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Volume 15, Issue 23  | March 21, 2023Subscribe

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Police Files

Spate of vandalism leaves local businesses reeling

A recent spate of vandalism in Laguna Beach has left a number of local businesses already affected by the COVID-19 pandemic reeling further.

On Wednesday, July 22 at 11:34 a.m., LBPD officers responded to Main Street Bar & Cabaret, 1460 South Coast Highway, regarding two front windows being broken out. It was then discovered that on the previous day (July 21), seven small windows had been broken out and a grocery bag containing five bottles had been thrown into the business. 

“Inside the bottles was an unknown liquid, suspected to be flammable,” stated LBPD PIO Sgt. Jim Cota. “The bottles were also equipped with burned wicks. Due to the bottles not being of breakable material, this style of devices did not explode or result in a fire. Laguna Beach Fire personnel and OC Crime Lab personnel responded for crime scene processing.”

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Main Street Bar & Cabaret was vandalized this week; suspects reportedly threw flammable liquid inside the business, which thankfully did not explode or result in a fire

Main Street Bar & Cabaret owner Wendy Nelson, whose family has owned the Laguna mainstay for decades, believes the incident may have been hate-related.

“During this pandemic the local bars are unable to open – family businesses that serve the Laguna Beach community. We find the destruction endured this week at Main Street Bar, which originally opened in 1958, with seven broken windows and an accelerant thrown inside the space, is no more than a childish hatred for someone or some way of life. We pray that the culprit(s) find peace in their life and the fact that more damage did not occur to our business or the four other tenants in one of the most historic buildings in Laguna Beach. This pandemic can bring people together or tear them apart. We strive for positives within the bars' walls and encourage positives for all in their own lives.”

One week prior, on July 14, Ryan’s Art for the Soul on Forest Ave reported another disturbing vandalism incident. According to an employee, vandals drove by and “shot out” the windows with a suspected pellet gun while people were window shopping outside.

According to Sgt. Cota, “Officers were dispatched to a report of windows being broken on Forest Avenue, Glenneyre Street, and South Coast Highway near St. Ann’s. Three reports came in with a possible suspect vehicle description of a red minivan. No vehicle was located and no other broken windows were seen or reported. Three separate reports were taken to document the incident.”


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