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Newport Beach

Volume 6, Issue 84  | October 19, 2021


Police Files

Newport Beach homeowner cleared of wrongdoing for shooting, killing home intruder

Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer has cleared a Newport Beach homeowner of any criminal wrongdoing for shooting and killing an intruder who broke into his home in August.

At approximately 4:10 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 26, 23-year-old Henry Lehr left a residential detox center. Before he left, Lehr told staff at the detox center that he was hearing and seeing “demons.”

After leaving the center, Lehr broke into the backyard of a home a few doors down. He then went to the front door of the home and repeatedly banged on the door and rang the doorbell, demanding to be let inside. He then broke down the front door and started to walk up the stairs where the homeowner and his wife had been sleeping in their bedroom.

The commotion woke up the homeowner, who retrieved his pistol and found the intruder on his stairs. The homeowner yelled at the intruder to identify himself and told him not to keep coming up the stairs. The intruder did not answer and charged up the stairs. The homeowner fired his weapon once, hitting the intruder in the upper chest. The homeowner told his wife to call 911 and ask for police and medical aid. Upon their arrival, Lehr was pronounced dead.

The homeowner later told police that he shot the intruder in his home because he feared for his life and safety and that of his wife.

California Penal Section 198.5 states, in pertinent part, the following: “Any person using force intended or likely to cause death or great bodily injury within his or her residence shall be presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily injury to self, family, or a member of the household when that force is used against another person, not a member of the family or household, who unlawfully and forcibly enters or has unlawfully and forcibly entered the residence and the person using the force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry occurred.”

“A homeowner has the absolute right to protect themselves from someone who breaks into their home in the middle of the night and threatens their safety,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. “The loss of life is tragic in any situation and this situation is made even more tragic by the fact that an individual who went to a group home to get help with his addiction issues ended up on a deadly collision course with a homeowner who was just sleeping in his own bed in his own house.” 

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.

NBPD receives ABC grant to address alcohol-related issues

The Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) has been awarded a $24,830 grant from the California Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) to battle alcohol-related harm within the community.

The grant is one of more than 50 awarded in California to local law enforcement agencies through ABC’s Alcohol Policing Partnership Program. The grants strengthen local law enforcement efforts by combining the efforts of local police officers and ABC agents. ABC agents have expertise in alcoholic beverage laws and can help communities reduce alcohol-related problems.

“The program improves the quality of life in neighborhoods,” said ABC Director Eric Hirata. “We’ve seen a real difference in the communities where the grant program resources have been invested.”

The Alcohol Policing Partnership Program was created in 1995 to strengthen partnerships between ABC and local law enforcement agencies. The funds will be used to reduce the number of alcoholic beverage sales to minors, obviously intoxicated patrons, illegal solicitations of alcohol, and other criminal activities such as the sale and possession of illegal drugs.

This project is part of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control’s Alcohol Policing Partnership. The APP Program has distributed more than $40 million to local law enforcement to combat alcohol-related harm.

ABC is a Department of the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency.

‘Tis the season for stolen packages and mail

The Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) reminds residents that we always need to be on the lookout for mail and packages being stolen off our front porches and doorsteps. Still, with the holiday season approaching and more folks spending their time away from home, this is a great time to refresh on this topic. Here are some tips to keep in mind to help prevent mail & package theft:

Mail theft prevention

–Always use a U.S. Postal collection box or deposit your mail inside your local post office. 

–Whether you have a home mailbox or use a post office box, you should always collect your mail on the day it is delivered. Never leave it in your mailbox overnight. 

–Mail thieves look for bank statements and credit card bills, which can be used to create counterfeit checks or fake identifications. 

–Thieves also look for personal checks enclosed in utility bills or other payments. Thieves take these stolen checks, remove the ink, and then fill out the blank check with their name and desired amount. 

–Never send cash or coins through the mail. 

–When reordering checks have them sent to your bank. 

–When you travel, ask a trusted friend or neighbor to pick up your mail. 

–If you don’t receive a check, bill or other mail you are expecting, contact the issuing agency immediately.

–Mail theft can often turn into identify theft if a thief gets ahold of your personal information.

For information on preventing identity theft and what to do if you are a victim of it, check out the Federal Trade Commission’s website at www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/what-know-about-identity-theft.

Pack theft prevention

Always track your package deliveries so that you know when they are estimated to arrive at your home.

Make sure that someone is home to receive the delivery or that a trusted neighbor is available to receive the package on your behalf. 

Never leave your deliveries unattended on your front porch.

Always require a signature when having items delivered.

To report all suspicious activity or if you are a victim of theft, contact the Newport Beach Police Department by calling 949.644.3717.

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