Police Files

Oct 23, 2012

Two Marines from Pendleton go on spree shooting out storefront & car windows on PCH in four coastal cities

OC Sheriff’s deputies stopped a maroon Ford Explorer at PCH and Ritz Carlton Drive just before 1 a.m. Sunday. A witness in Dana Point had called 9-1-1 with the license plate number of the Explorer, which had just shot out a car window in the Monarch Plaza parking lot.

Two Marines, both 20, from Camp Pendleton were taken into custody after deputies found two semi-automatic airsoft pellet guns along with extra ammo, Laguna Beach police said. They were charged with felony vandalism and negligent discharge of a BB device. They were booked at Orange County Jail.

Laguna Beach was hit especially hard – seven businesses and nine car windows were shot out according to Captain Jason Kravetz who said the damages will be “thousands of dollars.” LBPD will request that the District Attorney add charges similar to the Sheriff’s Dept.

Police said the two Marines began their spree in San Clemente and shot their way northbound on PCH through Dana Point, Laguna and into Crystal Cove. Kravetz explained, “They turned around [in Newport] and headed southbound again.”

They shot out windows on the right side of the road as they travelled.

The first call here came in at 12:15 a.m. as a burglary alarm with glass breakage in a business in the 700 block of S. Coast Hwy. Cops found the broken glass and saw a large amount of glass across the street on the ocean side of Coast Hwy.

Businesses were also hit in North Laguna and car windows were shot out from the north to south city limits.

The remarkable part of the story is how so much glass breaking and piles on the sidewalks could go unheard and unseen by passersby on a Saturday night. The Marines were stopped just 40 minutes after the first call in Laguna, which means they were able to drive through town twice and do all of the damage unnoticed.


Juveniles take over home while the owner is away – vandalized and stole items; drove $150K Maserati

Police received a call from a man who had just landed at the airport in San Diego Friday evening after a week’s vacation. He explained that he lived in the 1400 block of Mar Vista Drive and that he had received a message from a neighbor that a bunch of teenagers had been staying at his home. He added that the neighbor said a large group had partied there.

The homeowner met police at the house and found it to be in disarray once he was inside. There were some broken items, dirty dishes, empty alcohol bottles and a couple of stolen items, police said. The loss on the stolen items was $11,000.

The neighbor who had left voicemails for the homeowner told him that two known teenagers were there and both had been driving his $150,000 Maserati and a Ford SUV.

Police said detectives will interview the two teens this week.

Council tells cops to confiscate skateboards if a rider of any age is out there without a helmet

The City Council approved an ordinance Tuesday night directing police to issue a citation and confiscate skateboards when anyone without a helmet.

Councilwoman Elizabeth Pearson said, “Maybe it will be more painful…” and motivate more people to protect themselves with helmets.

Councilwoman Toni Iseman said, “…most parents think their…children are wearing helmets.” That’s why she wants the ordinance, which will require a parent to show up at the police station to get their confiscated skateboard back.

State law requires anyone under 18 to wear a helmet. The new ordinance goes further by requiring adults to also wear helmets and be subject to having their boards confiscated for a week.

Laguna Beach has been able to have the courts allow for the citations to be $25. If a citation goes to traffic court, the fine will be $280.

Laguna will also require a diversion (education) program as part of the penalty.

Skateboarders will not be prohibited from boarding during the time the police have the board.

Councilman Kelly Boyd was the lone no vote Tuesday night. He believes that the responsibility is with the parents. “These kids all have other boards in their garage and they’ll just go home and be back skateboarding as soon as they can – hopefully wearing a helmet.”

Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Course announced by LBPD – apply by tomorrow

The Laguna Beach Police Department announced that registration has begun for the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Course.

A Community Emergency Response Team is an organized and trained group of volunteers ready to assist in case of a disaster. The CERT program consists of 25 hours of classroom and hands on training. It concludes with an exercise drill to apply the skills and knowledge obtained during the classroom sessions.

Training includes the following topics: Disaster Preparedness, Fire Safety, Disaster Medical Operations, Light Search and Rescue, CERT Organization, Disaster Psychology, CERT and Terrorism, and Traffic Control.

CERT Training begins on Thursday, Nov. 1. Classes will then meet weekly during the week, either a Tuesday or a Wednesday, from 6 to 9 p.m., followed by one Saturday morning exercise on Dec. 15, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mandatory attendance is required at all classes. To be considered for this training, you must be a Laguna Beach resident or work within the city limits, be at least 18-years-old and have no felony convictions.

Applications must be submitted no later than 5 p.m., Oct. 24 (LBPD reserves the right to refuse admittance into this program). Visit the City’s website for a class schedule and application, www.lagunabeachcity.net, or in person at the Police Department, 505 Forest Ave.

For questions regarding CERT, contact Jordan Villwock, Emergency Services Coordinator, at 497-0701.

LaTendresse named as new Fire Chief

City Manager John Pietig announced Wednesday that 30-year fire service veteran Jeff LaTendresse has been promoted to Fire Chief effective Oct 29. He replaces Chief Kris Head who is retiring.

LaTendresse is currently the department’s Deputy Chief and has served 15 years with LBFD. Before coming to Laguna Beach, he was a fighter in the USAir Force and worked for 12 years for two departments in the desert.

Chief LaTendresse has experience as a firefighter, dispatcher, paramedic, engineer, captain, battalion chief, division chief and deputy chief.

He and his wife Mindy have lived in Laguna Beach for over 12 years with their two children, Bri and Cody, who have attended Laguna Beach schools.

Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Course announced by LBPD – apply by October 24

The Laguna Beach Police Department announced that registration has begun for the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Course.

A Community Emergency Response Team is an organized and trained group of volunteers ready to assist in case of a disaster. The CERT program consists of 25 hours of classroom and hands on training. It concludes with an exercise drill to apply the skills and knowledge obtained during the classroom sessions.

Training includes the following topics: Disaster Preparedness, Fire Safety, Disaster Medical Operations, Light Search and Rescue, CERT Organization, Disaster Psychology, CERT and Terrorism, and Traffic Control.

CERT Training begins on Thursday, Nov. 1. Classes will then meet weekly during the week, either a Tuesday or a Wednesday, from 6 to 9 p.m., followed by one Saturday morning exercise on Dec. 15, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mandatory attendance is required at all classes. To be considered for this training, you must be a Laguna Beach resident or work within the city limits, be at least 18-years-old and have no felony convictions.

Applications must be submitted no later than 5 p.m., Oct. 24 (LBPD reserves the right to refuse admittance into this program). Visit the City’s website for a class schedule and application, www.lagunabeachcity.net, or in person at the Police Department, 505 Forest Ave.

For questions regarding CERT, contact Jordan Villwock, Emergency Services Coordinator, at 497-0701.

Fast action by firefighters contains Monday night fire to one vacant house on Rounsevel Terrace

When firefighters hear the dispatcher saying that a fire was being reported by a neighbor “

…who saw smoke coming from a house next door…”, they respond knowing that the vast majority of those reports end with a working structure fire.

That was the case all four Laguna engines, a Division Chief and an Orange County Fire Authority ladder truck were dispatched to 2950 Rounsevel Terrace at 10:42 Monday night. The location is inland above the area of S. Coast Hwy & Nyes Place.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by John Selecky

This photo was taken from Alexander Road above the fire just as firefighters arrived. It clearly shows the heavy flames that had erupted in just a few minutes

Leslie LeBon lives across the street – she emailed us:

The fire started around 10:35 p.m. in a storage area of a vacant home. The odor of smoke caught my attention while I was watching TV by open windows and doors and thought at first it was the fire pits from Aliso Beach. I went outside to investigate and saw the smoke coming from the vacant house. Another neighbor (directly next door to the fire) noticed it at about the same time I did and went out onto his balcony to verify. He called the Fire Department.

It appears to have started in or around the water heater storage room on the side of the garage. The FD didn’t know the cause just yet. The house next door shares a common wall on the other side of the fire area. I don’t think the other house was affected but the FD was working in that garage area.

The home has been vacant for a couple of months and has an out of the area owner. It had just received Zoning approval (Design Review and City Council) on Sept. 4th. The architect is just finishing up construction documents and getting ready to submit to the Building department for building permits.

I guess they don’t need a demo permit now!

Firefighters arrived on scene and set up both an attack and defensive plan to get the fire controlled as soon as possible and protect exposed structures nearby.

Click on photo for a larger image


Photo by Leslie LeBon

The scene on Rounsevel Terrace once the fire was knocked down

Check back here later – we’ll update as information is gathered.

Police Files

Riverside resident, 18, just kept on going – to jail

Multiple callers reported seeing a man trying (and in some instances opening) doors of parked vehicles Sunday evening. The first caller (at 6:19) was having dinner in a restaurant on Glenneyre and described the man’s location and direction and said he’d seen the suspect lift a wallet out of one vehicle with an unlocked door.

The suspect had walked up St. Ann’s according to police.

Meanwhile, a caller reported seeing the same individual take another wallet from a van near Catalina and Thalia.

Officers located the suspect in the 800 block of Catalina Street. Captain Jason Kravetz said, “The suspect got into a pickup truck and drove away when he saw the patrol units arriving. He was stopped less than a block away.”

The owner of the pickup had left his keys in the ignition while he was in the process of unloading groceries, police said.

18-year-old Brandon Colin Heath of Riverside was arrested for felony auto theft, drunk driving with a prior conviction and petty theft. He had one of the stolen wallets in his possession. The witness on Catalina retrieved the other wallet near where he’d seen Heath take it from the van and handed it over to an officer.

Heath was booked here then transported to county jail with bail of $20,000.

Road rage leaves motorcyclist with broken arm

Police suspect that a road rage incident involving a motor cycle and a Mercedes in the 1900 block of Laguna Canyon Road Saturday night led to a crash that left the motorcycle rider with a broken arm.

A 9-1-1 call was received at 7:41, said Captain Jason Kravetz, which reported that the motorcycle rider was down and that a black or dark gray Mercedes sedan had left the scene headed east on Laguna Canyon Rd.

A witness followed the Mercedes, which was last seen going northbound on the 73 toll road with damage to the front left fender area. No license plate was available to police according to Kravetz.

Police ask that anyone with information call 497-0701.

Need a ride? Steal a car then go to jail

A Laguna Beach woman finished dinner at Mozambique Wednesday night then went to the valet station as most of the restaurant’s customers do. Only she wasn’t there to give them her parking ticket to get her car.

Police say Allison Susan Goode, 31, Laguna Beach, just reached around and snatched a set of keys. She walked around the lot using the key fob to locate the car until the horn sounded on a 2008 black Nissan Frontier. Goode then allegedly hopped in and drove away.

The whole thing was captured on the restaurant’s video surveillance system.

The owner came to retrieve his truck from the valet after dinner about 30 minutes later and it became evident that the theft had occurred. Police responded at 11:01 p.m.

After police viewed the video, employees inside the restaurant realized that the suspect had dined with two men and that one of them had used a credit card. The cops ran the man’s name through their computer and went to his home.

Captain Jason Kravetz said in an email, “The officers obtained the name of the female suspect and went to her home in Arch Beach Heights.  Learning that she no longer resided there, they tracked down an acquaintance of hers in South Laguna.”

Officers drove to the Mar Vista Dr address of the acquaintance and there was the stolen Nissan – parked in an adjacent driveway.

The cops knocked on the acquaintance’s door and found Goode inside with the Nissan’s keys in her purse. She was arrested for two felonies – auto theft and possession of stolen property.

Kravetz said Goode was taken into custody at 1:05 a.m. Thursday – just two hours after they had received the call. “The case was all put together through the interviews the officers did with all of the witnesses and the computer checks by the dispatchers.

“I’m proud of the ‘good police work’ done by many members of our staff.”

Golf tourney to benefit drug education – 2012 Drug Use is Life Abuse Golf Invitational at El Niguel Oct 15

The 16th Annual Drug Use is Life Abuse Golf Invitational will be presented by the Board of Directors of Drug Use is Life Abuse (DUILA) and the OC Sheriff’s Dept. on Monday October 15 at El Niguel Country Club in Laguna Niguel.

The tourney will provide a truly exceptional golf experience including outstanding tee prizes at every hole on the golf course, on-course contests, and silent and live auctions. Past prizes have included designer sunglasses, jewelry and golf accessories.  Auction items will include exclusive experiences such as resort vacations and luxury packages.

Major sponsors for the tournament include Diageo, Nolet Spirits and Ketel One. Additional sponsors include AT&T, Hyundai Motor of America, Kaiser Permanente and UPS.

Tournament proceeds will underwrite school-based prevention programs to address youth substance abuse and violence. The founders of DUILA established the organization in 1987 when street drugs caused the death of 12 Orange County youth and factored heavily in violent incidents that killed or permanently injured many more. Since then, DUILA’s prevention programs, support activities and community outreach have impacted thousands of youth. The organization has received national and Presidential acclaim, and their programs have been replicated in numerous U.S. and international communities.

Registration is $6,000 per foursome or $1,500 per golfer, which includes breakfast, lunch, on-course refreshments and tee prizes, a Ketel One Vodka reception and dinner. Limited golf spots are still available. For more information, visit DUILA’s website at www.duila.org or call 714-647-4135.

25-year-old Laguna Beach woman scammed online arrested Wednesday on felony charges

Editor’s Note: StuNewsLaguna has elected not to name the arrested woman.

A 25-year-old Laguna Beach resident was charged with grand theft and commercial burglary (both felonies) Wednesday morning when she attempted to withdraw funds from an account, which police said had been flagged by Wells Fargo Bank for fraudulent activity.

Sergeant Louise Callus said that the woman, a 2005 LBHS graduate, had previously met a male through Yahoo Chat who lived in Texas.

“She fell in love with the man who promised her he would move to California to live with and take care of her.

“He asked her to open accounts at Wells Fargo and other banks so that he could send her money.” Callus advised.

Police had interviewed her at Wells Fargo after she entered the bank Wednesday at 10:30. An employee immediately called police and she was subsequently arrested.

Callus said that the man from Texas would transfer money from other people’s accounts and send the Laguna woman the money. “He would then have her wire money to people on his behalf from the accounts she’d opened in her name.”

While police would not release much more because the case is an ongoing investigation, the police log entry said that the bank was aware of the fraudulent transfer of the funds from another woman’s account into the arrested woman’s account. That action is apparently what flagged the account.

Some people can’t bear hitting the big ‘five oh’

George Jess Teague, III of Laguna Woods celebrated his fiftieth birthday on Monday and he was obviously unhappy as the events of the day transpired.

He was arrested for DUI with a prior –

He was arrested for felony battery on a police officer causing visual injuries –

He was arrested for driving on a license suspended for a DUI conviction –

He was arrested for not having evidence of vehicle registration –

His probation officer terminated his probation

Police said a motor officer pulled over Teague’s car at 4:54 p.m. after seeing him driving on the wrong side of the roadway on Broadway at Beach Street. Teague allegedly had the odor of alcohol on his breath and refused to identify himself. When the officer told him to exit his car so that field sobriety tests could be administered, Teague informed him that he would not take any tests and refused again to get out of his car.

Sgt. Louise Callus said that when Teague did get out of the car, “…he became combative. He attempted to kick the officer, who with the help of another officer, was able to take him into custody after a brief struggle.”

Handcuffed, the officer placed Teague into the rear seat of his patrol car and leaned over to buckle his seatbelt.

“Teague bit the officer on the hand,” Callus said.

He spent the remainder of his birthday behind bars.

OC Sheriff seeks person of interest in fatal hit and run

Just before 4 a.m. on Friday, September 7, the OC Sheriff’s deputies responded to a call about a man down at the intersection of Golden Lantern and Marina Hills.  The victim, Carlos Eduardo Salas, 20, of Laguna Niguel, was riding a skateboard and was apparently struck by a black 1998 Nissan Maxima.

Salas was stuck from behind and dragged approximately 25-30 feet across the intersection.  The young man later died at Mission Hospital from his injuries.  The vehicle was later found unoccupied on Sea Glen in Laguna Niguel.

The registered owner of the vehicle is Urbano Carrasco Martinez, known as Mario Urbano Carrasco Martinez, 29, of Laguna Niguel.  Martinez has not returned home and has not shown up to work since the collision.

A witness described the driver of the Nissan as a Hispanic male, mid 20’s with clean-cut hair.  Martinez is described as a male, Hispanic, 25-30 years old, 5’2”, 160 pounds with dark clean cut hair and brown eyes.

The Sheriff’s Dept. is interested in speaking with Martinez regarding the involvement of his vehicle in this collision.  Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Martinez is asked to contact the Orange County Traffic Bureau at 949-425-1860.  Anonymous tips can also be submitted at 855-TIP-OCCS (855-847-6227) or at occrimestoppers.org.

Two vehicular fatalities here in two days

Two victims of vehicle crashes died this week – in two days – the first fatalities on Laguna roadways in 2012.

An 80-year-old Laguna Beach woman identified as Virginia Worthington died at hospital Wednesday from fatal injuries suffered when she was struck by a car on High Drive near the entrance to Allview Terrace in North Laguna.

A vehicle driven by an unidentified North Laguna man on his way home from work was on High Drive when the elderly woman walked into the roadway from Allview Terrace and was struck. Police said she suffered major blunt force injuries and was transported to Mission Hospital Laguna Beach where she was pronounced dead.

The driver lives nearby, police said, and is an acquaintance of the victims’ family.

The accident happened at about 5:30 p.m., police said.

Zachary Schwartz, 37, Manhattan Beach, died at Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo Tuesday afternoon from injuries sustained when his motorcycle t-boned a car as he was passing traffic on Laguna Canyon Rd in the center lane at midday Sunday.

We reported the crash in our Tuesday edition.

In heavy traffic, a truck stopped to allow a car to turn left from the dog park to head west on Laguna Canyon Rd. The 71-year-old unnamed Laguna Beach man was struck by Schwartz’s motorcycle and Schwartz suffered major traumatic injuries to his pelvic and abdominal areas according to a witness at the scene.

A witness said that the motorcycle had passed vehicles near Big Bend a minute or so before the crash, “…at a high rate of speed…”

Schwartz underwent surgery Sunday afternoon at Mission Hospital and never regained consciousness, police said.

He had been in Laguna Beach for the weekend visiting friends and was heading home when the crash occurred.

Laguna man gets 10 years in state prison for lewd acts on a child and possession of child pornography

Mathew Macul Fahey, 50, was sentenced Friday in by an Orange County judge to ten years in state prison for two counts of lewd acts on a child under 14 and possession of child pornography.

Laguna Beach police searched his apartment in Aliso Viejo in June of 2008 and detectives discovered hundreds of images of graphic child pornography and sexy-lingerie erotica featuring little girls appearing to be between infancy and 14 years old.

He was investigated first for molesting an 11-year-old girl in Laguna Beach. Police said he met the girl when she stopped to pet his dog as he was walking during the day in the summer of 2001. He claimed to be a professional photographer and arranged to photograph her on two occasions with her mother present after he convinced them the child could be a model.

On Sept. 5, 2001, Fahey is accused of instructing the child to remove her clothes during a photo shoot in his Laguna Beach studio while the victim’s mother was not present. The victim complied out of fear. Fahey touched and photographed the victim’s privates and instructed her not to tell her mother.

In April 2008, the girl disclosed the sexual assault against her to a high school counselor. Subsequent investigation by LBPD led to the filing of charges for the offense against the girl and an 8-year-old daughter of his live-in girlfriend in 1997. The second girl’s mother came forward after police contacted her while investigating Fahey’s background. A third victim was also located but Fahey was not charged in that case from 1991 (also an 8-year-old girl) because the statute of limitations had expired.

At the time of his arrest on March 12, 2009, Fahey was working as a 9th grade English teacher in Blythe, Riverside County, at Palo Verde High School.  Between 2003 and 2004, the defendant taught at Corona del Mar High School.

Two injured drivers split from the scene of crashes early Wednesday morning

91 hit and run crashes in Laguna Beach since Jan 1

“We’ve had 450 vehicle crashes in town since January first,” Capt. Jason Kravetz of the Laguna Beach Police Dept said Thursday. And 91 have been hit and run.”

He explained that Laguna’s narrow streets are responsible for many fender-benders where moving vehicles sideswipe parked vehicles knocking off side mirrors or doing other minor damage by drivers who left the scene.

Many, however, are injury accidents and in the recent past, there have been fatalities resulting from hit and run crashes.

On Wednesday morning – early Wednesday morning – police responded to a pair of injury hit and run crashes. One call came in at 4:15 and the other at 4:52.

Both were single car crashes and both vehicles apparently had only a driver.

Several callers reported the 4:15 crash.

Sgt. Louise Callus said that when officers arrived, they learned that a witness had seen a male driver run away after extricating himself from the pickup that was on it’s side in the area of S. Coast Hwy and Solana Way. No description was given.

At 4:52 a.m., a caller reported that an outbound vehicle had crashed into the bridge that leads off Laguna Canyon Road to the alternative sleeping facility.

“Officers arrived and found the abandoned vehicle at the bridge that had blood splattered over the driver’s area and on the steering wheel,” said Callus.

The male driver was described as wearing a T-shirt and khaki shorts and carrying a green colored bag.

Police were able to learn the registered owners of both vehicles. Sgt. Callus gave no details except to say that police are investigating both crashes.

Honoring our fallen heroes: the new OC Peace Officer’s Memorial

Charged with protecting those they serve, police officers put themselves in harm’s way to enforce the law. Unfortunately, some officers pay the ultimate price, laying down their own life in valiant service of others.

In honor of these fallen heroes, the Sheriff’s Advisory Council and the Orange County Chiefs’ of Police and Sheriff’s Association (OCCPSA) are constructing a new Orange County Peace Officer’s Memorial Monument at the Regional Training Facility in Tustin. The existing Memorial Monument is located in Santa Ana but age and ongoing deterioration have taken its toll on the structure.

Artist rendering

The new monument will honor the 51 law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty in Orange County. Among the fallen, is Sergeant Matthew R. Davis. Davis began his career with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department in 1986. While assigned to patrol, he received numerous citizen commendations from the community and was honored by Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) for his continual efforts to keep drunk drivers off the roads.

Nearly a decade ago, on Sept. 20, 2002, Sergeant Davis was involved in a traffic collision while on duty as a motorcycle officer in Mission Viejo. A driver pulled out in front of Davis at an intersection. Despite heroic medical efforts, he succumbed to his injuries two days later.

“This memorial allows us to keep Matt’s memory alive. We do not ever want people to forget him and his sacrifice,” states Mary Huffman, Davis’ mother who also serves as the Executive Director of Southern California Concerns of Police Survivors. “The current memorial is nice, but I can’t touch it. When I touch Matt’s name, it makes him real.” Huffman also states, “The new benches will allow surviving family members to sit and remember our loved ones.”

In addition to being very accessible to visitors, the memorial will include the walls of honor, water features and heroic-size bronze statuary. It will also feature the Walk of Heroes, a prominent path approaching the monument that will display a limited number of commemorative brick pavers. Pavers can be purchased for a minimum donation of $200 and provides community members with an opportunity to show their support for law enforcement officers in Orange County.

The construction of the new memorial is estimated at $1.4 million. To date, approximately half the funds have been raised through donations from individuals, foundations and corporations. All proceeds from the Walk of Heroes brick paver program will help to underwrite the Peace Officer Memorial Monument construction and maintenance fund. This is a limited opportunity and community members are encouraged to reserve their pavers today.

For information, visit www.ocpeaceofficersmemorial.com.

Police Files

Creative trespassing – 101

Just when you think you’ve written just about everything in 15 years of covering what’s up re: police files in this town, something new hits the pages of the police log.

Shortly before 1 a.m. Sunday, a hotel on S. Coast Hwy requested police assistance for a disturbance inside a room. Guests had complained about a man and woman arguing loudly.

Officers arrived and eventually convinced the arguing couple to open the door – of a room they had not been assigned.

Sgt. Louise Callus said the couple had been given another room when they had checked in earlier on Saturday night.

“The somewhat intoxicated female left that room via the balcony, crawled across the roof and entered an adjacent room.”

The husband somehow managed to also get into the adjacent room and they renewed their loud disagreement.

“Both the male and female were removed from the hotel and left the area in separate cabs,” explained Callus.

Fast forward to 3:25 a.m. and officers returned to the hotel for a disturbance in the adjacent room – the one where the couple had been removed from the hotel.

The person inside refused to open the door and police used a hotel master key to make entry.

Inside was the same female – alone.

Police were uncertain how she made her way back inside but suspect that she may have once again somehow managed to climb onto the roof – no easy task.

Amber A. Steel, 35, Omaha, was arrested for illegal lodging, a misdemeanor.

Bounty hunter, a woman, says publicist will be made to disappear if she doesn’t get her on a reality TV show

A woman who lives in North Laguna called police about what she felt was a violent threat.

According to the police log, the caller was concerned when a couple (the husband is an attorney and the wife a bounty hunter) from San Bernardino told her they would make her ‘disappear’ if the caller didn’t get the bounty hunter a spot on a reality TV show.

The caller said she is a television production publicist.

Police responded to her call and took an informational report.

Sgt. Callus explained, “There is no specific crime at the moment.”

Police explain the helicopter over downtown Saturday

Folks all over the downtown area late Saturday afternoon couldn’t help but notice a low-flying helicopter flying along Coast Hwy and then circling the area between Cleo Street and Legion Street for sometime.

Sgt. George Ramos, the watch commander at the time, said a Huntington Beach Police copter had followed a suspect DUI driver along Coast Hwy into Laguna Beach. The pilot requested assistance from LBPD ground units – normal protocol.

“Our officers made a car stop near Coast Hwy and Sleepy Hollow,” Ramos said.

It was soon determined that the driver was not under the influence and that information was relayed to the copter circling overhead.

“An officer serving as the spotter had us issue a citation for traffic offenses to the driver using his badge number and name as the arresting officer.”

Fire Chief Kris Head announces his retirement

The City announced that Fire Chief Kris Head gave notice of his retirement, effective Oct. 29. Chief Head, 51, has served as Fire Chief since March 2010 and has been a member of the Laguna Beach Fire Department for nearly 28 years. He began his firefighting career with the City of Buena Park in ’83, and was hired by the City as a probationary firefighter in ‘84. Chief Head graduated from paramedic school in ‘88 and was instrumental in the implementation of the first paramedic unit in the Laguna’s Fire Department. He was promoted to Captain in ‘89, Battalion Chief in 2004, Division Chief in 2007, and to Fire Chief in 2010.

“It has been a privilege and an honor to serve this community,” said Chief Head. “I have every bit of confidence that this organization will continue its fine tradition of providing quality services to the citizens, businesses, and visitors of Laguna Beach.

“On behalf of the City of Laguna Beach, we would like to extend our thanks to Chief Head for his years of service to the City, the Fire Department, and the Laguna Beach community and we wish him the very best in his retirement,” said City Manager John Pietig. “Kris’ experience, leadership and dedication will be missed.”

Just Sunday, Chief Head was on-scene at the fire near Ruby’s ensuring that appropriate measures were in place to protect the community.

Chief Head is looking forward to spending time with his wife and children during retirement.

Police Files

Dirty Diapers continue to be dumped on Coast Hwy near Emerald Bay – 17 such incidents since June 27

Bundles of soiled adult diapers have been tossed from a vehicle(s) on N. Coast Hwy in the southbound lanes in the vicinity of Emerald Bay. Police say there have been 17 such reports since June 27. The most recent report was at 3:21 a.m. Monday.

Similar incidents have been reported in Corona del Mar – where the nasty deeds first began in the summer of 2011 and are continuing.

Police say the plastic/paper diapers are dumped in bundles then are torn apart and, with their contents, spewed across the highway as unsuspecting drivers run over them.

Extra patrol checks will be made in the area, according to police. It is suspected that a

driver(s) with a disposal service company may be the culprit.

Anyone with information can call LBPD at 497-0701 x 1.


Ever wonder why there are so many warrant arrests?

Regular readers of our Police Beat will see that there are always numerous warrant arrests in Laguna Beach.

In some instances, the police know that an individual is wanted whom officers know and are always looking for them as they go about routine patrol duties.

Police check the ID and run every person they have contact with for wants and warrants, primarily for their own safety. That includes people making police reports and those who come to the station to pick up property.

But most of the time, people who have warrants just don’t pay attention.

Take for instance a Lake Forest man who became aggravated with a homeless woman with a dog at Main Beach last Sunday afternoon.

He was just trying to have a leisurely time at the beach with his family and became upset when the woman “was in his face”, as he told the dispatcher. He also said she seemed ‘unstable’ and his daughter was getting scared.

Officers arrived and arrested Lina Mishelle Kreymer, 39, no fixed address, on a charge of being drunk in public. Animal services took custody of her dog.

The caller’s ID was run – and the poor guy had a warrant for his arrest.

Steven Jon Follnow, 43, was arrested for a Central OC Court warrant with charges of impersonating fire personnel and possession of a false birth certificate. Both charges are misdemeanors. Bail for the bond was $15,000.

According to police, his wife took care of their daughter.

Police Files

License plates are required and the VIN must always be visible – Irvine man learned that the hard way

A Laguna Beach police officer came across a parked BMW with no license plates late Sunday afternoon in the downtown area. Protocol directs the officer to enter the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) found on the dashboard into the system to verify that the car isn’t stolen. This time, the VIN was covered leaving only one option – call a tow truck.

The BMW was impounded and shortly after five o’clock, the station received a call from the owner who was informed of the situation.

He and a friend arrived at the police station and they both were somewhat miffed that the officer hadn’t opened the unlocked car to move what was covering the VIN. They both told Stu News that only in Laguna Beach would this happen.

“A woman who works in a store nearby where we’d parked said there was a mean parking guy here who towed all the time. She said he was a real jerk,” the friend added.

It took awhile, but the records clerk was able to patiently explain that the towing was a state law and that police cannot go around opening car doors without a search warrant, which would have been obtained had he not come to the station.

He was told that if he could prove ownership, the car could be released. He provided the license plate number so that the registered owner’s name could be checked. He gave his name, which matched the DMV records, and was asked for his driver’s license. Well, it was in the glove compartment.

The police officer, in fact a female officer, not a “mean parking guy”, who towed the BMW arrived and asked why the plates were not in the car. “I had it fully detailed and just forgot to put them back on,” said the Irvine man. He added that the detailing had been done two weeks ago.

He gave the officer permission to go to the tow yard and enter the car to retrieve his wallet and the registration and verify the plates were in the pocket in the door.


The officer checked his name and sure enough, Rey Denzo Razemi, 40, was wanted on a warrant by the LA Sheriff’s office. The warrant contained charges of DUI, hit and run and resisting arrest. Bail for the warrant was $30,000.

The officer returned to the station and informed Razemi that she’d confirmed that he was the car’s owner and then told him he was under arrest for the warrant. With his history of not cooperating with police, several other officers were there too.

He was placed in handcuffs without incident.

The BMW remained in the tow yard.


Setting up house – with a sense of humor?

The Police log says that a patrol unit was dispatched to a “vacant home” in the 3300 block of Alta Laguna Blvd at 2:32 Saturday afternoon after someone had “set up house” there.

Photos courtesy LBPD

The officer arrived and quickly saw this was no vacant home. A couch and rug and a coffee table were placed on an empty lot that is at the end of Alta Laguna that has Design Review Board story poles up.

Click on photo for a larger image

A breezy room with a view!

One of the story poles was broken, police said, and a vandalism report was taken!

Chief Workman releases prelim version of the proposed Social Host Ordinance with talking points for City Council

LBPD Chief Paul Workman posted details about an information meeting and a preliminary version of the proposed social host ordinance that will be considered for adoption by the City Council in November on the city’s website Wednesday.

In addition to the information contained in the PDF (download below), the Chief of Police will conduct a Community Informational Meeting at the City Council Chambers on Oct 3, 2012 at 6 p.m.

After a presentation by the Police Department, members of the public will be invited to give input, share ideas, comment about concerns, and discuss the Social Host Ordinance.

The City Council is expected to hear the item in November.

Download a PDF of Chief Workman’s posting

Disaster Preparedness Month – LBPD urges residents to register for September 20 AlertOC Regional Test

September is National Disaster Preparedness month and the City of Laguna Beach urges residents to register their contact information with AlertOC, the regional mass notification system.

Emergencies can happen at any time.  A wildfire could spread or an unexpected flood closes roads to a neighborhood while residents are away from home.  In these instances, AlertOC is a critical link for residents to immediately learn of any required actions.

All Laguna Beach home phone numbers are already preregistered with the program.  Citizens wishing to add their cell phones, work phones, email addresses, and TDD/TTY devices to the system can do so by logging into www.AlertOC.com

On Sept 20 at 10 a.m., Laguna Beach will be participating in a regional test.  The exercise is designed to test the ability to reach both residents and businesses. The AlertOC regional test is estimated to reach two million Orange County residents.  Register today and make it two million and one!

Police Files

Escalating domestic violence stopped by wife

LBPD Sgt. Louise Callus pieced together a frightening report taken Monday night at 10:28 in the 200 block of Upland Road.

“A 9-1-1 call was received reference a domestic violence between a husband and wife. Responding officers made contact with them and learned that she had called.

“The investigation revealed that the two had been arguing earlier and it became physical when the husband threw the wife onto a hardwood floor.”

Callus said the woman tried to call a friend for help, but the husband grabbed the cell phone away from her. She ran from the house on foot to the friend’s home several blocks away…there was no answer at the door.

Callus went on to explain, “The husband arrived in his car, physically picked up his wife, and forced her into then car and drove home. She was able to leave his presence using a ruse, and called 9-1-1.”

The husband was arrested for kidnapping and domestic battery. An Emergency Protective Orders was issued and the husband was transported to county jail.


Trying to fool the cops just about always fails

David Ernesto Herrera, 47 of Colton, was arrested for drunk driving Labor Day evening at a little after seven o’clock. He had a prior conviction.

When officers began to place him in handcuffs, police said, he tried to stop them and had to be restrained at the scene on North Coast Hwy near Crescent Bay Drive.

During his booking, evidence surfaced that this wasn’t really David Ernesto Herrera – a real person who really does have a DUI on his record.

The reason for “Herrera’s” resistance to being arrested came out when it was learned that he was actually Costa Mesa resident Robert Lee Cardenas, 47.

“Cardenas was wanted out of Colorado as a parolee at large and for felony larceny,” said Sgt. Callus.

The Colorado warrant had no bail.

He was booked for the warrant, resisting arrest and false personation that could have resulted in criminal charges against a real person and taken to county jail where he will be held until extradited to Colorado.

Woman steals car with purse inside on Park Ave near LBHS – uses credit card at McDonald’s

A woman described as having grayish-blond hair and in her 50s or 60s drove off in a silver 2012 VW Jetta that she stole Friday afternoon near the community pool on Park Avenue across for the high school.

Police said the car’s owner reported that she’d used the pool and left her purse in the locker room. When she discovered that her purse with her wallet and keys was missing, she went to where she had parked the Jetta and saw that it too was missing.

She called police at 3:24.

An animal services officer reported seeing a Jetta with a suspect possibly matching the description outbound on Laguna Canyon Road not far from El Toro Road but was unable to stay close enough in traffic to know where the VW was heading according to the police log.

26 minutes after the theft was reported, police learned that a credit card that was in the victim’s purse had been used at a McDonald’s in Lake Forest. The victim had called her husband to contact the credit card companies, etc. The OC Sheriff’s Dept was immediately dispatched there but the VW wasn’t located.

Police are asking the public for help from anyone who was at the community pool Friday afternoon that might have seen the suspect.

MTV Laguna Beach cast member arrested for DUI

Laguna Beach police arrested Talan Torriero, the heartthrob of MTV’s Laguna Beach Season 2 TV show, early Saturday morning for suspicion of driving under the influence.

He was pulled over at 12:33 a.m. in the 200 block of Brooks Street after an officer saw him make an illegal left turn from Coast Highway in. Police said he was cooperative and was released on his own recognizance when he was deemed sober on Saturday.

Torriero, 25, received notoriety after he was linked with starlet Lindsay Lohan in 2006 after being engaged to Rod Stewart’s daughter Kimberly when he was 19 and she was 26. At 20, he was linked with singer Nicole Scherzinger, 29.

Torriero dropped out of Laguna Beach High School after MTV Laguna Beach Season 2 and obtained his GED.

Police Files

$20,000 in personal items stolen when people holding a moving sale weren’t vigilant with the things in the driveway

Items valued at $20,000 were lifted by unknown suspects from a driveway in the 300 block of Center Street during a moving sale.

The homeowner realized the loss a few weeks after the sale, police said.

The stolen items included a Persian rug, two Italian watercolors and antiques.

Police said they believe that thieves drive around checking out garage and driveway sales and size up whether or not a single seller can be distracted if valuable items are being offered. They wait for other people to show up then swoop in.

One person will distract the seller while an accomplice makes off with the more valuable items.

Police suggest that at least three adults ought to be involved at each such sale with one responsible for watching out for possible theft.  


Complaint about a man and woman in the woman’s rest room ends with the woman held without bail for parole violation

A caller reported to police that a man and a woman were together inside the woman’s restroom at the bus station on Broadway at 8:12 Sunday evening.

Officers arrived and the caller pointed out the woman who had just come out of the restroom.

Sgt. Louise Callus of LBPD said, “She appeared intoxicated, stated she was on parole and a call was placed to her parole officer who placed a parole hold on her.”

Michelle Susan Culberson, 30, of Laguna Beach was taken into custody without bail on a parole violation.

15-yr-old with alcohol poisoning airlifted off beach

Police and fire units responded to Lighthouse Cove (just north of Three Arch Beach) around 7 p.m. Thursday for a report of a swimmer in distress.

On scene they discovers that a 15-year-old boy was semi-conscious from severe alcohol poisoning, police said.

Lighthouse Cove is a tight cove with access from private steps. Paramedics called for a helicopter to airlift the boy off the beach and he was taken to Mission Trauma Center in Mission Viejo after about 60 minutes on the beach.

A nearby resident told StuNews that the boy had been at 10th St Beach with a group of friends and that when he had become unresponsive, they elected to swim him home (it isn’t known where he lives) or to a parked vehicle. They apparently grew tired and had to come ashore at Lighthouse Cove.

Protocol will result in his family being billed for the costs including the helicopter.

Woman claims that another woman slapped her arm while she was eating a cupcake in her car

After lunch Tuesday, LBPD Captain Jason Kravetz said a woman called 9-1-1 from the parking lot at 303 Broadway. “She claimed that she was slapped on the arm by an employee of a nearby clothing store.”

She told officers on scene that she had difficulty parking in order to buy a cupcake because the car next to where she ultimately parked was parked over the line. She pulled into two parking places and went in to Casey’s to buy the cupcake.

She returned to her car and began eating her cupcake.

“The car next to her left just after she began to enjoy her cupcake leaving her alone in her car, eating a cupcake, and taking two spaces,” according to Kravetz.

“An employee of the clothing store told the officers that she had a customer circling around trying to find a parking space. She walked out of her store with her dog and asked the woman to move her car.  She said the woman told her to, ‘Get the F out of here.’ According to the employee, the woman began screaming at her and this caused her dog to jump up onto the open driver’s side window. She denied that she slapped the other woman.”

Kravetz said both women had conflicting stories leading the officers to eschew arresting anyone at the scene. LBPD will be sending the report to the District Attorney’s office for a review and possible criminal filing for battery.

Cops solve fraud, theft from AIDS Services Foundation

Laguna Beach detectives traced down the identity and home address of the suspect who allegedly wrote fraudulent checks at an AIDS Services Foundation auction, Red Ball II gala, on Sept 24 of last year.

The suspect purchased a table for $5,000 and $11,480 in auction items at the events and all of his checks were returned. ASF filed a fraud report earlier this month after numerous attempts to contact the man and unfulfilled promises to pay.

The suspect claimed to live in Bel Air but actually lived in Cypress.

Police learned he was on probation and conducted a probation search, which does not require a warrant, at his residence Thursday.

Several auction items were found there and the man admitted to the details of the crime.

No arrest was made Thursday due to the 34-year-old man’s physical problems. HIPPA laws prevent police from detailing his medical problems.

Police will continue their investigation and expect to submit a report to the District Attorney requesting felony charges of fraud, insufficient funds and theft.

Captain Jason Kravetz said police expect the DA to file the criminal charges within the next two weeks.

This man’s ring was engaging – too engaging

While on routine patrol in the 400 block of Hill Street just past noon on Saturday, a LBPD sergeant was flagged down by a couple who were concerned about a man in a vehicle with the windows rolled up.

They told him that they had heard moaning coming from the area of the parked car the night before. They were on their way to breakfast Saturday morning when they observed a man in the car and believed he might be deceased.

That didn’t dissuade them from their breakfast plans, however. After returning they flagged down the officer and asked that he check on the man.

Captain Jason Kravetz said in an email, “The Sergeant contacted him and saw that he was soaking wet from sweat and also pale white. He said he had passed out in the vehicle the previous evening and was severely dehydrated.

“When asked to stand up, he was not able to, because he had a bag of ice on his groin and was suffering from a metal ring stuck on his penis.”

He added that he had taken a “Superman” form of Viagra and placed the 2” diameter metal ring on his penis three days ago. After engaging in intercourse, he was still unable to remove the ring, police said.

After three days of trying to remove the ring, he went to a friend’s home in Laguna Beach for help.

Kravetz explained, “The man was in extreme pain and asked for medical assistance from LBFD.  After the medics explained to him that the tourniquet like ring could permanently injure his penis if not drained, he insisted on trying to remove it himself. He was provided privacy and used a tube of lubricating jelly to successfully remove the ring.

“He was then able to drive himself to the hospital.”

Editor’s Note: The ad says “after four hours – not four days…”

PD’s next 12-week Citizen Academy set for Sept 6

The Laguna Beach Police Department is accepting applications for the Citizen Academy. The academy starts Thursday Sept 6, 2012 and will meet from 6 to 9:30 p.m. for twelve consecutive weeks (the thirteenth week is graduation).

Applications will be accepted until August 23.

The Citizen Academy is a 12-week non-stress course designed to provide community members with a better understanding of the Laguna Beach Police Department and to help foster better communications between police personnel and citizens.   The Academy will include instruction in the following areas: History of the Laguna Beach Police Department, investigations, traffic enforcement, accident investigation, driving under the influence investigation, gangs, narcotics, neighborhood watch, crime prevention, crime scene investigation, police K-9 program and volunteer programs.  There will also be a tour of the police facility as well as vehicles and equipment used by the department. Academy members will be given the chance to shoot at the police firing range and participate in mock scenarios.  There is also a tour of the Orange County Jail.

To obtain an application and announcement for the Citizen Academy, contact the Laguna Beach Police Department at (949) 497-0701. For questions regarding this program, contact Class Assistant Ross Fallah at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Captain Darin Lenyi at (949) 497-0375 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Applications are mailed, faxed or emailed to you upon request.

Police Files

Parking Services Prius needs a new paint job after chemical dousing

A parking services officer parked her marked Prius in the 200 block of Calliope St Monday morning and set about checking for parking violators in the general area.

When she returned, she saw that a chemical, which police believe was a highly toxic naval jelly-type solvent used for rust removal, had been thrown or poured on the police vehicle.

The police log said she told the dispatcher that the “…paint was melting” in some spots on the Toyota Prius. The damaged car was towed.

Captain Jason Kravetz said. “The Prius will need a new paint job and the damage is estimated at $3,000. We don’t have any suspect information at this time.”


A boutique’s video surveillance and a credit card catch a thief

The owner of a boutique in the 300 block of Forest Ave made a routine check of the store’s video surveillance tape for prior business days this past Monday, which revealed a woman tearing the price tag off of a $59 tank top. She placed the item in her purse, police said.

They know her name.

The owner recognized the woman because she had made a purchase that same day at the store.

She used her credit card.

No arrests have been made and detectives are investigating further.


Four Dana Point teens rip off Rip Curl – then use trolley for getaway

The manager of Rip Curl in the 1000 block of S. Coast Hwy watched four juvenile males swipe a pair of skimboards from the store late Monday afternoon.

“She was amazed that they got on the free trolley headed southbound,” said Captain Kravetz.

The manager called 9-1-1 and followed the trolley until the four got off at Salt Creek Beach where three of them were detained. “One managed to run off when he saw police arrive.”

Police issued a citation to one Dana Point boy for theft and released him to his parent at the scene. The case will be turned over to county juvenile for disposition.

The skimboards, valued at $300 each, were recovered by the diligent manager.

Spectacular dog rescue by Animal Services

Photos courtesy LB Fire Dept

Click on photo for a larger image


Animal Services officer John Thompson with the rescued Pit Bull at Contino Pt.

A loose Pit Bull led Laguna’s Animal Services officers on quite a chase Monday afternoon. After it had been running loose in the downtown area for as much as two hours, it made it’s way to Shaw’s Cove Beach around 4:40 p.m. according to police.

Reader Scott Borthwick was at Shaw’s Cove and pieced together this account:

“Apparently someone ‘dumped’ a Pit Bull in downtown Laguna from out of town. The dog escaped attempts to capture it and led Animal Services officers from downtown to Park and Legion St. – really fast.

From there, the frightened dog led officers north to Shaw’s Cove where it ran down to the steps to the beach and headed north along the rocks.”

Police said the dog ran up the cliff face below Contino Point off Marine Drive and became stuck about halfway up the cliff face.

“Animal Services Officer John Thompson was lowered 20 feet down to the ledge and was able to safely rescue the animal. It was transported to the Animal Shelter for treatment of very minor injuries,” said Captain Jason Kravetz.

Police added, “The owner of the dog is unknown. Also present during the rescue were Firefighters, Marine Safety Officers, other police officers and ASO Joy Falk.”

Click on photo for a larger image


ASO John Thompson being lowered down the cliff face to the Pit Bull

DUI saturation patrols on the lookout for drunk drivers today through the Labor Day weekend

Laguna Beach police and all other OC agencies remind us: “Do not drink and drive in Orange County”. The Orange County “Avoid the 38” DUI Task Force is partnering with law enforcement throughout the state for the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign Aug 17 to Sept 3, 2012.

The Task Force will be aggressively looking for all impaired drivers during the crackdown and will arrest anyone they find driving impaired.

DUI/ Driver’s License Checkpoints, Multi Agency DUI Task Force deployments and roving DUI patrols are scheduled locally in partnership with law enforcement nationwide during the Summer/Labor Day Campaign.

The crime of impaired driving is a serious one. In 2010 alone, 791 people died in California in crashes in which a driver or motorcycle rider was at or above the legal limit. The age group with the highest percentage of alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities in motor vehicle traffic crashes was the 21-to-24 year old age group.

On average there is one alcohol impaired driving-related fatality every 51 minutes across America. Research has shown that high-visibility enforcement like the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign can reduce these fatalities by as much as 20 percent.

“We hope the campaign will remind people that if they plan on drinking, to never get behind the wheel,” said Deputy Wayne Howard with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department Traffic Bureau. “But if someone does choose to drive impaired, we will arrest them. No warnings. No excuses.”

According to the Task Force, violators will face jail time, loss of their driver licenses, or be sentenced to use ignition interlocks. Their insurance rates go up and other financial implications may include attorney fees, court costs, lost time at work, and the potential loss of job or job prospects. When family, friends and co-workers find out, violators can also face tremendous personal embarrassment and humiliation.

The “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” crackdown is led by the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), with the California Avoid DUI Task Force Campaign combining high-visibility enforcement, heightened public awareness and impaired driving deterrence through publicity.

The California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration who reminds everyone to report drunk driving – call 911 if you suspect someone is driving impaired – provides Grant funding for the Avoid Campaign.

LBHS Schedules



Friday, January 20

Girls Water Polo

@ Corona del Mar – 5 p.m.

Boys Soccer

@ Estancia – 5:30

Boys Basketball

@ Estancia – 7 p.m.


Saturday, January 21

Girls Water Polo 

Mater Dei – 2 p.m.


Tuesday, January 24

Girls Soccer

Saddleback – 5 p.m.

Girls Basketball

Saddleback – 7 p.m.


Wednesday, January 25

Girls Water Polo

@ Costa Mesa – 3:15

Boys Soccer

Saddleback – 6:30

Boys Basketball

Saddleback – 7 p.m.



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