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Newport Beach

Volume 4, Issue 74  |  September 13, 2019


Police Files

NBPD nabs alleged burglar after forced-entry residential crime reported

A Nixle alert was disseminated Saturday evening by Newport Beach Police following a reported forced-entry residential burglary in the area of Jamboree Road and University Avenue.

Upon locating the suspect, a short chase ensued with Michel Andres Quijada eventually being taken into custody at 10:11 p.m. in the 2300 block of Aralia Street. Police reportedly found burglary tools and suspected stolen items in his vehicle.

Quiljada was charged with receiving stolen property with a value greater than $950, residential burglary with a forced entry, evading a peace officer with wanton disregard, possession of burglary tools, reckless driving on the highway and conspiracy to commit a crime. 

He was arrested and held on $50,000 bail.

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

Lifeguards: On the Waterfront

Great weather, bigger surf makes for fun but somewhat dangerous beach conditions

Last week Newport Beach Lifeguards watched over an estimated 247,000 people enjoying Newport Beach. Lifeguards were busy with “awesome” beach conditions. Solid 4-6 foot surf provided by Hurricane Juliette made for great surfing conditions but was dangerous for some beachgoers.

The very warm air temperature pushed the water temperature to almost 75 degrees by Saturday afternoon. 

Lifeguard Tower A 9.10

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Lana Johnson

Lifeguards watching the beach activity from Tower A

For the weekend, 175 ocean rescues, 3,234 preventative actions, 914 public contacts and 76 medical aids were made.

Enjoy our amazing beaches and make sure you always swim near an open tower and check in with the lifeguard.

Statistics courtesy of the City of Newport Beach Fire Department/Lifeguard Operations Division.


Police Files

“Fighter” on parole arrested for allegedly attempting to burn down homeless encampment

In the early morning hours of Monday, September 2, shortly after midnight, a male suspect allegedly attempted to set fire to the brush area surrounding the homeless encampment in the area of Avocado Avenue and San Joaquin Hills Road. Located just northeast of the OCTA bus terminal, the area is home to 6-10 tents.

Upon investigating the incident, Newport Beach Police arrested Thomas Ladd McGregor, 46, of Mission Viejo. Police charged McGregor with arson of inhabited structures and for a parole violation.

While being booked into the jail, McGregor listed his occupation as a “fighter.”

His bail was set at $250,000. 

Newport Beach woman part of group charged with kidnapping, extortion and ransom

Four people, including one from Newport Beach, were charged Wednesday with multiple felonies in connection with the kidnapping of an Irvine woman and holding her for ransom.

Reha Soylular, 54, of Newport Beach, Ezra Schley, 71, and Yang “Rose” Wang, 37, both of Huntington Beach, and George Armando Medrano, 34, of Norco, were each charged with one felony count of aggravated kidnapping for ransom and extortion, one felony count of residential burglary, and one felony count of attempted extortion.

Medrano was also charged with one felony count of a felon in possession of ammunition and one misdemeanor count of possession of marijuana for sale. Schley was charged with one misdemeanor count of carrying a loaded firearm in public.

All four defendants face a minimum of seven years and a maximum sentence of life if convicted on all charges. They are currently being held at the Orange County Jail on $1 million bail.

The four defendants are accused of kidnaping Jane Doe from her Irvine apartment on August 28, 2019 in an attempt to extort a large sum of money from Jane Doe’s husband and mother-in-law. They are also accused of sending pictures of Jane Doe being held captive to Jane Doe’s husband through a phone web chatting app.

Jane Doe was previously acquainted with at least one of the defendants. Authorities believe this is an isolated incident.

Jane Doe was rescued by the Irvine Police Department after her mother-in-law called police and requested a welfare check.

“Diligent police work by the Irvine Police Department helped locate this victim before further trauma could be inflicted on her and her loved ones,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. 

“I want to express my support for the victim and family as they recover from this traumatic event,” said Irvine Police Chief Mike Hamel. “I also want to thank the men and women of the Irvine Police Department who worked tirelessly to protect the victim and arrest those responsible for committing a heinous crime in our community.”

This case is being prosecuted by Laila Nikaien of the Special Prosecutions Unit.

Vehicle blocking alley turns up meth and assault weapon

On Sunday, September 1, around noon, Newport Beach Police Officers were dispatched to the area of 18th Street and W. Bay Street on a citizen complaint of a vehicle blocking an alley.

Upon arrival, officers met with three occupants found in a Toyota Camry in the vehicle still blocking the alley as the report said. Further investigation led police to finding methamphetamine, a loaded sawed-off shotgun and black handgun. A follow-up records check of the three individuals revealed prior felony convictions.

Police arrested Diana Reynozo, 37, of Fullerton, Rudy Allen Gomez, 53, of Garden Grove and Johnny Jose Perez, 37, of Santa Ana.

Charges included identity theft, felons in possession of firearms, prohibited people in possession of ammo, possession of a controlled substance, transporting a controlled substance, possession of an assault weapon and numerous parole violations.

Gomez and Perez were both held on no bail releases, while Reynozo had her bail set at $20,000.

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.


Police Files

Three vehicles reported stolen from Sterling BMW dealership shortly after midnight, one soon crashes

Three vehicles were reported stolen from the Sterling BMW dealership shortly after midnight yesterday morning.

Newport Beach Police responded to a call for a burglary in progress at the dealership located at 3000 W. Coast Highway and  witnessed a blue BMW fleeing the scene. NBPD attempted to stop the vehicle, however, the driver continued on at a high rate of speed.

The vehicle crashed shortly thereafter into the fire-damaged former Pine Knot Motel and the driver attempted to escape by running. However, he was arrested a short time later with the assistance of a police helicopter and a police K9.

It was later determined that the stolen vehicle was visiting the dealership to have service performed.

The Pine Knot Motel, where the vehicle crashed, is one of the proposed sites to be discussed tomorrow as a potential temporary location for a city proposed homeless shelter.

There was no report on the other two vehicles reported stolen.

Police go to Garden Grove to arrest burglary suspect

Newport Beach Police, following up on a lead, ventured to the 6900 block of Chapman Ave. in Garden Grove, to arrest Michael Joseph Saenz, 47, of Garden Grove.

Saenz is suspected of a previous commercial burglary with no forced entry.

While investigating Saenz further, police discovered he also possessed stolen property valued at greater than $950, a controlled substance and additionally had ammo.

Because of prior issues with Saenz, he was not allowed by law to possess the ammo.

He was arrested and charged with all the above crimes and was held on $20,000 bail.

NBPD arrest two on drug possession

Newport Beach Police stopped to question two suspicious people in the 4600 block of W. Coast Highway at around 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 28.

Through their further investigation, police discovered drugs and paraphernalia on both suspects.

Kristen Nicole Martinez, 37, of Huntington Beach, was then arrested for possession of unlawful paraphernalia, possession of a controlled substance and possession of a narcotic controlled substance.

Jason Timothy Bennett, 43, of Anaheim, was also taken into custody for possession of unlawful paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance.

Both were held on $10,000 bail.

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

Lifeguards: On the Waterfront

Quarter-million people visit Newport Beaches for Labor Day

Last week Newport Beach Lifeguards watched an estimated 256,000+ people enjoying Newport Beach. Lifeguard activity was up a bit this week as Labor Day Weekend drew huge crowds to the beach. 

The weather was warm, and the surf was small and refreshing (water temp. 72 degrees), providing relief for those who live inland. 

Police Files Lifeguard On the Waterfront

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Joshua Leith

Lifeguards on the Rescue boat patrolling our waters

Beach conditions are best this time of year. 

Local schools start Tuesday, Sept. 3, and the middle of the week will be an epic time to get out and enjoy amazing Newport Beach. 

For the weekend, 108 ocean rescues, 2,424 preventative actions, 939 public contacts and 108 medical aids were made.

Lifeguard staffing will be scaled back starting Tuesday as summer ends, so make sure you always swim near an open tower and check in with the lifeguard.

Statistics courtesy of the City of Newport Beach Fire Department/Lifeguard Operations Division.


Police Files

“Oxygod” sentenced for phony online drug sales and more

A Santa Ana man who manufactured phony oxycodone pills in a Newport Beach lab has been sentenced to 17 1/2 years in federal prison.

The man, who went by the online name of “Oxygod,” Wyatt Pasek, 22, was sentenced earlier this week.

Pasek, along with two co-defendants, sold drugs online to buyers throughout the United States. He was arrested last year with some 100,000 counterfeit pills, a dozen pounds of fentanyl and cash.

Pasek then pleaded guilty. His two co-defendents, Duc Cao, 20, of Orange, and Isaiah Suarez, 22, of Newport Beach, were also sentenced.

Newport Beach woman among two arrested in drug and gun stop

Fountain Valley Police arrested Tyler Conklin, 30, of Huntington Beach, and Lauren Billing, 39, Newport Beach, when a loaded handgun and drugs were found in a vehicle they were in.

After a stop in Costa Mesa, a search by FVPD turned up methamphetamine, fentanyl and a date-rape drug, in addition to the gun.

An additional search of Conklin’s residence turned up an additional six guns, thousands of rounds of ammunition, and more drugs, including more methamphetamine and fentanyl.

Conklin was arrested on a no-bail warrant, while Billing was arrested on charges of possession of a controlled substance with the intent to sell. She was held on $26,000 bail.

Woman arrested for alleged burglary, found in residents’ hot tub

On Monday, August 26, at approximately 9:45 a.m., a Newport Beach Police Department officer was dispatched to the area of Bayside Drive and Jamboree Road regarding a possible trespass that had just occurred. 

A landscaper for the community observed an unknown female, later identified as Heidi Marie Schultz, 40, of Santa Ana, enter an open garage that was not her residence. Upon the officers arriving, the witness pointed to the open garage and advised that Schultz entered that garage and was now sitting in the hot tub at the residence.

The homeowner was contacted and returned home. She admitted accidentally leaving the garage open, however, did not know Schultz.

Schultz was arrested and taken into custody for garage burglary with no forced entry.

Her bail was set at $50,000.

Gun in plain view leads to drug stashes

On Sunday, August 25, Newport Beach Police stopped a vehicle near Hospital Road and Newport Blvd. around 8:30 p.m. for code violations. During the stop, a firearm was seen in plain view and a search of the vehicle was conducted. 

The ensuing search of Brandon Alexander Hicks, 30, of Huntington Beach, discovered approximately 6.3 grams of heroin, an electronic scale and cash on his person. A subsequent search of the vehicle located approximately 2.5 grams of methamphetamine and the previously mentioned firearm that was loaded with 12 rounds of live ammunition. The firearm also turned up unregistered.

Hicks was arrested for possession of narcotics for sale, transporting narcotics for sale, carrying a concealed weapon in a vehicle, possession of a controlled substance while armed and possession of a controlled substance. 

Bail was set at $30,000.

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court


Police Files

Caretaker accused of stealing and using checkbook and debit cards

Newport Beach Police received a complaint that sometime between July 8 and July 16 a caretaker had allegedly stolen a victim’s checkbook and debit cards, and then allegedly used them for monetary gain.

Arrested were Rachel Louise Fedden, 32, of Anaheim and Veronica Rachael Perez, 27, Santa Ana. Both suspects were both taken into custody Wednesday, August 21, in the 3700 block of S. Ross St. in Santa Ana, just after 11 a.m.

Fedden was charged with passing fictious checks, grand theft through fraud and additionally with possession of a controlled substance and paraphernalia.

Perez was charged with passing fictious checks, identity theft by personating someone else to get money, grand theft through fraud and caretaker theft through embezzling.

Fedden was held on $20,000 bail, while Perez was held on $50,000.

Man, arrested twice in one day, allegedly makes threatening call to NBPD

39-year-old Antonio Jr. Alvarez of Lake Elsinore is suspected of making threatening crimes with the intent to terrorize following a telephone call to the front desk clerk of the Newport Beach Police Department on Friday, August 23.

Following the call, police then arrested Alvarez at the Newport Blvd. onramp at W. Coast Highway shortly after 10:56 a.m.

He was taken into custody with a $20,000 bail.

Earlier that morning, shortly after midnight, Alvarez was initially arrested for using the beach after closing, possession of a controlled substance and possession of unlawful paraphernalia.

His earlier bail was $10,000.

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

Lifeguards: On the Waterfront

One long week left before school starts

As summer draws to a close, last week Newport Beach Lifeguards watched over an estimated 227,000 people enjoying Newport Beach. Saturday was crowded, and Sunday was very busy as Newport Beach enjoyed warm weather and saw waves in the 4-6’ range from tTopical Storm Ivo. 

The lifeguard at tower 20 made more than 400 preventative actions (preventative actions are when a lifeguard warns people about potentially dangerous situations, especially when there are big waves and strong currents). 

Beach conditions are really looking good as we move into the end of summer and towards the fall. One last week of summer for the kids as school starts next Tuesday, September 3, so get out and enjoy amazing Newport Beach. 

Lifeguards on tower 1

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Lana Johnson

Newport Beach Lifeguard Tower 1

For the weekend, 135 ocean rescues, 3,644 preventative actions, 983 public contacts and 74 medical aids were made.

Lifeguards weekly statistics are from Monday, August 19 through Sunday, August 25.

Your Newport Beach Lifeguards remind beachgoers to always swim near an open tower and not to be afraid to check in with the lifeguards on duty.

Statistics courtesy of the City of Newport Beach Fire Department/Lifeguard Operations Division.


Police Files

Sex offender arrested for not registering

Ronald Joseph Fleischer, 48, of Newport Beach, who lists his occupation as an artist, was arrested Sunday, August 18, at 11:34 p.m. in the 1600 block of Placentia Ave. in Costa Mesa.

The charge against Fleisher was failure to register as a sex offender following his conviction of a felony sex offense. “Failure to register as a sex offender after being ordered to do so as part of a conviction for a qualifying sex offense is a crime in California.”

Fleisher’s most recent arrest records show a revocation of probation in June of this year, possession of a controlled substance last February and possession of unlawful paraphernalia in 2018. 

A search of the Department of Justice National Sex Offender website also listed one record in his name in the national database without offering specific details.

Following the arrest, Fleischer’s bail was set at $20,000.

Artwork and sculptures missing following residential burglary

On Monday, August 19, a Newport Beach Police officer responded to a call in the area of Carnation Ave. and Second Ave. regarding a burglary.

The victim reported that she arrived home and opened her garage door on Wednesday, August 14, at 7:30 p.m. and discovered the connected door into her home ajar. Several days later she realized multiple items were missing, including artwork from the walls, glass and crystal items, and sculptures. She also noticed that items in her garage had also been moved and were out of place.

There were no signs of a forced entry. A value of $4,500 was put on the missing items.

Police took a report and are investigating.

Another car mirror becomes a casualty, this time on an Audi

Last issue it was reported that 10+ vehicles and their mirrors were kicked off or severely damaged. Well, it looks like it happened again.

On Tuesday, August 20, at around 9:25 p.m., a Newport Beach Police officer was dispatched to the area of River Ave. and 49th St. regarding a possible vehicle burglary or vandalism. 

Upon investigation, a witness stated to the officer that he’d heard a loud noise that sounded like a window shattering. When he went outside, he observed a passenger side mirror had been shattered on a grey Audi.

Police took a vandalism report for damaged property and are investigating.

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.


Police Files

Alleged vandal arrested for allegedly damaging 10+ vehicles, cocaine possession

On Friday, August 16, at approximately 1:25 a.m., a Newport Beach Police officer responded to the area of 40th St. and W. Balboa Blvd. to respond to a vandalism report. A witness advised the officer that two male subjects were seen hitting vehicles and vehicle mirrors as they were walking.

Police located the two suspects. Upon further investigation, they found that over 10 vehicles had had their mirrors struck or removed and that the damage was consistent with being hit or kicked recently.

Cannon Clint Carroll, 25, of Haysville, was arrested for disorderly conduct related to alcohol. Police also found him in possession of cocaine and charged him with possession of a narcotic controlled substance and vandalism. 

He was booked and held on $20,000 bail.

Missing license plate leads to stolen vehicle

On Friday, August 16, at approximately 2:20 p.m., a Newport Beach Police officer observed a 2006 blue Nissan Altima traveling westbound on Coast Highway, then east to Pelican Point Drive. The vehicle was missing a front license plate in violation of Vehicle Code 5200(a). 

Prior to stopping the car, the officer conducted a check through dispatch and discovered the vehicle had been reported stolen. The officer conducted a traffic stop and took Otoniel Toledo, 47, of Adelanto, into custody. Reports showed that the vehicle was reported missing from Victorville.

Toledo was booked on a charge of taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent and his bail was set at $20,000.

Vandal(s) disrupt boats and steal Hydrobike from dock

On Wednesday, August 14, at approximately 11:28 a.m., a Newport Beach Police officer responded to Newport Blvd and 26th Street in reference to a grand theft. 

The victim reported securing the business entrance gate on Tuesday, August 13, at approximately 7:20 p.m. and then returning the next morning at approximately 10:45 a.m. 

The victim checked the dock of the business and observed that one Hydrobike was flipped over in the water. One boat had the electrical outlet unplugged and another had bags of chips left inside. A second boat was partially untied and floating away from the dock. A second Hydrobike was missing.

NBPD opened a report and are investigating. No value of missing and destroyed items was provided.

Generator and ladders missing in residential burglary

On Wednesday, August 14, at about 9:30 a.m., a Newport Beach Police officer responded to E. Balboa Blvd. and L St. regarding a residential burglary report. The victim stated that a generator and ladders were inside the address behind the fence the previous Saturday, August 10,  at about 4 p.m. when the last workers were at the location. 

On Monday, August 12, at about 7 a.m., workers returned to the location to continue work and discovered that a generator and two ladders were missing. 

Police took a report that estimated the value of the missing items at roughly $3,600. 

The case is under investigation.

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

Lifeguards: On the Waterfront

Beach traffic is slowing…good time to enjoy

Last week, Newport Beach Lifeguards watched more than an estimated 275,000 people enjoying Newport Beach. Activity continued to drop off this week. Saturday was very busy and crowded, but the beach population is noticeably thinner through the middle of the week. 

Beach conditions are really looking good as we move into the end of summer and towards the fall. Get out and enjoy amazing Newport Beach (locals might agree that we are getting into the best time of year to enjoy the beach), and make sure to always swim near an open tower and check in with the lifeguard.

NB Lifeguards

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Joshua Leith

Newport Beach Lifeguard Tyson Mangham patrolling the beach

Lifeguards weekly statistics for Monday, August 12 through Sunday, August 18 include 100 ocean rescues, 2,836 preventative actions, 1,398 public contacts and 107 medical aids.

Statistics courtesy of the City of Newport Beach Fire Department/Lifeguard Operations Division.


Police Files

Former baseball player DeCinces “safe at home” following insider trading sentence

Newport Beach resident and former Major League Baseball player Doug DeCinces was charged several years ago with insider trading that came about following a tip he received regarding a buyout to be performed by Abbott Labs. The subsequent transaction yielded him some $1 million.

He was eventually tried in court and convicted of 13 counts. Each count called for a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

This week, however, DeCinces finally received his sentence. One would have to assume the judge in the case is a baseball fan. In what could have been a very severe sentence, DeCinces received one day in prison, but credit for time served and eight months of home detention and a $10,000 fine.

DeCinces played and starred for the Baltimore Orioles and Anaheim Angels during his playing days. He later led the development of Strawberry Farms Golf Club in Irvine. 

Man arrested for possession, a parole violation and then attempts to take more into jail facility

On Sunday, August 11, at approximately 1:39 p.m., a Newport Beach Police officer was sent on a call concerning a suspicious person in the area of E. Coast highway and Hazel Drive. The reporting caller told dispatchers a male subject was walking onto the road and yelling, disturbing the peace. 

While the officer was driving to the location, he observed John Ortiz, 53, of Placentia, who matched the description of the subject as provided earlier. Further investigation led to Ortiz identifying himself as a different person and stating that he was not on active parole or probation. 

Ortiz was arrested for false identification to a police officer and put on a parole hold by his parole officer. 

While in jail, further investigation led to the finding of .36 grams of methamphetamine being found inside Ortiz’s jean pocket. 

 His arrest charges included possession of a controlled substance, presenting false identification to a specific peace officer and for a parole violation.

Then later he was charged additionally with taking controlled substances into the jail facility, which added a charge of possession of a controlled substance in prison.

Ortiz had his bail set at $25,000.

Suspicious vehicle leads to two transporting suspected drugs for sale

On Monday, August 12, at approximately 4:19 a.m., a Newport Beach Police officer was patrolling the area of Jamboree Road and Coast Highway when he observed a gray Nissan Sentra that failed to proceed through the intersection on two separate green lights. The officer conducted a traffic enforcement stop of the vehicle at E. Coast Highway and Bayside Drive.

Further investigation led to the finding of plastic baggies containing 0.5 grams of a white crystalline substance resembling methamphetamine, 1.8 grams of various pills resembling ecstasy and 0.3 grams of a white solid substance resembling fentanyl.

The officer also found a plastic baggie containing approximately 24 grams of a white crystalline substance resembling methamphetamine; three plastic baggies containing 42.9 total grams of a white solid substance resembling fentanyl; a baggie containing approximately 7.8 grams of pills resembling Xanax; 249 individual small plastic baggies; a narcotics grinder coated with a white powdery substance; a scale coated with a white powdery substance; various plastic containers; a fake driver’s license; fake $20 bills; and a pipe with burnt residue (meth pipe).

Police arrested Ryan O’Rourke Murphy, 29, of Costa Mesa, and Sasha Rose Reed, 29, of San Diego, for possession of narcotics for sale, transporting a controlled substance for sale and possession of unlawful paraphernalia.

Each had their bail set at $25,000.

Wallet stolen from purse at private event

On Tuesday, August 13, a female, in her 30s, reported to Newport Beach Police that she left a private event at a hotel in the 4500 block of MacArthur Blvd. and realized her wallet was missing from her purse.

She filed a report for petty theft by pick pocketing with $900 in losses.

Quick thinking man finds bag and all contents taken earlier from beach site

On Monday, August 12 at approximately 1 p.m., a Newport Beach Police officer was sent to the area of 27th Street and W. Ocean Front in reference to a theft report. 

Earlier that morning, at approximately 10:30 a.m., the victim arrived at the beach. He placed his bag under his towel at 27th St. approximately 50 feet from the waterline. 

When he returned at approximately 12 p.m., the victim found the bag was missing. The victim used the Find my iPhone app and was able to locate his phone, the bag and all of the contents in the area of 26th Street.

Police, however, did take a full report of grand theft.

NBPD readies end-of-summer driving sober campaign

As summer comes to a close, the Newport Beach Police Department is asking drivers to not get behind the wheel after drinking or using drugs that impact your ability to drive safely.

NBPD is joining law enforcement agencies across the country in the national enforcement campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. During this period, which runs from August 16 to September 2 (Labor Day), NBPD will have additional officers on the road looking for drivers suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

In addition to patrols, the NBPD will hold a DUI/Driver’s License Checkpoint Friday, August 23 from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. at an undisclosed location within the city. 

“There are so many ways to get home safely without driving,” Lieutenant Cartwright said. “Driving while drunk or high is dangerous, irresponsible and causes too many senseless tragedies. We hope that drivers get the message that driving impaired will never be tolerated.”

Driving while impaired is illegal, whether it is alcohol, prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications or marijuana.

If you plan on drinking or are taking medications that can affect your driving ability, designate a sober driver or use a ride-share service. If you see someone driving impaired, call 911. 

Funding for DUI enforcement is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

FBI warns of scammers spoofing FBI phone numbers in SoCal to trick victims

The FBI Los Angeles Division is warning the public about a phone scam that spoofs, or fraudulently displays, the FBI’s real telephone number on the victim’s caller ID. The scammer impersonates a government official and uses intimidation tactics to demand payment of money purportedly owed to the government, according to the scheme.

Scammers have spoofed the phone numbers of FBI offices in California, Montana, Colorado, Texas, Wisconsin, Oklahoma and Kentucky.

The FBI has seen its main number (310.477.6565) spoofed in this manner, as well as the numbers of the division’s Resident Agencies, most recently, Santa Maria (805.346.2728) and West Covina (626.919.3434).

Residents nationwide have been targeted. Recent cases include a number of victims in California. The intended target may be told there is a federal warrant for their arrest, which would be dismissed by the court in exchange for immediate payment.

The caller often knows the name, background, and personal cell phone number of the intended victim.

Unsuspecting victims may also be told the following:

–That their social security number has been compromised and linked to money laundering.

–That their social security number has been used to open bank accounts and that the government would seize those accounts.

–To protect their money, funds should be transferred to accounts specifically set up by the government which would be protected until the situation is resolved, at which point the money would then be returned.

–Failure to transfer money could lead to loss of funds and possible arrest.

–To meet with a Social Security Administration Agent to verify identity; once complete, a new SSN would be issued so that a new bank account could be opened.

The public is reminded that the FBI does not call private citizens to request money or threaten arrest. There are a number of ways individuals with criminal intentions can obtain a victim’s name, phone number, or email address. The FBI reminds the public to limit the amount of personal information provided online, including on social media sites.

To avoid becoming the victim of a scam:

–Always be suspicious of unsolicited phone calls.

–Never give money or personal information to someone with whom you don’t have ties and did not initiate contact.

–Before signing up for a contest or -mail distribution list, make sure the business has a policy not to share your information or sell it to a third party.

–Scammers count on your lack of knowledge, so take the time to educate yourself about any offer you receive.

–Trust your instincts: If an unknown caller makes you uncomfortable or says things that don’t sound right, hang up.

The FBI strongly encourages anyone contacted by a caller who says they are with the FBI to verify the information with their local FBI Field Office. Contact information for all 56 FBI field offices can be found at www.fbi.gov.

Individuals who have been victimized by this type of scam are encouraged to file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center by visiting www.ic3.gov. 

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

Scroll down to Police Beat for all arrests


Police Files

DUI with serious bodily injury arrest leads to $100,000 bail

Newport Beach Police were sent to the area of S. Bristol St. and Irvine Ave. at 3:33 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 8 in response to a collision involving injuries. Upon arrival, police contacted the driver of the vehicle, Praneil Ashwin Chandra, 25, of Corona, and noticed a strong odor of alcohol emitting from his breath and person.

Further investigation led to the finding that Chandra was driving with a blood alcohol level exceeding .08.

A passenger in Chandra’s vehicle was also hurt in the accident requiring attention.

Chandra was arrested on suspicion of DUI alcohol causing bodily injury and also for driving with a BAC of .08 or higher and causing bodily injury. 

His bail was set at $100,000

Grand theft on the high seas?

On Wednesday, Aug. 7, the front desk of the Newport Beach Police Department received a report online regarding a purported theft. The report said that on Friday, Aug. 2, the victim placed jewelry in a case, inside a drawer in his bathroom vanity.

When the victim returned to open the drawer, the jewelry was missing.

The value of the missing jewelry was reported at $26,500, making the crime grand theft.

The reported address of the incident was “offshore.”

Police are investigating.

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

Scroll down to Police Beat for all arrests

Lifeguards: On the Waterfront

School…is still…out for summer

Last week Newport Beach Lifeguards watched over an estimated 455,000 people enjoying Newport Beach. Activity was down a bit due to cooler weather and overcast conditions. The surf was up a bit in the beginning of the week and dropped to 1-3 feet over the weekend. 

Some schools have started this week possibly dropping the beach attendance. Junior Guards ended on Thursday, Aug. 8, and NMUSD does not start until September 3. There is a lot of summer to go, so get out and enjoy our amazing Newport Beach. 

Lifeguards on the waterfront Lifeguard truck

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Lana Johnson

For the weekend, 126 ocean rescues, 3,294 preventative actions, 1,572 public contacts and 120 medical aids were made.

Your Newport Beach Lifeguards remind beachgoers to always swim near an open tower and not to be afraid to check in with the lifeguards on duty.

Statistics courtesy of the City of Newport Beach Fire Department/Lifeguard Operations Division.


Police Files

No bail for Chadwick

Peter Chadwick, who is accused of murdering his wife Q.C. Chadwick in their Newport Beach home back in 2012, is behind bars and will be for the foreseeable future. Chadwick was denied bail on Wednesday, Aug. 7.

On Sunday, Aug. 4, Chadwick was taken into custody just outside of Puebla, Mexico and returned to Newport Beach Police on Monday.

He is accused of strangling his wife back in 2012 and dumping her body into a dumpster in north San Diego County shortly thereafter. While out on $1 million bail, Chadwick became a fugitive when he disappeared four years ago.

When Chadwick appeared in court Wednesday, he made no statements and attempted to avoid media cameras. Judge Nancy Zeltzer scheduled a pretrial hearing at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana on September 16.

Chadwick, a millionaire real estate investor, was on the lam for four years. At first, he attempted to throw police off the trail by leaving behind brochures on Canada. However, police said he is suspected of spending all of his time in Mexico.

Immediately after disappearing he stayed in high-end hotels and resorts in Mexico. However, laws changed requiring proof of a passport which Chadwick could not provide. He was then forced to stay in lower-end motels.

When he was arrested he was in possession of several false alias IDs.

Alcohol leads to multiple arrests on consecutive days

It was a bad week for one Samuel Lomeli, 55, of Anaheim, in Newport Beach earlier this week.

Tuesday afternoon, Lomeli was picked up by the Newport Beach Police at 4 p.m. in the 3200 block of E. Coast Highway on charges of shoplifting, disorderly conduct related to alcohol consumption and an attempt to commit a misdemeanor crime.

Fast forward to Wednesday. At 7:12 p.m. the NBPD again encountered Lomeli, this time at San Miguel Drive & Avocado Ave. He was arrested for drinking in public, disorderly conduct related to alcohol consumption, appropriating lost property and possession of burglary tools.

Both arrests fortunately only amounted to bails of $500 each.

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

Scroll down to Police Beat for all arrest


Police Files

Stolen vehicle leads to arrest of two occupants

Two suspects were taken into custody shortly after 8 a.m. last Wednesday near the Back Bay Science Center at 600 Shellmaker Road for occupying a stolen vehicle.

Reynaldo Soto, 26, and David Jr. Quintana, 20, both of Santa Ana, were arrested without incident and charged with taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent.

Soto had an additional rap sheet that included warrants for carrying a concealed dirk or dagger and another one undisclosed. He had his bail set at $40,000.

Quintana has his bail set at $20,000.

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

Lifeguards: On the Waterfront

Another nice week sees half-million visitors to our beaches

And so, what did your Newport Beach Lifeguards do this weekend?

A fairly strong heat wave inland kept Newport Beach Lifeguards busy last week with an estimated 478,000 people enjoying Newport Beach! Warm weather in the high 70s, light wind with 2-4 ft. south and west combination swell created some dangerous conditions for swimmers. 

 So, for the week ending Sunday, Aug. 4, 177 ocean rescues were made, 4,514 preventative actions, 2,181 public contacts and 166 medical aids.

Your Newport Beach Lifeguards remind beachgoers to always swim near an open tower and not to be afraid to check in with the lifeguards on duty.

Statistics courtesy of the City of Newport Beach Fire Department/Lifeguard Operations Division.


Police Files

Pedestrian killed on PCH by State Parks officer

Newport Beach Police received a call Tuesday morning at 9:57 a.m. reporting a pedestrian casualty on Pacific Coast Highway near Crystal Cove State Park.

Police investigated to find that an on-duty California State Parks Officer had hit a pedestrian in a state-owned truck.

Brad Infanger, 41, and believed homeless, was identified by the Orange County Coroner’s office and pronounced deceased at the scene.

PCH remained closed in both directions throughout the day, from Reef Point to Los Trancos, as an investigation was conducted.

The investigation still continues and no arrests have been made.

Police spot stolen vehicle, arrest driver without incident

Tuesday evening, July 30, Newport Beach Police located a stolen vehicle near Irvine Ave. and Sherington Place. Police engaged the vehicle’s driver and stopped it one block away in the vicinity of the Chase/Ralphs parking lot at Irvine Ave. and Westcliff Drive.

Upon investigation, police arrested the driver, Domingo Lamarr Rodriguez, 40, of Santa Ana, on charges of grand theft and taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent.

Rodriguez was taken into custody and bail was set at $20,000.

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

American flag found burnt on Balboa Island bridge

Newport Beach Police were called Sunday, July 28, to the Balboa Island bridge for a report of a burnt American flag. The flag was apparently set afire some time Saturday night or Sunday morning and found by residents crossing the bridge who notified police.

The crime is being investigated as arson of property. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the NBPD at 949.644.3681.

The United States Supreme Court ruled in 1989 and reaffirmed in 1990 that burning the flag is protected by the First Amendment. However, U.S. Code 700 says that anyone who “knowingly mutilates, defaces, physically defiles, burns, maintains on the floor or ground, or tramples upon any flag of the United States shall be fined or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.”

Additional penalties would include damaging private property.

Computer taken from vehicle parked in resident’s driveway

The owner of a Toyota Tundra called the front desk of the Newport Beach Police Department to report a burglary from the driveway of his residence in the 300 block of La Jolla Drive.

The victim parked his vehicle at approximately 8 p.m. on Monday, July 29, and returned the next morning at 8 a.m. He immediately discovered that the doors of the vehicle were unlocked and a laptop and battery pack were missing.

The value of the property was estimated at $2,700.

Burglaries and thefts on the upswing down the Peninsula

Newport Beach Police are noticing an uptick in burglaries and thefts from vehicles on the Balboa Peninsula compared to last year. In many of these crimes, cars are simply left unlocked, making them easy targets. NBPD is also seeing forced entries when valuables are left out in plain sight. It just takes a matter of seconds for a thief to shatter a window, grab your property and disappear.

NBPD encourages residents to not let this happen. As they say, you can help prevent vehicle crime with a little T.L.C.

–Take valuables out: Remove all valuables from plain sight or hide them prior to arriving at your destination.

–Lock your vehicle: Verify your vehicle is securely locked before leaving the area.

–Close your windows: An open window or sunroof allows for quick entry into your vehicle by a thief. Always check that they are completely shut before leaving your vehicle.

And finally, if you see suspicious activity, vehicles or people, call the Newport Beach Police Department immediately at 949.644.3717.

The Newport Beach Police Department is your partner in helping to keep our community safe.

Fire Files

Vehicle jumps median in morning CdM accident

It was around 8:20 a.m. on Wednesday, July 31, when Shannon Leigh, working at the House of Fitness in Corona del Mar, heard the crash.

“You could tell it wasn’t two cars impacting each other,” she said. “You could hear that a car hit something.” 

Leigh, a physical therapist, ran outside with other gym employees and called 911, and at the same time tried to help three people inside a blue Volkswagen. The car had crashed into an orchid tree, uprooting it, and before coming to rest on top of the roots in the middle of the East Coast Highway median. 

Police Files vehicle jumps median


Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of NBFD

Firefighters work to free car lodged in trees in CdM accident

“There were quite a few people, everyone ran from every direction and started gathering around to help. The front of the vehicle was smashed in, and there was smoke.”

As music from inside the car continued to blare, several people helped assist a man and two women out of the car. 

“The person in the back seat was pinned in, and we had to pry open the door,” Leigh added.

The Newport Beach Fire Department also responded to the intersection of East Coast Highway and Narcissus, finding the vehicle lodged in the center median. 

Firefighters were effective in stabilizing the vehicle involved by creating a safety zone for everyone on scene. The collision also created heavy traffic for commuters on Coast Highway.


Police Files

Victim sustains head injuries in alleged mason jar assault

On Wednesday, July 24, at 6:07 p.m., Newport Beach Police were sent to the area of Tustin Ave. and W. Coast Highway for a report of an assault with a deadly weapon. When the police arrived, they found a male in his 40s with a head injury.

Upon further investigation, police found that the suspect, Derek Swayne Logan, 50, of Clovis, had allegedly thrown a mason jar at the victim striking him in the head.

Logan was arrested on charges of assault with a deadly weapon. He was subsequently arrested and held on $25,000 bail.

Police observe scuffle, make strong arm robbery arrest

Shortly before 8 p.m. on Friday, July 26, a Newport Beach Police officer came upon two men in the 1500 block of Superior Ave. in Costa Mesa who appeared to be in a fight. The officer intervened.

Upon further investigation, it was revealed that one of the men was allegedly attempting to commit a theft of a Samsung tablet from the other. Police arrested Sami Jamal Daw, 31, of Costa Mesa, for alleged strong arm robbery. Then, while processing Daw, police discovered multiple credit and debit cards in his possession also from the victim.

He was also booked on receiving stolen property.

He was arrested and held on $50,000 bail.

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

Lifeguards: On the Waterfront

Outstanding weather brings crowds to the beach

And so, what did your Newport Beach Lifeguards do this weekend?

Well, with the weather outstanding, things were busy. An estimated crowd of some 220,000 people enjoyed the warm weather in the high 70s, light wind and a good 3-5 foot south and west combination swell, which created some dangerous conditions for swimmers.

Police Files Lifeguards


Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of NBFD/Lifeguard Operations Division

Crowds gather at Corona del Mar State Beach

For the weekend, 272 ocean rescues, 4,750 preventative actions, 1,035 public contacts and 30 medical aids were made.

The July monthly stats ended with 1,204 ocean rescues, 28,195 preventative actions, 10,888 public contacts and 628 medical aids.

Your Newport Beach Lifeguards remind beachgoers to always swim near an open tower and not to be afraid to check in with the lifeguards on duty.

Statistics courtesy of the City of Newport Beach Fire Department/Lifeguard Operations Division.


Police Files

Dr. Drew, say it ain’t so, Tawny Kitaen arrested on suspicion of DUI, again

Tawny Kitaen Finley, 57, of Newport Beach, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs at 3:40 p.m. on Monday, July 22, on Southampton Ct. It was her second arrest for allegedly driving under the influence.

Kitaen is an actress with previous roles in Seinfeld, where she played Jerry’s girlfriend in the 1991 episode of “The Nose Job”; she also co-starred with Tom Hanks in Bachelor Party; was cast in the sixth edition of the VH1 reality TV show The Surreal Life; and was in the second season of the VH1 reality show Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew (Pinsky).

Kitaen was previously married to former Los Angeles Angels pitcher Chuck Finley and Whitesnake singer David Cloverdale.

Her previous run-ins with the law include a 2002 domestic violence charge for allegedly repeatedly kicking Finley in the face with a high-heeled shoe; in 2006 for allegedly possessing 15 grams of cocaine; and in 2009 for an alleged DUI in Newport Beach.

She was arrested Monday by Newport Beach Police and had her bail set at $10,000.

Boat hit twice by grand theft

A victim came into the Newport Beach Police Department this week to file a grand theft report concerning his boat docked on Via Lido Island.

Sometime between the period of July 5 and July 17, an unknown person entered the boat and took the boat’s radar, a dive boat, a portable radio and a tool kit.

The value of the stolen property was estimated at $2,805.

The case remains open.

Another report of grand theft concerning his boat was also filed this week. This one dates back to the period of July 1 through July 11 in 2018. The reason for the delay was related to insurance needs.

The victim reported that merchandise including clothing, kitchen items, jewelry and miscellaneous boat items were taken with a value of $89,978.

This case also remains open.

Drugs lead to arrest of two…meth and heroin involved

A traffic stop was conducted by Newport Beach Police on Sunday, July 21, at 5:33 p.m., in the neighborhood of River Ave. and 46th St. The vehicle, a grey Dodge Charger, was stopped for a vehicle code violation.

However, upon further investigation, police discovered 13 grams of methamphetamine, heroin and an electronic scale.

Sara Jordan McGuire, 33, of Cypress, was arrested for possession of a controlled substance for sale, possession of unlawful paraphernalia and possession of narcotics for sale.

Her bail was set at $25,000.

Additionally, a passenger with McGuire was also questioned. Police found Shawn Steven Coday, 28, city of residence unknown, with a number of warrants for possession of unlawful paraphernalia, DUI and narcotics possession.

He was also arrested and held on $45,000 bail. 

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

Scroll down to Police Beat for all arrest


Police Files

Littering charge leads to arrest of fugitive from justice

In the early morning hours of Friday, July 19, Newport Beach Police were drawn to a suspect who was allegedly littering in the area of River Ave. and Balboa Blvd.

Initially the individual was confrontational with police, resisting and obstructing questioning and not being forthcoming with his name and identification.

 He was eventually identified by police as Leoel Hernandez Gonzalez, 36, of Riverside. His rap sheet showed he was a fugitive from justice.

Gonzalez was arrested for alleged littering, obstructing/resisting arrest, presenting false identification to a peace officer and for being a fugitive from justice with an arrest warrant.

His bail was set at $100,500.

Confrontation leads to alleged battery arrest

In a place that physical encounters often become commonplace, in the earlier morning hours of Saturday, July 20, words were exchanged, and an altercation ensued.

Newport Beach Police responded to a call at 12:38 a.m. in the 100 block of McFadden Place, arresting Vladislav Bondarenko, 22, of Vista, for alleged battery.

Bondarenko was held on $25,000 bail.

Drugs highlight Santa Ana River area arrest

Police patrolling the Summit St. area encountered two individuals loitering near the mouth of the Santa Ana River on Friday evening, July 19.

Following questioning of the individuals, police discovered them in possession of narcotics, controlled substances, paraphernalia and sharps waste. 

Arrested were Michael Richard Chafitz, 55, of Laguna Hills, and Jessica Leann Ramirez, 30, of Garden Grove.

Bother were charged with illegally transporting sharps waste (biomedical waste composed of used “sharps,” which includes any device or object used to puncture or lacerate the skin, such as needles, etc.), possession of narcotic controlled substances, possession of controlled substances and possession of unlawful paraphernalia.

Chafitz was also charged with an additional crime of committing a felony probation violation.

Both were arrested and held on $10,000 bail.

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

Scroll down to Police Beat for all arrests


Police Files

Alleged car break-in leads to grand theft charge and $20,000 bail 

At 3:45 a.m. early Tuesday morning, July 16, Newport Beach Police, patrolling the area of Clay St. and San Bernardino Ave., noticed a suspicious suspect in the area.

Upon questioning and investigation, police discovered the suspect with stolen property from a nearby vehicle. They arrested Dustin Joseph Robinson, 28, of Anaheim, who was in possession of a GPS system, gift cards and paperwork, allegedly taken from a nearby Volvo XC60.

Initially, Robinson identified himself to officers as a different person adding an additional charge of falsely impersonating another. Officers also discovered burglary tools in his possession.

Robinson was arrested for grand theft from a motor vehicle, possession of burglary tools, false personation of another and receiving stolen property with a value in excess of $950.

He was booked and held on $20,000 bail.

Suspect allegedly commits strong arm robbery in attempt to take cell phone

Monday afternoon, July 15, shortly before 1:30 p.m., a victim was confronted by a suspect at 18th Street and the beach. The suspect, a student from Anaheim, allegedly attempted to physically remove the victim’s cell phone from their possession.

Newport Beach Police were called and shortly thereafter they arrested Imam Khalifa Imam, 24, on charges of strong arm robbery and attempting to commit a felony crime.

Imam was arrested and held on $50,000 bail.

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

Scroll down to Police Beat for all arrests


Police Files

Local arrested on alleged drug possession and sales charges 

Leah Natalie Zarian, 29, of Newport Beach, was arrested at an apartment complex in the 800 block of Irvine Ave. on a variety of drug related charges, including warrants.

Newport Beach Police encountered Zarian at 8:06 p.m. on Saturday, July 13, and arrested her for alleged possession of a controlled substance, possession of controlled substances without a prescription, possession of narcotics for sale and transporting narcotics for sale.

She also had outstanding warrants for possession of a controlled substance and for driving a vehicle while suspended or revoked for a DUI.

She was held by police on $57,500 bail.

Resident reports $49,000 theft

A crime of grand theft was reported to Newport Beach Police on Friday, July 12, by a local resident who noticed $49,000 in jewelry had been stolen from their home in the 200 block of Goldenrod Ave. in Corona del Mar, 

The theft reportedly occurred sometime between 12 noon of Christmas Day, Dec. 25, 2018 and May 31, 2019.

Police are investigating.

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

Scroll down to Police Beat for all arrests


Police Files

Routine stop turns up drugs and metal knuckles 

Newport Beach Police were on routine patrol near Olive Street and Seashore Drive on Monday, July 8 around 3:30 p.m. They observed a suspicious male suspect and made contact. 

Upon questioning Carl Gordon Elmquist, 33, of Apple Valley, police found him to be in possession of heroin, methamphetamine and a prescription medication. Officers also found one set of metal knuckles.

Elmquist was arrested on charges of possession of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of paraphernalia, possession of metal knuckles, possession for purchase of a narcotic controlled substance and possession of a narcotic controlled substance.

Bail was set at $25,000.

This resident lucky following forced entry burglary

Newport Beach Police were called regarding a forced entry residential burglary on Tuesday, July 9, in the 600 block of Marguerite Ave.

The victim left their residence around 4:30 p.m. and upon returning home at 6:30 p.m. discovered a broken door. Nothing was apparently stolen and only the door was damaged.

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

Scroll down to Police Beat for all arrests


Police Files

Assault on officers results in an officer involved shooting

On Sunday, July 7, at 2:48 p.m., the Newport Beach Police Department Dispatch Center received several 911 calls from neighbors in the area of the 800 block of Amigos Way in the Eastbluff neighborhood. Callers reported hearing what sounded like a domestic dispute between residents in an apartment.

NBPD responded to the residence and encountered Pedro Jesus Dominguez Mendez armed with a knife. Mendez was uncooperative and assaulted multiple officers by throwing a chemical substance at them. Fearing for their safety and the safety of others, one of the officers fired at Mendez. Mendez was not hit and retreated into his apartment.

The Newport Beach Police Department Crisis Response Unit (SWAT/CNT) was activated and began negotiations with Mendez. Mendez surrendered without further incident to police custody at 5:13 p.m. He was arrested for Domestic Violence, Assault with a Deadly Weapon on a Police Officer and Resisting an Officer with Force.

The Newport Beach Fire Department treated three officers for exposure to a caustic chemical. Two of the officers were transported to a local hospital for additional medical treatment.

According to Lt. Tom Fischbacher, “Officers have been treated and went home last night.”

As with the discharge of a firearm by a police officer, the NBPD will conduct an administrative investigation (per policy) that is separate from the criminal investigation of the assailant.

The Orange County District Attorney’s Office will then review the case.

Anyone with information or a witness to the incident is asked to contact Detective Rick Henry at 949.644.3797.

Two bicyclists hit by suspected under the influence driver

Ryah Stephanie Fleming, 23, of Menifee, was arrested Saturday evening, July 6, after allegedly causing a serious accident while under the influence of alcohol.

While Fleming was driving around 6:30 p.m. near Newport Shores Drive and 62nd St., in her Honda Civic, she collided with two bicyclists. One bicyclist lost consciousness and the other sustained lacerations and bruising to the head.

Fleming was arrested on suspected DUI alcohol while causing bodily injury and on suspected DUI alcohol over .08 causing bodily injury.

She was held on $25,000 bail.

While investigating suspect for fraudulent check, police also find stolen merchandise

Newport Beach Police were called to a bank on Wednesday, July 3, around 6 p.m. to reports of a suspect attempting to cash a fraudulent check. While investigating her, police also found a stolen piece of clothing from a nearby retail store.

April Luna, 25, of Gardena, was arrested at the bank in the 3800 block of Birch St. on charges of commercial burglary through fraud and forgery and receiving stolen property with a value less than $950.

She was taken into custody and held on $20,000 bail.

Two officers hurt after suspect becomes confrontational

Newport Beach Police were called to the Rutland Road and Bedford Lane area in the early morning hours of Sunday, June 30, for a suspicious subject.

Upon arriving on the scene, police encountered Jacob Tyler Sharp, 24, of Blandon, Penn., who allegedly became uncooperative. Sharp, acting strangely, also appeared to be under the influence of a controlled substance.

Sharp reportedly became agitated and began resisting officers causing injuries to two. Police arrested Sharp for obstructing a peace officer, for being under the influence of a controlled substance, for resisting/obstructing causing serious bodily injury to a peace officer and for assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer.

Bail was set at $50,000.

Suspect arrested for alleged strong-arm robbery of iPhone

Police were called on Sunday evening, June 30, to Starburst Ct. near Talbert Park for a suspected strong-arm robbery complaint.

Upon arriving, police encountered Marcos Mercado, 20, from Santa Ana, who had allegedly forcibly removed an iPhone from the victim.

A strong-arm robbery occurs when a suspect uses personal weapons (hands, feet, etc.) to take property, versus using a weapon.

Mercado was arrested on robbery charges and held on $50,000 bail.

Identity theft leads to missing $127,000

An apparent victim of identity theft reported to Newport Beach Police on Sunday, June 30, that they had numerous accounts opened without their knowledge.

In the complaint the victim reported the incident dates back to June 1, 2018, however, the occurrence date is more accurately unknown at this time. An ongoing investigation was opened and a process of identifying the dates of the fraudulent accounts and when they were opened must still be determined.

The value of the stolen property was set at $127,846.

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

Scroll down to Police Beat for all arrests


Police Files

Young man arrested for assault with a deadly weapon on an officer, causing serious bodily injury

On Sunday, June 30, Newport Beach Police arrested 24-year-old Jacob Tyler Sharp, of Blandon, in the Westcliff area at Rutland Road and Bedford after he allegedly got confrontational.

Shortly after 7 a.m., Sharp was encountered for questioning by police. He allegedly resisted both a police officer and an executive officer, even at one point charging police. He was found to be under the influence of a controlled substance.

His arrest was for a number of charges including obstructing/resisting a peace officer, obstructing/resisting an executive officer, being under the influence, resisting a peace officer while causing serious bodily injury and assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer.

Sharp was arrested and held on $50,000 bail.

Strong arm robbery in northwest Newport

Marcos Mercado, 20, of Santa Ana, was arrested at 7:04 p.m. on Sunday, June 30, for strong arm robbery. The suspect was encountered on Starburst Ct., just east of Talbert Park.

The charge against Mercado was a Penal Code 211 violation, “taking of personal property in the possession of another, from his person or immediate presence, and against his will, accomplished by means of force or fear.”

Interesting enough, Mercado, listed as unemployed in police records, stands at just 5’1” and weighs just 120 pounds.

Newport Beach Police arrested Mercado and he was held on $50,000 bail.

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

Scroll down to Police Beat for all arrests


Police Files

Stolen bicycles lead to narcotics arrest

A suspect was questioned by Newport Beach Police at Rogers Place and E. 18th St. at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, June 28, in relation to stolen bicycles. The location was in Costa Mesa, but on the border of Newport Beach.

Upon further investigation, police also found narcotics, a controlled substance and sharps waste.

They arrested Lucas Paul Hudson, 34, of Newport Beach, for possession of narcotics, possession of a controlled substance, grand theft of bicycles, receiving stolen property with a value greater than $950 and for illegally transporting sharps waste.

He was held on $20,000 bail.

Simple questioning leads to arrest for four serious outstanding warrants

Newport Beach Police stopped a man for questioning Wednesday, June 26, at 4:26 p.m., at Newport Shores and Lugonia.

The suspect allegedly offered up false identification when questioned. Once the officer figured out the true identity, he discovered four outstanding warrants. Two of the warrants were for domestic violence, one was for domestic violence causing corporal injury and one was for resisting an executive officer.

Police arrested Camaron Shane Davis, 30, of Huntington Beach, on the charge of false identification and the warrants.

His bail was set at $15,500.

Car lighting, or lack of it, leads to identity theft arrest

Newport Beach Police were patrolling the area of Superior Ave. and Nice Lane shortly after 4:30 a.m. on Wednesday, June 26. They noticed a vehicle in the vicinity with failed lighting.

A subsequent stop produced John William Denney III, 61, of Huntington Beach, who was driving the vehicle without a license. During the investigation, police also found information related to alleged identity theft.

A passenger in the vehicle, Sarah Ann Artz, 36, of Costa Mesa, is alleged to have initially obstructed the officers questioning related to her person. She was found in possession of unlawful paraphernalia.

Both suspects were arrested on a variety of charges. Denney was held on $20,000 bail, while Artz’s bail was set at $500.

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

Scroll down to Police Beat for all arrests


Police Files

Men show up to buy skateboard, run off with it and more

On Sunday, June 23, a victim came to the front desk of the Newport Beach Police Department to report a grand theft two days prior from a residence in the 4000 block of Rivoli.

According to the victim, two males had arrived at the residence with the intent to purchase a skateboard from a Craigslist ad. The victim left them to retrieve another item from inside her home, but upon her return, the males were gone with the skateboard, a bicycle and some U.S. currency for which they hadn’t paid.

The incident happened Friday evening. The value of the missing items was put at $3,896.

A report was opened and is still under investigation.

Two arrests in same day for Casanova including nudity

This week’s Police Arrest Logs show an individual being arrested twice in one day. The arrests were for public nudity and receiving stolen property.

One could only hope that the stolen property might have been some type of clothing.

Not to be. 

Ryan Daniel Casanova, 27, of San Clemente, was actually arrested at 3:42 p.m. in the 2500 block of E. Coast Highway for receiving stolen property valued at less than $950. The items included a bag of Cheez-Its and a Red Bull. Not the type of arrest that lands you in the slammer for an extended period of time.

Casanova later that night, at 10:48 p.m., was arrested for public nudity at Jamboree Road and Newporter Way.

Both times he was released on minimal bails.

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

Scroll down to Police Beat for all arrests


Police Files

Suspect arrested after allegedly vandalizing restaurant and skipping out on bill

On Saturday, June 22, shortly after 4 p.m., Newport Beach Police were sent to Newport Blvd. and the south onramp for Coast Highway on a report of vandalism. The victim reported that the suspect took multiple drinks from his establishment, along with food, and didn’t pay.

The victim also reported that the suspect had entered a restroom, shattering a soap dispenser and damaging six floor tiles.

Adrian Anthony Lopez, 40, from Albuquerque, was asked to provide payment and refused. He then reportedly became aggravated and threatened the bartender, before leaving, still without paying.

Police arrested Lopez on vandalism charges for damaging property. He additionally had an outstanding warrant for another vandalism charge. 

He was held on $20,000 bail.

Riverside women arrested at 3 a.m. at the beach

On Thursday, June 20, just before 3 a.m., a Newport Beach Police officer was patrolling the area of 1700 Ocean Blvd. looking to locate a grey vehicle that was previously involved in an attempted vehicle burglary.

The officer observed a grey Chevy Malibu with the rear door open. As the officer approached, he observed an open container of alcohol and a debit card issued to a male. A suspect, identified as Carmen Leanna Lomax, 26, of Riverside, was observed smoking a cigarette 20 ft. from the beach, in violation of the city’s smoking within 100 ft. of the beach ordinance.

Upon further investigation, police found a baseball bat, several knives and a handicap placard registered to a relative.

Lomax initially used a different name in order to conceal her identity that would show that she had an active outstanding arrest warrant.

An accomplice of Lomax’s, Lauren Amandajenine Lewis, 30, of Riverside, was also questioned.

Police eventually arrested both suspects – Lewis for identity theft and for an open container; Lomax for identity theft, improper registration, smoking within 100 ft. of beach and presenting false identification to a police officer. Lomax also had outstanding warrants for domestic violence and for purchasing a firearm against regulations.

Lomax’s bail was set at $60,000; Lewis was held on $20,000.

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

Fire Files

Wedge tower to be rebuilt; plank preserved from fire

Following the recent fire of the Newport Beach Lifeguard Tower W at the Wedge, the City has moved lifeguard Tower P over to replace it in preparation for the start of summer. Lifeguards will continue to patrol the area of Tower P with a roving lifeguard based out of the Wedge/W Tower. 

Fire Files plank

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of NBFD

Newport Beach Lifeguard Captain Jon Mitchell (center) with salvaged memorial plank

The City is also working on building a new lifeguard tower at the Wedge.

Below the deck of the Wedge/W tower was a memorial plank with the names of several local watermen, including lifeguard Ben Carlson. The City’s Public Works Department was able to salvage and preserve the plank. It is currently being stored at Lifeguard Headquarters. The Lifeguard department is investigating options for the restoration of the memorial plank, including reinstalling it on the replacement Wedge tower, or repurposing it in a way that respects and honors the named watermen.


Police Files 

Wedge lifeguard tower burns down…arson suspected

An early morning fire destroyed the Newport Beach Lifeguard tower at the Wedge yesterday morning, June 20. Newport Beach Police and Fire responded to a report of a fully engulfed tower at around 3:30 a.m.

Newport Beach Police and Fire are investigating the incident as arson as it appears from a video on Surfline.com that at least one individual attempted on three different occasions to start the fire.

Lifeguard Tower Derek Breaux

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Derek Breaux

City Maintenance Operations removed the remaining pieces of the tower by midday Thursday. Included in that removal was a lower beam that honored deceased lifeguards, including Ben Carlson. The beam was saved and is being held at the Newport Beach Lifeguard Headquarters.

With the beaches returning to a full staffing of lifeguards this weekend, Tower P will be moved to the Wedge area temporarily. The City is looking at an older tower at the Santa Ana River as a possible long-term replacement.

Fire management, including the Chief, are working closely with City Maintenance Operations and Public Works to find permanent solutions. 

Felony charged Mexican church leader’s guard arrested in Big Canyon

The Newport Beach Police Arrest Log for Wednesday, June 19 shows an entry for a J. Refugio Cardenas, 55, of Santa Ana. He is charged with felony vandalism and throwing a substance at a vehicle with the intent to inflict great bodily injury.

Sources to Stu News allege that Cardenas is associated with Naason Joaquin Garcia, the leader of Mexico-based La Luz del Mundo church. Garcia, who was arrested earlier in June at LAX on 26 felony charges, including human trafficking, production of child pornography and forcible rape of a minor, is reportedly a Big Canyon resident.

The incident with Cardenas developed initially from a dog bite. Cardenas, a caretaker/guard for Garcia, had a dog that bit a Big Canyon neighbor. Cardenas was then ordered to keep his dog muzzled. 

However, the neighbor later noticed the dog unmuzzled and reported it to police.

Cardenas supposedly responded by throwing a knife at a car being driven by the neighbor and breaking a window. He also allegedly made a serious threat. 

He was arrested on multiple charges and initially held on $20,000 bail.

Garcia, on the other hand, is the president of the largest evangelical church in Mexico. California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra had previously ordered him held on a $50 million bail.

Spokespeople from La Luz del Mundo and Garcia maintain his innocence.

Forced-entry burglar takes safe and jewelry

A forced-entry residential burglary was reported in the 700 block of Bayside Drive to Newport Beach Police on Sunday, June 16. 

According to the complaint, the victim stated that he left his residence on Thursday, June 14, at 5:58 p.m. and returned home just after five on Sunday. His sliding glass door had been smashed.

Inside, the closet was ransacked, and items were taken including personal papers and documents, a small safe and jewelry.

Police are investigating.

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

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Police Files 

Lemur thief back in legal trouble

Aquinas “Quinn” Kasbar, 19, of Newport Beach, of stolen lemur fame and accused of a number of local burglaries, is in trouble with the law again. Kasbar was arrested for violating terms of his release from jail, following several alleged overnight trips.

Kasbar is accused of illegal overnight trips to several Southern California casinos and a trip to the Coachella music festival.

Police Files Quinn Kasbar

Courtesy of OCSD

Aquinas “Quinn” Kasbar

He is now facing 29 felonies and three misdemeanors. His bail was raised to $2 million and he was released on a $560,000 bond.

Kasbar originally made news recently by pleading guilty to stealing a lemur from the Santa Ana Zoo last summer and dropping it off in a box at the Bayview Marriott Hotel in Newport Beach. His most recent travels allegedly took him on five overnight trips to multiple casinos in San Diego and Riverside counties and a trip to a music festival.

Cold beer leads to stolen vehicle, drugs and a variety of other charges

On Saturday, June 15, at 8:23 p.m., a Newport Beach police officer observed an individual seated on a curb in the 4800 block of Birch St. with a beer can next to him. He approached the suspect who admitted to drinking the alcoholic beverage.

A background check was completed on Justin Layne Wonacott, 32, of Buena Park, revealing he had an outstanding warrant for fraud. Further investigation led to the finding of mail, credit cards, debit cards, social security cards and driver licenses that did not belong to him.

He was also in possession of a blue Nissan Maxima nearby that did not belong to him. Inside, police found methamphetamine.

He was arrested on a variety of charges, including taking an auto without the owner’s consent, possession of a controlled substance, possession of unlawful paraphernalia, possession of burglary tools, receiving stolen property with a value less than $950 and a warrant for identity theft. 

Bail was set at $35,000.

Expired tags lead to stolen vehicle from 79-year-old victim

A Newport Beach police officer noticed a red Toyota Celica driving in the 1600 block of Superior Ave. on Friday, June 14, at 3:45 p.m., with expired registration tags. Further investigation led the officer to make contact with the driver to determine if he was in legal possession of the vehicle.

However, the owner of the vehicle was subsequently contacted and stated that the suspect did not have legal possession and she requested prosecution.

Police arrested 23-year-old Narayana Stuart Pilant, of Mission Viejo, for possession of a stolen vehicle.

The legal owner was a 79-year-old woman from Laguna Hills.

An accomplice of Pilant’s, Amber Annette Benjoya, 27, of San Clemente, was also arrested for possession of unlawful paraphernalia.

Pilant was held on $20,000 bail. Benjoya had her bail set at $10,000.

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

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Police Files 

Watch taken off cart from golf bag

A victim reported to Newport Beach Police that a watch was stolen from his golf bag during a round of golf on Sunday, June 9, at Pelican Hill Golf Club.

The victim said that he placed the watch into his bag before starting and upon finishing, the watch was no longer there. The bag had been placed throughout the day on the back of a golf cart.

The value placed on the loss was $8,500.

The case remains open.

Chain cut, boat motor taken

Newport Beach Police received a complaint filed on Tuesday, June 11, reporting grand theft from a boat. The incident reportedly took place sometime between October 15, 2018 and May 12, 2019.

The victim reported that a motor from a dinghy was missing. It appeared to police that bolt cutters were used to cut a chain that previously had secured the engine.

The loss was estimated at $1,000.

The case is open.

Safe and jewelry stolen in residential burglary

A residential burglary with a forced entry reportedly took place in the 00 block of Ridgeline Drive sometime between May 30 and June 10. 

Residents reported that an unknown suspect entered the home through an unlocked window, after removing a window screen. 

The master bedroom had multiple drawers opened and a closet shuffled through.

A safe with paperwork and jewelry were reportedly taken.

Security guard observes, then recovers stolen car

A previously stolen vehicle was recovered in the 100 block of Scholz Plaza Monday morning, June 10.

The security guard in the parking lot had noticed the vehicle parked, then moved, parked then moved, over a three-week period.

The vehicle was a silver Toyota Camry owned by a company in Irvine.

Police were notified and the auto was recovered.

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Police Files

 Man dies in early morning hours after being struck by minivan

A 64-year-old man was killed in the early morning hours of Saturday, June 8, in the 5900 block of W. Coast Highway.

According to the Orange County Coroner, Gregory Whittingham, of Garden Grove, was hit at 1:59 a.m. by a minivan and subsequently died on the scene.

The driver of the minivan remained on the scene, according to a spokesperson for the Newport Beach Police Department and was not cited or arrested.

Broken brake light leads to drug arrest

Newport Beach Police observed a vehicle Saturday evening, June 8, shortly after 7 p.m., at Irvine Avenue and 18th Street, with a right brake light out. Police stopped the vehicle and found controlled substances, paraphernalia, narcotics and a switchblade.

Further investigation uncovered controlled substance and narcotics amounts generally considered for sale.

Police arrested Sean Robert Garza, 34, of Palm Desert. At final, he was found with 54.6 grams of methamphetamine, 100 pills of Alprazolam, 15 pills of Tramadol and .3 grams of cocaine.

Garza was arrested for possession of unlawful paraphernalia, possession of a switchblade in a vehicle, possession of narcotics for sale, transporting narcotics for sale, possession of a controlled substance for sale, transporting a controlled substance for sale and possession for sale of designated controlled substances. 

His bail was set at $30,000.

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

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Police Files

Wrong-way driver causes fatal wreck on the 73

A 64-year-old Corona del Mar woman, Arda Gulesserian, died Wednesday morning, June 5, in a traffic crash involving a wrong-way driver on the 73 freeway. The driver, identified as Luke Fitch, 23, of Newport Beach, began heading southbound into opposite heading northbound traffic, striking two cars, resulting in the death of the driver of a white BMW, Gulesserian.

Fitch, driving a silver Mercedes, was critically injured and taken to Orange County Global Medical Center. Eyewitnesses said that the suspect was seen driving erratically on Newport Beach streets, before making a U-turn near Birch St. to enter the 73 Freeway. Prior to the accident, his speed was estimated to be approaching 100 mph.

The accident also included a white Lexus, however nobody in that vehicle were injured.

The California Highway Patrol is investigating the incident as a potential homicide. It is unknown if alcohol or drugs were involved.

The accident took place shortly before 9 a.m. near Campus Drive.

A Facebook account listed Fitch as an employee of a Newport Beach restaurant, who had previously attended Orange Coast College, Newport Harbor High School and Saddleback Valley Christian School.

Fitch, driving a silver Mercedes, was critically injured and taken to Orange County Global Medical Center. Eyewitnesses said that the suspect was seen driving erratically on Newport Beach streets, before making a U-turn near Birch St. to enter the 73 Freeway. Prior to the accident, his speed was estimated to be approaching 100 mph.

The deceased woman has been identified as Arda Gulesserian, a Corona dal Mar resident.

The accident also included a white Lexus, however nobody in that vehicle were injured.

The California Highway Patrol is investigating the incident as a potential homicide. It is unknown if alcohol or drugs were involved.

The accident took place shortly before 9 a.m. near Campus Drive.

A Facebook account listed Fitch as an employee of a Newport Beach restaurant, who had previously attended Orange Coast College, Newport Harbor High School and Saddleback Valley Christian School.

Woman angrily dumps coffee on laptop in high school office, reports NBPD

On Monday morning, June 3, Nicole Monique Caldwell, 37, from Santa Ana, entered the Corona del Mar High School office and requested to speak to the principal. However, Caldwell referenced the principal’s name of the middle school and was advised by the office employee that she’d need to go to the middle school office.

According to police reports, Caldwell became angry and demanded again to speak to the principal who was not at that location. When she was told she would need to exit the building and go to the middle school office, she reportedly picked up a cup of coffee sitting on the desk and poured it onto a school laptop.

Newport Beach Police were called, and Caldwell was arrested at 9:32 a.m. on vandalism charges for damaging property. 

Her bail was set at $20,000.

Woman leaves $25,000 wedding ring on office desk for weekend, then reports it missing

Newport Beach Police were called to the 400 block of Newport Center Drive on Monday, June 3. A citizen reported her wedding ring had been stolen.

She told police that she had left her ring on her desk on Friday, May 31. When she returned three days later at 4 p.m., the ring was gone.

The value of the ring was estimated at $25,000.

NBPD took a report.

Man takes Cadillac from valet for short joyride

On Saturday, June 1, a male suspect took a red Cadillac Escalade that was left parked with the keys in the ignition in the valet area near Newport Coast Drive and Pelican Hill Road.

The suspect then drove the vehicle erratically around the area, damaging one of the tires. He then left the car parked in a different location and left the area.

NBPD is investigating the incident.

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

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Police Files

 “I’m not him” leads to $30,500 bail

Dennis Allen Chastain III, 29, of San Clemente, was arrested at 2:33 a.m. Saturday morning, June 1, in the 1500 block of Placentia Ave.

When police first began questioning Chastain he attempted to use another person’s name for his identification. However, police soon discovered his true identity, that he was in possession of unlawful paraphernalia, in violation of terms of his parole and wanted for an undisclosed outstanding warrant.

He was arrested on charges of false personation of another, parole violation, the warrant and for the paraphernalia.

His bail was set at $30,500.

Body found in Newport Beach last week is identified

The man found dead early Friday morning, March 31, in Newport Beach has been identified as 29-year-old Maxwell Voettiner of Costa Mesa by the Orange County Coroner’s Office.

Voettiner’s body was found near Jamboree Road and Pacific Coast Highway around 6:30 a.m. A Newport Beach Police Department spokesperson said that there appeared to be no signs of trauma.

No cause of death or other details have been released.

Two arrested around stolen mail

Newport Beach Police stopped two suspects in the early morning hours of Thursday, May 30, at 61st St. and Newport Shores Drive.

Upon investigation, Kristina Grace Thompson, 46, of Huntington Beach, and Ryan Patrick Marble, 34, Mission Viejo, were arrested for possessing stolen property and for conspiracy to commit crimes.

Marble had in his possession stolen mail and deceptive government identification.

Both suspects were arrested on a number of charges, ranging from conspiracy to receiving stolen property, appropriating lost property to the above listed charges. 

Bail was set at $20,000 for each.

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

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Police Files

Body found this morning at Jamboree and Coast Highway

The body of a deceased male was found around 6:30 a.m. this morning, Friday, May 31, at Jamboree Road and E. Coast Highway. According to a Newport Beach Police spokesperson, there were no signs of trauma.

Detectives and the Coroner are on site investigating.

No other details are available.

Tinted windows and license plate violation lead to meth, cocaine and cash

On Tuesday, May 28, at 1:34 p.m., Noe Ramirez Ramirez, 43, of Costa Mesa, was pulled over by Newport Beach Police for front tinted windows and a license plate violation. Upon questioning, he then presented officers with a fake driver’s license.

Officers followed up by investigating the vehicle and found cocaine, methamphetamine and a large amount of cash.

Ramirez was charged with the possession of 53.2 grams of methamphetamine and 110.2 grams of cocaine in 17 different baggies, along with needles.

He was charged with false identification, possession of a controlled substance for sale, possession of a cocaine base for sale, transporting narcotics for sale, forgery for the driver’s license seal and inserting handwriting for another. Additionally he was charged with tinted windows and an obstruction on his license plate.

Ramirez was held on $30,000 bail.

List of warrant charges leads to $270,500 bail amount

Alberto Manuel Enriquez, 29, Westminster, was arrested Sunday night, May 26, at 10:18 p.m. at Placentia Ave. and W. 15th St. and found to be in possession of a controlled substance. He then attempted to falsely personate himself to police.

The reason was simple. Enriquez had a list of seven outstanding warrants. Those translated into one charge of robbery, two for possession of methamphetamine, one for possession of materials for intending to commit vandalism or graffiti, two for violating a court ordered protective order and one for contempt of court.

All of those, with additional charges of false personation of another and possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, led to a bail amount of $270,500.

Newport Beach fentanyl bust leads to seven-year prison sentence

Orange resident Duc “Kevin” Cao has been sentenced to seven years and three months in federal prison for manufacturing and distributing fentanyl from a Newport Beach address.

Cao was arrested in 2018, along with two others, Isaiah Suarez, of Newport Beach, and Wyatt Pasek, of Santa Ana.

Suarez pleaded guilty last summer to one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, and Pasek plead guilty to a similar charge, along with being a felon in possession of a firearm and one count of money laundering.

Suarez will be sentenced in June, Pasek in August.

Court documents listed that the illegal activities were done in the Suarez residence on Balboa Blvd.

Cao’s case was tried in U.S. Federal Court before District Judge James Selna.

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

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Police Files

Early morning bust leads to drugs, paraphernalia and a host of warrants

Newport Beach Police made a stop of three individuals in the 5200 block of Seashore Drive around 1:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 25, and found drugs, paraphernalia and a number of outstanding warrants.

First up was Carl Richard Johnson Jr., 38, of Costa Mesa, who was arrested for being under the influence of a controlled substance. Further checking showed that Johnson was also in violation of his probation.

Lauraclaire Oglesby, 38, of Newport Beach, was found to be in possession of unlawful paraphernalia. Additional investigation turned up warrants for possession of a controlled substance, possession of methamphetamine, another charge of unlawful paraphernalia, possession of a narcotic controlled substance and transporting a controlled substance for sale or distribution.

Amber Nicole Kirkpatrick, 31, also of Newport Beach, was arrested on charges of possession of a controlled substance, possession of a narcotic controlled substance and possession of unlawful paraphernalia.

Johnson was held on $1,000 bail, while Oglesby’s was set at $36,000 and Kirkpatrick’s at $10,000.

Allegedly intoxicated woman also arrested for allegedly battering officer

Newport Beach Police were called on Friday, May 24, shortly after 8 p.m., for a confrontation in the 3000 block of Lafayette Ave. Upon investigation, police arrested 21-year-old Hannele Michelle Cox, of Oak Hills, on a number of charges, including battery.

Cox didn’t go easy, as police found her apparently in an altered state. She subsequently earned additional charges of obstructing and resisting a peace officer, obstructing and resisting an executive officer and battery on a peace officer.

She was also charged with being drunk in public.

Cox was arrested and held on $20,000 bail.

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

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Police Files

“Stormy” past leads to serious federal charges for NB attorney

Newport Beach attorney Michael Avenatti has been charged with fraud and aggravated identity theft for allegedly taking some $300,000 from Stormy Daniels.

The latest charges are added to a number of other claims against Avenatti that include wire fraud, bank fraud and extortion.

Avenatti is suspected of spending monies directed to Daniels on personal expenses like airfare, hotels and restaurants, and to fund his law practice.

He was also indicted this past week by a grand jury for allegedly attempting to extort some $25 million from Nike.

Avenatti has denied the latest Daniels allegations.

Daniels, a stripper and porn actress, is most known for her recent legal dispute with President Donald Trump, when she accused him of an affair. 

Alleged boat burglary involves nudity too

Newport Beach Police were sent to the area of 28th St. and Newport Blvd., on Monday, May 20, around 6:30 p.m. for a citizen complaint of a suspicious person on a boat. Upon arrival, officers met with the owner of the boat who provided video surveillance of an individual on his boat without permission.

The suspect allegedly entered the boat and rummaged through cabinets, while another suspect hovered nearby.

Police arrested Kordel Eric Nelsoncaro, 24, of Costa Mesa, and Joseph Ray Banuelos, 23, of Anaheim.

Nelsoncaro told police that he had entered the boat with the intent to use a towel. He was arrested for burglary of a boat and public nudity.

Banuelos was also arrested for being “intoxicated beyond being able to care for himself,” according to police, and for public nudity.

Nelsoncaro’s bail was set at $20,000; Banuelos’ was set at $500.

Stolen car, drugs and identity theft charges pinned to desert residents

Newport Beach Police arrested Paul John Juergens Meyer, 27, of Laughlin, and Lindsay Marie Arndt, 34, of Mohave, for possession of a stolen vehicle on Monday, May 20, around 1 p.m. at Orange St. and Seashore Drive.

Upon further investigation, police also found a controlled substance, paraphernalia and items relating to identity theft.

Meyer also had several outstanding warrants. He was charged with possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of a controlled substance, possession of unlawful paraphernalia and identity theft for possessing personal identity information of others. His warrants were undisclosed and from an outside agency.

Arndt was arrested for possession of a stolen vehicle and possession of a controlled substance.

Both had their bail set at $20,000.

An arrest or indictment contains allegations that a suspect or defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

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Police Files

Lemur pilferer pleads guilty in Federal Court

A man who broke into the Santa Ana Zoo after hours and stole North America’s oldest-living ring-tailed lemur in captivity to keep the endangered animal as a pet has agreed to plead guilty to a federal criminal charge.

Aquinas (Quinn) Kasbar, 19, of Newport Beach, has agreed to plead guilty to one misdemeanor count of unlawfully taking an endangered species. The charge carries a statutory maximum penalty of one year in federal prison and a $100,000 fine. Kasbar’s initial court appearance has been scheduled for May 28 in United States District Court in Santa Ana.

According to his plea agreement filed yesterday, on July 27, 2018, Kasbar broke into the Santa Ana Zoo after it had closed for the day. While in the zoo, Kasbar used bolt cutters to cut a hole in the zoo’s enclosures for lemurs and capuchin monkeys, which enabled several of the animals to escape, though they were later recovered, according to court documents.

Police Files Quinn Kasbar

Courtesy OC District Attorney’s office

Quinn Kasbar

Kasbar admitted in his plea agreement to stealing Isaac, a 32-year-old, ring-tailed lemur, and North America’s oldest ring-tailed lemur in captivity. After stealing Isaac, Kasbar placed the animal in a plastic drawer that lacked ventilation holes, court papers state. The next day, Kasbar abandoned Isaac in front of a Newport Beach hotel, leaving him in the same plastic drawer with two notes placed on it, which read, “Lemur” and “This belongs to the Santa Ana Zoo it was taken last night please bring it to police,” the plea agreement states. Kasbar’s actions resulted in a loss to the Santa Ana Zoo of approximately $8,486, court papers state.

This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the Newport Beach Police Department and the Santa Ana Police Department.

This matter is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Daniel H. Ahn of the Santa Ana Branch Office and Erik M. Silber of the Environmental and Community Safety Crimes Section.

Kasbar is also charged with a number of residential burglaries in Balboa Island, Newport Beach and Corona del Mar. He was linked to the burglaries through evidence found in the lemur case.

He is scheduled for a court appearance in June.

Supreme Court passes on decision as to whether NB is on the hook for wrongful death

The Supreme Court decided not to hear Newport Beach vs. Vos, an excessive force lawsuit, thereby allowing a jury to decide whether police are liable for shooting and killing a mentally ill man. 

Gerritt Vos died in 2014 after being shot by Newport Beach police when he charged them outside a convenience store while holding a pair of scissors. 

Police were called when Vos, 22, from San Clemente, was acting agitated in a 7-Eleven. The store’s clerk and customers had previously exited with one reportedly cut on the hand by the scissors.

Police took positions in front of the store, accompanied by a police dog and non-lethal weapons. However, Vos came running out of the store toward police and they shot him four times. He later died of his wounds.

Follow-up tests revealed methamphetamine in his system. His previous medical history also had him diagnosed as a schizophrenic.

Vos’ parents filed a $25 million wrongful death suit against the City of Newport Beach.

The City’s lawyers asked the Court whether police needed to “provide accommodations to an armed, violent and mentally ill suspect” when making an arrest.

The Court, in deciding not to hear the case, now turns the case back for a jury to decide.

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Police Files

Local who allegedly took lemur from Santa Ana Zoo could be responsible for a number of NB burglaries

Last summer someone stole a 32-year-old lemur from the Santa Ana Zoo. The suspect has now been identified as Quinn Kasbar, 19, of Newport Beach.

Authorities say Kasbar stole the primate and then the next day dropped it off at the Newport Beach Marriott Bayview hotel in a box with a note saying that it belonged to the Santa Ana Zoo and to call police.

A video from the hotel showed a suspect leaving the scene in a hoodie sweatshirt.

Recently, Kasbar was allegedly “bragging” about the incident. In a follow-up investigation, police found that he’s allegedly also tied to a number of burglaries on Balboa Island, Corona del Mar and Newport Beach.

He will appear in court next month. However, he remains free on bail.

Loaner car reported missing from Fletcher Jones Motorcars

Newport Beach Police took a report on Wednesday, May 8, from Fletcher Jones Motorcars for a vehicle that was previously taken without their consent. 

The incident originally took place on December 7, 2018, when the vehicle was issued as a loaner car, to be returned two days later on December 9, 2018. The vehicle, a white Mercedes c300, was never returned.

Police are investigating.

Parole violator arrested for commercial burglary

Last Thursday, May 9, Newport Beach Police arrested Gabriel Michael Lopano, 25, from Costa Mesa, at 10 a.m. for commercial burglary with no forced entry.

The incident took place in the 2200 block of Bristol Street where a citizen had previously reported a burglary on the prior Saturday, May 4. Police were investigating the report on Monday, May 7 and found Lopano testing door handles to the building, where he gained access through multiple doors, according to NBPD PIO Heather Rangel.

He was subsequently arrested and additionally charged with a parole violation.

His bail was set at $20,000.

NBPD to open their doors this Sunday to the public

The Newport Beach Police Department will have an open house this Sunday, May 19, from noon until 4 p.m.

Enjoy free food, station tours, live demonstrations, police horses, K9s and activities for kids.

The police station is located at 870 Santa Barbara Dr. The community is asked to park in the parking structure at 888 1/2 San Clemente Dr.

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Police Files

Woman charged with NHHS Nazi-related crimes

A woman was charged yesterday with one count of misdemeanor vandalism and two counts of misdemeanor graffiti for allegedly posting Nazi propaganda at Newport Harbor High School and Fullerton College.

Grace Elisabeth Ziesmer, 22, Fullerton, has been charged with one misdemeanor count of vandalism under $400 and two misdemeanor counts of graffiti. If convicted of all charges, Ziesmer faces a maximum sentence of one year and six months in Orange County Jail.

Ziesmer is scheduled to appear at the Harbor Justice Center at 8:30 a.m. on June 6.

On March 4, the defendant is accused of posting Nazi propaganda posters on city light poles near Fullerton College. Ziesmer is also accused of posting Nazi propaganda posters on Newport Harbor High School’s property on March 11.

The posting of Nazi propaganda, which included swastikas, SS mottos and other neo-Nazi statements, is a hate incident.

“Hate does not belong here. It does not belong anywhere,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. “The Orange County District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting hate crimes and hate incidents to the fullest extent of the law. I am not going to tolerate hate in Orange County.”

Ziesmer was not charged with a hate crime enhancement due to a lack of sufficient evidence that her conduct was directed at a particular victim for being Jewish. It could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant’s conduct was directed at the schools because of their connection with the Jewish people or the Jewish religion, based on the evidence and interviews conducted in the case.

Deputy District Attorney Jake Jondle of the Special Prosecutions unit is prosecuting this case.

Fire Files

Flight en route to Orange County makes emergency landing

Flight 1154, an Alaska Airlines Airbus A320, flying from Portland to Orange County, was diverted to LAX Friday evening, May 10, because of a “strong chemical smell” onboard, according to an airline spokesperson.

The flight had 146 passengers and five crew members on board.

Fire Files Alaskan AIrlines jet

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of ocair.com 

The smell emanated from the back galley area of the airplane.

The Los Angeles Fire Department responded and examined two passengers who had complained of medical issues. Both were examined and released at the scene.

According to Alaska Airlines, the plane was removed from service and maintenance technicians were inspecting the aircraft.

All passengers were successfully rerouted to Orange County.


Police Files

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman may be in trouble again with possible yoga studio theft

A Newport Beach police investigation is underway concerning the alleged theft of some $1,000 worth of clothing from Vibes Hot Yoga in Newport Beach earlier this week. A store video shows a woman on Tuesday, May 7 stuffing clothes into her purse, while her friends allegedly attempt to distract store employees.

One of those friends appears to be former NBA star Dennis Rodman, although Newport Beach Police have yet to positively confirm his identity.

According to reports, the group of people also allegedly attempted to remove a crystal art piece from the front desk of the business, but ended up dropping and shattering it. The piece was valued at $2,500.

They eventually left the yoga studio, even taking the shattered crystal with them.

The owner of the studio claimed that the group reeked of alcohol.

A note the next day was found taped to the front door of the studio that read, “We stopped by at 4:26. Thank you for letting us be ourselves! Looking forward to seeing you soon!” It was apparently signed by Rodman himself.

No one has as of yet been arrested and the investigation continues.

Rodman is presently on probation following a DUI conviction.

Now ex-employee suspected of taking $32,000 from local business

A business in the 2100 block of Westcliff Drive filed a crime report with Newport Beach Police saying that a now ex-employee took some $32,000 from a safe, without permission. 

The incident occurred sometime between 5:20 p.m. on Wednesday, April 17 and 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 18.

The complaint was filed on Tuesday, May 9.

Fire Files

NB Fire knocks down Eastbluff home fire

On Tuesday, May 7, the Newport Beach Fire Department made an aggressive attack on a one-story Eastbluff home fire. First in units reported a working garage fire.

Police Files House Fire

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of NBFD

Firefighters were able to keep the fire from extending into the house itself and to any adjacent structures.

No injuries were reported.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.


Police Files

Video surveillance leads to arrest of nearby arson suspect 

On Saturday morning, May 4, a Newport Beach Police Officer responded to a call to the 4000 block of MacArthur Blvd. concerning a potential arson case. The owner of the business located there relayed to the officer that around 2 a.m. earlier that day, the Newport Beach Fire Department had been on site extinguishing a fire.

After reviewing surveillance footage, police were able to identify a potential suspect. The officer located Lewis Patrick Hathorne, 53, of Costa Mesa, some 400 feet away, matching the suspect in the video.

Upon questioning, Hathorne admitted starting the fire and was arrested for arson on a structure and held on $50,000 bail.

The next day, following his release on bail, Hathorne was again arrested by NBPD on trespassing charges for refusing to leave property.

He was charged and had another $500 bail set.

Big piece of equipment disappears from construction site

Newport Beach Police were sent to the 3300 block of Via Lido for a citizen requesting to report an incident of grand theft.

The superintendent of a construction site located there reported to police that sometime between 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 28 and 7 a.m. on Tuesday, April 30, an excavator was stolen.

The value of the excavator was estimated to be $60,000.

Police are investigating.

Police make arrest in two-month old stolen bike case

Reed Alan Palmer, 21, of Newport Beach, was arrested for commercial burglary on Wednesday, May 1, at 11:46 a.m. while in possession of a stolen bicycle.

A bicycle missing report was filed by a victim on March 3 following its disappearance from a chain link fence at Newport Harbor High School. The victim had locked the bicycle at 8 a.m. that day and when he returned at 3 p.m., the bicycle was missing.

In addition to commercial burglary charges against Palmer, NBPD also found him in possession of a narcotic controlled substance and unlawful paraphernalia.

His bail was set at $22,500.

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Police Files

Car chase ends in Newport Beach following standoff

A vehicle pursuit began Wednesday, May 1, in Laguna Beach shortly after 3 p.m. and ended several hours later with the suspect’s capture in Newport Beach near Fashion Island.

It all began at 3:08 p.m. when the Newport Beach Police Department’s Dispatch Center received information that a vehicle pursuit had begun in Laguna Beach and was proceeding through Orange County. The vehicle was a silver Mercedes and the suspect was identified as Richard Bloustine. He was wanted for a felony no bail warrant, suspected of fraudulent activity and was reported to be armed with a gun.

At 4:01 p.m., NBPD entered into the pursuit at the request of the pursuing units as the suspect entered into city limits. The suspect continued to evade pursuing police cars, while at the time on the phone with NBPD Dispatch.

Finally, the suspect brought his vehicle to a stop in the 1441 Avocado Dr. parking lot. Although initially not compliant with officers’ orders to exit the vehicle, the suspect continued to speak with NBPD’s Crisis Negotiation Team by phone, while surrounded by armed police officers in fire-ready positions. Through telephonic communication, the Crisis Negotiation Team was able to get the suspect to exit his vehicle and surrender.

Police Files Richard Scott Bloustine

Photo from LBPD

Richard Scott Bloustine

The Laguna Beach Police Department then took custody of Richard Scott Bloustine, a 53-year-old Newport Beach resident. After being booked in Laguna Beach, he was then transferred to the Orange County Jail.

No weapon was found in his possession at the time of his arrest.

In February of 2016, Bloustine was sentenced to seven years in prison after writing more than $200,000 in bad checks. His sentence included an order by the Orange County District Attorney to pay restitution to victims and attached a fine of $444,000.

His bounced checks included one for $15,000 to a Laguna Beach car dealer, a $32,000 check for the lease on a house, $13,000 to furnish that residence and $80,000 for dental work that he received in Newport Beach.

According to the District Attorney, Bloustine has more than a dozen fraud-related misdemeanor and felony convictions in Orange County.

His record also includes previous arrests and convictions in Arizona, Santa Barbara County and Hawaii for fraud related incidents.

Vandalism hits local business

Newport Beach Police responded to the 700 block of Alderwood Drive for a citizen’s complaint regarding vandalism. According to the victim, someone had driven a wood board through a forklift’s windows sometime between 12 p.m. on Sunday, April 29 and 10:41 a.m. on Monday, April 30, shattering the windows.

It was additionally reported that paint had been splattered on the company’s storage container, retaining wall and the ground.

No one was arrested and police continue to investigate.

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Police Files

Interesting details emerge in double homicide suspect’s possible motives

Media reports are saying that double-murder suspect Jamon Buggs “was possibly after men he believed had a romantic history with a woman from his past,” according to detectives.

Those reports came following Buggs’ attempted burglaries in Irvine where he allegedly went “looking for a Caucasian man by the name of Jared.” Instead, Buggs came across a residence with a man by that same name, but of Asian descent. 

Meanwhile, according to Eyewitness News, suspicious surveillance footage has surfaced which includes a man “resembling Buggs.” A resident of Corona del Mar told the television station that his vehicle was broken into a week ago Friday. “Three days earlier, the same suspect (Buggs) was seen in his neighbor’s backyard in Corona del Mar.”

The CdM resident added that his former neighbor was Darren Partch, one of the victims in the double homicide.

Still, however, police officials are saying that there is no evidence that Wendi Miller, the other victim, had any prior interaction with Buggs.

Police Files Jamon Rayon BuggsCourtesy of Irvine Police Department

Jamon Rayon Buggs

Yesterday, Buggs was in the Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach for his scheduled arraignment, however, it was postponed until May 17. He is currently being held without bail.

His charges include the two counts of murder, attempted burglary of an inhabited dwelling, discharging a gun at an inhabited dwelling and being a felon in possession of a firearm. If convicted, Buggs faces a minimum sentence of life without the possibility of parole and a maximum sentence of the death penalty. 

Buggs had a prior conviction for an assault on a police officer in San Diego County in 1995.

Buggs is accused of murdering Darren Donald Partch, 38, of Newport Beach, and Wendi Sue Miller, 48 of Costa Mesa. The two were found deceased inside a residence in the 2100 block of East 15th Street in Newport Beach on the evening of April 21.

Partch and Miller were last seen at the Loft and Sandpiper in Laguna Beach early Saturday morning, April 20, at approximately 1:45 a.m.

Miller was the CEO for the nonprofit organization Wings for Justice, an advocacy group for children in the family court system. Partch was a former minor league hockey player and most recently worked for Atrinsic, an Irvine-based financial services company, as an account executive.

Funeral arrangements for both have been planned. For Miller, a service is scheduled for this Friday, May 3 at 2 p.m., at Mariners Church in Irvine in the Community Center. For Partch, there is a Celebration of Life planned for Saturday, May 4 at the Harbor Lawn-Mt. Olive Memorial Park and Mortuary in Costa Mesa at 5:30 p.m.

Police arrest two driving out-of-town stolen vehicle

On Saturday, April 27, just before 2 a.m., a Newport Beach Police Officer was on a patrol check in the area of the 2300 block of University Drive and observed a suspicious vehicle occupied by two males. Upon further investigation, the police officer discovered that the vehicle, a Jeep Wrangler, was stolen out of Imperial County.

The officer stopped the occupants and they denied that the vehicle was stolen.

However, both were arrested. Tayrik Nathahl Jones, 20, from Winchester, was taken into custody and charged with taking an auto without the owner’s consent and possession of burglary tools that were also found in the vehicle. He was booked and held on $20,000 bail.

Mark Joel Adams, 26, of Costa Mesa, was also arrested for taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent and for an outstanding DUI warrant. He was held on $30,000 bail.

A night out leads to $175,000 missing diamond ring

On Thursday, April 18, sometime between 4:30 and 9:30 p.m., someone reportedly entered a building in the 2100 block of E. Ocean Front and stole a diamond ring that the victim left on the bathroom counter.

Upon the victim’s return later that evening, and noticing the ring was missing, she notified the Newport Beach Police Department and filed a report.

The ring was valued at $175,655.

No arrests have been made and police are continuing to investigate.

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Police Files

Newport Beach murder suspect of two in custody

Yesterday, April 25, the Newport Beach Police Department arrested Jamon Rayon Buggs, a 44-year-old resident of Huntington Beach, for the murders of Darren Donald Partch, 38, of Newport Beach, and Wendi Sue Miller, 48, of Costa Mesa. 

The victims were found deceased inside a residence in the 2100 block of East 15th St. in Newport Beach last Sunday evening. Partch’s roommate, who had spent the weekend in the desert, returned home to find the murder scene and notified police.

Police Files Jamon Rayon Buggs

Courtesy of Irvine Police Department

Jamon Rayon Buggs

At the time of his arrest, Buggs was already in custody at the Orange County Jail in connection with unrelated charges stemming from an arrest by the Irvine Police Department. He had been taken into custody Monday following a short pursuit and after barricading himself in an unoccupied home. His charges included attempted burglary, shooting into an inhabited dwelling, possession of a firearm by a felon, hit and run and evading police.

He also has a previous criminal record that includes guilty pleas of vandalism, possession of a firearm, taking property and brandishing a weapon.

Buggs is currently being held on a $1,000,000 bail pending double murder charges.

According to the Newport Beach Police, this is an open and ongoing investigation and no additional details are available at this time. Anyone with information regarding the case or with information on the recent activities and whereabouts of Jamon Rayon Buggs prior to his arrest should contact Detective Rick Henry at 949.644.3797.

The Newport Beach Police Department worked with law enforcement partners including the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, Orange County Crime Lab, Irvine Police Department, Laguna Beach Police Department, Costa Mesa Police Department, Santa Ana Police Department and Anaheim Police Department on the investigation.

Police Files Darren Partch Police Files Wendi Miller

Darren Partch and Wendi Miller were murdered in Newport Beach

Partch was a former minor league hockey player and most recently worked in Irvine with Advanced Financial Services.

Miller was CEO of the nonprofit Wings for Justice, an advocacy group working to protect children in the family court system. 

It was thought that after an evening in Laguna Beach, Miller had offered a ride home to Partch. 

Police have not identified any connection between Buggs and the victims at this time. It was reported, however, that there was no forced entry to Partch’s residence prior to the murder.

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Police Files

Double homicide in Newport Beach

A man and woman were found dead Sunday night, April 21, at the Villa Siena condominium complex across the street from Newport Harbor High School at 15th Street and Irvine Avenue, which Newport Beach Police are calling a double homicide.

A roommate of the male victim was returning home around 9:30 p.m. on Sunday from a weekend in the desert and discovered the bodies. At the time, he did not recognize the identity of the female.

The Orange County Coroner’s office has identified the deceased as Darren Partch, 38, of Newport Beach, and Wendi Miller, 48, a Costa Mesa resident and CEO of Wings for Justice, who had been reported missing.

Police Files Darren Partch Police Files Wendi Miller

Darren Partch and Wendi Miller were murdered in Newport Beach

Newport Beach Police have yet to release any further details, other than to say they are reporting that there didn’t appear to be any signs of a forced entry.

A family member reported on Wendi’s death saying, “She had been shot and (we were) told that she did not suffer.”

Police are investigating and have “no information on a suspect at this time.”

Miller was last seen, according to friends, at the Loft and Sandpiper in Laguna Beach early Saturday morning, and she hadn’t been seen or heard from since. She was driving a white convertible Lexus.

Police Files Double Homicide

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Lana Johnson

Newport Beach Police cordoned off the area in front of the Villa Siena condominium complex at 2101 E. 15th St., Newport Beach

A neighbor in Villa Siena told Stu News that two vehicles were impounded from the scene earlier yesterday.

Partch was a retired hockey player from the San Diego Gulls organization where he last played in 2005-06. He also played for the Long Beach Ice Dogs back in 2003-04. 

He was originally from Agoura Hills.

Laguna Beach detectives are assisting Newport Beach detectives in the investigation and will be involved in the overall investigation.

Police chase leads to violent crash and arrest of two

A police chase in Newport Beach ended in a violent crash early Friday morning, April 19, near Sherington Place and Seagull Lane. According to reports, the suspect’s vehicle rammed into three parked cars and then he attempted to flee on foot.

Police arrested Carl Richard Johnson Jr., 38, of Costa Mesa, at 3:28 a.m. Police had engaged Johnson in the pursuit after he reportedly hit a planter box and then sped off.

Three people were injured in the collision.

Johnson was arrested on charges of evading police officers with wanton disregard, driving without a license, obstructing and resisting police officers and hit and run with property damage. Johnson also had an outstanding warrant for a parole violation.

Julie Ann Shapero, 39, of Fullerton, a passenger in Johnson’s vehicle, was also arrested on an outstanding warrant for possession of unlawful paraphernalia.

Johnson was held on $20,000 bail, while Shapero faced a $2,500 bail.

Previously suspected Newport Beach bank robber dead following another heist

A standoff between a man suspected of being the Leatherface Bandit and Sheriff’s deputies ended in the suspect’s death last Friday, April 19. The suspect had been attempting to elude deputies during a car chase that ended in a crash with another vehicle in Rancho Santa Margarita.

The suspect had just robbed Pacific Western Bank in Dana Point around 3:40 p.m., according to the FBI, and, following a standoff where he refused to exit his vehicle, was found dead. Investigators determined that he may have taken his own life.

The same man is suspected of robbing banks previously in Newport Beach and Costa Mesa, including OneWest Bank in Corona del Mar on March 8.

He earned the Leatherface nickname from a mask he wore in the robberies.

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Police Files

Police find vandalized auto, two returning subjects, burglary tools and drugs

Newport Beach Police found a suspicious vehicle parked in an empty parking lot near a gated community in the 1400 block of Bayswater on Sunday morning, April 14, around 5:30 a.m. The vehicle had a broken window, displaying broken glass and paper plates covering the license plates. 

Two subjects, Jenna Raynoelle Setzerhillert, 25, from Mission Viejo, and Charles Daniel Williams, 34, from Fullerton, returned to the vehicle and were engaged by the police. Upon further investigation, police realized the parties were returning from the gated community where they were attempting to commit theft from vehicles.

Both were questioned further.

Setzerhillert, at first, attempted to utilize the name of another person to conceal her identification. Eventually, she was arrested for conspiracy to commit a crime, burglary from a motor vehicle and false personation of another. She was also found to have four outstanding warrants.

Williams, the cohort, was found to be in possession of .9 grams of methamphetamine, .7 grams of heroin, syringes, a glass breaking tool, another metal glass breaking tool, black gloves, a black mask and bolt cutters. He was charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession of a narcotic controlled substance, and additional charges of possession of unlawful paraphernalia, possession of burglary tools, receiving stolen property with a value less than $950, conspiracy to commit a crime, burglary from a motor vehicle and appropriating lost property.

Both subjects were held on $20,000 bail.

No license plates, no license, no freedom

Newport Beach Police stopped a vehicle shortly after 5 p.m. on Monday, April 15, in the 4200 block of MacArthur Blvd. for driving with no front or rear license plates. After initiating the stop, NBPD questioned and identified the occupants of the vehicle.

The driver was Gabriel John Paola, 46, of Cedar Glen. In addition to no plates, he also did not have a driver’s license. After being uncooperative, he was arrested on charges of obstructing/resisting a peace officer, driving without a license and seven other charges.

The passenger was Tracie Anne McKray, 40, of San Juan Capistrano. Upon further investigation of McKray, police discovered her to be in possession of methamphetamine and a methamphetamine pipe. 

She was arrested and held on $25,000 bail.

Paola was arrested and held on $500 bail. 

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Fire Files

NBFD called for mercury spill at Sage Hill School

Yesterday, April 15, at 9:40 a.m., firefighters from the Newport Beach Fire Department, with assistance from the Orange County Fire Authority, Huntington Beach Fire Department and Orange County Health Hazardous Materials, responded to a hazardous materials spill at Sage Hill School. Upon arrival, firefighters were notified of a mercury spill inside the science area of the school. First in crews isolated the incident and denied entry. The hazardous materials team mitigated the spill by removing the hazard.

Fire Files Sage Hill School

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of NBFD

No injuries were reported as a result of the hazardous materials spill. Students and school staff were evacuated for their safety. The Newport Beach Fire Department would like to remind everyone to review Material Safety Data Sheets prior to operating in or near areas with hazardous materials.

Police Files

Suspected DUI driver arrested for hit and run causing property damage, evading police

Police apprehended Larry Marcus Parker, 26, of Garden Grove, on Friday, April 12 at 1:45 a.m. at Tustin Ave. and Riviera Drive in Costa Mesa following a pursuit. Parker initially took an auto without the owner’s consent. During his attempt to evade, he allegedly hit another vehicle causing property damage.

When he was finally arrested, he failed a sobriety check.

He was taken into custody on charges of DUI drugs, obstructing/resisting a peace officer, hit and run causing property damage, evading police with a wanton disregard and for taking a vehicle without consent.

He was held on $50,000 bail.

Driving on a suspended license leads to $55,500 bail for suspect

Driving on a suspended license is never a good idea. Take Andrew Chase Fluor, 35, of Newport Beach, for example. Fluor was arrested on Saturday, April 13, shortly before 6 p.m. at Zenith Ave. and Spruce Ave. He was arrested for driving while suspended or revoked. He was additionally charged with obstructing and resisting by the arresting officer. 

Upon further investigation, Newport Beach Police found him to be in possession of unlawful paraphernalia. He also had outstanding warrants. Those included charges of threatening of a serious crime that could cause death, petty theft, false impersonation of another, possession of a controlled substance and another charge related to paraphernalia.

He was taken into custody and held on $55,500 bail.

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Police Files

Newport Beach man arrested on serious sexual assault charges

Steven James Caswell, 27, of Newport Beach, was arrested on Tuesday, April 9, at 11:23 a.m. in the 1400 block of San Miguel, on serious sexual assault charges. His charges included sexual penetration with force and sexual battery.

Newport Beach Police chose not to release additional comments on the case.

However, records show that upon further investigation, NBPD discovered Caswell in possession of a narcotic controlled substance. Following his arrest, he was charged additionally with attempting to bring a controlled substance into prison.

His bail was set at $100,000.

Suspected drunk driver caught with plenty of drugs to boot

On Monday, April 8, Newport Beach Police received a citizen’s report of an apparent drunk driver. The citizen was driving from Huntington Beach to Newport Beach and noticed the suspect driving erratically. 

NBPD located the vehicle and observed the driver commit multiple driving violations and stopped the suspect at 51st St. and Neptune Ave.

The driver, Joshua Michael Mikulay, 35, of Norwalk, failed a field sobriety test. Upon further investigation, police also found a cache of drugs, including 28.4 grams of heroin, five grams of methamphetamine and 1.9 grams of fentanyl.

Mikulay was arrested and charged with possession of a narcotic controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance, possession of narcotics for sale, possession of unlawful paraphernalia, possession of a leaded cane and obstructing/resisting a peace officer. He was also charged with DUI.

His bail was set at $25,000.

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Police Files

Ongoing investigation turns up suspect, held on $1,000,000 bail

An ongoing investigation dating back to November 2018 by Newport Beach Police Detectives has led to the arrest of Jonathon Thomas Campos, 35, of Anaheim. 

Campos was arrested near La Palma Ave. and N. West St. in Anaheim at 11:09 a.m. on Wednesday, April 3. His charges include residential burglary with forced entry, robbery with a firearm, being a felon in possession of a firearm, possession of ammo by a prohibited person, receiving stolen property with a value greater than $950, possession of burglary tools and possession of a controlled substance.

Campos is being held on $1,000,000 bail.

Missing license plate leads to sizable heroin stash

Rory Allen Hutchinson, 30, of Lake Stevens, was sitting in his vehicle shortly after midnight on Saturday, April 6, in the area of 61st St. and W. Coast Highway. A Newport Beach Police Officer passing by on patrol noticed one of the license plates missing from his car.

According to NBPD PIO Heather Rangel, upon questioning, it was discovered that Hutchinson was under the influence of a controlled substance. Further investigation turned up 58.3 grams of heroin and tin foil with some burn marks. According to sources online, the street value of this amount of heroin is over $10,000.

Hutchinson was arrested and charged with being under the influence of a controlled substance, possession of unlawful paraphernalia, possession of narcotics for sale and transporting narcotics for sale.

His bail was set at $25,000.

Citizen complaint leads to arrest of suspected chronic drunk driver

Newport Beach Police were sent to the 100 block of 26th St. for a citizen’s complaint of a drunken driver. However, when police arrived, the subject had not entered his vehicle or attempted to leave the area.

As police investigated, they identified the man as Charles Chester Towle, 59, of Anaheim. Lo and behold, Towle had in his possession an open container. However, records showed that he additionally had two outstanding warrants for DUI.

He was charged for the warrants and for drinking in public.

His bail was set at $50,100.

Vehicle burglaries on the upswing, keep your vehicles locked

In the last couple of months, Newport Beach Police have seen the number of burglaries from vehicles increase across the city. In the majority of these crimes, cars are left unlocked, but they report also seeing forced entries when valuables are left out in plain sight. 

Remember, it just takes a matter of seconds for a thief to shatter a window, grab your property and disappear.

NBPD reminds you to take a minute to remove your valuables, roll up your windows & lock your doors – every time you park. 

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Police Files

Find my iPhone app leads police to stolen vehicle

On Saturday afternoon, March 30, a Newport Beach Police Officer was sent to the 3000 block of Via Lido following a citizen’s report of a stolen vehicle. The victim had reportedly parked her vehicle at 12 noon and left. When she returned 10 minutes later, the vehicle was gone.

Fortunately, the victim had left her cell phone in the vehicle and enabled the Find my iPhone app which provided the vehicle’s location.

Officers were then able to locate the vehicle and took the sole occupant, Marian Demus, 34, of Sherman Oaks, into custody.

Demus had apparently been testing car door handles when she located the victim’s 2013 Infinity G37 unlocked. She is then allegedly proceeded to take the vehicle without permission.

Demus was arrested and charged with taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent and grand theft auto.

Her bail was set at $20,000.

Gas guzzler arrested for burglary from vehicle

In the early morning hours of Sunday, March 31, a Newport Beach Police Officer was sent to the 1400 block of Superior Ave. in response to a citizen complaint of a male breaking into vehicles.

Upon arrival, the officer observed a suspect, later identified as Gregory Scott Whitaker Jr., 28, of Victorville, wearing all black, black gloves and siphoning gas from a vehicle. Further investigation, according to NPBD PIO Heather Rangel, revealed that Whitaker was trying to open vehicles with his car key, breaking gas caps and siphoning gas from other vehicles.

He was arrested on charges of burglary from a motor vehicle, possession of burglary tools and for a parole violation.

His bail was set at $20,000.

NBPD says put the cell phone away or get ticketed

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month and the Newport Beach Police Department will be joining law enforcement agencies statewide by having additional officers on patrol looking specifically for drivers who violate California’s hands-free cell phone law.

Distracted driving is dangerous, especially when it involves a cell phone. According to preliminary data from the California Highway Patrol (CHP), 66 people were killed and more than 6,500 injured in 2017 from distracted driving-related crashes.

“Cell phones remain one of the top distractions for drivers,” said Newport Beach Police Department Lieutenant Cartwright. “Like any bad habit, it can be hard to break, but this habit can have life-altering consequences.”

In a 2018 observational survey by the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), driver cell phone use found about 4.5 percent of drivers are still using their cell phone illegally, a nearly 27 percent increase from 2016.

“That text or phone call will never be worth losing a life over,” said Lieutenant Cartwright. “That is why curbing distracted driving is high on our priority list.”

Under the most recent cell phone law that went into effect in 2017, drivers are prohibited from having a phone in their hand for any reason and can only use their phone in a hands-free manner. The phones must be mounted on the dashboard, windshield or center console, and can only be touched once with the swipe or tap of a finger to activate or deactivate a function. First-time offenders face a $162 fine.

If you need to make a call or text someone, pull over and park at a safe location. Struggling to stay off the phone while driving? Put your phone in a place you can’t reach, like the backseat or trunk.

Funding for distracted driving enforcement operations are provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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Police Files

Commercial burglary in progress reported, suspects arrested

On Wednesday, March 27, at 1:40 a.m., Newport Beach Police Officers were sent to the 100 block of W. Coast Highway for a citizen’s report of a burglary in progress. The victim reported that she saw unknown males enter her business on surveillance footage.

Upon arrival, officers found Brian Edward Riley, 51, of Newport Beach, in the business without permission and in possession of multiple stolen magazines. The store owner responded to the location and requested a private person’s arrest for trespassing.

NBPD officers arrested Riley for commercial burglary with no forced entry. Upon further investigation, police found drug paraphernalia that included burnt foil and syringes, according to NBPD PIO Heather Rangel. Riley was additionally charged with possession of unlawful paraphernalia and illegally transporting sharps waste.

Byron Sherwood Graves, 35, of Placentia, was with Riley and was arrested for disorderly conduct for loitering in a private business.

Riley was arrested and held on $20,000 bail, while Graves’ bail was set at $500.

Vehicle burglary reports nearly $14,000 in stolen property

On Saturday, March 30, a victim reported to Newport Beach Police that his parked vehicle, a 2018 Mercedes c300, had been burglarized sometime between 11 p.m. on March 12 and 7 a.m. on March 13. The victim had returned to their car, in the 2900 block of Irvine Avenue, planning to head for work and observed the trunk open and the contents in the vehicle missing.

The vehicle was reportedly left locked by the victim. The stolen property was valued at $13,950.

The police have no leads at this time.

Smash and grab vehicle burglary reported

On Thursday, March 28, a victim of a vehicle burglary went into the Newport Beach Police Department and requested a police officer for a report. The victim stated that he had parked his vehicle, a 2009 white Ford Edge, on March 28, at 8:30 a.m. in the 6800 block of Seashore Drive and when he returned at 9:30 a.m., he found that his rear passenger window had been smashed and multiple items were missing.

The value placed on the stolen items was $3,580.

The police have no leads at this time.

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Fire Files

Apartment catches fire, woman rescued four stories up

On Tuesday, March 26, at 11:23 p.m., the Newport Beach Fire Department was dispatched to a reported structure fire at the Park Newport Apartments. First in units noted smoke emitting from a fourth story apartment, with a female victim calling for help from the balcony. 

The Newport Beach Fire Battalion Chief immediately upgraded the fire to a second alarm due to the potential life threat to the building occupants. 

Newport Beach Truck 63 utilized their 100-foot aerial ladder to quickly rescue the female victim and she was treated and transported to a local burn center by Newport Beach Paramedics. No additional injuries were reported.

Police Files apartment fire

Courtesy of NBFD

A cat was also rescued from the apartment and turned over to the Newport Beach Police Department’s animal control.    

First in units went into an offensive attack with progressive hose lays and were able to contain the fire to the involved apartment. In total, 40 firefighters from Newport Beach, Costa Mesa and Orange County Fire Authority assisted.

Newport Beach Police Department Officers assisted with evacuating the surrounding units.

 Newport Beach Fire Investigators are currently investigating the cause of the fire. There was approximately $100,000 in building and content damage. 

Police Files

Alleged thief works parking garage in early morning

Julian Charles White, 37, of Coto de Caza, was arrested by Newport Beach Police on Monday, March 25, in the early morning hours, for residential burglary with no forced entry.

According to NBPD PIO Heather Rangel, White, in the 100 block of San Joaquin Drive, had entered an underground parking garage around 5:30 a.m. and began pulling on car door handles. A private security department notified police who located and confirmed White as the suspect through surveillance footage.

In White’s possession were female watches, cash, a wallet and sunglasses that were allegedly all taken from vehicles.

White was arrested on burglary charges and bail was set at $50,000.

Suspected drunk driver found with assault weapon

On Saturday, March 23, a Newport Beach Police Officer was sent to the area of the 2600 block of San Miguel Drive at 7:47 p.m. for a citizen complaint of a suspected drunk driver. The witness had observed Richard Sebby Warner, 72, Newport Beach, driving erratically and advised the police officer of the suspected drunk driver’s location. 

According to NBPD PIO Heather Rangel, upon arrival and further investigation, Warner was located and found to be under the influence of alcohol and in possession of a handgun, ammunition and an assault rifle.

NBPD arrested Warner for DUI, carrying a concealed weapon in his vehicle and for possession of an assault rifle. 

He was held on $20,000 bail.

Intercepted email worth $105,000

A victim from the 2500 block of W. Coast Highway came into the Newport Beach Police Department to report a loss of $105,000 that occurred through an email transaction sometime between February 28 and March 21. 

Investigation showed that an unknown suspect had intercepted email interactions and requested that the bank wire monies to a fraudulent location.

The crime of obtaining money through false pretenses is being investigated.

Fraud leads to airline miles theft

A victim filed a fraud report with the Newport Beach Police Department after receiving an email from American Airlines stating that $57,304 worth of miles had been fraudulently used from the account.

The value of the fraud was estimated at $57,304. The incident occurred between October 18, 2018 and March 19, 2019.

The crime of grand theft by fraud continues to be investigated.

The crime of obtaining money through false pretenses is being investigated.

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Police Files

Big name Newport Beach attorney faces “stormy” future with Nike extortion charges 

Newport Beach attorney Michael Avenatti was arrested yesterday on charges of attempting to extort some $20+ million from Nike, the athletic apparel company. 

Avenatti, 48, of Century City, the former attorney for porn star Stormy Daniels, was arrested in New York for wire fraud and bank fraud according to U.S. Attorney Nicola Hanna.

Avenatti had announced a news conference for today on Twitter just prior to his arrest, saying that he had discovered a college basketball scandal “perpetuated by Nike.”

Federal prosecutors also announced unrelated wire and back fraud charges against him for allegedly embezzling from a client to pay off his own debts. 

If convicted, Avenatti could face up to 50 years in federal prison.

Celebrity attorney Mark Geragos was named as a co-conspirator with Avenatti in the alleged extortion attempt of Nike.

Transient arrested, then found with controlled substance in jail

Adrian Perez Contreras, 28, a transient with no listed hometown, was stopped by Newport Beach Police in the 3200 block of E. Coast Highway and initially charged with possession of unlawful paraphernalia and for presenting false identification to the officers.

Additional checking on Contreras turned up a warrant for violating a previous court order.

Once arrested, police found a controlled substance in Contreras’ possession in jail.

He was additionally charged with possession of a controlled substance in prison.

His bail was set at $35,000.

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Police Files

Man force enters boat on Lido Isle to consume alcohol, says NBPD

Tuesday, March 19, at 10:17 p.m., Newport Beach Police responded to a call on Lido Isle concerning a male suspect trespassing on a private boat. Upon arrival, officers met with the reporting party who expressed a desire to prosecute and signed a private persons arrest for trespassing.

Further investigation revealed that the subject, Jerret Mlagenovich, 34, of Santa Ana, had forced entry onto a secure boat in order to steal and consume alcoholic beverages, according to NBPD PIO Heather Rangel.

Mlagenovich was arrested for trespassing, burglary and a felony probation violation. His bail was set at $20,000.

Someone takes $44,000 necklace…no leads

Newport Beach Police received a report that sometime between March 2 and March 16, someone entered an apartment in the 22700 block of Pelican Hill Road S and stole a necklace valued at $44,366.

The victim stated that multiple people had access to the property during the two-week period. They filed a citizen’s complaint of grand theft.

There were no eyewitnesses and no apparent leads.

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Police Files

Burglar gets away with $103,000 in jewelry

A forced entry residential burglary on Bridgeport Road last Thursday, March 14, was very costly to residents. Sometime between 10:30 a.m. and 8:22 p.m., a burglar took jewelry and other unknown items at an estimated value of some $103,000.

The suspect entered through the yard from a dirt trail that backs up to the property, crossing a glass fence where fingerprints were left. He or she then used a barbeque to gain access to the second floor where a sliding glass door was shattered.

There was no surveillance camera or eyewitnesses.

The Newport Beach Police Department continues to investigate.

Late night meth arrest leads to big-time bail

If you want to talk about a bad day, go no further than Christine Marie Wells, 30, of Wilmington. Wells was a passenger in a vehicle that the Newport Beach Police pulled over on Friday, March 15, at Via Lido and Newport Blvd. at 2:23 a.m.

Upon further investigation, police found that Wells had not only a felony warrant in her name, but also 2.9 grams of methamphetamine and a meth pipe in her possession.

She was arrested for the warrant and possession of a controlled substance.

Her bail amount, $752,500.

Ride a bike on the sidewalk and this time go to jail

A no-no in Newport Beach is riding a bicycle on the sidewalk. So, when the Newport Beach Police Department noticed Nathan Ooten Seigel, 34, of Felicity, doing exactly that, they stopped him.

That, of course, as it does many times, led to other problems for the suspect. 

When they tried to run him, they found that Seigel was using a false name and date of birth. Upon further investigation they searched his backpack and found a set of metal knuckles, bolt cutters and black gloves.

He also had outstanding warrants, one related to possession of narcotics for sale.

Police arrested Seigel for possession of metal knuckles and possession of burglary tools, false ID to a specific peach officer and two warrants, one related to possession of narcotics for sale.

He was booked on $20,000 bail.

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Police Files

Locals top the names of college admission scandal

Newport Beach has been at the top of the news for the $25 million college admission scandal that erupted this week.

First and foremost is Newport Beach resident William “Rick” Singer, 58, who has been accused of assisting wealthy parents in getting their children admitted to prestigious colleges across the country in exchange for bribes.

It is being called the biggest college admission scandal on record.

Singer has already pleaded guilty to conspiracy and other charges in federal court earlier this week in Boston. His companies include Edge College & Career Network and the Key Worldwide Foundation.

TV stars including Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin are among the clients Singer allegedly assisted.

As a result of the scandal, a number of college administrators and coaches have been suspended or fired.

Locally, two school board trustee members from Sage Hill School, Doug Hodge, 61, of Laguna Beach and Michelle Merage-Janavs, 48, of Newport Coast, are accused of being involved and have been indicted.

Hodge supposedly spent some $450,000 to facilitate the cheating and false athletic resumes of two of his children. Hodge is the former CEO of PIMCO.

Janavs is accused of making two payments totaling $75,000 to have her daughter admitted to USC.

I-Hin “Joey” Chen, 64, of Newport Beach, a warehouse provider for the shipping industry, allegedly paid $75,000 to get assistance with his son’s ACT test results.

Neal back in OC to stand trial for O’Keefe’s murder

James Alan Neal, 72, of Monument, Colo., has been extradited back to Orange County from Colorado to stand trial for the cold case murder of 11-year-old Linda O’Keefe. Neal is accused of killing O’Keefe in 1973.

He was arraigned on Wednesday, March 13. Prosecutors have also announced additional charges against Neal for two sexual assaults that supposedly took place sometime between 1995 and 2004 in Riverside County.

O’Keefe was walking home from summer school in Corona del Mar when she disappeared. Her body was found the next morning in the Back Bay area.

New DNA technology led to the arrest and “good old-fashioned police work” led to Neal’s arrest.

He is charged with murder with special circumstances for kidnapping and lewd acts on a child.

District Attorney Todd Spitzer said, “The significant arrest for the brutal sexual assault and murder of Linda O’Keefe is an affirmation to never give up on solving cold cases. The community resolve for justice, cooperation of local law enforcement, and the strategic use of investigative tools like DNA are what helped find answers for this family and community. Our office will work tirelessly to ensure justice is served in a court of law.”

Newport Beach Police Chief Jon Lewis said, “For 45 years, the Newport Beach Police Department continued to search for Linda’s killer. Generations of investigators worked on her case. We never gave up.”

Senior Deputy District Attorney Matt Murphy will prosecute the case.

A continued arraignment is scheduled for Friday, March 29 at 10 a.m. in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana.

Woman accused of taking $14,000 bracelet at charity event

Betty Diane Kerr, 59, of Yucca Valley, was arrested for allegedly taking a $14,000 bracelet from a charity event table in the 1200 block of W. Coast Highway. The incident took place shortly after 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 9.

According to NBPD PIO Heather Rangel, Kerr was seen on a surveillance camera taking the jewelry box containing the bracelet and hiding it in her dress.

The private security company notified the Newport Beach Police Department and Kerr was taken into custody for grand theft.

Her bail was set at $20,000.

Woman busted walking from store with stolen merchandise

Danielle N. Rudd, 38, of Newport Coast, was arrested in the 600 block of Newport Center Drive on Saturday afternoon, March 9. Rudd was observed on a surveillance camera by a loss prevention officer removing clothing items from hangers and putting them into her own canvas bag.

Rudd then exited the store. The surveillance officer approached her when she was 50 feet outside of the building and still in possession of the unpaid items.

The officer notified the Newport Beach Police Department and she was taken into custody for commercial burglary. The value of the stolen merchandise was established at $1,913.

Rudd was booked and held on $20,000 bail.

Paper plates apparently lead to serial criminals

Lovan Dshone Sudds Jr., 36, of Anaheim, and Tina Tuong Duong, 27, of Santa Ana, were observed by Newport Police driving in a vehicle with no front license plate and a paper rear plate that was not compliant to California code. Police stopped the vehicle.

According to NBPD PIO Heather Rangel, further investigation produced 1.2 grams of marijuana, a marijuana pipe with residue, burglary tools including bolt cutters and two sets of gloves. Police also found the vehicle license plates in the trunk issued one year ago. Duong also had a forged driver’s license in her possession that belonged to Sudds.

According to Rangel, the relationship between the two is unknown, but they are accused of committing multiple crimes in other cities together and have multiple court cases pending.

Sudds was arrested for possession of marijuana, driving without a license, possession of burglary tools, being a felon in possession of tear gas, forgery by signing another’s name, forgery by using an official seal and conspiracy to commit a crime.

Duong was charged with missing license plates, possession of burglary tools and conspiracy.

The arrest took place around 10 p.m. on Saturday, March 10.

Both were held on $20,000 bail.

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Police Files

Swastika fliers found posted on NHHS campus

Fliers depicting Nazi symbols were found posted around campus at Newport Harbor High School over the weekend, according to reports.

The Newport Beach Police Department received a call Sunday morning, March 10, notifying them that nearly a dozen 8-by-11 fliers were posted around campus bearing swastikas.

The fliers are the second incident involving NHHS in the last week. An off-campus party the prior weekend depicted students playing the drinking game beer pong around a swastika comprised of red plastic cups. The students could be seen in the background posing with the Nazi salute.

The incident made national news and led to two community meetings, plus a conversation between Anne Frank’s stepsister, Eva Schloss, and a group of NHHS students who attended the beer pong party.

There are presently no leads on who’s responsible for the fliers.

NBPD to step it up for St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated by millions across the country, often culminating in parties where drinking is involved. Sadly, this leads to tragedies on our roadways because of drivers who choose to leave parties impaired.

This St. Patrick’s Day weekend (March 16 and 17), the Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) will have additional officers on patrol in an effort to stop drivers suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

Due to St. Patrick’s Day becoming a dangerous holiday on our roads, NBPD encourages everyone to plan ahead and use a designated sober driver, ride-share or public transportation. Even one drink can be one too many.

“Don’t even put yourself in a position where you need to ask whether you are okay to drive,” Newport Beach Police Department Lieutenant Cartwright said. “If you feel the slightest hint of a buzz, you should not be driving.”

NBPD also wants to remind everyone that a “DUI Doesn’t Just Mean Booze.” Prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications and marijuana can all be impairing, especially in combination with alcohol or other drugs.

“We all know the dangers about driving impaired,” NBPD Lieutenant Cartwright said. “Let’s all be responsible adults and help each other get where we need to go safely.”

Funding for St. Patrick’s Day DUI enforcement is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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Police Files

NBPD seeks public assistance in identifying bank robbery suspect

The Newport Beach Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying a suspect in a bank robbery investigation. The crime occurred on Thursday, March 7, at 3:48 p.m. at OneWest Bank (3700 East Coast Highway). The suspect entered the bank and brandished a black semi-automatic handgun as he demanded money from the teller. There were no customers in the bank at the time and no report of any injuries. The bank reported a loss of $8,000.

The suspect is being identified as a white male, 5’6 - 5’9 and 175 - 190 lbs.

Police Files suspect and gun

Click on photo for a larger image 

Police Files suspect on bicycle

Click on photo for a larger image 

OneWest Bank security cameras captured the photos above at the time of the robbery. The suspect may have stuffed a pillow inside his shirt to display a different body characteristic. After committing the robbery, the suspect fled from the location on a black electric bicycle. The suspect is armed and dangerous; do not approach him if located. 

Anyone with information regarding the identity of the suspect in the photos is encouraged to contact Detective Mike Fletcher at 949.644.3779.

Transient appearing drunk found to have 10 outstanding warrants

On Sunday, March 3, at 8:31 a.m., Newport Beach police encountered Matthew Mark Hoscoe, a 57-year-old transient from Huntington Beach, who was found lying down on the sidewalk at Superior Avenue and W. Coast Highway. According to NBPD PIO Heather Rangel, pedestrians were being forced to walk around him.

Police suspected that Hoscoe was under the effects of intoxication.

Upon further checking, police also realized that Hoscoe had an extensive rap sheet including 10 outstanding warrants.

The warrants ranged from two for drinking in public, one for DUI, six for being drunk in public and one for noise.

He was taken into custody and held on $49,000 bail.

Bartender arrested for alleged arson of local oceanfront home

Lisa Michelle Pickard, a 49-year-old Newport Beach resident, was arrested Sunday, March 3, at 9:16 p.m. in the 1800 block of W. Ocean Front, on the charge of arson of an inhabited structure.

According to NBPD, Pickard allegedly set fire to a house/duplex of residents she knew.

“This isn’t an instance of serial arson or an unknown arsonist. All of the parties are known to each other, and there is no threat to public safety at this time,” NBPD Watch Commander Lt. Rachel Johnson said.

Though she was unable to confirm the number of people inside the home at the time of the fire, Lt. Johnson did say that she did not believe anyone was injured, in a phone interview yesterday.

Pickard, who listed her occupation as “bartender” in the arrest logs, was being held on $250,000 bail.

The odds and ends of local crimes range from pick pocket to stolen vehicles

Crimes were plenty around town in the last several days. 

A bicycle was stolen in the matter of one minute from the 2100 block of W. Balboa Blvd. on Sunday, March 3, at 9:35 p.m. The loss was estimated to be $600.

No suspect was found.

Then, a pick pocket incident took place in a retail store in the 8000 block of E. Coast Highway on Sunday, March 3, shortly after noon.

The victim was “shopping and looking at an item when she felt a nudge” as a person passed her by. 

Shortly afterwards, she realized her wallet was missing. The loss was estimated at $1,700. No arrest was made.

And, residents living in the 200 block of Pearl Ave. reported jewelry missing from their home sometime between 3 p.m. on February 17 and 8 p.m. on February 18. According to the victims, their delay in reporting was to make certain that the jewelry wasn’t located at another location.

The residents believe someone entered in the middle of the night through an unlocked door while they were sleeping. 

Two rings and a watch were reportedly taken with a value of $42,500.

Finally, a gray Volkswagen Jetta was stolen overnight on Saturday, March 2, after the resident “had locked and secured” it in the 1800 block of Park Newport Drive.

No arrests were made. The loss was estimated at $25,125.

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Police Files

Two locals arraigned for insurance fraud scheme

Four defendants were arraigned for insurance fraud of over $100,000 in February for their involvement in a scheme that allegedly unlawfully obtained patients for a medical center by paying “cappers” and failing to disclose this to insurers. 

As a result, they are accused of attempting to defraud multiple insurers of over $2.9 million. Jeffrey Scott Catanzarite, 59, Irvine, Max Humberto Matos, 78, Long Beach, Ronald Lee Martin, 68, Corona del Mar, and his wife Veronica Martin, 63, Corona del Mar, are each charged with 34 felony counts of insurance fraud and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, as well as additional counts for the unlawful referral of patients for compensation. 

If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of 43 years and eight months in state prison. The defendants appeared in court on February 19 for continued arraignment and were released on bail. The defendants are scheduled for a pre-trial hearing on May 21, 2019, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-55, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

The OCDA Bureau of Investigation investigated this case. Deputy District Attorney Steven Schriver of the Insurance Fraud Unit is prosecuting this case.

Newport Beach man accused of stealing car, again

Thursday evening, Feb. 28, Matthew David Patterson, 45, of Newport Beach, was arrested for taking an auto without the owner’s consent. It apparently wasn’t his first time. 

Patterson was arrested in the 4300 block of MacArthur Boulevard, this time for allegedly taking a 2000 BMW 528i, according to NBPD PIO Heather Rangel.

Police also found unlawful paraphernalia, a meth pipe.

In addition, Patterson had warrants for vehicle theft, identity theft, possession of a controlled substance, counterfeiting and false personation.

His bail was set at $27,500.

Forgery, fraud, grand theft and more

Newport Beach police went to the 20900 block of Brookhurst St. in Huntington Beach to arrest 26-year-old Yecenia Garciavidal, of Long Beach. Garciavidal was suspected in a commercial burglary using forgery and fraud.

Additional charges included grand theft from buildings, identity theft in order to get credit and other’s ID, possession of bad checks and receiving stolen property.

According to NBPD PIO Heather Rangel, the alleged crimes occurred at a rehabilitation home.

Garciavidal’s bail was set at $20,000.

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Police Files

Pliers, wrenches and meth lead to burglary arrest

In the early morning hours of Monday, Feb. 25, NPBD received a radio call for a suspicious male and female hiding behind a car wearing dark clothing in the 200 block of Nice Lane.

According to NBPD PIO Heather Rangel, the male suspect was seen trying to cut bike locks in the parking structure, and was found to be in possession of bolt cutters, flashlights, wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers and a drill bit, along with methamphetamine and a drug pipe.

Scott Michael Pearson, 48, of Lake Forest, and Brittany Lane Hahn, 26, Costa Mesa, were arrested on a number of charges, including burglary and conspiracy to commit a crime.

Pearson was additionally charged with possession of burglary tools, possession of a controlled substance, possession of unlawful paraphernalia and identity theft. According to Rangel, Pearson had a credit card in the name of someone else on his person.

His bail was set at $20,000.

Hahn was also charged with possession of paraphernalia and a warrant for the same.

She was held on $30,000 bail.

One arrested for shoplifting, friend goes along for the ride

Two Midway City men were taken into custody Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 26, one on an earlier shoplifting incident.

Bret Damon McCarthy, 49, was arrested for shoplifting, and additionally charged with illegally transporting sharps waste, possession of a controlled substance, appropriating lost property and on warrants related to narcotics and two for driving under the influence.

He was held on $25,000 bail.

Jesse Luke Smalley, also 49, was arrested for illegally transporting sharps waste and on a petty theft warrant.

He was held on $3,000 bail.

The arrest took place at Bonita Canyon Drive and MacArthur Boulevard just before 3 p.m.

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Police Files

OCSD Coroner reports 2018 homeless deaths, six in Newport Beach

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department Coroner Division publicly released two reports yesterday concerning reported deaths of individuals experiencing homelessness in Orange County in 2018.

The OCSD Coroner Division is responsible for investigating deaths that occur within the county of Orange. This includes unnatural deaths such as homicides, suicides, accidents and/or suspicious or unexplained deaths. 

In Orange County in 2018, there were 5,858 deaths reported to the Coroner Division. Of those, 210 decedents were considered homeless as they had “no fixed abode” at the time of death. This number is up from 196 in 2017, 202 in 2016, 187 in 2015, and 126 in 2014.

Six of the deaths in 2018 occurred in Newport Beach, according to information released by Carrie Braun, Public Information Officer, OCSD. 42 deaths occurred in Santa Ana, 35 in Orange, 30 in Anaheim, 16 in Huntington Beach, 13 in Garden Grove, 9 in Fullerton and Costa Mesa, 8 in Westminster, and 7 in Mission Viejo.

The first report, titled “Coroner Division Homeless Mortality Report,” provides data categorized by the cause of death and the geographic location of where the death occurred. The information is provided for each calendar year from 2014 to present, in addition to statistical graphs by mode of death. The Coroner Division has been working to compile this data since January 2019 to study these cases and identify changing patterns important to public health and safety.

Police Files homeless deaths chart

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Courtesy of OCSD

Statistics for 2018 thus far – 32 of the 210 homeless deceased are still in a pending status awaiting toxicology reports

While deaths from natural causes and suicides went down in 2018 compared to 2017, homicides and accidental deaths went up.

The second report was prepared pursuant to a request from the Honorable David O Carter, Judge in the US District Court to provide the causes of death of homeless individuals who passed away in 2018 and 2019. The report lists the 210 decedents from 2018, and 25 reported deaths from January 1 to February 19, 2019.

2018 data shows that of the 210 homeless decedents, 75 individuals died of natural causes, with overdose as the second highest cause of death claiming the lives of 44. 32 are still pending an official cause of death awaiting toxicology results.

“Examining this data allows us to observe causal factors that might assist in preventing the deaths of individuals experiencing homelessness,” said Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Don Barnes. “As a member of the Commission to End Homelessness, I will be presenting this data to the commission for further discussion and action aimed at reducing the number of deaths of homeless individuals.”

Three taken into custody for commercial burglary

Two San Diego men and one woman were arrested Wednesday afternoon, February 20, in the 3700 block of Campus Drive, on a variety of charges, including commercial burglary.

William Basneer Aluqdah, 46, Danny Lee Washington Jr., 27, and Jamillah A. Prince, 47, were taken into custody shortly after 3 p.m.

Aluqdah was charged with commercial burglary with no forced entry, receiving stolen property with a value greater than $950, possession of burglary tools, obstructing/resisting a peace officer, conspiracy to commit a crime, false personation of another and multiple warrants.

He was held on $280,000 bail.

Washington and Prince were also charged with commercial burglary with no forced entry, conspiracy to commit a crime, possession of burglary tools and receiving stolen property with a value greater than $950.

Washington was additionally charged with appropriating lost property and driving without a license.

Both were held on $20,000 bail.

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Police Files

Suspect in custody for triple murder, victims were his parents and family housekeeper

Richard Nicholson, 64, and Kim Nicholson, 61, both of Newport Beach, and Maria Morse, 57, of Anaheim, have been identified as the homicide victims in the shooting last week, allegedly killed by Camden Burton Nicholson, 27, of Costa Mesa.

Richard and Kim were parents of Nicholson’s and Morse was the family’s housekeeper.

Police Files Camden Burton Nicholson

Courtesy of OC District Attorney

Camden Burton Nicholson

Nicholson has been booked on three counts of murder. He is expected to enter a plea on March 8 and is being held without bail.

Newport Beach police were alerted by Irvine police requesting a welfare check on the Nicholsons’ home after Camden appeared in the emergency room of an Irvine medical facility. NBPD found the three bodies.

Camden attended Corona del Mar High School and the University of Utah.

No plates lead to drug arrest of rapper

On Tuesday, Feb. 12, shortly after midnight, Newport Beach Police pulled over a vehicle with no license plates and discovered the occupant did not have a driver’s license on his possession. Upon further check, police discovered that Terrell Rashad Wilson, 32, Buena Park, who listed his occupation as a rapper, was driving on a suspended license for a DUI.

According to NBPD PIO Heather Rangel, police searched Wilson and found Alprazolam and Adderall on his person and later discovered Oxycodone in his sock when he was being booked into jail.

He was arrested for possessing a controlled substance without a prescription, possessing a controlled substance, no vehicle registration and possessing a controlled substance in prison.

His bail was set at $20,000.

Machinery stolen in commercial burglary, no suspects

Newport Beach Police were alerted to a commercial burglary that took place sometime between Saturday, Feb. 9, at 4 p.m. and Monday, Feb. 11, at 4:45 a.m.

According to NBPD reports, a commercial area under construction at Old Newport Boulevard and Santa Ana Avenue had its lock cut and was burglarized. Missing was a generator and the trailer that held it. The machine was valued at $53,000.

Video footage did not have night vision and there are no known suspects.

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Police Files

Three murdered in Newport Beach, son arrested

On Wednesday, Feb. 13, the Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) arrested Camden Burton Nicholson, a 27-year-old resident of Newport Beach, for the murder of three people at 36 Palazzo.

Nicholson had been previously held for investigation earlier at the Irvine Medical Center Wednesday while the Irvine Police Department requested a welfare check at the Palazzo address. 

Upon arrival, NBPD officers found three deceased people in the residence, two adult females and one adult male. The Orange County Coroner’s Office is identifying the victims and notifying the next of kin before they release their identities.

Speculation is that the three deceased include the suspect’s parents and a maid.

Nicholson was subsequently booked directly at the Orange County Jail on the charge of 187(A) PC Homicide. 

NBPD detectives and Crime Scene Investigation personnel are conducting an active homicide investigation. 

Anyone with information or a witness to the crime is asked to contact Detective Prince at 949.644.3762.

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Police Files

Police looking for suspect in Citibank robbery

The Newport Beach Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying a suspect in a bank robbery investigation. The crime occurred on Friday, Feb. 8, at 10:15 a.m. at Citibank, 1100 Newport Center Dr. 

The suspect entered the bank carrying a red Target reusable bag, handed the bank teller a note that stated he had a “bomb,” and verbally demanded cash. The loss is unknown at this time. The suspect then fled on foot in an unknown direction.

Police Files 2.12.19

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Submitted by Citibank

According to the Newport Beach Police Department, the same suspect may be linked to bank robberies in Oceanside and Newport Beach as well as an attempted robbery in Escondido.

Anyone with information regarding the identity of the suspect in the photo is encouraged to contact Detective Jason Prince at 949.644.3762.

NBPD to hold public showing of recovered stolen property

As part of an ongoing criminal investigation of Aquinas Kasbar, the Newport Beach Police Department Detectives have recovered additional property that is believed to be stolen from the Newport Beach area within the last year. The newly recovered property includes watches and miscellaneous jewelry.

There will be a public showing of the newly recovered property at the Newport Beach Police Department on Friday, Feb. 15, from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. If you believe that your property may have been recovered, please bring a copy of your crime report, case number, valid identification and any other information that may help detectives positively identify your property.

If you have any additional questions, contact Sergeant Comte at 949.644.3765.

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Police Files

Man allegedly bites arresting officer in strong armed robbery attempt

On Sunday, Feb. 3, at 12:50 p.m., Blake Michael Wilkins, 25, from Fayetteville, was arrested for strong armed robbery.

Wilkins is accused of entering a Fashion Island store and attempting to take two jackets without paying. According to reports, he attempted to exit the store, wearing both jackets and was told to return by the store’s loss prevention officer. At this point. circumstances led to Wilkins biting the officer.

He subsequently was arrested on strong armed robbery charges and was held on $20,000 bail.

Sex offender found on Newport Harbor High campus

Jeremy Ryan Spandorf, 35, of Newport Beach, a registered sex offender, illegally entered the Newport Harbor High School campus without proper authorization on Monday, Feb. 4, at 11 a.m., according to NBPD PIO Heather Rangel. The incident was a violation of his sex offender requirements.

Newport Beach Police were called and arrested Spandorf. He additionally was charged with failure to provide proof of residency.

He was held on $20,000 bail.

$20,000 taken from unlocked vehicle in beach parking lot

A 60 year-old Newport Beach male filed a report with Newport Beach Police claiming that $20,000 in cash, a debit card, his driver’s license and a bag were stolen out of his black Mercedes SUV.

The victim claimed the incident took place in a Corona del Mar beach parking lot from his unlocked vehicle.

Police weren’t provided with any suspect descriptions and have no further leads.

Man allegedly enters Newport residence illegally to use restroom

On Monday, Feb. 4, Tyler Michael Peterson, 34, of Phoenix, allegedly entered an unlocked, but occupied, residence at E. Edgewater Ave. and Fernando St. with the intent of using the restroom. The homeowner made an arrest on Peterson for trespassing.

Newport Beach Police arrested Peterson and he was being held on $20,000 bail. During that stay, he was additionally charged with damaging/destroying jail property. Details of the specific incident were not available at press time.

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Police Files

Trio arrested in alleged ID theft ring bust

Newport Beach Police arrested three out-of-town people at various locations to break up an alleged identity theft ring.

According to NBPD PIO Heather Rangel, a radio call came in for a complaint of subjects sitting in a vehicle using narcotics. Upon arrival, officers conducted an investigation that led to the finding of drug paraphernalia. The suspects, Robert Carrasquillo and Kayla Hurst, reportedly ran from the car and were later located and arrested.

Located in the suspects’ vehicle were checks in the names of other people, a glass pipe with burnt meth and multiple pipes, according to Rangel.

The first arrest was at 1:31 p.m. of Kayla Renee Hurst, 20, of Los Angeles, in the 1700 block of W. Balboa Boulevard. Hurst was charged with identity theft for possessing 10 or more different identities, obstructing/resisting police, possession of burglary tools and for an outside agency warrant.

At 2:08 p.m., police took Robert Cameron Carrasquillo, 31, of Lynwood, into custody in the 100 block of McFadden Place. Carrasquillo was charged with possession of 10 or more identities, unlawful paraphernalia, residential burglary with no forced entry, receiving stolen property, obstructing/resisting, fraudulent possession of a scanning device, fraudulent possession of a re-encoder, being a felon in possession of tear gas and on a warrant for possession of narcotics.

Next came the arrest of Lucas Andrew Reid, 26, of Calabasas, at 17th Street and W. Ocean Front at 2:31 p.m. Reid’s charges included possession of 10 or more identities and unlawful paraphernalia.

Carrasquillo was held on $110,000 bail, while Hurst and Reid had bail set at $20,000 each.

Fire Files

Sub-floor fire hits Bayside home

On Sunday, Feb. 3, at 12:38 p.m., firefighters from the Newport Beach Fire Department, with assistance from the Costa Mesa Fire Department, responded to a working structure fire on the 1600 block of Bayside Drive. 

Police Fire Files exterior home

Click on photo for a larger image

Photos courtesy of NBFD

Upon arrival, firefighters found a two-story house with a sub-floor that had a working fire in the kitchen. First in units went into an offensive attack to extinguish the fire, conduct a search for victims and prevent fire extension to the remainder of the house.

Police Fire Files interior home

Click on photo for a larger image

No injuries were reported as a result of this fire loss. Newport Beach Fire Investigators are currently investigating the cause of the fire. The Newport Beach Fire Department would like to remind everyone to plan two ways out of every structure because every second counts.


Police Files

Suspects fail in residential burglary, but not because of a lack of effort

An attempted residential burglary of an unoccupied Newport Beach home was unsuccessful. Sometime between 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 29, and 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 30, suspects attempted to pry open a lock on a residence in the 1900 block of Glenwood Lane.

The suspect or suspects attempted to gain entry by removing door pins and prying the lock to the garage pedestrian access door. The suspects also cut, removed and damaged screens on multiple windows around the home. All attempts failed.

Nothing was taken and no one reported seeing or hearing anything.

Local transient arrested for intent to terrorize

Brandon Paul Gay, 23, Newport Beach, a local transient according to police logs, was arrested Monday, Jan. 28, in the 2000 block of W. Balboa Blvd., for threatening a crime with the intent to terrorize. 

The incident took place at 11:32 a.m. near the Newport Pier.

Gay was arrested and held on $50,000 bail.

Stolen car turns up near Newport Pier, two arrested

Arnold Saaverde Colores, 54, Buena Park, and Fermin Gary Medina Jr., 27, Santa Ana, were arrested Monday, Jan. 28, for taking an automobile without the owner’s consent. The arrest took place at Court Avenue and McFadden Place, near the Newport Pier.

Both were charged with auto theft. Colores was additionally charged with being a felon in possession of tear gas and on a warrant for failure to comply with automobile registration requirements.

Colores was held on bail of $22,500, while Medina was held on $20,000 bail.

Emergency call centers to accept text messages

The Newport Beach Police Department will join all Orange County first responder dispatch centers and begin accepting texts to 9-1-1 on February 6. 

Text-to-911 enables text messages to reach 9-1-1 emergency call takers from your mobile phone or device. This service is aimed to assist people who are hearing impaired, or speech disabled, or someone who is in an emergency situation where calling 9-1-1 is not possible. Always contact 9-1-1 by making a voice call, if you can.

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Police Files

Four arrested for drugs, identity theft and stun gun

Emery Leonard Scott Jr., 31, Rancho Santa Margarita, was arrested by Newport Beach Police on Monday, Jan. 21, at 12:09 a.m., for possession of narcotics for sale, possession of a controlled substance for sale and being a felon in possession of a stun gun.

Scott, unemployed according to NBPD, was found with 19.3 grams of cocaine. A further search of his vehicle yielded a stun gun.

The arrest took place in the parking lot of an apartment complex in the 800 block of Irvine Avenue.

Three other males were also arrested with Scott, including Steven Bohna, 25, Newport Beach; Timothy Kuster, 29, Newport Beach; and Jonathan Tonkinson, 30, Costa Mesa.

Bohna was charged with possession of a narcotic controlled substance and unlawful paraphernalia; Kuster, identity theft and a warrant for possession of a controlled substance; and Tonkinson, possession of a controlled substance and a warrant for entering a commercial establishment with the intent to commit larceny.

Scott was held on $25,000 bail; Bohna, $2,500; Kuster, $10,500; and Tonkinson, $5,000.

Man arrested for grand theft…second charge in a week

Omar Gonzalezsoto, 40, Costa Mesa, and Maria Isabel Urquiza, 42, Santa Ana, were arrested by Newport Beach Police on Thursday, Jan. 24, at 10:39 p.m. at Via Lido and Newport Boulevard, on charges of grand theft.

Although the formal police report is still incomplete, police found the pair with stolen bicycles and burglary tools. They were additionally charged with conspiracy to commit a crime. Bail was set for both at $20,000.

NBPD PIO Heather Rangel confirmed that this is the same Gonzalezsoto who was arrested a week prior for burglary from a boat, burglary from a commercial location and identity theft.

Oceanfront home vandalized

Jose Luis Garcia Macias, 24, Huntington Beach, was arrested on Sunday, Jan. 20, at 9:43 p.m. in the 1800 block of W. Ocean Front, on charges of felony vandalism.

Police say Macias vandalized a residence, removing wooden shingles from an exterior wall of a house. A window on the home’s side was also shattered.

The resident estimated the damage to be $3,000 - $4,000.

Fire Files

Fire damages Lido Isle home

On Sunday, Jan. 27, at 4:45 p.m., firefighters from the Newport Beach Fire Department, with assistance from the Orange County Fire Authority and Huntington Beach Fire Department, responded to a working garage fire on Via Koron in Lido Isle. Upon arrival, firefighters found a two-story house with heavy smoke and fire coming from the garage. First in units went into an offensive attack to extinguish the fire, conduct a search for victims and prevent fire extension to the surrounding homes.

Police Files Lido fire

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of NBFD

No injuries were reported as a result of this fire loss. Newport Beach Fire Investigators are currently investigating the cause of the fire. The Newport Beach Fire Department would like to remind everyone to install smoke detectors in your home. Smoke detectors have been proven to notify people of a fire and save lives.


Police Files

Dance instructor suspected of lewd acts against teen

Orange County Sheriff’s Department investigators arrested a man suspected of committing multiple lewd acts on a 13-year-old boy beginning in 2011. Brandon Jacob Nease, 25, of Orange, was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of felony child molestation. 

For the past one and a half years, Nease has been a drama teacher at Costa Mesa High School. From 2012 to 2015, Nease was a dance specialist at Camp James in Newport Beach. He previously taught dance at the Boys and Girls Club in Tustin and Fountain Valley, was the Education and Outreach Coordinator for the Musical Theatre West in Long Beach and was the Choreographer/Director for the Musical Theater Village in Irvine. Nease worked closely with children in each of his roles as a dance instructor.

Police files Brandon Nease

Photo submitted by OCSD

Brandon Nease

Camp James is a popular summer camp located at the Newport Dunes & Waterfront Resort in Newport Beach.

Due to Nease having continued access and contact with children over the past seven years, investigators believe there may be additional victims.

Nease posted $100,000 bond this morning and has been released from custody.

Please contact the Special Victims Detail at 714.647.7419 if you have any information. Anonymous information may be provided through Orange County Crime Stoppers at 1.855.TIP.OCCS.

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Police Files

Fugitive and sex offender are among those arrested

It’s all in a day’s work for the Newport Beach Police Department. On Saturday, Jan. 19, James Rashad Moss, 37, of Modesto, is arrested on a warrant citing him as a fugitive from justice. He was held on $100,000 bail. 

Just 20 minutes earlier, William Harry Thorpe, 65, of Norwalk, was arrested for being a sex offender transient. Thorpe didn’t do what’s required, registering when you arrive in a new town. His bail is only $500.

Add to that a case involving battery, two drivers behind the wheel on suspended licenses, one with an open container and one with burglary tools.

Welcome to Saturday in Newport Beach.

Earlier in the week, it’s mostly narcotics and controlled substances. Drop in a set of metal knuckles, five DUIs and a few drunk in publics.

Who said Newport Beach is a sleepy town?

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Police Files

NBPD helps eradicate black market marijuana farm discovered in Wilderness Park

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and Orange County Parks just completed a massive cleanup of a black market marijuana grow discovered late last year at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, according to a release issued by CDFW.

The black market marijuana grow was discovered on September 27, 2018 by CDFW during routine flights over Orange County with the National Guard’s Counter Drug Unit. Following the discovery, Newport Beach Police Department conducted an eradication mission at the site. Attempts to apprehend the suspects were unsuccessful.

According to CDFW, officers eradicated 500 plants and confiscated 75 pounds of processed marijuana. The grow, when in full production, contained almost 1,500 plants. During the eradication, CDFW documented numerous environmental violations including streambed alterations, haphazard pesticides left on the property, trash within 150 feet of a waterway, and a poached deer.

 According to Laguna Canyon Foundation Executive Director Hallie Jones, the grow area was well-hidden in a remote part of the 7,000 acre park, and caused significant habitat damage to our endangered coastal sage scrub habitat. The growers came in by foot.

“Growers remove native plants and cause additional damage by creating trails and using chemicals on the marijuana plants. This grow site will require extensive repair and mitigation to restore the destroyed habitat,” said Jones in a statement to Stu News on Thursday.

Passive restoration, in which we remove the problem and let the plants re-establish themselves, will take years. The rains this winter will help, and within a few years we should be hard-pressed to identify exact sites,” Jones continued.

The team cleanup effort was conducted in two phases, in December and January, and included the removal of approximately 3,120 pounds of trash, 1,500 feet of plastic irrigation piping, 24 ounces of pesticides as well as other forms of garbage that can be detrimental to the environment.

Police Files black market marijuana

Click on photo for a larger image 

Courtesy of CDFW website

CA Department of Fish and Wildlife and OC Parks worked together to clean up Laguna Coast Wilderness Park after an illegal marijuana grow was discovered

For the cleanup, OC Parks worked with a specialized hazmat contractor, Clean Harbors, to ensure the pesticide was removed and disposed of correctly. Through testing, the pesticide was confirmed to be carbofuran, a highly toxic and banned substance. To understand the toxicity, just a teaspoon can kill a 300-pound black bear.

“Protecting California’s natural resources takes commitment from federal, state, county and city entities. I commend all those that were involved in this effort to identify the black market grow, eradicate it and clean it up,” said David Bess, Deputy Director and Chief of the CDFW Law Enforcement Division. “Working together, we can protect the environment and help the permitted cannabis market thrive.”

Between 2013 and 2018, CDFW has removed more than 2.4 million feet of irrigation pipe, 50 tons of fertilizer and 65 gallons of chemicals, many illegal in the U.S., on black market grows. CDFW has also removed 709 dams and water diversions resulting in restoration of 800 million gallons of water back into local watersheds.

CDFW would like to remind the public to report environmental crimes such as water pollution, water diversions and poaching to the CalTIP hotline by calling (888) 334-2258 or by texting “CALTIP” followed by a space and whatever the desired message, to 847411 (tip411).

3 men busted for a slew of crimes in Newport Beach 

On Monday, January 14, at 3:16 a.m., at Tustin Avenue and 19th Street in Costa Mesa, three men are arrested on several charges for crimes that occurred in Newport Beach at San Joaquin Hills Road and Jamboree Road.

“A security guard witnessed a truck leave the complex with multiple bikes in the truck bed. Additional officers were able to locate the vehicle driving on Tustin Avenue as the truck described by security as well as in violation of darkly tinted front windows,” NBPD PIO Heather Rangel said. 

Rangel continued, “One of the subjects admitted to stealing the bikes during questioning during the vehicle stop. During a search in the vehicle for valid registration and valid insurance, narcotics, drug paraphernalia, bolt cutters, a cut bike lock and gloves were located along with drugs and drug paraphilia.”

Multiple stolen bikes were recovered. NBPD also found a slew of drugs, including marijuana, meth, heroin, and suboxone.

The three suspects, Steven Nicholas Petka, 38, Huntington Beach, Edward Gregory Barseghian, 31, Costa Mesa, and Ronald Stephen Loomis, 26, Newport Beach, were arrested for committing burglary of a garage – no forced entry, possession of burglary tools, possession of a narcotic controlled substance and possession of unlawful paraphernalia. 

Bail was set at $50,000 for each.

Canoga Park telemarketer makes the wrong call, arrested for paraphernalia

On Tuesday, Jan. 15, at 12:24 p.m., at 22nd Street and Ocean Front W. Drive, NBPD arrested a Canoga Park man while tracking the black 2016 Ford Mustang he was driving around town, which had been reported stolen in the Los Angeles area earlier in the day.

“The mustang was reported stolen earlier that day to LAPD – Topanga Division. The victim did not wish to press charges on the suspect,” NBPD PIO Heather Rangel said. “The suspect had a syringe known to administer meth and heroin.”

Jason Frank Hackett, 24, Canoga Park, was arrested for possession of unlawful paraphernalia with an unknown bail.

Rangel added, “The victim gave multiple ID names and numbers that did not return with any information. He was verbally advised over the phone that his vehicle had been located.”

According to police reports, the victim’s story kept changing about the location of the theft and whether or not he wanted to press charges.

Hackett listed his occupation telemarketer.

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Police Files

Postal worker allegedly goes postal threatening Newport Beach receptionist

On Friday, Jan. 11, at 2:30 p.m., at 2300 block of Fairview Road in Costa Mesa, a suspect was arrested on charges of threatening to commit a crime with intent to terrorize.

According to NBPD PIO Heather Rangel, “The suspect walked into the [Newport Beach] business and handed the receptionist a note while verbally threatening her life.”

The receptionist is described as a white female in her 20s. The suspect allegedly both verbally threatened her and also threatened her via a written letter. 

While the victim might not have been familiar with the suspect, the business was.

“The business of occurrence has had problems with the suspect on prior occasions. The victim knew who [Larry] Chapekis was but does not know him on a personal level,” Rangel said. 

“The follow up investigation led to the suspect’s home,” Rangel added.

Larry A. Chapekis, 70, Costa Mesa, was arrested for threatening to commit a crime with intent to terrorize. 

Chapekis listed his occupation as “postal worker.” 

Bail was set at $50,000. 

Rampant crimes in the area are a cause for caution

On Friday, Jan. 11, at 11:03 a.m., at the 300 block of Victoria in Costa Mesa, Joseph Gregory Sidler, 28, Newport Beach, was arrested on charges of threatening to commit a crime with intent to terrorize and assault with a deadly weapon/cutting instrument. Sidler listed his occupation as “none.” Bail was set at $50,000. 

On Thursday, Jan. 10, at 1:15 p.m., Garren Richard Weedenhawkin, 38, San Jose, was arrested for allegedly receiving stolen property valued at $950 or more, trespassing without owner consent, on a warrant related to possession of methamphetamine, commercial burglary without forced entry and illegal transport of sharps waste. Weedenhawkin listed his occupation as “stocking.” Bail was set at $22,500. 

On Wednesday, Jan. 9, at 2:07 p.m., Heather Michelle Hopkins, 26, Mission Viejo, was arrested on charges of shoplifting items valued at $950 or more, identity theft, false impersonation of another and receiving stolen property valued at $950 or more. Hopkins listed her occupation as “loan company.”

Bail was set at $20,000.

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Police Files

NBPD seeks public’s help identifying residential burglary suspect

NBPD is seeking the public’s help to identify a suspect in a residential burglary investigation. The crime occurred on Wednesday, Jan. 2, between 6:30 p.m. and 7:50 p.m., in the area of Malabar Drive. The suspect made entry into the home by breaking a rear glass window and fled the area before NBPD officers arrived. After reviewing the surveillance video, it appears that one of the suspects rings the doorbell to ensure no one is home. Then, moments later, the suspects are seen entering the backyard and breaking the rear window. 

SNN Police Files suspect

Click on photo for a larger image 

Courtesy of NBPD

Suspect captured by the homeowner’s Ring Doorbell at the time of the crime 

still at large, NBPD seeks the public’s help

Anyone with information regarding the identity of the suspect in the photo is encouraged to contact Detective Sergeant D. Joe at (949) 644-3763 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

NBPD nabs undergrad on meth and burglary charges at Hoag

On Sunday, Jan. 6 at 10:05 p.m., at the 00 block of Hoag Drive, NBPD responded to the report of a burglary crime.

“The suspect entered a vehicle by entering through the rear window and taking multiple items. The victim returned to his locked/secured vehicle and found the suspect going through his car. The suspect tried to leave the area with the victim’s credit cards, pocket knife and charger,” NBPD PIO Heather Rangel said. “The rear window was covered by a plastic bag that was taped to the car. The victim was a victim of a vehicle burglary weeks prior.”

According to police records, the suspect was under the influence of meth and a meth pipe was found on his person.

Joshua John Oliver Bramon 22, Anaheim, was arrested for burglary from a motor vehicle, being under the influence of a controlled substance, possession of unlawful paraphernalia and on a warrant related to trespassing.

Bramon listed his occupation as “undergrad.”

Bail was set at $80,000. 

Commercial burglary strikes Newport Beach

On Sunday, Jan. 6 at 4 p.m., NBPD received a report of a commercial burglary at the 7900 block of E. Coast Hwy. The reported stolen property value was $9,600.

NBPD PIO Heather Rangel said, “Clothing items and jewelry were taken. No specific details were given on the items. The company has surveillance video. While taking morning inventory they noticed that items were missing which led them to check their surveillance footage for suspects.” 

Three female suspects were involved.

“Suspect #1 was described as a female, possibly from India, approximately 5 feet 4 inches in height and weighing 160 pounds. She had brown hair, brown eyes, and was wearing a white sweater with a long black skirt/dress. Suspect #2 was described as a female, possibly from India, approximately 5 feet 3 inches in height and weighing 115 pounds. She had brown hair, brown eyes, and was wearing a black sweater with a red dress. And Suspect #3 was described as a female, possibly from India, approximately 5 feet 4 inches in height and weighing 140 pounds. She had brown hair, brown eyes, and was wearing a long gray sweater with blue stripes and blue jeans,” Rangel said.

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Police Files

House cleaner arrested for allegedly mopping up over $150K from local homeowner’s safe

On Thursday, Jan. 3, at 2:59 p.m., at the 00 block of Clear Water, a house cleaner is accused of literally cleaning house, taking her clients to the cleaners by cleaning out their safe.

Lideli Mojica, 39, Tustin, was arrested for residential burglary, no forced entry

According to NBPD PIO Heather Rangel, “Mojica was the victim’s house cleaner. Over $150,000 in cash was taken. The money was taken from the homeowner’s safe. The suspect was not caught in the act of taking the money.”

Mojica listed her occupation as housekeeper.

Bail was set at $50,000.

Medical facility is thrashed, cords and cameras broken and smashed

On Wednesday, Jan. 2, NBPD received a commercial vandalism report for an incident that occurred between Friday, Dec. 28 and Jan. 2.

Over that time period, NBPD PIO Heather Rangel said, “Multiple cords and cameras were broken at a closed medical facility by an unknown suspect. Over $50,000 in cameras and cords were damaged.”

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Police Files

Man arrested for cell phone robbery on NYE

On Monday, Dec. 31, at 6:18 p.m., NBPD responded to a robbery call at Back Bay Drive and San Joaquin Hills Road. The victim, described as a 59-year-old white male, was approached by a man while he was riding his bicycle. The suspect demanded that he stop and would not let the bicyclist leave the area, according to NBPD. 

“He then demanded the victim’s cell phone. Once the suspect had the cell phone, he immediately handed it back to the victim and walked away,” NBPD PIO Heather Rangel said. “Though he gave the cell phone back, due to the totality of the circumstances, Arthur was arrested for strong-arm robbery.”

Garrick Leslie Arthur, 39, Costa Mesa, was arrested for strong-arm robbery. Bail was set at $50,000.

Skateboarder smashes car with board after driver beeps at him, suspect at large

On Sunday, Jan. 30, at the at 3000 block of Newport Boulevard, NBPD received a report of vandalism committed on a personal car.

“The suspect was standing with his skateboard in a lane of traffic when the victim approached the area of the road he was standing in, and she honked for him to move,” LBPD PIO Heather Rangel said. “At that time, the suspect became angry and hit the car with his skateboard.”

The damage included scratches to a front passenger window and door from the suspect hitting the car with his skateboard. The suspect has not been located. He is described as a white male with blond hair in his 20s and approximately 6’ to 6’ 3” tall.

The incident was not caught on video. If anyone witnessed the incident, please call NBPD at (949) 644-3681.

Babysitter and barber arrested on fraud, burglary, theft and drug charges

On Friday, Dec. 28, at 4:08 p.m. at SNA Auto Rentals, at the 3000 block of Campus Drive, NPBD received a report of fraud.

“The suspects entered SNA Auto Rentals with a female and tried to rent a vehicle with fraudulent credit cards,” NBPD PIO Heather Rangel said. “The employee noticed that the credit cards were fraudulent and called NBPD for assistance.”

Hessam Saeed Kamkar, 25, Lake Forest, was arrested for commercial burglary – no forced entry and theft by false pretenses or fraudulent representation. Bail was set at $20,000.

Claire Marie Fondarella, 24, Stamarg, was arrested for commercial burglary – no forced entry, forgery of credit card to defraud, possession of a narcotic controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance without a prescription. Bail was set at $20,000.

“Fonderella was in possession of xanax, suboxone and heroin,” Rangel said.

Fonderalla listed her occupation as babysitter.

Kamkar listed his occupation as barber.

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Police Files

NBPD invites locals to attend Citizens’ Academy 

Newport Beach Police Department is proud to offer a Citizens’ Police Academy to the Newport Beach community. This engaging and informative program is designed to increase understanding of the Police Department’s operations and to allow community members the opportunity to interact with their outstanding personnel. Topics covered include SWAT, the K9 Program, CSI, Dispatch, narcotics, traffic laws, firearms, detective investigations and much more. 

Students will participate in informative classroom-style presentations as well as pratical demonstrations with a variety of Police Department personnel. Activities include a police facility tour, a jail tour, a simulated car stop exercise, firearms instruction in the shooting range, fingerprinting and crime scene investigation, and a community-oriented policing challenge. Each student will also be given the opportunity to go on one four-hour ride-along with a Police Officer during the course of the Academy. 

Police Files NBPD 1

Click on photo for a larger image 

Courtesy NBPD Instagram

NBPD looks forward to hosting its Citizens’ Academy for locals starting March 6

Instructors are drawn from all areas in the Department. Students meet the Chief of Police, managers, supervisors, patrol officers, detectives, dispatchers and other department employees. NBPD encourages students to ask questions and express their concerns about pertinent issues. A major goal of the Citizens’ Police Academy is to increase understanding between citizens and the Police Department, and to enhance the strong relationships NBPD has with the community.

According to the Newport Beach Police Department website, “While the Academy will give students a better understanding of how the Police Department is organized, the services we provide, and how we serve the community, it is not based on a traditional police academy. The program is not designed to prepare students to be police officers or provide training in the field of law enforcement. A typical Citizens’ Academy class is made up of 24 students of all age groups, and instructors will accommodate any physical limitations. 

Police Files NBPD 2

Click on photo for a larger image 

Courtesy NBPD Instagram

NBPD’s Citizens’ Academy is an exciting 12-week program that starts in March

Successful graduation of the Citizens’ Police Academy is a prerequisite for the Department’s Volunteers in Policing Program.

The Academy is 12 weeks long, with one three-hour class each Wednesday from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. The Academy culminates in a graduation ceremony in Week 12, which friends and family are welcome to attend. Classes will be held on March 6, 13, 20, 27, April 3, 10, 17, 24 and May 1, 8, 15 and 22 at NBPD at 870 Santa Barbara Dr., Newport Beach.

For more information and to sign up, go to http://nbpd.org/programs/citizens/default.asp.


Police Files

Costa Mesa man goes rogue, arrested for stealing 70-foot yacht…NBPD boards vessel and takes control 

On Sunday, Dec. 23, at approximately 3:46 p.m., NBPD Officers boarded an OCSD patrol vessel taking them to investigate a boat theft in the area of Fernando Street and East Edgewater Avenue.  

“While traveling to the victim’s boat, OCSD received an emergency call of a boat traveling erratically in the Newport Bay near the 2300 block of Newport Blvd,” NBPD Sgt. Peter Carpentieri, Professional Standards Unit, said. “NBPD Officers and OCSD Deputies responded to that call and located an approximate 70-foot yacht in the bay near 19th Street. The yacht had collided with some other boats docked in the area.”  

The yacht’s owner responded to the scene and advised the officers his boat had been stolen. 

“The suspect and sole occupant of the yacht, later identified as [Theodore] Wilson, was unresponsive to commands and attempted to accelerate and steer the boat away,” Sgt. Carpentieri said. 

It was apparent that until control was regained of the boat, it represented a significant safety hazard to the civilian traffic in the bay including other boats, paddle boarders, etc., in addition to the law enforcement first responders. 

“Ultimately, some NBPD officers and an OCSD deputy boarded the still-moving boat – at great risk to their own safety – and detained Wilson, who appeared to be under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs,” Sgt. Peter Carpentieri said. “Fortunately, this incident was resolved without any injuries due to the collaborative and decisive actions of the involved officers and deputies.”

At 19th Street and W. Bay Avenue, Theodore Liko Wilson, 24, Costa Mesa, was arrested for DUI, alcohol and drugs, obstructing/resisting a peace officer, committing grand theft of a boat/vessel, vandalism and taking a boat without owner consent. 

Bail was set at $20,000.

Three men busted on X-mas Day on burglary charges

On Tuesday, Dec. 25, at approximately 8:39 p.m., officers responded to a report of a burglary at an unlocked commercial garage structure in the 100 block of Main Street.  

“Witnesses observed the involved suspects flee in a vehicle,” Sgt. Carpentieri said. “NBPD’s contracted helicopter, ‘HB1’, responded to conduct an area search and assisted officers with locating the suspect vehicle.”  

Officers ultimately detained the three occupants, Daniel Jimenez-Tapia, Humberto Rojas Perez and Daniel Alcantar, and after further investigation, they were booked at Newport Blvd. & Via Lido.

At 9:53 p.m., Alcantar, 31, Santa Ana, was arrested for burglary of a garage, no forced entry. 

At 10:08 p.m., Perez, 32, Santa Ana, was arrested for burglary of a garage, no forced entry. 

At 10:14 p.m., Jiminez-Tapia, 31, Huntington Beach, was arrested for burglary of a garage, no forced entry and on a warrant related to felony second-degree burglary. 

Bail was set at $50,000 for Alcantar and Perez and $70,000 for Jiminez-Tapia.

Newport Beach woman arrested for a slew of crimes 

On Wednesday, Dec. 19, NBPD received a report of a residential burglary in the 500 block of El Modena Avenue. 

“The suspect had entered the victim’s open garage door and stole his wallet, credit cards and cash from his unlocked vehicle. The incident was captured on video surveillance,” Sgt. Carpentieri said. “NBPD detectives conducted follow-up investigation and identified Sager as the suspect in the burglary.”  

Shirley Ann Sager, 44, Newport Beach, was arrested on Thursday, Dec. 20, at 12:50 p.m., at the 00 block of Fairview Drive, for forgery, committing residential burglary, no forced entry, theft by false impersonation of another person’s credit cards, using false identification of another person with intent to commit a crime, committing grand theft fraud and violation of parole. 

No bail was set. 

Man arrested for vandalizing cars in parking lot

On Wednesday, Dec. 19, at approximately 7:54 p.m., NBPD officers responded to a report of vandalism in a parking lot in the 3000 block of Newport Blvd. 

“Officers discovered two damaged vehicles, one with a broken window and the other with a broken taillight, Sgt. Carpentieri said. “The suspect, [Joseph] Basile, was captured on video surveillance and officers were able to locate him nearby.”

Joseph Christopher Basile, 37, Orlando, was arrested for vandalism and possession of an open alcohol container, at 37th St. and Balboa Ave.

Bail was set at $20,000.

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Police Files

‘Tis the season to commit crimes?

Newport Beach legal secretary arrested on six counts including burglary, theft and fraud

Over the busy holidays criminals are getting busy. Fighting a spate of Grinch-like crimes in Newport Beach, NBPD officers have apprehended myriad suspects over the last few days. By indications, it appears the holiday spirit is in shortage for some whose preference is shorting others. 

Case in point, on Thursday, Dec. 20, at 12:50 p.m., legal secretary Shirley Ann Sager, 44, Newport Beach, was arrested at the 00 block of Fair Drive in Costa Mesa for allegedly not being so fair. 

NBPD charged Sager on six counts. She was arrested for forgery, committing residential burglary, no forced entry, theft by false impersonation of another person’s credit cards, using false identification of another person with intent to commit a crime, committing grand theft fraud and parole violation.

By violating parole, Sager did not get bail.

Diamond Bar woman faces time behind bars if found guilty

Facing similar charges, NBPD officers arrested suspect Tianyi Zou, 24, Diamond Bar, at 9:10 p.m., at the 600 block of Newport Center Drive, for committing commercial burglary, no forced entry, theft by false impersonation of another person, providing false identification to a specific peace officer and giving false information. 

Zou did not list her occupation. Bail was set at $20,000.

Employee seemingly takes own holiday bonus, allegedly steals $13,683 

Also on “theft Thursday”, Dec. 20, at the 00 block of Corporate Plaza, an employee reportedly committed a corporate crime. NBPD received a report of alleged theft by an employee, which allegedly occurred over a seven-week span from midnight, Thursday, Nov. 1, to midnight, Dec. 13. Stolen property is valued at $13,683.

Two OC men go on alleged bike stealing spree, stealing shiny bikes perhaps meant for under the tree?

Thieving Thursday continued to thrive with alleged thievery on December 20 when two OC men where caught red-handed with stolen bicycles in their possession. At the 400 block of E. 16th Street, at 6:21 p.m., Jay Patrick Gerondale, 61, Costa Mesa, and three minutes later, at 6:24 p.m., Rafael Moreno, 30, Garden Grove, were both arrested by NBPD officers on charges of committing grand theft of bicycles and conspiracy to commit a crime.

Moreno, who listed his occupation as landscaping, also faced additional charges. He was arrested on a warrant for possession of unlawful paraphernalia.

Bail was set at $20,000 for Gerondale and $22,500 for Moreno.

Stayed tuned…Stu New Newport will be following up with NBPD for more details to run in Friday’s edition on these incidents. 

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Fire Files

Lido Isle home burns during Boat Parade

On Wednesday, Dec. 19 at 6:57 p.m., firefighters from the Newport Beach Fire Department, with assistance from Costa Mesa and Huntington Beach Fire Departments, responded to a two-alarm structure fire on Lido Isle.

Police Files Fire

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of NBFD

An aerial view of the two-alarm structure fire

Upon arrival, firefighters reported a two-story house with a working fire on the second floor. First in units immediately went into an offensive attack to conduct a search for victims, extinguish the fire, and prevent fire extension to neighboring homes. 

The fire was limited to the involved structure. No injuries were reported. 

The cause of this fire is under investigation by Newport Beach Fire Department Investigators.

Police Files

LA man arrested for a host of crimes in Newport

On Sunday, Dec. 16, at approximately 4:46 p.m., NBPD officers responded to a call for service involving a subject trespassing in a parking structure located in the 3500 block of Jamboree Road. 

“Hugo Perez, who was inside a vehicle at the time, fled from the officers when they attempted contact and a vehicle pursuit ensued,” NBPD Sgt. Peter Carpentieri said. “Perez’s vehicle was eventually disabled but he physically resisted arrest before being taken into custody.”

Hugo Perez, 40, Los Angeles, was arrested for obstructing/resisting a peace officer, battery on a peace officer with wanton disregard and with a weapon. Bail was set at $50,000.

NBPD arrests a man caught on video surveillance stealing multiple bikes

On Wednesday, Dec. 12, at 1:31 a.m., NBPD received a report of a burglary in the 2600 block of Mesa Drive. The victim reported the suspect had entered her garage via an unlocked door and stolen two bicycles. 

“The suspect was captured on video surveillance. The same victim had reported a theft on Sunday, Dec. 9, in which various property, including cash, clothing and miscellaneous items was stolen from three unlocked vehicles,” NBPD Sgt Carpentieri said.

Later the same day on December 12 around 9:49 a.m., the victim observed the suspect in the area of University Drive and Irvine Avenue. 

“The suspect was in possession of her stolen bicycles among other property from the prior theft. The victim contacted NBPD and officers responded to take the subject, Codey Franks, into custody,” Sgt. Carpentieri said.

Codey Edgar Franks, 25, Costa Mesa, was arrested for receiving stolen property valued greater than $950, possession of a controlled substance in prison, committing burglary with no forced entry and on a warrant related to possession of unlawful paraphernalia. 

“At the NBPD Jail, officers discovered a small amount of heroin concealed in his clothing,” Sgt. Carpentieri said.

Bail was set at $26,500. 

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Police Files

Laguna man arrested for threatening crime with intent to terrorize and parole violation

On Saturday, Dec. 15 at 11:45 a.m., NBPD officers assisted Orange County Sheriff’s Department and Laguna Beach Police Department at the 500 block of Emerald Bay, amidst reports of a possible stolen limousine the previous evening.

According to NBPD records, Maxwell Carlton Post, 27, Laguna Beach, was arrested for threatening a crime with the intent to terrorize and violating parole. Bail was set at $50,000.

Ring of alleged crimes brought to screeching halt by NBPD 

On Friday, Dec. 14 at 1:31 a.m., at Santa Ana and Cecil in Costa Mesa, NBPD arrested Louis Marcos Mercado, Jr., 26, Pomona, for driving a vehicle without owner consent, appropriation of lost property and on an undisclosed felony warrant. Bail was set at $80,000. 

Also on Friday, Dec. 14 at 1:09 a.m., at the 200 block of 22nd St., NBPD arrested Armando Alex Amaxa, Jr., 22, Pomona, for driving a vehicle without owner consent, trespassing without consent, appropriation of lost property and obstructing/resisting a peace officer. Bail was set at $20,000. 

On Wednesday, Dec. 12 at 1:12 a.m., at 29th St. and Newport Blvd., Jose Ganno Mernoabarca, 26, Long Beach, was arrested by NBPD for driving a vehicle without owner consent, possession of burglary tools, receiving stolen property valued at $950 or more, providing false identification to a specific peace officer and possession of unlawful paraphernalia. Bail was set at $20,000.

Carson man nailed and jailed for felony possession of tear gas and burglary tools

On Thursday, Dec. 13, at 11:09 a.m., at Coast Highway and Balboa Blvd., Michael Edward Simmons, 57, Carson, was arrested for felony possession of tear gas, possession of burglary tools and receiving stolen property valued greater than $950. Bail was set at $20,000. 

Simmons listed his occupation as pile driver.

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Police Files

Sous chef, cook and server get cooked in separate arrests

On Monday, Dec 10, at 11:53 a.m., an NBPD officer observed a suspect inside a suspicious vehicle parked in the area of 21st Street and West Oceanfront. 

“After an investigation, it was determined the vehicle, a 2009 Subaru Impreza, was reported stolen out of Arizona,” said NBPD Sgt. Peter Carpentieri. “The suspect was also in possession of a small amount of methamphetamine and related drug paraphernalia.” 

Eric James Huss, 21, Denton, Texas, was arrested for illegal transport of sharps waste, possession of unlawful paraphernalia, possession of a controlled substance, receiving stolen property valued at $950 or greater and driving a vehicle without the owner’s consent. Bail was set at $20,000. 

Huss listed his occupation as sous chef.

On Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 1:41 p.m., an NBPD officer conducted a bicycle stop on a suspect in the area of West 15th Street and Monrovia Avenue. 

“After an investigation, it was determined the suspect was in possession of a small amount of methamphetamine and related drug paraphernalia,” Sgt. Carpentieri said. 

Eric Antonio Flores, 55, Costa Mesa, was arrested for parole violation, possession of a controlled substance, unlawful paraphernalia, having an open container and riding a bike on the sidewalk. Bail was set at $10,000.

Flores listed his occupation as chef.

Later on Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 9:25 p.m., NBPD officers responded to a call for service involving a suspicious male subject inside a residence on the 1700 block of East Balboa Boulevard. 

“The officers contacted the subject at the scene and determined he was in possession of cash he had stolen from inside the residence,” Sgt. Carpentieri said. 

Chiefwind Great Daniels, 21, San Pedro, was arrested for residential burglary, no forced entry. Bail was set at $50,000.

Daniels listed his occupation as server.

Heavy rescue traffic crash could have been worse

On Wednesday, Dec. 12, at 8:43 a.m., the Newport Beach Fire Department responded to a heavy rescue traffic collision at the intersection of Riverside Avenue and West Coast Highway. 

Police Files crash

Click on photo for a larger image 

Courtesy of NBFD

Thankfully, no one in the crash needed medical treatment

“Upon arrival, firefighters found one car on top of another with possible trapped patients,” said Kevin Tiscareno, NBFD Training Captain/Fire Investigator. “Firefighters were effective in stabilizing the vehicles creating a safety zone for everyone on scene. All of the patients refused transportation to the hospital.” 

The traffic collision created heavy traffic for commuters on Coast Highway. “NBFD would like to remind commuters to use situational awareness at all times,” Capt. Tiscareno added.

NBPD conducted a traffic collision investigation related to this incident but the completed report was not available at time of publication. However, NBPD confirmed that no arrests were made during the investigation. 

NBPD community recovered property showing today

Today, at the Newport Beach Police Department, detectives will be showing property from a recent burglary arrest. 

“If you believe your property has been recovered, please come to the NBPD front desk on Friday, Dec. 14, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.,” NBPD Detective Sgt. Josh Comte said. “You will need to have your photo ID and crime report or case number. Please bring any photos of the missing property so that detectives can attempt to identify it.”

The only property currently remaining is miscellaneous jewelry and watches. Property will not be shown unless detectives are able to positively match what is listed in the person’s crime report with the remaining property.

Any questions can be directed to Sgt. Comte at 949.644.3765.

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Police Files

“Real estate” suspect arrested for false imprisonment

On Wednesday, Dec. 7, at 9:25 a.m., at the 00 block of Shoreridge, Sunny H. Dharod, 27, of Newport Beach, who listed his occupation as “real estate” in the arrest logs, was arrested for false imprisonment, vandalism and possession of an assault weapon. No bail was set.

Newport Beach woman arrested for assault with a deadly weapon/cutting instrument 

On Wednesday, Dec. 7, at 8:07 a.m., Avery Lynn Tamblyn, 26, Newport Beach, was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon/cutting instrument at 16th Street and Sea Gull Lane. Bail was set at $50,000.

Pair busted for controlled substances, fake checks

On Thursday, Dec. 6, at 11:25 a.m., at the 100 block of Scholz Plaza, Gary Nicholas Seeds, 33, of Costa Mesa, was arrested for possession of a controlled narcotic substance, unlawful paraphernalia, appropriating lost property, passing fictitious checks and a warrant related to battery of a cohabitant. Bail was set at $25,000.

Also on Thursday at the same location, 16 minutes earlier, Katherine Carlisle Taylor, 31, of Costa Mesa, was arrested for possession of a controlled narcotic substance, unlawful paraphernalia and a warrant related to possession of unlawful paraphernalia. Bail was set at $22,500.

String of thefts and burglaries hit home,

USPS has tips for avoiding holiday package theft

Two days in a row, two Newport Beach residents reported being victims of burglaries. On Wednesday, Dec. 5, between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., at the 00 block of Waterford Way, a forced entry residential burglary was reported to NBPD. The value of the stolen property was $9,200. 

The next day, on Thursday, Dec. 6, at 2 p.m., at the 1600 block of San Miguel Drive, a grand theft was reported. The value of the stolen property was $2,900. 

Two days later, on Saturday, Dec. 8, between 6:30 p.m. and 6:50 p.m., a grand theft was reported at 44th Street and Beach. The value of the stolen property was valued at $1,415.

Also on Saturday, at the 2200 block of Alta Vista Drive, a Newport Beach resident reported catching footage on their home security camera of their delivered parcels being stolen between 6:30 and 7:30 a.m. The victim reported grand theft of mail/packages with a value of $1,800 to NBPD.

According to the U.S. Postal Service, Americans are expected to send more than 15 billion mail items over the holidays. In 2017, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service arrested nearly 2,500 people for mail theft and convicted about 2,200. 

The USPS has 10 tips on avoiding holiday mail and package theft: 

–Avoid sending cash

–Don’t leave delivered letters and packages unattended

–Consider an alternative shipping address

–Customize the delivery

–Plan ahead. Ship using, “Hold for pickup.”

–Going out of Town? Hold mail at the local Post Office.

–Secure the shipment using USPS Signature Services

–Chose the most secure area for delivery

–Use a PO Box

–Change the package address while it’s in transit by using USPS Package Intercept

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Police Files

Serial residential burglary suspect arrested at age 18

On Saturday, Dec. 1, at 9:43 p.m., Aquinas Arrigo Kasbar, 18, of Newport Beach, was taken into custody by the Newport Beach Police Department Detective Division on multiple charges of burglary, possession of stolen property, possession of burglary tools, identity theft and resisting arrest. 

“Kasbar was identified by the NBPD Property Crimes Section as a possible suspect in a months-long series of Newport Beach Residential Burglaries where unoccupied homes were targeted,” NBPD PIO Heather Rangel said.

Rangel continued, “In connection with the arrest, NBPD Detectives served search warrants at various locations within the city, including a storage unit, which yielded a large amount of suspected stolen property valued in the several hundred thousands of dollars. Much of the recovered stolen property is believed to be related to this recent series of Newport Beach residential burglaries.”

NBPD Detectives will be contacting the victims of these Newport Beach residential burglaries in an effort to return the stolen property. Victim inquiries about the recovery of this stolen property should be directed to NBPD Property Crimes Detective Sergeant Comte, (949) 644-3765. 

Victims who reported a loss to NBPD will be contacted by the detective unit to advise that on Friday, Dec. 14, from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. they will be able to come into the department and collect their stolen property,” Rangel said. “They will have to bring a driver’s license and have information specifically showing that the property is theirs.”

No property has been returned yet and the investigation remains open.

“It is unknown at this time if Kasbar was under 18 of age during any burglaries,” Rangel said. “Many burglaries may not have been reported yet.”

“NBPD would like to thank our law enforcement partners at the Huntington Beach Police Department Aviation Unit, ‘HB-1’ and the Orange County Sheriff’s Harbor Department for assisting in the capture of Kasbar,” Rangel said.

Bail was set at $50,000.

Buena park woman busted at Bloomingdales

On Wednesday, Nov. 28, at 8:13 p.m., at the 700 block of Newport Center Drive, an officer working patrol at Fashion Island was sent to Bloomingdales to assist a loss prevention officer with a reported theft that had just occurred. 

“A female, Jacqueline Hurtado, had entered Bloomindales with an empty shopping bag, no money on her person, and had intent to steal clothing,” NBPD PIO Heather Rangel said. “The loss prevention officer witnessed Hurtado enter multiple fitting rooms with clothes and exit with shopping bags fuller than before. The loss prevention officer also checked the fitting rooms after Hurtado exited, only to find that no clothes were left and security tags were removed and left on the floor.”

Upon further investigation, the NBPD officer discovered that Hurtado had given the stolen items to the loss prevention officer and left the area. The NBPD officer was able to find Hurtado and arrested her for stealing $1,158 worth of clothing, including multiple shirts and a sweatshirt.

Jacqueline Hurtado, 48, of Buena Park, was arrested for grand theft.

Bail was set at $20,000.

Rain causes headaches and havoc in Newport Beach, flooding, collisions, and closures plague the area 

Yesterday, at 11:15 a.m., NBPD sent out a Nixle advisory alert to avoid northbound Jamboree Road at San Joaquin Hills Road due to lanes number 2 and 3 being closed for approximately 1.5 hours because of a collision and flooding.

“There was a major delay due to flooding only. The drains were blocked by sandbags. City crew arrived and removed the bags,” NBPD PIO Heather Rangel said.

The rain hit areas of Newport Beach hard, totaling almost two inches. Some Balboa Island residents reported flooding with streams of water rushing through streets and into homes.

Four schools in the Newport-Mesa Unified School District closed early Thursday due to the dangerous flooding conditions, including Newport Harbor High, Corona del Mar High and Middle and Back Bay High schools.

To help mitigate flooding, the City of Newport Beach is offering residents up to 10 unfilled sand bags. The bags are available from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. today at the city corporation yard located at 592 Superior Ave.

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Police Files

Rare dolphin stranded multiple times first helped by Newport Coastal Adventure passengers

On Saturday, Dec 1, at 11:45 a.m., Pacific Marine Mammal Center received a call about a rare dolphin that had stranded itself multiple times at Emerald Bay.

PMMC Events and Public Relations Coordinator Krysta Higuchi lauded Newport Coastal Adventure and wildlife photographer Mark Girardeau, who looked out for the well-being of the dolphin.

“Thank you to Newport Coastal Adventure and the public beach goers for reporting the animal so quickly,” Higuchi said. “Though it was a sad outcome, the animal was clearly suffering and the quick and respectful direction and action from everyone at the beach created what would be best for that animal.” 

Girardeau, a wildlife photographer aboard a Newport Coastal Adventure boat, captured the attempted rescues via a live video on social media that showed the young dolphin as it tried to get back to shore.

“PMMC sent a rescue team and decided to bring the dolphin back as the animal was clearly in distress,” Higuchi said. “Upon further examination, humane euthanasia was determined as the best course of action. The dolphin was seizing, had severe raking, a severe jaw injury and was in respiratory distress.” 

Police Files Dolphin one

Click on photo for a larger image 

Photo by Mark Girardeau/Courtesy of PMMC

A rare dolphin strands itself multiple times at Emerald Bay, sadly needs to be euthanized

According to Higuchi, a necropsy was performed Sunday and it was determined that the animal was a striped dolphin, rare for coastal California waters, normally found in tropical waters.

“The dolphin was found to have serious jaw injuries directly causing other life threatening complications,” Higuchi said. “Injuries were determined to not be human caused but possibly from fights with other dolphins or species over food sources or aggressive mating behaviors.” 

The dolphin was determined to be a juvenile female. Two have been reported injured both within the last 30 days in Northern California.

“PMMC is hoping this isn’t a sign that warmer waters are again hitting our coastline; changes in ocean patterns like these can adversely affect marine life and our coastal ecosystems,” Higuchi said.

Newport Coastal Adventure is located at 309 Palm St. For more information, call (949) 922-8784 or visit www.newportcoastaladventure.com.

Alleged burglars nabbed by NBPD in recent crimes

On Saturday, Dec 1, at 11:41 p.m., at the 100 block of E. Coast Hwy., NBPD responded to reports of crimes including burglary and identity theft.

NBPD arrested Aquinas Arrigo Kasbar, 18, of Newport Beach, for forced entry residential burglary, commercial fraud/forgery, possession of burglary tools, receiving stolen property valued at $950 or greater, identity theft to personate to get money and obstructing/resisting a peace officer. Bail was set at $50,000. 

Earlier in the week, on Wednesday, Nov 28, at 8:33 p.m., at the 700 block of Newport Center Drive, Jacqueline Hurtado, 48, of Buena Park, was arrested for committing grand theft against businesses. Bail was set at $20,000. 

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Police Files

NBPD seeks public’s assistance identifying suspects involved in Louis Vuitton theft

The Newport Beach Police Department is seeking two additional suspects for the theft of multiple Louis Vuitton bags. On Tuesday, November 26, at approximately 4:20 p.m., four suspects entered Neiman Marcus at 601 Newport Center Drive and stole multiple bags valued at approximately $20,000. A fifth suspect waited in a vehicle nearby. At 5:58 p.m., three of the five suspects were taken into custody at a pawnshop in Los Angeles and arrested by the Newport Beach Police Department. All of the stolen bags were recovered.

The three suspects were Gregory Anthony Walker, 18, of Los Angeles, Samuel Morgan IV, 19, of Inglewood and Ryan Kyle David, 19, of Gardena. The trio was arrested for Receiving Stolen Property greater than $950 in value, Commercial Burglary – No Forced Entry, Conspiracy to Commit a Crime, Conspiracy/False Indictment of Another and a Warrant.

Bail was set at $95,000 for Walker, $20,000 for Morgan IV and $20,000 for David.

Police Files suspect two

Photos courtesy of NBPD

NBPD is seeking two additional suspects in the theft of multiple Louis Vuitton bags on Tuesday

The outstanding suspects are described as black, male, approximately 18-20 years old, with black hair. At the time of the incident, one suspect was wearing a black hoodie, black pants with a white stripe and white shoes. The other suspect was wearing a black hoodie with white writing, black pants with a red stripe and white shoes.

Anyone who can identify these suspects or has additional information about this crime is encouraged to contact the Detective Division at 949.644.3790. Messages may also be left anonymously on the Police Department’s recorded hotline at 1.800.550.NBPD. 

Using fraudulent reward points is a serious crime

On Tuesday, November 27, at 12:45 p.m., an NBPD officer was sent to the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa at 900 Newport Center Drive to assist the Chief Loss Prevention Officer. The loss prevention officer explained that two rooms were being rented with fraudulent Marriott Rewards numbers. 

“Upon further investigation, it was discovered that Luis Guillen had been renting rooms at different hotels for the past two months using fraudulent cards. He did not give details on the hotels,” NBPD PIO Heather Rangel said. 

 During his arrest, it was discovered that he had drugs and drug paraphernalia in his pockets and a warrant out for his arrest.

“The paraphernalia and drugs were found in his pockets during a consensual search. The officer asked if he could search him and he said yes,” Rangel said. “He claimed that the drugs were his, but the pipe was not.”

Luis Alfonso Guillen, 28, of Hawthorne, was arrested for commercial burglary, for possession of unlawful paraphernalia, possession a controlled substance, false personation of another and a warrant due to assault with a firearm. 

Bail was set at $270,000.

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Police Files

“Food fight” and alleged gun threat at Whole Foods

On Sunday, Nov. 11, at 7:35 p.m., NBPD responded to a call at Whole Foods Market, at the 400 block of Newport Center Drive, to assist a manager with a customer. 

“Upon arrival, the manager explained that Antonio Nelton was throwing food and hitting other customers with a store-motorized wheelchair,” NBPD PIO Heather Rangel said.

According to Rangel, the manger asked Nelton to leave and he refused. 

“During the officer’s interaction with Nelton, he expressed that he had a handgun in his car and he was going to go get it,” Rangel said. “Upon further investigation, the officer found that Nelton did not have a handgun; however, he was in violation of his parole.”

The parole officer requested Nelton be placed on a parole hold and Nelton was arrested.

Antonio Maitreya Nelton, 45, of Long Beach, was arrested for parole violation and for threatening to commit a crime with intent to terrorize. Bail was set at $50,000. 

Get the message, texting while driving is a serious, often deadly crime that is 100% preventable

On Wednesday, Nov. 21, at 5:05 p.m., at E. Coast Highway and Corporate Way, James Edward Spurgin, 60, of Laguna Beach, was pulled over and cited for using text-based communication while driving. During the traffic stop, Spurgin was arrested for outstanding warrants for possession of a narcotic substance and driving with a suspended license, as well as for possessing unlawful paraphernalia. Bail was set at a whopping $100,500. 

According to a Newport Beach Police Department press release sent out in April 2018 to promote Distracted Driving Awareness Month, texting while driving is a serious problem that remains a big roadblock on the roads. During the holiday season, distractions seem to multiply on the road with emotions running high, heavier traffic and problems with parking.

Traffic officers throughout the state have issued hundreds of thousands of citations over the past three years to drivers who were texting or making calls on a hand-held cell phone. Recent legislation made it illegal to use any smartphone apps while driving, further limiting drivers’ cell phone activity. Still, we all continue to see people driving dangerously while distracted by their phones.

Since 2011, OTS has conducted an annual observational study of hand-held cell phone use. “This year’s study on the use of handheld cell phones and texting shows a decrease over past years; however, more work needs to be done to target those who were observed to still be breaking the law,” said OTS Director Rhonda Craft.  “The best way to put an end to distracted driving is to educate all Californians about the danger it poses. We will do this through enforcement and education efforts like our new advertising campaign ‘Just Drive’, reminding drivers to put down their phones and focus on the road.”

“California’s distracted driving laws have been saving lives for a decade now,” said former State Senator Joe Simitian, who authored the state’s hands-free and no-texting laws. “Every day, somewhere in California, someone is sitting down to dinner with their family who wouldn’t have made it through the day without these laws on the books. That’s tremendously gratifying.”

In 2007, the last full year before the hands-free law went into effect, more than 33,000 drivers in California were involved in distracted driving collisions. Preliminary 2017 data shows that that number decreased to fewer than 22,000 collisions last year. 

“These numbers show a heartening and significant improvement,” said NBPD Chief Jon Lewis, “but there’s still work to be done. Smartphones are a part of our lives now; texting, phone calls, social media posts…the cell phone activity is constant, but doing these things behind the wheel can have deadly consequences. Changing these dangerous habits will help make our roadways safer for everyone.”

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Police Files

Slew of crimes on Sunday include strong arm robbery, battery and drug charges

On Sunday, Nov 18, there were a slew of crimes related to robbery and drugs, according to NBPD police files. At 12:02 a.m., at the 1000 block of McFadden Place, Trevor Allen Jensen, 27, of Lake Forest, was arrested for strong arm robbery and battery. Bail was set at $50,000. Later that morning two suspects were arrested for a litany of crimes including burglary tools, receiving stolen property and possessing a controlled substance.

At W. Coast Hwy. & Balboa Bay, at 2:50 a.m., Kira Lyn Peralta, 30, of Buena Park, was arrested for possessing a controlled substance, possessing a controlled substance without a prescription, possessing a controlled substance for sale, and receiving stolen property. Bail was set at $25,000.

Also at the same location at 2:55 a.m., Daniel James Aaron Fowles, 26, of Westminster, was arrested on a warrant for violating parole, possessing a controlled substance for sale, possessing a controlled substance, possessing a controlled substance without a prescription, and possessing unlawful paraphernalia, as well as possessing burglary tools. Bail was set at $25,000. 

Preventing crime while shopping – key safety tips

The holiday season is upon us, and the busiest shopping days of the year are approaching. While you are out and about hunting for gifts for loved ones or even doing your shopping from your computer, remember to keep safety top of mind.

Here are some tips for preventing crime while you knock out that shopping list, provided by NBPD along with the National Crime Prevention Council:

Shopping in stores:

–Never leave your valuables unattended – phone, purse, wallet, etc.

–Wait until asked before taking out your credit card or checkbook.  An enterprising thief would love to shoulder surf to get your account information.

–Tell a security guard or store employee if you see an unattended bag or package.  The same applies if you are using mass transit.

–Deter pickpockets by carrying your purse close to your body and keeping it closed.

–Men keep your wallet in an inner coat pocket or front pants pocket.

–Do not buy more than you can carry. Plan ahead by taking a friend with you or ask a store employee to help you carry your packages to the car.

–Have your keys in hand when approaching your vehicle. Check the back seat and around the car before getting in.

–Do not leave packages visible in your car windows. Lock them in the trunk or, if possible, take them directly home.

–Shopping with small children: make a plan in case you are separated from each other and select a central meeting place; teach them to know they can ask mall personnel or store security employees if they need help; and keep a current photo of your child in your phone.

–Shopping online: Before surfing the Internet, secure your personal computers by updating your security software. Everyone’s computer should have anti-virus, anti-spyware, and anti-spam software, as well as a good firewall installed. Visit www.bytecrime.org for free software downloads.

–Keep your personal information private and your password secure. Do not respond to requests to “verify” your password or credit card information unless you initiated the contact. Legitimate businesses will not contact you in this manner.

–Beware of “bargains” from companies with whom you are unfamiliar – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

–Use secure websites for purchases. Look for the icon of a locked padlock at the bottom of the screen or “https” in the URL address.

–Shop with companies you know and trust. Check for background information if you plan to buy from a new or unfamiliar company.

–Save all receipts. Print and save all confirmations from your online purchases. Start a file folder to keep all receipts together and to help you verify credit card or bank statements as they come in.

–Consider alternate options to pay for your merchandise, such as one-time or multiuse disposable credit cards or money orders, at online stores and auction site.

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Police Files

Attempted robbery at Bank of America at Eastbluff, NBPD seeks help identifying suspect

The Newport Beach Police Department is seeking a suspect and any possible witnesses for an attempted bank robbery investigation. The crime occurred on Wednesday, Nov. 14, at approximately 1:35 p.m. at the Bank of America in Eastbluff Village Center, at 2501 Eastbluff Drive. 

According to statements received by the NBPD, one male entered the bank with a grey Bank of America money bag. The suspect then approached a bank teller and presented what appeared to be a business check. 

Police Files Bank Robber Suspect

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Submitted photo

NBPD is looking for this bank robbery suspect, please call with any information

The check had a handwritten note on the back stating, “This is a robbery, I have a gun.” The teller had difficulty opening the money drawer, at which point the suspect stated, “Hurry up, you have 10 seconds.” 

The suspect then raised his voice and once again told the teller to hurry up, which caught the attention of the bank manager who then walked towards the suspect. The suspect then walked out of the bank without any money, and appeared to get into a white truck being driven by an additional unknown suspect.

Police Files White Truck

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

The getaway vehicle from an attempted bank robbery on Nov. 14 at the Eastbluff Bank of America

The suspect is described as a white male, 30 - 40 years old, with dark hair, a brownish grey beard, about 5’6 - 5’8 tall, and weighing around 160 - 180 pounds. He was described as wearing a white and blue flannel, dark hat, sunglasses, tennis shoes, and had tattoos on his right forearm.

NBPD Detectives are asking this person, or anyone who can help identify him, to come forward to assist in the investigation. Anyone who can offer assistance is encouraged to contact Detective Division at 949.644.3790. Messages may also be left anonymously on the Police Department’s recorded hotline at 1.800.550.NBPD. 

33-year-old Newport Beach man sentenced to 35 years in state prison for $13.5 million Ponzi scheme

On Friday, Nov 15, Brandon Walton Stewart, 33, of Newport Beach, was sentenced to 35 years in state prison for defrauding more than $10.5 million from victims and nearly $3 million from banks through a Ponzi scheme according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

Stewart pleaded guilty to 125 counts of money laundering, 38 counts of writing non-sufficient funds, 22 counts of using untrue statements in purchase or sale of a security, four counts of failing to file a California state tax return, two counts of financial elder abuse, and one count of residential burglary, all felonies.

He also received sentencing enhancements for aggravated white collar crime in excess of $500,000, property damage over $3.2 million, and money laundering in excess of $2.5 million for a Ponzi scheme he operated from April 7, 2009, to January 22, 2013.

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Police Files

Man arrested 19 times in 18 months by NBPD

On Monday, Nov 12, at 8:14 p.m., at 15th Street and W. Ocean Front, Nathaniel Monks Hutchinson, 53, of Costa Mesa, was arrested for receiving stolen property with a value greater than $950, possessing unlawful paraphernalia, and warrants related to being drunk in public and having an open container in public.

According to Stu News Newport records, Hutchinson has been arrested 19 times in the last 18 months by NBPD for being drunk in public, drinking in public and related warrants.

Hutchinson often lists his occupation as “drinker” with police. 

Bail was set at $46,000.

Two 20-somethings nabbed for major crimes

On Sunday, Nov 11, at 3:49 a.m., a duo was arrested at Santa Ana Avenue and 17th Street for a litany of major crimes.

Christopher Edward Mar, 24, no city of residency, was arrested for possessing unlawful paraphernalia, appropriating lost property, possessing a controlled substance, commercial burglary with no forced entry, conspiracy to commit a crime, identity theft and grand theft from buildings. 

Alyssa Marie Teruel, 20, Indio, was arrested for shoplifting with value less than $950, possessing unlawful paraphernalia, possessing a controlled substance, commercial burglary with no forced entry, conspiracy to commit a crime and grand theft. 

Bail was set at $20,000 for both Mar and Teruel.

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Fire Files

NBFD answers the call to help combat wildfires

With the raging wildfires affecting areas of Ventura and Los Angeles County in Southern California the last several days, the Newport Beach Fire Department answered the call to provide mutual aid to these ravaged areas with fire protection. 

NBFD answers Tony Handy

Click on photo for larger image

Photo by Tony Handy, Courtesy of LAFD

Woolsey fire

“Newport Beach Firefighters have been actively engaged in protecting homes in the Thousand Oaks area,” said Newport Beach Fire Assistant Chief Jeff Boyles. “We currently have two fire engines with eight personnel, along with multiple Orange County fire agencies assisting in the firefight. Locally, we are up-staffing with financial assistance from the state in preparation for any wind events that may threaten us here in Orange County.” 

NB Fire Asst. Chief Boyles will be presenting an informational wildland fire workshop tonight, Tuesday, Nov. 13 at 6:30 p.m. The workshop will take place in the Central Library’s Friends Room located at 1000 Avocado Ave., Newport Beach. This is a great opportunity for all members of the community to learn about the ongoing threat of wildland fires to the State of California, how the Newport Beach Fire Department is deployed to these incidents, and recent deployment experiences.

Red Flag Warning in effect in Newport through Wednesday

Here at home, a Red Flag Warning has been issued through Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 5 p.m. for the Orange County Coastal Zone including Newport Beach, according to the National Weather Service. Sustained winds of 25 - 35 mph with gusts up to 60 mph are possible along with low humidity levels. Residents living near urban interface areas are encouraged to have an emergency plan in the event of a brush fire near their home.

Now is the time for Newport Beach residents to evaluate their preparedness levels. If you haven’t already done so, please register for AlertOC, which is the city’s mass notification system, by going to www.alertoc.com. Make sure you include your cell phone number, text number, and email addresses so you can be informed of emergencies and certain community events no matter where you are.


Fire Files

17 respond to electric boat fire on waterfront

At approximately 9:35 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 7, the Newport Beach Fire Department responded to a fully involved electric boat fire located in a slip at 312 Buena Vista Boulevard. 

Upon arrival, firefighters successfully extinguished the fire and prevented the fire from spreading to other boats. Newport Beach Lifeguards and an Orange County Sheriff Fire Boat assisted with the extinguishment/overhaul process. 

In total, 15 firefighters and two lifeguards responded to the incident. The cause of the fire is under investigation. 

The Newport Beach Fire Department would like to remind all Orange County residents to be fire safe during the holiday season by keeping combustibles away from ignition sources. 

Police Files

Grant awarded to NBPD to fund year-long program

The Newport Beach Police Department has been awarded a $225,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) for a year-long program of special enforcement and public awareness efforts to prevent traffic-related deaths and injuries. The Newport Beach Police Department will use the funding as part of the City’s ongoing commitment to keep our roadways safe and improve the quality of life through both enforcement and education. 

“By partnering with OTS, our Department is committed to making the streets of Newport Beach as safe as possible by focusing our efforts on such things as bicycle and pedestrian safety, distracted driving, motorcycle safety, DUI prevention and public education. The grant funds awarded to us by OTS are an effective force multiplier, thereby allowing us to concentrate on preventing tragedies while making a positive impact for those who live, work and play in the City of Newport Beach,” said Lieutenant Joe Cartwright, the Traffic Services Commander for the Newport Beach Police Department. 

In 2016, 3,623 people were killed in crashes across the state, a seven percent increase from 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Particularly alarming is the rise in pedestrian deaths, with 867 pedestrians killed on California roadways in 2016, a nearly 33 percent increase from 2012. 

“Almost all crashes are preventable,” OTS director Rhonda Craft said. “Education and enforcement go hand in hand helping change behaviors that cause devastating crashes.” 

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Police Files

Man arrested after allegedly making false bomb claim

Hugo Moreno Perez, 40, Pomona, was arrested on charges of possessing stolen property after allegedly going through multiple open vehicles. The arrest took place in the 500 block of Bayview Circle, at 7:55 a.m., on Wednesday, Oct. 31.

During the arrest, Perez also falsely stated he had a bomb. Additionally, police found methamphetamine on his property.

Perez was arrested for receiving stolen property, possessing a controlled substance and a false bomb report.

Bail was set at $2,500.

Man busted for allegedly attempting to steal a bicycle

Jose Hermino Ventura, 40, Santa Ana, was arrested Friday, Nov. 2 at Back Bay Drive and Jamboree Road, on grand theft of a bicycle.

Newport Beach Police discovered that Ventura had cut a bicycle from a pole using bolt cutters. Upon further investigation, police found a meth pipe and bolt cutters in the subject’s vehicle.

Ventura was arrested for possessing burglary tools, grand theft of a bicycle. and possessing unlawful paraphernalia.

His bail was set at $20,000.

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Police Files

Two car crash closes Newport Blvd. for several hours

Newport Beach Police reported a two-car collision Tuesday evening, Oct. 30, at 5:42 p.m., closing southbound lanes at Newport Blvd. and Hospital Road. A police Nixle report went out asking drivers to avoid the area.

No deaths resulted in the accident, although one driver was transported to Hoag Hospital and released. 

The lanes reopened several hours later at 7:57 p.m.

Man arrested for early morning residential and commercial burglary

Newport Beach Police arrested Marco Antonio Banderas Jr., 27, of Anaheim, on a variety of charges Tuesday, Oct. 30, including commercial and residential burglary with no forced entry, grand theft from buildings and receiving stolen property with a value greater than $950.

Banderas was arrested in the 800 block of Santa Barbara Drive at 6:49 a.m.

His bail was set at $50,000.

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Police Files

San Diego man arrested twice in 25 hours

Friday afternoon, October 26 at 12:23 p.m., Newport Beach Police stopped Oreste Digiacomosoto, 27, from San Diego, for questioning in the 200 block of Orchard Drive. Digiacomosoto was arrested for presenting false identification to a peace officer. 

His bail was $500.

But, his weekend didn’t end there. On Saturday, October 27 at 1:38 p.m., roughly 25 hours after his first encounter, Digiacomosoto was arrested for taking an auto without the owner’s consent and arrested at Reef Point Drive & E. Coast Highway.

His bail was set at $20,000.

Woman attempts to evade police, arrested for DUI

Orsolya Mester, 37, of Los Angeles, was arrested Saturday, October 27, in the 100 block of W. Promontory Drive, for suspected DUI. However, not before attempting to evade police, hit and run causing property damage, obstructing an executive officer and driving without a license.

The failed attempt left Mester with bail set at $20,000.

The incident ended at 6:19 p.m.

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Police Files

Welfare check leads to apparent murder-suicide discovery

Police Files 10.26.18

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Lana Johnson

Tuesday morning, October 23, at 7:53 a.m., Newport Beach Police received a request for a welfare check of a residence in the 700 block of Malabar Drive in Irvine Terrace. Officers responded to the home and found a male and female deceased at the residence.

Police are investigating the incident as a murder-suicide. The death of Joan Beverly Frederick, 73, of Corona del Mar, is being investigated as a murder, while the death of Dolliver Henry Frederick, 74, of Corona del Mar, is being investigated as a suicide.

No further updates have been released by the NBPD.

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Police Files

Suicide is cause of death at 15th St. lifeguard tower incident

Last Tuesday morning, October 16, a man was found unresponsive at the 15th St. lifeguard tower by Newport Beach Police officers. 

A 22-year-old male from Riverside died of a self-inflicted gun shot.

No other details were released. 

Police responded to the call at 7:55 a.m.


Police Files

Five women come forward with new sex charges against Newport Beach doctor; three additional for his girlfriend

The Orange County District Attorney’s Office filed additional charges against a Newport Beach surgeon, Grant William Robicheaux, 38, for allegedly sexually assaulting five additional women, for a total of seven alleged victims. 

The surgeon’s girlfriend, Cerissa Laura Riley, 31, Newport Beach, is charged in three additional alleged assaults and both defendants face additional charges of kidnapping to commit rape. 

The defendants were initially charged on September 11, 2018, with sexually assaulting two women by use of drugs. Their pre-trial hearing date is scheduled for January 18, 2019, at 8:30 a.m. in Department H-7, Harbor Justice Center, Newport Beach.

Charges against Robicheaux include three counts of kidnapping to commit a sexual offense; four counts of rape by use of drugs; two counts of assault with intent to commit a sexual offense; forcible rape; oral copulation by anesthesia or controlled substance; four counts for possession of a controlled substance for sale; and two counts of possession of an assault rifle.

Riley was charged with three counts of kidnapping with intent to commit a sexual offense; three counts of rape by use of drugs; two counts of assault with intent to commit sexual offense; oral copulation by anesthesia or controlled substance; and four counts of possession of a controlled substance for sale.

Robicheaux faces a maximum sentence of 82 years and four months to life in state prison, while Riley faces a maximum of 63 years to life. Bail has been set at $1 million.

“We believe if the defendants met the victims in a public place, drugged them while in that public place, and relocated them back to their home after their victims were rendered incapable of consent, with the intent to sexually assault their prey – that’s kidnapping,” stated District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. “If you feel you have been victimized by these defendants, we want to hear from you. Even if you willfully became intoxicated, or took drugs, no one gets a pass to sexually assault you once you are past the point of consent.”

In September 2009, Jane Doe 1, who was in her mid-20s, allegedly met Robicheaux at a bar in Newport Beach and proceeded to go on a few dates. On September 7, 2009, Robicheaux is accused of forcibly raping the victim at his residence after she told him she did not want to have sex. 

Jane Doe 1 reported the assault to OCDA after OCDA announced law enforcement was seeking potential additional victims.

On March 14, 2015, Robicheaux and Riley are accused of raping Jane Doe 2, who was in her mid-20s, while she was prevented from resisting due to intoxicating and controlled substances.

Jane Doe 2 also reported the assault to OCDA after OCDA announced law enforcement was seeking potential additional victims.

In April 2016, Robicheaux and Riley are accused of meeting Jane Doe 3 who was in her early 30s, at a restaurant in Newport Beach. On April 10, 2016, Robicheaux and Riley are accused of inviting the victim to a party in Newport Beach and supplying multiple drugs to the victim until she was highly intoxicated.

The defendants are accused of then kidnapping Jane Doe 3 with intent to commit rape by bringing her to their home and carrying her upstairs to commit the sex acts.

Robicheaux and Riley are further accused of raping and orally copulating the victim while she was prevented from resisting due to intoxication and controlled substances and they should have reasonably known of her condition.

Jane Doe 3 contacted the Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) the next day and underwent a forensic exam, which tested positive for multiple controlled substances.

On October 2, 2016, Robicheaux and Riley are accused of drinking alcohol with Jane Doe 4, who was in her mid-20s, at a bar in Newport Beach until the victim was highly intoxicated. 

The defendants are accused of kidnapping the victim with intent to commit a sexual offense by taking Jane Doe 4 to their home. Jane Doe 4 woke to Robicheaux allegedly attempting to sexually assault her with intent to commit rape and screamed for help until a neighbor called NBPD, who responded to the scene and investigated this case.

On October 29, 2016, Jane Doe 5, who was in her mid-30s, allegedly met Robicheaux and Riley at a Halloween party in Newport Beach through a mutual acquaintance and they are accused of placing GHB in the victim’s drink while she was at the defendants’ residence.

The defendants are further accused of sexually assaulting and raping the victim in their bedroom while she was prevented from resisting due to intoxicating and controlled substances. Jane Doe 5 awoke during the alleged assault.

Jane Doe 5 reported the alleged assault to OCDA after OCDA announced law enforcement was seeking potential additional victims.

On April 16, 2017, Jane Doe 6, who was in her early 20s, allegedly met Robicheaux on a popular dating app and went on a date at a restaurant in Newport Beach. Riley is accused of showing up during the date and pretending to be Robicheaux’s friend, not a romantic interest.

Jane Doe 6 and the defendants went to another bar where the defendants are accused of supplying intoxicating substances to the victim until she was highly intoxicated.

Robicheaux and Riley are then accused of kidnapping Jane Doe 6 with intent to commit rape by bringing the victim to their home in this condition without her consent. The victim awoke in the defendants’ home where Riley and Robicheaux are accused of sexually assaulting her on the bed.

Jane Doe 6 was eventually able to run to the bathroom where she locked herself for the night until she was able to leave the next morning.

Jane Doe 6 reported the alleged assault to OCDA after OCDA announced law enforcement was seeking potential additional victims.

Jane Doe 7, who was in her early 20s, met Robicheaux and Riley at a Fourth of July party in 2017 while the alleged victim was out with a friend. 

On July 8, 2017, she went with the defendants to a party on a boat in Newport Beach and consumed multiple alcoholic beverages.

The defendants are accused of inviting Jane Doe 7 to Robicheaux’s residence. When the intoxicated victim laid down to sleep, Robicheaux is accused of raping her while reasonably knowing of the victim’s inability to resist.

Jane Doe 7 reported the assault to OCDA after OCDA announced law enforcement was seeking potential additional victims.

The investigation is ongoing. Law enforcement investigating this case believe there may be additional victims. If you believe you have been a victim, or have information related to the crime and about the defendants, please call OCDA Supervising Investigator Eric Wiseman at 714.347.8794.

Spitzer accused of illegally disseminating sealed document

After a court hearing in the People v. Grant Robicheaux and Cerissa Riley case, Orange County Supervisor and Orange County District Attorney candidate Todd Spitzer, also an attorney, and his Chief of Staff Melanie Eustice, are accused of knowingly disseminating a sealed search warrant at a press conference. 

The search warrant contained extremely sensitive information about the rape victims and the defendants. Spitzer reportedly talked about knowing the search warrant was sealed and knowingly distributed it to members of the media. 

Both the defense and the People went back to Department H-7 at Harbor Justice Center to address the alleged violation with the Court. 

Spitzer was asked by Judge Gregory W. Jones to come back to court to discuss the matter. The court ordered members of the media who were present not to further disseminate the prohibited item and to relay that information to their organizations. They were all ordered to return the sealed item to Court. 

The Orange County District Attorney’s Office requests all members of the media comply with the judge’s order and not distribute the sealed materials to protect the rape victims, defendants’ constitutional rights, and the integrity of the case. 

Spitzer is running against District Attorney Tony Rackauckas in November.

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Police Files

Potentially dangerous prostitution group arrested early Tuesday

Three suspects were arrested shortly before 4:00 a.m. in the early morning hours Tuesday, October 9, at Santiago Drive and Irvine Avenue, for prostitution related activities.

21-year-old Sabrina Milagros Monge, from San Bernardino, and Jonathan Luis Palafcy, 35, Highland, were each arrested for pandering by procuring a person for prostitution and possessing a switchblade knife.

Additionally, Jessica Roxanne Gonzalez, 25, of Corona, was arrested for failing to possess a required escort service permit.

Monge and Palafcy had their scheduled bail set at $35,000, while Gonzalez’s bail was $200.

Local CFO sentenced for embezzling more than $3.2 million

Former Chief Financial Officer Timothy Michael Huth, 48, from Rancho Santa Margarita, was sentenced Wednesday, Oct. 9, to seven years in state prison for embezzling more than $3.2 million dollars for personal use.

At the time of the crimes, Huth was the Chief Financial Officer of Meadows Asset Management, a Newport Beach business located at 100 Newport Center Drive. Between 2008 and 2014, the defendant embezzled large sums of money from the company, falsified checks, and altered company records to hide his embezzlement. He also engaged in numerous acts of money laundering.

In January 2015, the embezzlement was discovered by Meadows Asset Management when several suspicious bank account transactions involving the defendant were uncovered.

Newport Beach Police Department investigated this case.

Huth pleaded guilty to grand theft, 16 counts of money laundering, 16 counts of forgery and making false entries in records or returns in June.

Coyotes are here to stay and NBPD advises caution

The Newport Beach Police Department’s Animal Control Unit is alerting the community to recent coyote activity in the City. In order to advise and educate members of the Newport Beach community, the Newport Beach Police Department has compiled the following information on coyote activity.

Coyotes are found in all areas of Orange County. They are a native animal and a critical component of the ecosystem. Contrary to popular belief, these animals do not require open space or wild areas to survive. In fact, most of the coyotes found in urban environments are descended from generations of coyotes who have lived and flourished in the urbanized areas of Orange County.

Though they are far from domesticated, coyotes are very comfortable living alongside human beings. If a coyote begins frequenting your neighborhood, let them know that they are not welcome. Make loud noises, show an aggressive posture, or spray them with a garden hose to deter them from approaching your property. For everyone’s safety, it is essential that coyotes preserve their natural wariness of humans.

While they are not normally a danger to humans, coyotes will display defensive behaviors if threatened or cornered. Therefore, if you encounter a coyote, it is important to leave a comfortable distance between yourself and the animal. Coyotes defend their territory and family in a similar manner to domesticated dogs. If a coyote behaves aggressively, you have probably gotten too close to its prey or its family; increase your distance until the coyote acts less threatening. For their own safety, children should be taught to avoid strange animals, whether domesticated or not, and not to feed wild animals.

Unfortunately, some Newport Beach residents have lost pets to coyote attacks. Though coyotes generally hunt between sunset and sunrise, they are active at all hours of the day or night. Small pets in particular can easily become prey for these skilled predators. In a matter of minutes, a coyote can attack and remove a pet from a backyard that is enclosed by a six-foot fence or wall.

Here are some steps that you can take to protect your pets, and to make your property less attractive to nuisance animals such as coyotes:

–Fence off animal enclosures (fully enclosed, if possible).

–Cats, small dogs and other small animals should not be allowed outside alone, even in a fenced area. It is highly recommended that small pets are always accompanied by their owner when outside the home, and that pets are not left in yards overnight.

–Keep dogs on a leash (at a maximum length of six feet) at all times. Extendable leashes do not meet the requirements of the Newport Beach Municipal Code, and will not adequately prevent your dog from becoming the victim of a coyote attack.

–Feed your pets indoors.

–Eliminate potential food and water sources, such as fallen fruit and standing water.

–Store trash in heavy-duty containers.

–Keep yards free of potential shelter materials, such as thick brush or weeds.

–Enclose the bottoms of porches and decks.

NBPD welcome members of the community to contact them with any questions or concerns at 949.644.3717.

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Police Files

Olympic swimmer Lochte reportedly kicks in door at local hotel and then seeks help

The Newport Beach Police Department is not confirming the identity of the subject they assisted Thursday morning, Oct. 4, in the 3 a.m. vicinity at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa.

Reports have Olympic swimming champion Ryan Lochte damaging his hotel room door after trying to kick it in.

Sources say Lochte was drunk at the time and that he will seek professional assistance to battle his alcohol addiction by immediately entering a program.

No arrests were made, and no report was taken.

Lochte is a 12-time Olympic medalist and ranks only behind Michael Phelps as the 2nd most decorated swimmer in Olympic history.

Lochte caused controversy at the 2016 Brazilian Olympics by claiming he and several other swimming teammates were robbed at gunpoint by subjects showing police badges.

That event, too, was blamed on a night of drinking. 

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Police Files

Police find out what’s behind the tinted windows…it’s not good

On Sunday, Sept. 30, at approximately 6:45 p.m., a Newport Beach Police Officer on patrol saw a car driving on East Coast Highway at Avocado Avenue with dark tinted front windows in violation of the California Vehicle Code. 

The officer stopped the car that had one adult and three children under the age of 13. The driver, Matthew Ogden, 36, from Pasadena, gave a California driver’s license to the officer that was not his. Ogden was arrested for falsely impersonating another person. 

Further investigation produced the discovery of methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia, and other items, leading to a number of other charges. 

Ogden was arrested for forgery by altering a driver’s license, false personation of another, possessing unlawful paraphernalia, possessing a controlled substance for sale, transporting a controlled substance, possessing narcotics for sale, being a felon in possession of a stun gun, cruelty to a child and a warrant from a Van Nuys court.

His bail was set at $170,000.

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Police Files

Police arrest Newport Coast woman following violent crash, DUI suspected

Around 5:45 p.m. Friday evening, September 28, eyewitnesses said a vehicle “careened over the corner patch of the grass connected to the parking lot of the Newport Coast Community Center and subsequently crash[ed] violently into a curb.” Upon impact with the curb, witnesses said a tire then dislodged from the Tesla and was catapulted high into the air.

Witnesses called 911 and the Newport Beach Police Department responded finding a woman and three small children in the vehicle. The woman was apparently impaired.

Charity Peters Couto, 41, of Newport Coast, was arrested for DUI alcohol, cruelty to child that could’ve potentially led to injury or death and exceeding the limit of 0.08 percent.

She was arrested at 6:32 p.m. and held on $100,000 bail.

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Police Files

Sex trafficker sentenced for multitude of charges including burglary, kidnapping and assault with a firearm

Grant Champion Ewing, 23, Riverside, was sentenced to 21 years in state prison yesterday for burglary, robbery, kidnapping of sex purchaser, assault with a firearm, and trafficking a 17-year-old girl.

On Feb. 22, 2018, Ewing drove 17-year-old Jane Doe to meet with 59-year-old sex purchaser, John Doe in Newport Beach, after corresponding via a website known for prostitution. Ewing drove Jane Doe to John Doe’s home where the victims planned to engage in commercial sex.

Ewing came back to the residence to rob John Doe and began banging on the front door. John Doe opened the door to find Ewing with a gun pointed at his face. The defendant forced his way into the residence and hit John Doe in the face several times. The defendant then demanded gold from John Doe and forced the victim into his bedroom.

After going through John Doe’s belongings, Ewing hit John Doe in the head with the gun and discharged the firearm, while continuing to demand valuables. John Doe revealed to Ewing that there was some cash in the hallway closet. The defendant took the cash, locked John Doe in the bedroom closet, threatened to kill him if he called the police, and proceeded to steal the victim’s cell phone and computer.

After the defendant and Jane Doe left the residence, John Doe called Newport Beach Police Department. 

NBPD investigated this case and arrested Ewing later that night.

Ewing was sentenced on charges of first-degree burglary, first-degree robbery, assault with a semiautomatic firearm, kidnapping, false imprisonment effected by violence, menace, fraud or deceit, criminal threats, dissuading a witness by force, trafficking a victim under 18 years of age, pimping a minor over 16 years of age, pandering a minor over 16 years of age and resisting and obstructing a peace officer.

Promotions highlight changes at NBPD

The Newport Police Department announced several changes, first with the promotion of Press Information Officer Jennifer Manzella to a new position as assistant to the Chief of Police.

Manzella has served as PIO for the last 5+ years. She has been instrumental in raising the level of interaction with the NBPD and the community through creative videos. She’s also capably held several recent news conferences that have gained national attention.

Replacing Manzella as the new PIO will be Heather Rangel. Rangel has been a civilian employee with the Department for more than nine years and she brings a wealth of departmental knowledge with her into the position.  

“I am confident that our media relations will be in good hands,” Manzella said.

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Police Files

Police get their man, er, woman in check cashing scheme

On May 31, 2018, a victim of suspected forged checks came to the Newport Beach Police Department’s front desk to file a report. 

The victim received a notice from his bank on May 24 that there was a hold placed on his account due to suspicious activity. On May 28, the victim reviewed his account and determined that 11 checks had been forged. 

After an investigation, NBPD Detectives arrested Taylor Bette Wright, 23, from Corona on Thursday, Sept. 20 for fraud charges. According to arrest records, Wright is an unemployed resident of Corona. At the time of the arrest, drug paraphernalia was found in the possession of Wright. 

She was charged with passing fictitious checks, identity theft, grand theft fraud and possession of unlawful paraphernalia.

Bail was set at $20,000.

Missing license plates leads to drugs and identity theft duo

At approximately 10:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 19, a Newport Beach Police Officer on patrol observed a vehicle driving with a missing front license plate, in violation of the California Vehicle Code. The officer initiated a traffic stop. 

After a field investigation, the officer found that both Evelyn Grace Lopez and Faith Marie Encinas were in possession of a methamphetamine smoking pipe, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana.

Lopez, a resident of Pico Rivera, and Encinas, a resident of Whittier, were arrested for possession of narcotics, possessing a controlled substance, acquiring access card account information and identity theft.

Bail was set at $10,000 each.

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Police Files

More women coming forward as potential victims of Newport Beach doctor and girlfriend; update from D.A. this morning

Newport Beach Police made national news twice in one week.

First, was the arrest of Grant William Robicheaux, 38, and Cerissa Laura Riley, 31, both of Newport Beach, on charges of rape of multiple victims by use of drugs. It was an investigation several years in the making.

Robicheaux, a local orthopedic surgeon and celebrity reality TV bachelor, and his girlfriend Riley, are accused of drugging women and sexually assaulting them without consent.

Since Tuesday’s (Sept. 18) press conference by District Attorney Tony Rackauckas announcing the arrests, more women have come forward as potential victims. 

The D.A. provided no case update yesterday and is expected to release new information on the case today.

Next scheduled D.A. update: Today, Friday, Sept. 21, at 11 a.m. in the first floor law library, OCDA’s Office, 401 Civic Center Drive W., Santa Ana.

NBPD revives hunt for murderer from six years ago

Second, was the announcement at a Wednesday press conference of a series of podcasts to be sequentially released by NBPD called Countdown to Capture. It’s a clever attempt to recreate the story of a local murder that took place in Newport Beach some six years ago and has gone unsolved.

Police Files Countdown to Capture

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of NBPD

According to NBPD, “Peter Chadwick is wanted for murdering his wife, Q.C. Chadwick, on October 10, 2012, and for fleeing from prosecution. He has been a fugitive since January 2015. The NBPD and the U.S. Marshals Service remain committed to finding Chadwick and bringing him to justice.”

The goal of the NBPD is to have the podcasts gain traction reaching viewers potentially across the globe in an attempt to ID him. There is also a $100,000 reward being offered for information directly leading to his arrest.

The first three of six podcasts have already been released. The remaining three will be released over the next week. 

You can find the podcasts and more information at www.nbpd.org.

Chadwick has been added to the U. S. Marshals Service list of America’s Most Wanted Fugitives.

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Police Files

DA news conference seeks additional potential victims of Newport Beach doctor

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas has called a news conference for this morning, Tuesday, Sept. 18 at 9 a.m. in the first-floor law library, at OCDA’s Office, 1401 Civic Center Drive W, Santa Ana.

The news conference will seek potential additional victims of a Newport Beach surgeon and his female codefendant accused of rape of multiple victims by use of drugs.

According to the Newport Beach Police Department Arrest Logs, Grant William Robicheaux, 38, Newport Beach, and Cerissa Laura Riley, 31, Newport Beach, were arrested on Wednesday, Sept. 12 on Newport Beach felony warrants for rape.

Police Files Grant William Robicheaux

Courtesy of YouTube

Grant William Robicheaux

According to a website, Robicheaux is an “upper extremity surgeon” in the Newport Beach area.

Robicheaux and Riley were arrested at 7:45 a.m. at Channel Place and 44th Street.

Both were held on a bail of $100,000.

Costa Mesa man arrested for attempting to start Crystal Cove area fire

On Saturday, Sept. 15, shortly before 7 p.m., several people called the Newport Beach Police to report that a man was attempting to set fires in the area of Los Trancos and E. Coast Highway in the Crystal Cove area.

Officers responded and located the suspect, Matthew Joseph Brady, 39, of Costa Mesa.

Members of the Newport Beach Fire Department also responded and extinguished a small, approximately 3’ x 3’, brush fire in the area. 

After a thorough field investigation, Brady was arrested for arson and held on $20,000 bail.

Intoxicated woman attempts to take police officer’s gun

On Saturday, Sept. 15, at 3:42 p.m., officers responded to the 2300 block of W. Oceanfront in response to a call that a battery had just occurred. 

The victim stated that the suspect, Amanda Nicole Moore, 29, Irvine, had slapped her across the face after a brief verbal altercation. 

Moore was located nearby but was visibly intoxicated and uncooperative with the investigation. After several repeated attempts to walk away from one officer, Moore reportedly lashed out, physically striking the officer and attempting to take control of his firearm. 

She was subsequently taken into custody for obstructing/resisting a peace officer, battery, disorderly conduct related to alcohol, for an attempt to remove a peace officer’s firearm and battery on a peace officer.

Bail was set at $20,000.

Verbal altercation leads to pointed firearm

Newport Beach Police received a report of a verbal altercation in the 1100 block of Back Bay Drive on Saturday, Sept. 15, at 2:25 a.m. Reports say the suspect, Anthony Michael Burroughs, 26, of Corona, became angry with the victim, and pointed a firearm at her. 

The victim was able to remove herself from the situation and report the incident. The suspect had fled the area, but with the assistance of the Corona Police Department, he was taken into custody when he returned to his residence in that city.

Burroughs was arrested on charges of assault with a deadly weapon and held on bail of $50,000.


Police Files

Woman returns to apartment where she had been an evening guest prior in alleged robbery and assault with a deadly weapon

On Monday, Sept. 10 at 1:16 a.m., Newport Beach Police officers responded to the 2100 block of Sherrington Place in response to several calls reporting a woman screaming. 

Upon arrival, officers found Margaret Ellen Lehmann, 22, of Buena Park, and a male, who had been involved in a physical altercation. 

After a thorough field investigation, officers determined that Lehmann had been a guest in the apartment earlier in the evening. After leaving, she allegedly re-entered the apartment through the back patio and attempted to take valuables from the apartment. 

When the man confronted her, Lehmann allegedly threatened him with a screwdriver, demanded cash, and then attacked him when he did not comply. 

The victim was allegedly stabbed and cut by the screwdriver and scratched by Lehmann’s hands, and sustained several lacerations and abrasions as a result. 

Lehmann was arrested without incident on charges of robbery with a dangerous weapon, assault with a deadly weapon and residential burglary with no forced entry. 

Lehmann’s bail was set at $50,000.

Editor apparently doesn’t like what she sees, damages property

On Sunday, Sept. 9 at 9:39 p.m., Newport Beach Police officers responded to a report of a disturbance in the 1300 block of Balboa Avenue. Upon arrival, officers found Melissa Ann Kunze, 34, of Danville, on the premises, and determined that she had broken a number of items inside and outside of the residence and had thrown a number of items into the street.

Kunze, who lists her occupation as editor, had previously been a tenant at the residence, but she was unable to provide a reason for her activity. 

The property owner responded to assess the damage, which he placed in excess of $5,000, and made a request of a private person’s arrest. 

Kunze was arrested without incident and held on felony vandalism charges with $20,000 bail.

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Police Files

Young woman in her 20s dies, reportedly at local ranch

On Friday, Sept. 7, a young woman in her 20s was reported deceased in the 20100 Block of SW Cypress St. in Newport Beach, reportedly at the Aloha Ranch.

According to Jennifer Manzella, press information officer with NBPD, a death investigation was conducted, and it doesn’t appear that anything was suspicious or criminal in the case. At the present time, her name is being withheld.

Fool me once, betcha can’t fool me twice

On Saturday, Sept. 8 at 1:30 p.m., an NBPD officer saw one David Ryan Daley, 28, of Cypress, at the Transportation Center on Avocado and recognized him from a contact earlier in the day.  

Daley had been acting suspiciously at a nearby shopping center and had provided a false name to the officer when he was contacted about his behavior. 

During this second contact, Daley provided another false name to the officer. After a thorough field investigation, the officer determined Daley’s true identity, and discovered that he was in possession of numerous credit cards and checks in other people’s names. He was also found to be in possession of heroin and methamphetamine.  

Daley was arrested without incident for possession of a narcotic controlled substance, identity theft, possession of a controlled substance, two counts of receiving stolen property with a value greater than $950 and two counts of forgery.

Bail was set at $20,000.

Woman obtains fraudulent credit card, spends $4K…busted

Newport Beach Police were contacted by the loss prevention staff of a department store in the 600 block of Newport Center Drive at 5:20 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 6. 

Officials reported that Melinda Sue Hawkins, 32, of Pomona, had opened a store credit card without permission under another person’s name and immediately purchased more than $4,000 of merchandise.

Loss prevention confronted Hawkins after noting that she was acting suspiciously.  

After officers verified the information with store staff, Hawkins was arrested without incident for identity theft, commercial burglary by fraud or forgery and grand theft fraud. 

Bail was set at $20,000.

Shoplifting bust totals $9,000 worth of merchandise

 The staff at a clothing store in the 2900 block of E. Coast Highway contacted the Newport Beach Police Department on Saturday, Sept. 8 to report suspicions that a customer was shoplifting.  

Officers responded at 1:44 p.m. and confronted the suspect, Lisa Ann Pfalzgraf, 53, Palm Desert, outside the store. Officers found her to be in possession of more than $9,000 worth of merchandise that she had not paid for, in addition to a device that removes security tags.  

Pfalzgraf was arrested without incident on charges of commercial burglary by shoplifting more than $950 in merchandise, grand theft from buildings and possession of burglary tools. 

Bail was set at $20,000.

It doesn’t get better than this: hypodermic needle falls out of suspect’s pocket while talking to police

At 12:37 a.m., early Saturday morning, an NBPD officer observed a blue Kia Optima driving recklessly in the area of Newport Boulevard and W. Coast Highway.  

The officer stopped the Kia, which contained two occupants: the male driver and a passenger.

While the officer began addressing the passenger, Max James Sweeney, 31, of Costa Mesa, about apparent violations, he noticed that the suspect had two prescriptions which appeared to be falsified and, then, watched as a hypodermic syringe fell out of Sweeney’s pocket.  

A further search showed that Sweeney had two more hypodermic syringes and several additional fraudulent prescriptions.

It was determined additionally that the driver, Robert John Blessing, 55, of Santa Ana, was charged with driving without a license.

After a thorough field investigation, the officer also determined that the prescriptions in Sweeney’s possession were authentic but had been falsified or amended.  

Sweeney was arrested on charges of forging prescriptions, possession of unauthorized prescriptions and illegal transport of sharps waste. 

Bail was set at $20,000.

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Police Files

Cashier allegedly steals wallet from Newport restaurant patron, goes on joy ride

On Saturday, September 2, at 2:42 pm, NBPD officers responded to a call about a reported robbery that had allegedly occurred at a food service establishment in the 1200 block of Bison Avenue.

“The suspect [allegedly] picked up the victim’s wallet, which was sitting on a table. When he attempted to flee on a bicycle, the victim stopped him by grabbing the bike, and they struggled,” NBPD Spokesperson PIO Crime Prevention Specialist Jennifer Manzella said. “Eventually, the wallet fell from the man’s grasp, but he picked it up, abandoned the bicycle, and fled on foot. He then used one of the stolen credit cards to make a purchase at another food service establishment.”

Responding officers located the suspect across the street in the same area. After a thorough field investigation, the suspect was identified as Crispin Nash Henny, 21, of Huntington Beach, and was arrested for robbery, credit card fraud, and commercial burglary.

Ironically, Henny listed his occupation as cashier.

Bail was set at $50,000.

Woman allegedly attacks bar employee with her high-heeled shoe after altercation with her boyfriend

On Saturday, September 2, NBPD officers responded to a call of an alleged battery in the 2400 block of Newport Boulevard just before 9 p.m. 

“After her boyfriend got into a physical altercation with a bar employee, the suspect [allegedly] used a chair and her high-heeled shoe to vandalize the employee’s vehicle,” NBPD’s Jennifer Manzella said. “There was extensive damage to the hood, roof, and trunk, with additional damage cracking the windshield.”

Manzaella said that the suspect also attacked the bar employee with her fists and her shoe, causing several injuries, mostly superficial. The victim declined medical attention.

After a thorough field investigation, Rayna Charmaine Foxx, 28, of Long Beach, was identified and arrested for assault with a deadly weapon, disorderly conduct, alcohol, vandalism, and providing false identification.

“She [also] provided false identifying information to the officers at the scene,” Manzella said.

Foxx listed her occupation as customer care.

Bail was set at $25,000.

Arraignment scheduled for Sam Woodward in Bernstein murder

Samuel Lincoln Woodward, a 21-year-old Newport Beach man, was ordered to stand trial on a murder stemming from the January killing of Blaze Bernstein, a former high school classmate. His arraignment will be held on Friday, Sept. 15.

Bernstein’s body was found in a shallow grave in Borrego Park in Lake Forest. He was a University of Pennsylvania pre-med student. Prosecutors have deemed the brutal slaying of Bernstein a hate crime because he was gay.

Woodward and Bernstein attended high school at the Orange County School of the Arts in Santa Ana and reconnected over social media.

Bike burglars busted, three men arrested for a series of high-end bicycle thefts

Three men tied to a series of burglaries where high-end bicycles were stolen were arrested after an investigation by NBPD Detectives. 

“The primary incident that led to the arrest was a theft of two bicycles from a home in the first block of Pelican Court. The theft, which occurred on Saturday, Aug. 18, was from a courtyard and had an estimated loss of $10,000,” said NBPD’s Jennifer Manzella. “Our investigation indicates that the men worked together to steal high-end bicycles and then sell them for cash.”

The three men were arrested on Tuesday, Sept. 4, at the 2900 Block of S Bristol Street in Santa Ana. At 2:13 p.m., Brendon Matthew Channey, 24, of Garden Grove, was arrested for receiving stolen property in excess of $950 and forced entry burglary. At 3:36 p.m., Mario Armondo Cortes, 31, of Anaheim, was arrested for receiving stolen property in excess of $950. At 3:56 p.m., Keegan Daniel Lyons, 24, of Garden Grove, was arrested for the same charges as Channey, receiving stolen property in excess of $950 and forced entry burglary.

Channey listed his occupation as electrician, Lyons listed his as retail, and Cortes’ was not listed.

Bail was set at $50,000 for both Lyons and Channey. Bail was set at $20,000 for Cortes.

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Police Files

Three burglaries strike the area in two days, hitting residential and commercial properties

On Thursday, Aug. 30, at 2:15 p.m., NBPD responded to a residential burglary at the 100 block of Via Ithaca on Lido Isle. According to police reports, there was no forced entry. Stolen property is valued at $35,000. 

On Friday, Aug. 31, at 4:03 a.m., at the 3300 block of W. Coast Hwy., NBPD responded to a commercial burglary. According to police reports, there was no forced entry. Stolen property is valued at $10,550. 

Also on Friday, Aug. 31, at 12:32 a.m., at the 1600 block of Mesa Drive, NBPD responded to a residential burglary, arresting Juan Manuel Machaincortes, 37, for attempting to commit a felony crime, burglary – attempted forced entry, and disorderly conduct – peeking into an inhabited building. 

Machaincortes, who is from Santa Ana, listed his occupation as “sewer.”

Bail was set at $50,000.

Pay attention to bus laws to keep kids safe going back to school

Local police, fire, and safety want to make sure your kids are safe going back to school, knowing and obeying traffic rules is critical. 

If the school bus has its red stop sign out and the overhead lights are flashing red, drivers need to stop in both directions. If the overhead lights are yellow, drivers need to prepare to stop. If the hazard lights in the rear of the bus are flashing, drivers may proceed with extreme caution.

Police Files bus

Click on photo for a larger image 

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Watch out for children and pay attention to bus safety rules

As summer draws to a close and children start heading back to school, family life can get pretty hectic. It’s important to remember – and share with your children – some key tips that will help keep them safe and healthy throughout the school year. 

The National Safety Council advises:

“School days bring congestion: School buses are picking up their passengers, kids on bikes are hurrying to get to school before the bell rings, harried parents are trying to drop their kids off before work. It’s never more important for drivers to slow down and pay attention than when kids are present – especially before and after school.”

For more back to school safety tips from National Safety Council, visit www.nsc.org/home-safety/seasonal-safety/back-to-school.


Police Files

San Clemente man holed up in gas station bathroom for 40 minutes is arrested for drugs and vandalism

On Sunday, Aug. 26, at 11:28 a.m., NBPD responded to a request for assistance at a gas station located at the 2100 block of Bristol Street. A man later identified as the suspect had been in the gas station restroom for approximately 40 minutes and was making loud noises inside.

“He refused to leave the restroom when management requested that he do so,” NBPD Spokesperson PIO Crime Prevention Specialist Jennifer Manzella said.

After multiple officer requests, Chad Mitchell opened the door to the restroom. 

Chad William Mitchell, 40, San Clemente, was arrested for felony vandalism, possession of a controlled substance, possession of a narcotic controlled substance, and illegal transport of sharps waste.

“Mitchell defaced the bathroom with green spray paint. The felony is based on the dollar value assigned to the damage, which is, in this case, in excess of $500,” Manzella said.

As for the drug charges, Mitchell had, “A small amount of heroin and nine Xanax pills” in his possession. Sharps waste refers to needles or syringes.

Mitchell’s occupation is listed as a car washer.

Bail was set at $20,000.

On the wrong side of the road, man gets arrested when NBPD sees a syringe with heroin sticking out of his pocket

On Monday, Aug. 27, at 5:52 p.m., at the 700 block of Newport Center Drive, a NBPD officer was driving on Avocado near San Miguel, when he saw a man, later identified as the suspect, in the center median of the road. 

“When he drove by again several minutes later, the officer noted that the man was still there, despite the fact that the light had cycled multiple times, which would have allowed him to safely proceed through the rest of the intersection,” said NBPD’s Jennifer Manzella.

“When the officer contacted Richard Hartsook, he had a syringe with heroin reside in plain view, sticking out of his pocket,” Manzella continued. “The officer also found Hartsook to be in possession of a meth pipe, a number of other syringes, and some heroin.”

Richard Franklin Harstook, 31, of Marcus Hook, was arrested for unlawful possession of controlled substance paraphernalia, possession of a controlled narcotic substance, pedestrian fail to use the left edge, and an outstanding warrant for domestic battery.

Bail was set at $22,500.

Parolee drives off in woman’s car after she reportedly leaves it running and unlocked

On Tuesday, Aug. 28, at 11:31 p.m., NBPD responded to a request for assistance at a construction site after a woman found her car missing.

“The victim went inside a business in the 2400 block of Coast Highway to monitor some construction work, leaving her car running and unlocked,” NBPD’s Jennifer Manzella said. “A short time later, estimated as less than a minute by the victim, she saw her call pull out of the parking lot.”

The victim and another witness followed the suspect in the woman’s car, a 2016 Mazda 3 sedan, and contacted NBPD.

“Officers responded and contacted the suspect, who was stopped near 62nd Street and Seashore Drive,” Manzella said. “The vehicle was returned to the victim, who noted that there was no damage to the vehicle and nothing missing from the interior.”

Adam Christopher Marconi, 39, of Anaheim, was arrested for taking a vehicle without an owner’s consent and a parole hold warrant.

Bail was set at $20,000.

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Fire Files

Mountain bike trail rider injured in early morning accident

Fire Files Inured Biker

Photos courtesy of NBFD

At approximately 7:26 a.m. yesterday, August 27, the Newport Beach Fire Department responded to a reported remote rescue call in Newport Coast. Upon arrival, fire personnel located a mountain bicyclist that had sustained traumatic injuries in a remote area of Newport Coast known as Buck Gully. 

Newport Beach Fire personnel collaboratively rescued the patient with the assistance of an Orange County Fire Authority Helicopter. The patient was hoisted by the helicopter and airlifted to the closest trauma center. 

Fire Files Helicopter

In total, 14 fire personnel from Newport Beach Fire and Orange County Fire Authority responded to the incident. 

The Newport Beach Fire Department would like to remind all Orange County residents to safely share the trails, and to always have a partner when enjoying Orange County wilderness areas. 


Police Files

Group of men create chaos at Apple Store and steal 38 iPhones

Tuesday night, Aug. 21, at 8:30 p.m., the Newport Beach Police Department was notified of a burglary at the Apple Store on Newport Center Drive.

Approximately eight men entered the store, creating “chaos” according to one eyewitness, and took an estimated 38 iPhones, valued at $32,000. The men, in hoodies, then fled in two vehicles: a gray Dodge Challenger and a black Mercedes sedan.  

Officers were able to locate the Dodge as the suspects attempted to flee. With support from the CHP and Westminster Police, and air support from the Huntington Beach Police Department, the Dodge was stopped in the City of Westminster near the intersection of Willow Lane and Westminster Boulevard.

Five suspects in the Dodge were arrested and 22 of the 38 stolen iPhones were recovered.

Those arrested were Deavon Justice Guillory, 20, of Long Beach; Kenyae Emil Buyar, 18, of Compton; Dejon Amere Sanders, 20, of Los Angeles; Kovey Le James, 18, of Los Angeles; and Hysanii Kiesean Rice, 18, of Los Angeles.

All were charged with conspiracy to commit a crime and burglary. Guillory received an additional charge of driving without a license.

Bail ranged from $100,000 to $250,000. 

The black Mercedes, along with other suspects, is still outstanding. All suspects are described as African-American men ages 18 - 25.

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Fire Files

NBFD Mutual Aid response to California wildfires

Police Files NBFD

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of NBFD

Metro Cities Strike Team 1422 A that included Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Anaheim, Fullerton and Orange County Fire Departments

On Wednesday, Aug. 22, all Newport Beach Fire personnel and apparatus that responded to the worst wildland fire in the history of the state of California came home. Their response was coordinated through the California Mutual Aid system to assist with multiple Incident Command Positions and tasks.

A total of 21 Newport Beach firefighters were cycled up north over 14 day deployments, in coordination with other Orange County fire agencies.

Throughout the course of the month-long deployment, Newport Beach fire personnel conducted structure protection, established/maintained control lines, provided media relations, and assisted local citizens with the recovery process.

The Newport Beach Fire Department is proud of the commitment, hard work, and dedication of the more than 14,000 firefighters that are responding to these incidents statewide. 


Police Files

Another attempted bike theft, another arrest

Roy Franklin Dean, 34, from Acton, TX, was arrested Wednesday, Aug. 15 in the 200 block of 29th St.

A Newport Beach Police officer was dispatched to the area of 28th Street and Balboa Boulevard for a report of a possibly stolen bicycle. There, they contacted Dean, who was in possession of a bicycle and who had a cut bike lock in the pocket of his backpack. After a thorough filed investigation, officers arrested Dean for stealing the bicycle. They also found him to be in possession of wire cutting tools, methamphetamine and narcotics paraphernalia.

He was arrested for possessing burglary tools, possessing unlawful paraphernalia, grand theft/bicycles and possessing a controlled substance. His bail was set at $20,000.

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Police Files

Newport Beach woman reportedly batters family member, then confronts police

Newport Beach Police officers responded to a home in the 2400 block of Cliff Drive on Saturday evening, Aug. 11, in response to an alleged battery that had just occurred. Upon arrival, witnesses reported that Suzanne Elizabeth Ziesche, 44, Newport Beach, had struck a male family member in the head with a closed fist, causing injury.

According to officers, Ziesche appeared “agitated and unstable”, and became increasingly so during the investigation. When she became confrontational with another person on the scene, officers attempted to intervene and Ziesche was then physically combative with the officers, eventually resisting arrest. 

She was arrested for battery, obstructing/resisting a peace officer, obstructing/resisting an executive officer, battery on a peace officer and refusing to provide blood or saliva and transported to the NBPD Jail.

Her bail was set at $20,000.

Good police work leads to bicycle theft recovery

Newport Beach Police patrolling the Peninsula area early Saturday morning, Aug. 11 contacted Douglas Allan Nihan, 50, Costa Mesa, who was riding a bicycle on the sidewalk near Newport Boulevard and Via Lido. 

The Newport Beach Municipal Code prohibits riding bicycles on sidewalks almost everywhere in the city. 

Officers determined that the bicycle that Nihan was riding did not belong to him. After a thorough investigation, it was determined that Nihan rode his own bicycle to the beach earlier, and then used a hacksaw, which was found in his backpack, to cut the cable lock on a more expensive bike. 

He then secured his own bike and attempted to flee on the stolen bicycle before being contacted by the officers.

Nihan was arrested for grand theft and for possessing burglary tools. His bail was set at $20,000.

Laguna man charged with threatening to terrorize

At 2:35 a.m., on Saturday, Aug. 11, Newport Beach Police officers and the Newport Beach Fire Department staff responded to the 600 block of Newport Center Drive in response to a request for medical aid. 

Witnesses reported that the subject, later identified as Michael Neal Cantrell, 32, of Laguna Beach, had ingested an unknown narcotic and then began acting erratically. Officers contacted Cantrell and noted his erratic behavior as well as signs that he was still under the influence of narcotics. 

Upon further investigation, it was determined that he had allegedly threatened one of the witnesses verbally, and with physical intimidation, before officers arrived. 

Cantrell was arrested for threatening a crime with the intent to terrorize and for being under the influence of a controlled substance. According to NBPD, he was medically cleared at the hospital before being taking to jail. His bail was set at $50,000.

You’ve been warned…DUI checkpoint tonight!

The Newport Beach Police Department Traffic Division will be conducting a DUI/Driver License Checkpoint tonight, Friday, Aug. 17, at an undisclosed location within the city limits between the hours of 8 p.m. and 2:30 a.m.

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Police Files

Man reports crime that didn’t happen, arrested and held on $70,000 bail

The Newport Beach Police Department received a call at 11:46 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 9, from a man alleging that a female friend of his was being held at gunpoint against her will in a hotel room in Newport Beach. 

Officers responded to a hotel in the 4500 block of MacArthur Blvd. and detained the alleged suspect for the reported hostage situation. It was determined that the allegations against him were false, and that the alleged criminal activity had been reported against him in retaliation for a prior argument with the reporting party. 

After a thorough field investigation, officers responded to the 6400 block of Orangethorpe Ave. in Buena Park and contacted the caller, who was identified as Robert Herbert Rayas, 37, Buena Park.

Rayas admitted to reporting a false emergency to the police and was also found to be in possession of methamphetamine. He was charged with false imprisonment, assault with a deadly weapon, possession of a controlled substance and a false report of an emergency. Bail was set at $70,000.

Trip wrong way down one-way street leads to multitude of charges

A Newport Beach Police officer pulled over a vehicle for driving the wrong way on Summit Street, which is a one-way street. The vehicle occupant, Matthew Daniel Snyder, 45, San Leandro, was unable to provide a valid driver’s license, proof of insurance, or vehicle registration. 

It was determined that Snyder also had an outstanding warrant for his arrest related to possession of a controlled substance.

When asked to exit the car, officers realized that Snyder had a syringe in his pants pocket, in addition to heroin and pepper spray.

Snyder was charged with being a felon in possession of tear gas, failure to provide financial responsibility for a vehicle, possession of a narcotic controlled substance, driving against traffic on a one-way street, failure to provide vehicle registration, illegal transport of sharps waste, driving while restricted for a DUI and a warrant related to possession of a controlled substance.

His bail was set at $50,500.

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NBFD responds to California wildfires

NBFD responds firefighters

Click on photo for a larger image

Photos courtesy of NBFD

In response to one of the worst wildland fire threats in state history with more than 17 large fires currently active throughout the state, the Newport Beach Fire Department along with fire agencies from across the state, country and internationally have responded through the California Mutual Aid System.

The Mendocino Complex Fire is the largest in state history with more than 280,000 acres burned with more than 13,000 firefighters responding, including several from the Newport Beach Fire Department.

NBFD responds two firefighters

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On Wednesday, July 25, two Newport Beach Battalion Chiefs along with two Engine companies (NE 62 Lido and NE 63 Fashion Island, a total of 10 fire personnel) were deployed to assist with firefighting efforts on the Cranston fire in Idyllwild (Riverside County). On Friday, July 27 a Newport Beach Paramedic was deployed to the Carr fire in Redding (Shasta County) as a single resource Public Information Officer.

After four days at the Cranston Fire, on July 28 all three units were released and immediately deployed to the Mendocino Complex Fire. The two Battalion Chiefs serving as Strike Team Leaders and the two engine companies serving on the Orange County Strike Team have been working at the Mendocino Complex fire for the past 14 days and were released on August 8.

NBFD responds firefighters and truck

Click on photo for a larger image

For the past two days, Orange County Fire Departments, led by Orange County Fire Authority sent two busloads of fire personnel to relieve the crews that have been battling these fires. Assistant Fire Chief Jeff Boyles along with several other Newport Beach Fire personnel left on these buses over the past two days and are working the largest fire in state history. In total, the Newport Beach Fire Department has 11 personnel working throughout California with an additional 10 that are now on their way home after battling these devastating wildfires for more than two weeks.

The Newport Beach Fire Department encourages all Orange County and Newport Beach residents to enroll in Alert OC (www.alertoc.com) to receive emergency notifications via phone, email and text.


Police Files

Newport Beach woman arrested for alleged attack on elderly victim

On Wednesday, Aug. 1, at 1:12 p.m., Newport Beach Police officers responded to the 2400 block of Colony Plaza in response to a report of a possible battery. 

The suspect, identified as Jennifer Sue Camazine, 46, Newport Beach, was alleged to have battered an elderly female victim in what appeared to be an unprovoked attack. The victim and the suspect are family members, but their exact relationship is being withheld to protect the victim’s identity. 

The victim received treatment from Newport Beach Fire Department staff at the scene and was transported to a local hospital for additional medical attention. She reported injuries to her face, head and legs. 

Camazine was arrested for elder/dependent adult care causing harm and battery. Bail was set at $50,000.

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Fire Files

Early morning fire burns residential complex

At 1:52 a.m., on Tuesday, July 31, the Newport Beach Fire Department deployed three engines, one truck, one medic unit, and one Battalion Chief to a confirmed residential structure fire with multiple vehicles involved. 

Fire Files 1

Click on photo for a larger image

Photos by Lana Johnson

Upon arrival, the first engine reported multiple vehicles on fire with residential units above on Buckingham Lane in the Westcliff area.

Firefighters made an aggressive attack on the five vehicles and were able to rescue the two families above the fire prior to smoke/fire extension. 

Fire Files 2

 

Click on photo for a larger image

The Red Cross was requested to assist the displaced families. The cause of the fire is being investigated by Newport Beach Fire Investigators. Anybody with information on the cause of the fire can contact 949.644.3113. 

Police Files

Sentencing enhancements filed against Woodward in Bernstein murder

The Orange County District Attorney’s Office filed an amended complaint yesterday, August 2, with a hate crime sentencing enhancement against Samuel Lincoln Woodward, 21, Newport Beach, in the murdering of 19-year-old Blaze Bernstein due to the victim’s sexual orientation.

Woodward was initially charged with one felony count of murder.

At approximately 11 p.m. on January 2, 2018, Woodward is accused of picking up the victim, University of Pennsylvania student Bernstein, from his residence in Lake Forest. The victim and the defendant knew each other from attending Orange County School of the Arts in Santa Ana.

The defendant, who is 6 feet 2 inches tall and 185 pounds, is accused of murdering Bernstein, who was 5 feet 8 inches tall and 135 pounds, by stabbing the victim multiple times because of the victim’s sexual orientation. Woodward is accused of burying the victim’s body in the dirt perimeter of Borrego Park.

“A hate crime enhancement based on sexual orientation is appropriate due to the evidence developed by looking at Woodward’s cell phone, laptop and social media. All of this revealed the dark side of Woodward’s thoughts and intentions,” stated Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas.

Woodward faces a maximum sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole. He has a preliminary hearing August 22 at 8:30 a.m. in Harbor Justice Center.

Sliding glass door smashed in late night Port Street burglary attempt

 On Wednesday, Aug. 1, around 11:20 p.m., two unknown suspects approached the front door of a residence in the 1800 Block of Port Taggart Place, looked into the mailbox, then entered the backyard through an unlocked side gate. They attempted to enter the house by smashing the rear sliding glass door.

Two residents were upstairs at the time, with one coming downstairs after hearing a loud sound. He saw two suspects outside the smashed rear door, wearing dark clothing with their faces obscured. The victim yelled at the suspects, and they ran from the scene.

There was no loss.  

Restraining order violation leads to arrest of NB man

Newport Beach Police officers responded to a home in the 1100 block of Cambridge Lane at 6:48 a.m. on Sunday, July 29, in response to a restraining order violation.  

Police found Reed Mitchell Morrison, 34, Newport Beach, who is not allowed to be within 100 yards of the residence, in the yard. When police confronted him, he picked up his bike and threw it at the officers before running into the backyard and closing the gate behind him.  

From there, he threatened officers verbally, and then physically pushed them when they approached him. Eventually, officers were able to subdue and arrest Morrison.

The parties protected by the restraining order were evacuated from the home during the altercation.

Morrison was charged with obstructing/resisting an executive officer, obstructing/resisting a peace officer, battery on a peace officer, exhibiting a firearm to resist arrest and contempt of court for disobeying a court order.

His bail was set at $20,000.

Cocaine is a no-no in Newport Beach jail

A caller reported to the Newport Beach Police that a traffic collision at 6:45 a.m., Monday, July 30, occurred in the 700 block of W. Balboa Blvd. The caller stated that a blue compact car with two occupants had collided with a parked SUV.  

The first officer to arrive on scene found the suspect vehicle sitting on the center median curb. The driver, Javier Ramirez, 20, from Costa Mesa, was visibly impaired and unable to successfully complete the standardized field sobriety exams.  

Additionally, his passenger suffered several injuries as a result of the collision.  

After Ramirez was booked into the NBPD Jail, where he was found to be in possession of a baggie of cocaine.

 He was charged with DUI, alcohol and drugs causing bodily injury, and possessing a controlled substance in prison.

His bail was set at $100,000.

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Police Files

Alleged purse thief who attacked mom and her family brought down near Bayside Drive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bail was set at $100,000.

NBPD part of multi-agency investigation that leads to the seizure of $1.6 million worth of illegal narcotics

An investigation by a multi-agency operation to intercept narcotics and hold drug traffickers accountable has resulted in the arrest of three men and the confiscation of 184 pounds of illegal narcotics and five guns.

The investigation, which initiated in Orange County, resulted in the seizure of 68 pounds of methamphetamine, 26 pounds of fentanyl, 88 pounds of heroin and about 2 pounds of cocaine from multiple locations in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties. 

Investigators uncovered the estimated $1.6 million worth of illegal drugs in various vehicles and residences, along with a total of five handguns and rifles. While investigators believe most of the narcotics were slated for distribution among the three counties, 18 pounds of methamphetamine was seized while in transit to northern California.

Several enforcement actions led to the narcotics seizures and the identification of multiple subjects, including a New Jersey resident and a Mexican National from Sinaloa, Mexico.

The agencies involved in this operation are: the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, Orange Police Department, Buena Park Police Department, Tustin Police Department, Newport Beach Police Department, Fullerton Police Department, Huntington Beach Police Department, Santa Ana Police Department, and California State University Fullerton Police Department.

“While the amount of drugs we see on the street every day varies from small amounts to seizures of this magnitude and larger, the impact of drugs on our society continually increases,” said Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens. “It’s important that our Orange County community knows of the daily battles waged against drugs, while fighting a war on major, transnational drug-trafficking cartels. We will continue to hold criminals accountable and remove drugs from our community in spite of the rapid decriminalization of drug crimes.”

At this time, no additional information will be provided regarding the individuals arrested or the narcotics seizures as this incident is part of a larger, active, and ongoing investigation. More information will be shared at the culmination of the full investigation.

Fire Files

NBFD deployed to fight statewide fires

Obviously, with fires raging throughout California, 20+ at last count, everyone is doing their fair share from throughout the United States to assist in the fight. Newport Beach is a part of all of that, too.

 So where are Newport Beach Fire Department personnel deployed in all of this? 10 are at the Mendocino Complex fire in Northern California. They were initially fighting fires in southern California, but were redeployed up north on Sunday, July 29. 

NBFD also has one firefighter up north at the Carr Fire (Redding) in an “overhead position.” 

According to NBFD Training Captain/Fire Investigator Kevin Tiscareno, “There are a total of 11 firefighters out. It’s over 10 percent of our workforce. The current assignments they have been given are structure protection, establishing and improving control lines around the fire.


Police Files

Newport Beach doctor jailed in $22 million sober living urine fraud scheme

A Newport Beach medical doctor was convicted and sentenced to one year in jail yesterday, July 26, for prescribing unnecessary prescriptions in a $22 million urine test billing scheme at sober living homes. 

Four family members and one additional doctor are charged in connection to the urine test billing scheme, which operated through sober living homes the family owned and managed in Southern California.

Carlos X. Montano, M.D., 61, Newport Beach, pleaded guilty to two felony counts of insurance fraud. In addition to his jail time, Montano will face five years of formal probation or be ordered to pay $57,500 in restitution.

Additional defendants in the case include Suzie Schuder, M.D., 70, Corona del Mar; Pamela Mae Ganong, 61, La Jolla; Philip William Ganong, 63, Bakersfield; and Susan Lee Stinson, 64, Carlsbad.

Between January 2008 and December 2016, defendants Pamela and Philip Ganong owned sober living homes in Orange County, Bakersfield, Los Angeles, and San Diego, through their business William Mae Company, which operated as Compass Rose Recovery.

In December 2011, the Ganongs are accused of forming a medical testing lab called Ghostline Labs (Ghostline). 

The Ganongs are accused of committing insurance fraud by submitting claims for urine drug testing done by Ghostline for sober living residents and employees of the Ganongs for either services not covered, not rendered, or not medically necessary.

To further the scheme, the Ganongs are accused of hiring two medical doctors, defendants Montano and Schuder. Montano wrote unnecessary urine drug prescriptions starting at three times per week and increasing to seven times per week for most of the Ganongs’ employees. Shuder is also accused of writing unnecessary urine prescriptions as part of the scheme.

Montano wrote unnecessary urine test orders in exchange for 20 percent of the net insurance proceeds from urine drug testing billing and a per-patient fee of $200, in violation of law. Montano knew that Ghostline was owned by the Ganongs, who were not medical providers.

Woman allegedly enters Bayside home, steals purse

A call came into the Newport Beach Police Department shortly after 6 p.m. on Monday, July 23, reporting that a woman had entered a home in the 1900 block of Bayside and taken a purse.  

Officers responded and found that the suspect, Diane Dowd, 65, of San Diego, had already been detained outside the home by the OCSD Harbor Patrol and that the resident had recovered her purse.

The victim signed a private person’s arrest, and Dowd was arrested for trespassing and burglary with no forced entry. Her bail was set at $50,000.

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Police Files

Impaired driver found sleeping in car, with engine running, on the sidewalk, blocking traffic

Newport Beach Police officers responded to the area of Balboa Boulevard and M Street on Saturday, July 14 in response to a report of a possible drunk driver. Police found a black Dodge Journey with paper license plates and the engine running, parked partially on the sidewalk, obstructing oncoming traffic. Both the driver, Gerardo Martin Nunez, 25, Hacienda Heights, and the passenger, Karen Cecilia Ramos, 25, Los Angeles, were asleep inside the vehicle.

Nunez, who was showing visible signs of impairment, provided officers with a false name and date of birth. When they discovered his true name, officers found that he was unlicensed. Nunez also admitted to taking methamphetamine earlier in the day and failed to successfully complete a field sobriety exam.  

When the officers attempted to handcuff him, Nunez became combative and resisted arrest. He was eventually taken into custody and found to be in possession of a baggie of methamphetamine. In his vehicle, officers located burglary tools, empty syringes (not inside a sharps container), and a syringe of heroin. Nunez also had an outstanding warrant for his arrest.

Ramos was found to be in possession of stolen mail, methamphetamine, and an open container of alcohol. Inside her purse, officers located multiple syringes (not in a sharps container) including some with heroin, and ID and credit cards for another person.  

Officers were able to contact the owner of the ID and credit cards, who confirmed that they were stolen. Ramos also had an outstanding warrant, which was added to her arrest charges.

Bail was set at $32,500 for Nunez and $40,500 for Ramos. 

Cracked windshield and expired tags lead to meth and identity theft bust

At approximately 3:35 p.m. on Saturday, July 14, a Newport Beach Police officer stopped a brown Nissan Pathfinder in the 4500 block of Coast Highway, east of Superior Avenue, for expired registration and a cracked windshield. The driver, Michael Navarro, 26, of Bell Gardens, was found to be driving on a suspended license and on parole.

After a thorough field investigation, four of the six occupants in the Pathfinder were arrested.

Pennea Roseann Mills, 31, Huntington Park, was in possession of two narcotics pipes, methamphetamine, and a window punch.

Mills, Navarro, and Michael Andrew Cline Jr., 26, West Covina, also possessed numerous items related to identity theft, including a magnetic strip encoder, magnetic strip reader, blank magnetic strip cards, and two folders full of list of personal information – credit card numbers, expiration dates, and driver license information.

In addition to the identity theft charges and driving on a suspended license, Navarro’s parole officer also placed a parole hold on him.

Michael Anthony Garrett, 30, of Las Vegas, provided another person’s name and date of birth when identifying himself to officers. Once police discovered his real identity, Garrett was arrested for an outstanding felony no-bail warrant and for falsely impersonating another person. He also was in possession of a narcotics pipe.

The other two occupants of the Pathfinder were not found to be violating any laws and were released at the scene.

Tip-A-Cop fundraiser this Monday at Javier’s

This Monday, July 23 from 5 - 9 p.m., Newport Beach Police Department officers will serve as celebrity hosts and servers at Javier’s Restaurant in their annual Tip-A-Cop Event on behalf of Special Olympics Southern California. All monies raised at the event will go to support Special Olympics activities in Orange County.

Special Olympics athletes are children and adults with intellectual disabilities who love to train and compete in sports. The Special Olympics provide the athletes with the chance to develop physical fitness, sports, social skills and self-esteem.

In past Tip-A-Cop events, NBPD has raised $10,000 each year. Plan now to support.

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Police Files

Newport man sentenced for killing roommate’s dog

Justin James Pope, 27, of Newport Beach, was convicted and sentenced to nine months in jail Thursday, July 12, for animal cruelty and petty theft after killing his roommate’s dog and removing the evidence from the scene.

Pope pled guilty to felony charges of animal cruelty and petty theft, and to misdemeanor charges of destroying or concealing evidence and making a false report to a police officer.

At the time of the crime, Pope had been roommates with Jane Doe for approximately one month. On August 30, 2017, at approximately 4:30 p.m., Pope killed Jane Doe’s dog in their home.

Jane Doe received a call from Pope informing her of the death of her dog and contacted the Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD).

NBPD officers responded to the residence. Blood, urine, and feces were observed in suspicious locations, but no property was missing from the home at the time.

After officers left, Pope staged a burglary, removed evidence, and disposed of Jane Doe’s television in a nearby apartment complex.

At approximately 10:22 p.m., Jane Doe called NBPD to report a residential burglary had occurred at the residence. Jane Doe’s television, Pope’s television and Xbox, and evidence previously in the home during the earlier investigation were missing.

NBPD located the missing television and Xbox in the trunk of Pope’s vehicle and arrested Pope at the scene.

Newport Beach Police Department Animal Control Unit investigated this case.

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Police Files

Court says no to Newport Beach “church” operating as marijuana dispensary

The City of Newport Beach has received a court-ordered injunction against marijuana dispensary Church of the Holy Grail, which has been operating illegally within city limits, from an Orange County Superior Court.

The City alleged in a lawsuit that Holy Grail, located at 2072 S.E. Bristol St., was operating a business without a license or approval. The Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis and Safety Act requires these types of businesses to follow all local laws.

Also cited was that Holy Grail was operating to “unlawfully sell, serve, store, keep or give marijuana in violation of federal, state and local law.”

The Holy Grail’s defense is based on their belief that “the use of marijuana is a lawful exercise of religion.”

Other Church of the Holy Grail sites are listed in Costa Mesa and Fullerton.

Here’s a tip…tip well!

On Monday, July 23 from 5 - 9 p.m., Newport Beach Police Department officers will serve as celebrity hosts and servers at Javier’s Restaurant in their annual Tip-A-Cop Event on behalf of Special Olympics Southern California. All monies raised at the event will go to support Special Olympics activities in Orange County.

Special Olympics athletes are children and adults with intellectual disabilities who love to train and compete in sports. The Special Olympics provide the athletes with the chance to develop physical fitness, sports, social skills and self-esteem.

In past Tip-A-Cop events, NBPD has raised $10,000 each year. Plan now to support.

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Police Files

Two men arrested, third on the loose, following Newport Coast commercial burglary

A Newport Beach Police officer responded to the 21200 block of Newport Coast Drive to a call about suspicious subjects in the area. A subsequent caller reported that two men were seen cutting a lock off a container inside a construction site in the same area. 

The officer found Ryan James Flowers, 37, from Anaheim, Frank Garrett Harmeier, 28, from Huntington Beach, and a third man nearby. The three men all fled on foot upon seeing the officer approaching them. With the assistance of additional officers, Flowers and Harmeier were located and taken into custody. 

The subsequent investigation indicated that the men had broken into the construction site and stolen approximately $4,000 in equipment. Harmeier was also found to be in possession of heroin and heroin paraphernalia.

Flowers was arrested for commercial burglary with a forced entry. His bail was set at $250,000. Harmeier was arrested for commercial burglary with a forced entry, possession of narcotics and possession of unlawful paraphernalia. His bail, too, was set at $250,000.

Additional charges for conspiracy, possession of burglary tools, and obstructing a police officer will be requested for both arrestees.

Investigators are in the process of locating the third man who was with them. 

Man allegedly spits on female bus passenger, pulls knife on police and gets tasered

A Newport Beach Police officer responded to the area of San Miguel and San Nicolas amidst reports than a man had spit on a female passenger on an OCTA bus. The man, later identified as Richard Anthony Duarte III, was found in the 500 block of San Nicolas Drive. 

According to reports, Duarte immediately became agitated and combative with the officer, and other officers responded to assist. He produced a large knife and allegedly used it to threaten the officers, accompanied by repeated verbal threats to harm them. After Duarte repeatedly failed to comply with officer orders to disarm himself, Taser deployment was used to take Duarte into custody. 

The woman from the bus desired prosecution for the battery, and Duarte was subsequently arrested for threatening a crime with the intent to terrorize, exhibiting a deadly weapon other than a firearm, obstructing an executive officer and obstructing a peace officer. Bail was set at $50,000.

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