser.  

She was subsequently searched and a quantity of methamphetamine and a pipe were found on her. She had also given police a fake name. When her real name was checked, she had a $2500 warrant with misdemeanor drug charges.

She was arrested for possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, providing false information to an officer and the warrant.   

Clarification of details of man arrested at Mission Hospital

On Tuesday, we reported the arrest of Dana Point resident Ian Keegan, 55, after, according to the police log, “…walking around with a bottle of vodka and got in an SUV to leave…” the parking lot at Mission Hospital. Keegan was arrested for DUI and held for parole violation.

We want to clarify that any indication from our report that Keegan had been a patient at Mission Hospital Laguna Beach would be an erroneous conclusion.  He was, according to the caller who notified the police, dropped off at the hospital, but he never checked in or was seen there.

We regret any wrongful conclusions our readers may have drawn.

Police Files

Man arrested at Mission Hospital after OC Sheriff’s deputies had dropped him off there for detox

While details are sparse, according to Sgt. Tim Kleiser of the LBPD, a Dana Point man, Ian Keegan, 54, who was on formal parole was arrested last Wednesday night outside of Mission Hospital, Laguna Beach after deputies from the OC Sheriff’s Dept. had earlier dropped him off to detox.

Sgt. Kleiser said Monday that the police report had not been completed and that he had no details as to the Sheriff’s deputies.

The police log said that the caller who reported the incident had said that a man who had been dropped off at Mission by OC Sheriff’s deputies was, from the log, “…walking around with a bottle of vodka and got in an SUV to leave…”

Officers stopped Keegan and after an investigation, arrested him for DUI, driving on a suspended or revoked license due to a DUI conviction and driving on a suspended or revoked license due to a DUI conviction without an interlocking device.

After contacting Keegan’s parole officer, he was ordered to be held without bail for violation of his formal parole conditions. He was transported to Santa Ana for Department of Corrections pick up there.

Page 9 of 29