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Newport Beach


Police Files

Police capture burglary suspect who also possesses methamphetamine

Newport Beach Police responded to a call for service at 5:03 a.m., on Monday, February 17, to the 800 block of Sea Gull Lane regarding a burglary. Upon arrival, police encountered the potential suspect Fernando Caicedoceballos, 25, of Santa Ana.

Further investigation found that Caicedoceballos was in possession of methamphetamine and a watch taken during a recent nearby apartment burglary.

Caicedoceballos was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance and for a non-forced entry residential burglary.

His bail was set at $50,000.

Suspected DUI driver arrested with child in vehicle, $100,000 bail

Around 4 p.m. on Sunday, February 16, Newport Beach Police responded to a call for service in reference to a potential drunk driver in the 700 block of West Coast Highway.

Police in the area encountered and stopped a vehicle driven by 33-year-old Francisco Javier Gutierrez-Bari, who failed a sobriety check.

Also in the vehicle with Gutierrez-Bari was an unidentified youth.

Gutierrez-Bari was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and cruelty to a child, potentially leading to possible injury or death.

His bail was set at $100,000.

Felon found in possession of methamphetamine and rifle ammunition

Newport Beach Police initiated a vehicle stop at 10:48 p.m. on Monday, February 17.

Upon questioning and further investigation police found the driver, Leonard Joe Lampasona Jr., had a prior felony conviction. Additionally they found him to be in possession of methamphetamine and rifle ammunition.

Lampasona was also found to be in violation his Post Release Community Supervision (PRCS).

He was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance, two counts of possession of ammo by a prohibited person and a PRCS Violation/10-day flash hold.

His bail was set at $20,000.

During questioning of a detainee, police receive call IDing him for previous vandalism

On Monday, February 17, around 3:35 p.m., Newport Beach Police officers had detained a suspect, Rueben A. Mezapineda, 32, of Anaheim, following a pedestrian stop. Their questioning concerned a vehicle code violation.

During this time, NBPD received a call reporting the same subject, Mezapineda, as the person who had allegedly vandalized his vehicle. The vehicle in question had been keyed.

He was arrested on vandalism charges for damaging property 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.


Police Files

Newport Beach man killed in early morning single vehicle accident

A Newport Beach man was killed Saturday, February 15, when the vehicle he was driving crashed into a parked construction trailer in Huntington Beach. 

The Orange County Coroner’s office has identified the man as Bryan Ball, 38. Authorities pronounced him dead at the scene.

Huntington Beach Police responded to a call to the scene of the accident at Springdale St. and Littlefield Drive around 3:30 a.m.

No other occupants were in the vehicle.

Attorney poser pleads guilty to 23 felonies while “representing” clients

James Frank Barber, 59, pleaded guilty to posing as an attorney and then stealing from clients he promised to assist. Charges included 23 felonies, including money laundering, forgery and grand theft.

Barber was falsely representing clients from December 2013 through July 2015 with debt consolidation and mortgage payments. 

His charges also included sentencing enhancements for aggravated white-collar crimes between $100,000 and $500,000 and property loss exceeding $200,000.

He will be sentenced June 26 in Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana.

Man found with controlled substance, police find six outstanding warrants leading to nearly $300,000 bail

Just before noon last Thursday, February 13, Newport Beach Police encountered two people for questioning. The first was Collin Francis McKeown, 35, of Santa Ana. McKeown was found to be in possession of a controlled substance.

Upon further investigation, McKeown presented false identification to police. When police were able to finally identify McKeown they found he had six outstanding warrants.

Those included receiving stolen property, domestic violence, possessing a controlled substance for sale, possession of a controlled substance, trespassing and possession of a larger quantity of marijuana.

After arrest, his bail was set at $290,500.

Ariana Emmarylee Browne, 24, of Costa Mesa, was the other suspect. Police found her to be in possession of a controlled substance.

Her bail was set at $2,500.

Lifeguards: On the Waterfront

Warm weather brings beachgoers, but watch out for stingrays

Last week, Newport Beach Ocean Lifeguards watched over an estimated 67,000 people. Warmer temperatures brought more people to the beaches, with a slight increase in westerly swell. We showed a slight increase in stingray wounds this week, too. Make sure to shuffle your feet! 

Police Files Lifeguard tower on sand

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Lana Johnson

This week, lifeguards educated the surf teams at CdMHS and NHHS through the SALT program. And finally, the lifeguards’ permanent staff and training team interviewed more than 45 eligible lifeguard trainee candidates, who will hopefully join in the 2020 Basic Lifeguard Academy starting in early March.

For the last week, lifeguards made zero ocean rescues, 14 preventative actions, 340 public contacts, 12 medical aids, 66 animal warnings and 20 code enforcements.

Lifeguards Weekly Statistics are from Monday, February 10 through Sunday, February 16, 2020.


Police Files

Student shuttle van collides with Suburban, two hurt

A UCI student shuttle van and a Chevrolet Suburban collided just before 10 p.m. Wednesday night at the intersection of Irvine Avenue and Bristol Street.

The Suburban, occupied only by the driver, reportedly ran a red light. The driver was taken to a local trauma center where they were being treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

The UCI van had a driver and three passengers. One of the passengers was also taken to a trauma center. The other three occupants did not require treatment.

The intersection was closed to traffic for several hours as police investigated and cleared the accident site.

Follow-up reports are that both injured passengers had serious injuries but are in stable condition.

Scammers pretending to be from NBPD calling homes requesting personal information

Tuesday, the Newport Beach Police were notified by some community members that they had received calls from an individual claiming to work for the Police Department who requested their addresses and personal information. 

The Caller ID on these phone calls looked like they were NBPD phone numbers. Residents who contacted the NBPD directly were able to confirm that these calls did not come from their department. 

When you get a call from an unknown number, ask yourself...is the caller who you think it is? Scammers are good at pretending to be someone they’re not. They can be convincing: sometimes manipulating Caller ID, using information from social networking sites, or hacking into email accounts, to make it seem more real. They’ll pressure you or play on your emotions to get personal information or money from you. 

Here’s what you can do: Stop. Check it out. For calls from alleged government agencies or utility companies: Do not give out any personal information until you have verified the identity of the caller. Ask the caller for their name, department and business phone number. Confirm that information by calling the organization at a phone number found on the internet or through official correspondence/billing statements. If the caller refuses to provide this information, terminate the call immediately. 

Keep your information safe. Never give out personal identifying information, such as your social security number, bank account or credit card account numbers, to anyone you do not know.

Pass this information on to a friend. You may not have received one of these calls, but chances are that you know someone who will – if they haven’t already.

Smashed windows becoming the norm in residential burglaries

Two residential burglaries recently occurred on or around Monday, February 10 on Sidra Cove.

The first occurred sometime between 2-7:30 p.m.

While the victims were out for the day, an unknown suspect walked along on a dirt pathway behind the residence and climbed over a short patio wall to get into the backyard. Once there, the suspect pried open one patio window and smashed another patio window. After gaining access to the home, the suspect ransacked the master bedroom, master bathroom and the master closet. The suspect took some of the victim’s property and fled the scene.

The loss was reported as jewelry. 

The other was reported on the same day after being discovered at 7:30 p.m.

While the victim was out, an unknown suspect again climbed over a short wall to get into the backyard. Once in the backyard, the suspect shattered a glass rear door on the first floor. The suspects entered the residence and went through cabinets and drawers throughout the home before fleeing the scene. 

Fortunately, there was no reported loss.

No suspect information is available in either incident.

Another forced entry residential burglary took place somewhere between January 31 and February 4 on Pelican Point Drive.

While the victim was gone, an unknown suspect entered the backyard of the residence and then gained access to the second story patio. The suspect then shattered the master bathroom door and went through several drawers in the bathroom before fleeing the scene.

There was no reported loss and no suspect information is available.

Illegally parked vehicle leads to alleged DUI arrest, drug charges and subsequent jail violation

On Sunday afternoon, February 9, Newport Beach Police were called for service relating to a vehicle that was stopped in the roadway. Upon arrival around 3:30 p.m., police encountered Ervin Fabian, 29, from Santa Ana. Fabian’s vehicle was stopped and parked illegally in a fire lane near Irvine Avenue and 18th Street.

Police questioned Fabian who they arrested for alleged DUI while under the influence of drugs and found that he was driving on a suspended license. Further investigation led them to discover a small amount of heroin, miscellaneous drug paraphernalia and Xanax, for which he didn’t possess a prescription.

He was booked on alleged DUI – drugs, possession of a narcotic controlled substance, possession of unlawful paraphernalia, driving while suspended, parking unlawfully in a fire lane and possessing a controlled substance without a prescription.

Later, while Fabian was being processed into jail, he was additionally found to be in possession of six Xanax pills that were found inside a cigarette package. An additional charge of possessing a controlled substance in prison was added.

His bail was set at $25,000.

Man accused of entering business, threatening occupants

On Sunday afternoon, February 9, around 4 p.m., Newport Beach Police were called to a serious situation in the 4500 block of Jamboree Road. Upon arrival they encountered 47-year-old David Tee Corley, of Santa Ana, who was accused of entering a business and threatening the people inside.

Corley was arrested by NBPD following their investigation for allegedly threatening a crime with the intent to terrorize.

He was booked and held on $50,000.

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

Former PIMCO exec sentenced to nine months in college admissions scandal

A former top executive for PIMCO has been sentenced to nine months beyond bars after being charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering in the college admissions scandal.

Doug Hodge, formerly the chief executive of PIMCO, was sentenced to nine months in prison for paying $850,000 in order to get his four children into Georgetown University and USC as fake athletic recruits.

Hodge is 62 and resides in Laguna Beach. He is the latest person to be sentenced in the William “Rick” Singer college admissions fraud scandal. Singer, of Newport Beach, worked as a college admissions consultant.

Hodge will also have to pay a fine of $750,000, serve 500 hours of community service and remain on supervised release for two years.

PIMCO is Newport Beach-based investment company headquartered in the Newport Center area.

Suspicious vehicle leads to heroin arrest and then meth found later in jail

On Monday, February 3, around 1 a.m., Newport Beach Police received a call concerning a suspicious vehicle in the area of Irvine Avenue and Holly Lane.

The suspect was contacted by officers. Police found Marianna Lorena McGeisey, 43, of Riverside, sitting in her vehicle and upon further discovery found her to be in possession of heroin.

McGeisey was placed under arrest. Upon entering the NBPD a short time later, McGeisey was also found to be in possession of a small amount of methamphetamine.

She was booked on possession of unlawful paraphernalia, possession of a narcotic controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance in prison.

Her bail was set at $25,000.

Early morning arrest finds guns, large capacity magazines and drugs

While on patrol in the early morning hours of Tuesday, February 4, Newport Beach Police initiated a traffic stop on a vehicle with a code violation at E. Coast Highway and Morning Canyon Road.

Upon questioning, police found that the driver, Jesse Albert Gomez, 32, of Corona, was on parole. Gomez and a fellow passenger, Stephanie Rose Hernandez, 36, of Corona, were asked to exit the vehicle for further investigation.

Police found Gomez in possession of unlawful paraphernalia, a controlled substance and found him to be in possession of a firearm.

Hernandez was also carrying a loaded firearm on her person that was not registered, a large capacity magazine, and unlawful paraphernalia and a controlled substance.

The pair was arrested on a variety of charges, including parole violations and possessing a firearm while armed.

Hernandez was arrested and held on $20,000 bail, while Gomez was held on $2,500 bail.

Police arrest suspect for starting a fire while attempting to cook up a meal

A brush fire broke out in an area 300 feet east of the curb of Reef Point Drive and 45 feet north of the north curb of PCH around 8:45 a.m. on Sunday, February 2. The Newport Beach Fire Department in addition to the Newport Beach Police Department were called for service.

Once the fire was extinguished, police found that Shane Michael Sutton, 41, of Laguna Beach, had intentionally started the fire with the purpose of preparing some food.

Sutton, who had two warrants, one for unlawfully causing a fire and another for entering closed lands, was additionally charged with recklessly causing a fire that also involved a structure.

He was arrested and held on $60,000 bail.

Routine traffic stop finds wanted fugitive from justice

On Sunday, February 2, around 4:30 p.m., Newport Beach Police initiated a traffic stop on a vehicle with a code violation.

Upon further investigation and questioning, police found that the driver, Niqueau Dvaughn Johnson, 29, of North Las Vegas, was a fugitive from justice with an arrest warrant related to a bond violation out of Colorado.

Police arrested Johnson and he was being held on $100,000 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

Cool air brings nice waves, but quiet times to the beach

Last week Newport Beach Ocean Lifeguards watched over an estimated 40,000 people. Cooler temperatures brought fewer people to the beaches. Lifeguards remained busy preparing for the upcoming Lifeguard Tryouts held February 9.

Police Files Lifeguard Truck

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Lana Johnson

For the last week, lifeguards made one ocean rescue, 27 preventative actions, 189 public contacts, 14 medical aids, 2 boat warnings, 40 animal warnings and three code enforcements.

Lifeguards Weekly Statistics are from Monday, February 2 through Sunday, February 9, 2020.


Police Files

Spitzer announces dropped charges against Newport Beach doctor and girlfriend

Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer announced Tuesday that all criminal charges will be dropped against 39-year-old Newport Beach orthopedic surgeon and reality television star Grant Robicheaux and his 33-year-old girlfriend Cerissa Riley who were accused of drugging and sexually assaulting seven women.

On September 11, 2018, former District Attorney Tony Rackauckas filed initial charges in People v. Robicheaux and Riley, eight months after a search warrant was executed on Robicheaux’s Newport Beach home. At the time the charges included assaults on two women.

Robicheaux was charged with nine felonies, including rape by use of drugs, oral copulation by use of anesthesia or a controlled substance, assault with intent to commit a sexual offense, four counts of possession of a controlled substance for sale, and two counts of possession of an assault weapon. He was also charged with sentencing enhancements of personal use of a firearm during a health and safety code violation.

Riley was charged with seven felonies, including rape by use of drugs, oral copulation by use of anesthesia or a controlled substance, assault with intent to commit a sexual offense, and four counts of possession of a controlled substance for sale. She was also charged with knowingly vicariously being armed with a firearm.

Robicheaux faced a maximum of 40 years in state prison if convicted of all charges. Riley faced a maximum of 30 years and eight months in state prison.

Over the next several weeks, Rackauckas held two press conferences in which he told members of the media that investigators had recovered videos depicting up to 1,000 incapacitated women being sexually assaulted by Robicheaux and Riley. He urged additional victims to come forward and explained that women who had contact with the couple may not realize they were in fact victims.

The case received international media attention based on the revelation that up to a thousand women had been victimized.

On October 17, 2018, Rackauckas filed additional charges involving five additional women who came forward in the wake of the intense media coverage on the case.

Robicheaux was charged with an additional eight felonies, including three counts of kidnapping with the intent to commit a sexual offense, three additional counts of rape by the use of drugs, one additional count of assault with the intent to commit a sexual offense, and one count of forcible rape.

Riley was charged with an additional six felonies, including three counts of kidnapping with the intent to commit a sexual offense, two additional counts of rape by the use of drugs, and one additional count of assault with the intent to commit a sexual offense.

Robicheaux and Riley both faced a maximum of life in state prison if convicted on all charges.

After Rackauackas admitted in a sworn deposition on June 19, 2019 that he had used the case to garner media attention to help his re-election campaign, Spitzer ordered a complete reevaluation of the case.

Two veteran sexual assault prosecutors were assigned to a top to bottom review of the case. Over three months, the two prosecutors reviewed every piece of evidence in the case.

The De Novo review included: thousands of photographs, videos and chats from computers; hundreds of hours of audio recordings; thousands of pages of documents; tens of thousands of text messages between the defendants over four years; thousands of text messages between defendants and others, including alleged victims; thousands of conversations on Bumble, Tinder, Facebook, and other social media services; hundreds of emails including from alleged victims, defendants, police, and potential leads; and thousands of pages of transcripts of alleged victim interviews, witness interviews and depositions.

Spitzer announced that this exhaustive review revealed there was not a single video or photograph depicting an incapacitated woman being sexually assaulted by Robicheaux or Riley. In fact, the review revealed that there was not a single independent witness who came forward to say they saw the defendants sexually assault an unconscious woman.

A team of prosecutors with a combined 175 years of experience determined there is no provable evidence that Robicheaux and Riley committed any sexual offense.

“My sworn duty as the elected district attorney is not to secure convictions,” said Spitzer. “My sworn duty is to pursue justice and ensure that the rights of victims and defendants are protected.

“The prior District Attorney and his chief of staff manufactured this case and repeatedly misstated the evidence to lead the public and vulnerable women to believe that these two individuals plied up to 1,000 women with drugs and alcohol in order to sexually assault them – and videotape the assaults.

“As a result of the complete case review I ordered beginning in July, we now know that there was not a single video or photograph depicting an unconscious or incapacitated woman being sexually assaulted.

“What the prior District Attorney and his chief of staff did to these defendants and to the women involved in this case is a travesty.

“While I cannot undo the injustice that has already been done in this case, I can – and I will – continue to fulfill my legal and ethical obligations as the elected District Attorney of Orange County and dismiss all criminal charges against Dr. Grant William Robicheaux and Cerissa Laura Riley.”

Sheriff’s Department to review 22,000 previous cases

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) is conducting an evidence case review of more than 22,000 cases. The case review, conducted collaboratively with the Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA), comes after two audits conducted from February 2018-February 2019 identified issues with deputies booking evidence outside of Department policy. Fifteen deputies were investigated by OCSD for evidence booking issues identified in the audits and referred to the OCDA for possible criminal prosecution. 

Following the refusal of criminal charges, the Department conducted internal affairs investigations into policy violations by the deputies involved. To date, five have been terminated from employment, nine have been issued discipline including unpaid hours off, and one investigation is ongoing.

The ongoing case review began in December 2019 with more than 1,200 active criminal cases identified by the OCDA. During the review of active cases, two additional deputies were identified for suspected issues. They have both been placed on administrative leave and are the subject of internal criminal investigations related to booking of evidence. The suspected policy violations and the cases that may be affected have been shared with the OCDA. Due to the Peace Officer Bill of Rights, no additional information can be shared at this time due to the ongoing investigation.  

“These are not merely cases that have been affected,” said Sheriff Don Barnes. “In every one of these cases, a person accused of a crime is owed their right to due process in the criminal justice system. In some cases, there is also a victim who wants to see justice served. I am not only mindful of those facts, they’re the driving force behind my desire to uncover the full scope of this issue and hold accountable those who violated policy.”

The case review has continued with approximately 22,000 adjudicated cases identified by the OCDA’s office that occurred from March 22, 2015 to March 22, 2018. The case review began with OCSD staff and, beginning the week of January 27, two staff from the OCDA’s office are working in conjunction with OCSD. The adjudicated case review is approximately six percent complete with almost 1,500 cases reviewed.

Sheriff Barnes will begin holding a monthly briefing open to the media and available to the public online in February 2020. The briefings will cover topics relevant to Orange County public safety and operations of the Sheriff’s Department. Updates on the case review will be included when information is available to share. The monthly briefing dates will be announced on OCSD’s Twitter @OCSheriff.

“The vast majority of the men and women of the Orange County Sheriffs Department are dedicated professionals who work every day to keep our community safe,” said Sheriff Barnes. “Let’s not allow misleading conjecture focused on an issue that we are actively working to correct distract from that fact.”


Police Files

Three suspects in custody after attempted heist of more than $20,000 worth of handbags

Newport Beach Police received a call for service following an observation report of a possible crime in progress on Saturday evening around 5 p.m. on January 25. Police responded to a retail location in the 3400 block of Via Lido.

Upon arrival, police were notified of the theft of handbags by multiple individuals who had since fled the location.

Shortly thereafter police arrested two of three suspects they were seeking. Arrested were Charlesa Jeshea Spellman, 28, of Los Angeles, and Jessica Lee Robinson, 31, also of Los Angeles. Both were charged with strong arm robbery, conspiracy to commit a crime, commercial burglary with no forced entry and receiving stolen property with a value greater than $950, as the handbags were valued in excess of $20,000.

Bail was set at $50,000 each for Spellman and Robinson.

Some 30 minutes later, police located and arrested the third and final suspect, Zion Isaiah Wilkerson, 19, of Inglewood, in the 1800 block of Harbor Blvd. in Costa Mesa. Wilkerson was charged with strong arm robbery, conspiracy, receiving stolen property, commercial burglary and on a warrant issued from the City of Torrance.

His bail was set at $225,000.

Customer decides not to pay restaurant tab, presents a “weapon” and is arrested with $50,000 bail

Newport Beach Police were called to an incident in the Mariners Mile area relating to a customer leaving a restaurant without paying his bill.

Police arrived and upon further questioning it was reported the customer allegedly left the restaurant without paying while displaying a writing pen as a potential weapon to a store employee.

Mark Christopher Romero, 52, from Pleasanton, was arrested at 2:25 p.m. in the 3300 block of W. Coast Highway on charges of robbery with a dangerous weapon, defrauding an innkeeper for a value less than $950 and petty theft.

He was being 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

Cool air brings nice waves, but quiet times to the beach

Last week Newport Beach Ocean Lifeguards watched more than an estimated 38,500 people.

Cool air temperature kept the beach attendance low this past week. There were plenty of surfers out enjoying good swell this week. Please stay safe if you get out enjoying our amazing beaches, and make sure you check in with the lifeguard.

Police Files NB Lifeguards Tyson Mangham

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Joshua Leith

Newport Beach Lifeguard Tyson Mangham patrolling the beach

For the last week, lifeguards made zero ocean rescues, 17 preventative actions, 222 public contacts and 9 medical aids.

Lifeguards Weekly Statistics are from Monday, January 20 through Sunday, January 26, 2020.

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


Police Files

NBPD releases video of vehicle involved in pedestrian hit-and-run injury accident, seeks community’s help

On Saturday, Dec. 28, 2019, at about 7:57 p.m., the Newport Beach Police Department received a 9-1-1 call regarding a vehicle versus pedestrian traffic collision at the intersection of Superior Avenue and Hospital Road. 

The investigation has revealed the involved vehicle was traveling northbound on Superior Avenue and struck a pedestrian who was walking eastbound across the intersection in the north crosswalk of Hospital Road. The victim sustained major injuries as a result of the collision and is in stable condition. After the collision, the involved vehicle fled the scene.

Police Files 1.24.20

Courtesy of NBPD

Based on a screen shot of the video obtained from the NBPD, the vehicle appears to be a small SUV, red or maroon in color. It can be seen in the photo just to the left of the silver vehicle waiting at the stoplight.

The vehicle sustained damage to the right side. A possible make/model of the vehicle is an early 2000 Land Rover Freelander.

Anyone with information regarding this collision is encouraged to contact Detective Troy Zeeman at 949.644.3747 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Newport Beach resident pleads guilty to hiring a stand-in to take son’s college online courses at Georgetown University

Newport Beach resident Karen Littfair, 57, pleaded guilty earlier this week in Boston for hiring a stand-in to take online classes for her son at Georgetown University. Littlefair pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

That charge carries a potential sentence of up to 20 years in prison. However, prosecutors are working on a plea deal where they’d recommend a four-month sentence and a $9,500 fine.

Littlefair’s son was attending Georgetown University and needed to pass those courses in order to graduate. She agreed to hire an employee of Newport Beach businessman William “Rick” Singer $9,000 to stand-in and take the courses.

That employee completed four courses for Littlefair’s son who then graduated in 2018.

Littlefair was one of 50+ defendants nationwide to participate in a bribery scandal in which parents hired Singer for thousands of dollars to assist their children primarily with college entrance assistance.

Sentencing for Littlefair is scheduled for May 13.

Police spot stolen vehicle and arrest occupant

On Sunday, January 19, around 11:20 a.m., Newport Beach Police officers observed a stolen vehicle in the area of 16th St. and Irvine Ave. and effected a traffic stop. After questioning, police arrested Kana Miyamoto, 34, of Costa Mesa, who was in possession of the auto.

The vehicle, a 2019 Audi Q6, had been reported stolen earlier from the 3000 block of W. Coast Highway from an acquaintance of Miyamoto’s.

Further investigation found that Miyamoto was also in felony violation of her probation.

She was charged with taking an auto without the owner’s consent and held on $20,000 bail.

No suspects in forced-entry commercial burglary

On Monday, January 20, Newport Beach Police were called for service in reference to a forced-entry commercial burglary in the 1100 block of Irvine Ave. 

The victim reported that an unknown suspect or suspects made entry into the business sometime between 8:25 p.m. on Sunday, January 19 and 6:25 a.m. Monday, January 20. Taken were money, a safe and various electronic equipment.

The missing property was estimated at $11,500.

There are no leads at this time.

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

Almost a decade later, “mummy bandit” finally sentenced to 19 years in prison 

On May 24, 2008, Jaime Reyes Torres covered his face with a white cloth and robbed the Wells Fargo bank on Newport Coast Drive. He made off with some $50,000.

Police referred to him as the “mummy bandit.”

Subsequently, Torres was arrested and convicted of felony second-degree robbery and possession of a firearm on February 1, 2010.

Shortly after his conviction, Torres’ attorney died of brain cancer.

Because of attorney changes, motions for new trials and other legal requests, Torres’ sentencing was delayed for years. That all changed last week when he was finally sentenced to 19 years in prison.

Suspect enters home through broken window while resident is home

A forced-entry residential burglary occurred around midnight on Monday, January 17 in the 1600 block of Port Stirling Place in the Harbor View area.

While the victim was in their room, an unknown suspect climbed over the back wall onto the property from an adjoining hillside. 

The suspect had shut off the power to the residence prior to tearing a window screen and shattering a back window. The suspect also removed a window screen on a side window. 

Once inside, it appears the suspect moved some items in the home but fled the scene before taking anything. The victim did not hear or see anything that night but discovered the broken window in the morning.

There is no suspect information available at this time and no loss was reported from the house.

Burglar breaks into power box, shuts off power, before breaking into and ransacking home

A residential burglary occurred between 5:30-10 p.m. on Tuesday, January 18, in Newport Ridge on Bridgeport Road.

According to the Newport Beach Police, while the victims were out for the evening, an unknown suspect entered the property through an unlocked side gate. The suspect then broke into the utility box, shut off power, and cut the phone lines. The suspect then pried open a back door to gain entry into the house. 

After ransacking numerous rooms in the home, including the master bedroom, master bathroom, living room, office, several other bedrooms, the hallway and garage, the suspect fled the scene.   

The homeowners reported the loss of jewelry and clothing.

There is no information leading to the arrest of any suspects at this time.

NBPD travels to Anaheim to get their man

Newport Beach Police went to Anaheim on Wednesday afternoon, January 15, to arrest Sean Michael Kauffman, 47, of Anaheim. 

Kauffman was wanted for allegedly committing burglary using fraud, utilizing an access card and identity theft to personate another to get money illegally.

He was arrested in the 400 block of S. Harbor Blvd. in Anaheim and returned to Newport Beach where he was booked 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.

Lifeguards: On the Waterfront

Cool air brings nice waves, but quiet times to the beach

Last week Newport Beach Ocean Lifeguards watched over an estimated 38,800 people.

Cool air temperature kept the beach attendance low this past week, but Saturday and Sunday were great beach days. Please stay safe if you get out enjoying our amazing beaches, and make sure you check in with the lifeguard.

Police Files Lifeguard Tower 1.21.20

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Lana Johnson

For the last week, lifeguards made zero ocean rescues, 15 preventative actions, 376 public contacts and 17 medical aids.

Lifeguards Weekly Statistics are from Monday, January 13 through Sunday, January 19, 2020.

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


Police Files 

Newport Beach woman arrested after allegedly using knife in jewelry heist from South Coast Plaza

On Saturday, January 11, at approximately 12 p.m., a female suspect entered a jewelry store located inside the South Coast Plaza shopping center at 3333 Bristol St., Costa Mesa. 

According to reports, she asked to look at and try on several pieces of high-end jewelry. After putting on the jewelry, the suspect reportedly asked if she could view the jewelry in the sunlight. She was reportedly informed the jewelry could not leave the store while she began walking toward the entrance, where she was stopped by the store security. The suspect then reportedly brandished a large knife and threatened the security officers. She reportedly fled the store and was followed to the parking lot, where store security was able to obtain the license plate of the vehicle as she drove away.

Police Files Floyd

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of CMPD

Karen Yvonne Floyd’s booking photo

Based on the license plate information and witness identifications, the Costa Mesa Police Department (CMPD) detectives identified the suspect as Karen Yvonne Floyd, 54, of Newport Beach, and obtained a search warrant for Floyd’s residence.

On Monday, January 13, detectives contacted Floyd in the lobby of her apartment building and placed her under arrest with no incident. 

According to reports, detectives searched Floyd’s residence and recovered the alleged stolen jewelry and knife allegedly used in the robbery. The jewelry, valued at more than $2 million, was subsequently returned to the store.

She was charged with second-degree robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and brandishing a weapon. 

Floyd pleaded not guilty to those charges earlier this week. She was then released from jail after posting bond. Her bail had been set at $100,000.

Newport Beach man found possessing methamphetamine while being booked at NBPD jail

A Newport Beach Police officer initiated a stop on Sunday, January 12, around 10:30 a.m., on a vehicle with several code violations.

During a further investigation, police found John Paul Yanez, 32, of Newport Beach, to be in possession of unlawful paraphernalia. He was placed under arrest.

Upon his following booking at the NBPD jail, it was discovered that Yanez also possessed a small amount of methamphetamine.

In addition to paraphernalia charges, he was also charged with possession of controlled substance and possession of controlled substance in jail.

His 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.


Police Files 

Local arrested for allegedly terrorizing, causing great bodily injury and more

In the early morning hours of Friday, January 10, Newport Beach Police responded to reports of an altercation in the 1400 block of Superior Ave.

Once there they encountered Christopher Seas Lillie, 49, of Newport Beach, who was accused of threatening others with a crime with the intent to terrorize.

Upon further investigation, police arrested Lillie on suspicion of aggravated assault and assault with deadly force causing great bodily injury with his hands and fists.

He was also arrested for alleged false imprisonment.

Police arrested Lillie and processed him into the jail without setting a bail amount.

Man stopped twice by police in one day, the second time gets confrontational

Juventino Rivera, 23, of Anaheim, was not going to go quietly. He was first stopped by Newport Beach Police for smoking in violation of the Newport Municipal Code within 100 feet of the beach.

His bail for the violation was $50.

However, some eight hours later, Rivera was again stopped for questioning by NBPD around 10 p.m. near Jamboree Road and Bison Ave.

This time he allegedly got confrontational with officers, allegedly committing assault on a peace officer, battery on a peace officer, then resisting from an executive officer.

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

Man caught with stolen bicycles in early morning hour arrest

At 2:57 a.m. on Wednesday, January 8, Newport Beach Police investigated some suspicious activity at 33rd St. and Seashore Dr.

Police encountered Louis Anthony Montalvo III, 51, of Costa Mesa, in possession of stolen bicycles.

Further investigation found he was also in possession of burglary tools.

He was arrested on charges of receiving stolen property with a value greater than $950, possession of burglary tools and for grand theft of bicycles.

He was held on $20,000 bail.

Drug arrest leads to firearm warrant

Aaron Daniel Harbor, 21, Devore, was stopped by the Newport Beach Police Department on Friday, January 10, just after 11 p.m. in the 5900 block of W. Coast Highway.

Following questioning and upon further investigation, NBPD found Harbor to be in possession of a narcotic controlled substance. It was also discovered he had an outstanding warrant for exhibiting an imitation firearm.

He was arrested and held on $15,500 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

Cool air brings nice waves, but quiet times to the beach

Last week Newport Beach Ocean Lifeguards watched over an estimated 33,000 people! 

Cool air temperature kept the beach attendance low this past week, but surfers were treated to a good run of waist to head high west swell. 

Please stay safe if you get out enjoying our amazing beaches, and make sure you check in with the lifeguard.

Police Files Lifeguard Boat

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Joshua Leith

For the last week, lifeguards made zero ocean rescues, 28 preventative actions, 319 public contacts and 18 medical aids.

Lifeguards Weekly Statistics are from Monday, January 6 through Sunday, January 12, 2020.

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


Police Files

Sea lion shot and then found in distress at the Wedge, is euthanized after rescue efforts fail

Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC) rescued a female California sea lion in distress from the Wedge on the morning of Monday, December 16, after being reported by Newport Beach Animal Control. 

During her check-in, she was observed to have two distinct wounds, one of which was a draining abscess on her dorsal back causing her pain and discomfort and limiting her ability to move normally. While conducting radiographs to obtain further information on the extent of the animal’s injury, her chest indicated two gunshots, most likely from a pellet rifle. 

The one-and-a-half-year old sea lion, named Mandalorian by its rescuers, was carefully monitored throughout the next week, and despite treatment, her health continued to decline. At that point, a difficult decision was made, and the animal was humanely euthanized on December 22. 

Police Files sea lion shot

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of PMMC

Mandalorian, a California sea lion found shot by unknown suspects; unfortunately, she had to be euthanized due to the extent of her injuries

A necropsy revealed that one of the bullets impacted between the rib and adjacent vertebrae. This entry wound most likely became infected, leading to severe muscle necrosis around the impact site and an accumulation of fluid in the chest cavity. The second gunshot was lodged in the musculature between the ribs. 

The gunshot pellets have been recovered and will be sent to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Marine Fisheries Service Office of Law Enforcement (NOAA NMFS OLE) for further investigation. 

“Unfortunately, what we saw is taking place up and down the Pacific Coast. These are disgusting and intentional acts, many of which are pre-meditated. We know there are many out there that feel like they are competing with the sea lions for the same resources. However, there’s a pathway for us to cohabitate with these precious marine mammals and shooting them is not the way,” said Peter Chang, CEO at PMMC. 

The penalties for killing a sea lion can be up to a year in prison and or a fine of up to $25,000.

Car vs. truck results in chemical spill that closes Coast Highway

On Tuesday morning, January 7, at approximately 7:41 a.m., the Newport Beach Police Department responded to a traffic collision at E. Coast Highway and Newport Center. The collision involved a truck and a sedan.

The truck was carrying a cleaning chemical that spilled as a result of the accident. NBPD didn’t identify the chemical but said there was “no danger to the community.”

As a precaution, police closed traffic on westbound PCH and on southbound lanes of Newport Center Drive while the chemical was cleaned up. They remained closed until around 1:30 p.m.

One of the involved parties was transported to the hospital with a complaint of pain. 

The community received notification following the accident via social media and was advised to avoid the area.


Police Files 

“Firefighter” held on strong arm robbery and assault with a deadly weapon

Wesley Alan MacFarland, 41, of Newport Beach, who lists his occupation as “firefighter,” was arrested on Saturday, January 4, at 5:30 p.m. for assault with a deadly weapon and strong arm robbery.

The incident reportedly occurred in the 1600 block of W. Balboa Blvd.

Records show that MacFarland is not an employee of the Newport Beach Fire Department.

No other details were available.

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

Driver has car load of problems and police find them

Newport Beach Police engaged a vehicle at 22nd St. and W. Balboa Blvd. on Friday, January 3, at 1:10 p.m. and encountered a litany of issues.

The vehicle was driven by Danean Dan Christiansen, 39, of Big Bend. It was initially discovered he was driving on a suspended license.

Upon further investigation, NBPD arrested the suspect for unlawful possession of paraphernalia, possession of narcotics, possession of a controlled substance, narcotics packaged to sell, carrying a concealed weapon, possession of drugs while armed and possession of a switchblade in his vehicle. 

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

Motor vehicle break-ins seem to be on the upswing

Residents are encouraged to secure their vehicles and to remove valuables. Last week, according to Newport Beach Police Crime Logs, a number of motor vehicle break-ins occurred ranging from petty theft to grand theft.

Neighbors are also encouraged to watch out for suspicious activity in their neighborhoods and to report anything out of the ordinary to the NBPD at 949.644.3681.

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

The New Year kicks off in a big way at the beach

Last week Newport Beach Ocean Lifeguards watched over an estimated 73,500 people!.

New Year’s Day seemed to be the most crowded January 1 ever. The boardwalk looked like Fourth of July. We also think there is no better place than our beaches to spend the holidays and hope everyone has an amazing New Year, and if you are making your New Year’s resolution, make sure that getting out to the beach is one of them! 

Police Files Lifeguard Truck

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Lana Johnson

Please stay safe if you get out enjoying our beaches, and make sure you check in with the lifeguard.

For the last week, lifeguards made two ocean rescues, 15 preventative actions, 365 public contacts and 18 medical aids.

Lifeguards Weekly Statistics are from Monday, December 30, 2019 through Sunday, January 5, 2020.

December 2019 Statistics: 254,400 Beach Population, three Ocean Rescues, 134 Preventative Actions, 780 Public Contacts and 51 Medical Aids.

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


Police Files

Thief gets away with second story forced entry burglary taking jewelry, watches and firearms

A forced entry residential burglary took place sometime between 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, December 19 and 1:30 p.m. on Friday, December 27 on Wharfside Drive in Crystal Cove. 

While the victim was out of town, an unknown suspect entered the property by hopping a rear fence. Once in the backyard, the suspect climbed up to the rear second story balcony and pried open a door window to get into the house. The suspect went through drawers and closets in various rooms and forced open the master bedroom closet.

After going through drawers in the kitchen as well, the suspect fled the home through a rear door on the first floor that led to the backyard.

The loss included jewelry, watches, handbags and firearms.

There is no suspect information available at this time.

If you see suspicious activity within your neighborhood at a home where you know your neighbors are on vacation, have gone out for the evening, or their home is for sale, please call the Newport Beach Police Department immediately at 949.644.3717.

Secure your home with these home security tips from NBPD

Below is a Home Security Checklist so that you can conduct a security assessment on your home to see what security measures you can take to “harden the target.”

Home Security Tips:

–Always lock your windows and doors when you go out, even if for only a few minutes. Second story windows & doors should be secured as if they were on the first story.

–If you return home and find your pedestrian door that leads into your home locked, and you are certain that you left it unlocked, DO NOT GO INSIDE! Call 9-1-1. Burglars often lock this door to slow down a victim, allowing the burglar extra time to get out of the home before the resident enters.

–If your home is equipped with an alarm, always activate it even if you’re only going out for a short walk. Consider adding a motion sensor in your master bedroom/bathroom, which will activate the alarm if someone comes in through a glass window or door without opening it.

–Always keep your front and rear porch lights on from dusk to dawn and use motion detector lighting along the sides of your home or areas with little foot traffic.

–Use timers on indoor lamps to give the appearance that you are home.

–Adjust window coverings for optimal privacy while maintaining good visibility outside.

–Assess whether or not a window can be easily accessed from a tree, balcony, roof, wall, or with patio furniture and adjust your security plan accordingly. Ladders should be stored inside or locked to a stationary object.

–If your garage door has a remote shutoff button on the wall-mounted control, located in the garage, consider locking the door nightly. This will prevent your garage door from being opened remotely.

–If you have a safe, make sure that it is properly bolted to concrete so that      it cannot be easily removed.

–Always close and lock your safe and never leave a key or combination out or in an easy-to-find location (i.e. office, nightstand, etc.).

–When you leave on vacation, remember to call the Police Department for a Vacation Check” at 949.644.3681. Also, ask a trusted friend or neighbor to pick up your newspaper and mail while you are away.

Report all suspicious activity by calling the Newport Beach Police Department at 949.644.3717.

Investment scheme involving some $176,000 in losses reported to NBPD

A crime was reported to Newport Beach Police on Christmas Day, December 25. The victim reported a stolen property amount of $176,888.

The incident occurred between July 14, 2015 and October 4, 2019. According to police, a fraudulent investment scheme resulted in victims never receiving any return on investments made with the suspects.

No suspects’ names have as yet been released.

The matter has been turned over to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office who is conducting an ongoing investigation.

Woman busted for reportedly attempting clothes heist from Neiman Marcus 

A suspect reportedly attempted to take various pieces of clothing from Neiman Marcus in Fashion Island on Sunday, December 29, around 6 p.m.

After following the suspect’s actions, they were detained by loss prevention personnel. Newport Beach Police responded to the call and arrested Sara Saedian, 44, of Irvine.

She was charged with commercial burglary with an amount in excess of $950.

Bail was set at $20,000.

Fight and meth lead to time in the clink

Around 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, December 29, Newport Beach Police officers responded to a call for service referencing a reported physical fight in or around the 1100 block of Back Bay Drive.

Officers came upon the suspect, Wesley Eric Goodnight, 49, a transient that calls Newport Beach his hometown. Goodnight allegedly used a metal broomstick in the fight and was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon.

Upon further investigation, NBPD found him to be in possession of methamphetamine leading to an additional charge of possession of a controlled substance.

Goodnight was taken into custody and was held on $25,000 bail.

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

Police Files

Forced-entry burglary sounds early morning alarm on Lido Island

A forced-entry residential burglary early Friday morning on Lido Island led to the arrest of three suspects, but not before helicopter support was brought in to assist.

Around 4 a.m., Newport Beach Police were notified of suspicious activity on the Island, eventually stopping a vehicle leaving the Island at Via Lido and Via Malaga. Taken into custody was Marion Devine Moore, 21, of Los Angeles. He was eventually charged with driving while suspended or revoked, residential burglary with a forced entry and conspiracy to commit a crime.

Containment of the Island and a search began for two other suspects, including the use of a helicopter, which awoke many still sleeping residents in the area.

At 6:48 a.m. police found the second suspect, Terrell DeRobert Robinson, 22, of Los Angeles. He was arrested on charges of obstructing and resisting peace officers and attempted forced entry residential burglary. 

The last suspect, Marcellus DeWayne Moore, Jr., 20, of Los Angeles, was finally located and taken into custody in the 100 block of Via Genoa, more in the middle part of the Island, at 7:41 a.m. His charges included obstructing and resisting, conspiracy and forced entry residential burglary.

All were being 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

Things fairly quiet at the beach as the New Year approaches

Last week Newport Beach Ocean Lifeguards watched over an estimated 35,000 people. We hope everyone had some super epic times with family during the holidays, and Happy New Year! 

Police Files Lifeguards On the Waterfront

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of NB Lifeguards

Please stay safe if you get out enjoying our amazing beaches, and make sure you check in with the lifeguard.

For the last week, lifeguards made one ocean rescue, 27 preventative actions, 343 public contacts and 12 medical aids.

Lifeguards Weekly Statistics are from Monday, December 23 through Sunday, December 29, 2019.

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


Police Files

Robber hits three Newport Beach banks in two days, suspect caught on Christmas Eve at home in La Quinta

On Saturday, December 21 at 2:57 p.m., a suspect entered the US Bank inside Pavilions at 2118 Newport Coast Drive. The suspect presented a note demanding cash and threatened that he had a gun and then fled the location with cash.

Monday, December 23 at 12:45 p.m., the same suspect entered the Bank of America branch on Newport Center Drive and loitered in the lobby before handing a teller a similar demand note as before. The suspect appeared nervous and left the location with no cash in a possible black Mercedes SLK.

Again on Monday, December 23 at 4:44 p.m., the same suspect entered the City Bank at 1100 Newport Center Drive. This time the suspect was recognized by bank employees due to information shared with banks in the area by NBPD Detectives. Bank employees activated the alarm and the suspect fled the location.

A short time later, Newport Beach Police Patrol Officers located the suspect vehicle driving on Newport Center Drive. The suspect vehicle, a 2019 two-door black Mercedes, failed to stop and a pursuit ensued. The suspect vehicle was last seen northbound on the 73 Freeway before the Bear Street exit in Costa Mesa.

Police Files 12.27.19

Courtesy of NBPD

The suspect was identified by NBPD Detectives as Barry Allan Buydens, 56 years old, 5’11”, 175 lbs., with blond hair and blue eyes and a resident of La Quinta. After an overnight investigation and subsequent execution of a search warrant in La Quinta, Buydens was arrested on Tuesday, December 24 at 8:25 a.m. by NBPD Detectives. 

He was charged with 211 PC Robbery, 664/211 PC Attempt Robbery, 664/211 PC Attempt Robbery and 2800.2 (A) CVC Felony Evading.

Buydens was also arrested for an outstanding robbery warrant from another bank robbery he was identified in from May 24, 2018. This bank robbery occurred at the Bank of America at 21171 Newport Coast Road. 

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department assisted the NBPD in the investigation and arrest. 

If you have any additional information on the described crimes, please contact Newport Beach Police Department Detective Michael Fletcher at 949.644.3779.

Resident arrives home, finds strange vehicle in driveway that leads to arrest of burglar inside his home

A resident in the 4800 block of River Ave. arrived at his home shortly after 1 p.m. on Christmas Eve and found an unfamiliar vehicle parked in his driveway and called the police. The Newport Beach Police arrived and established a containment around his house.

Upon further investigation, police found Paul Thomas Bailet Stoner, 34, of Ventura, inside the residence. He had gained entry by smashing a sliding glass door.

Stoner originally refused to exit the residence under commands by the police, however, when the K-9 unit arrived on the scene he surrendered without further incident.

He was charged with residential burglary with forced entry, trespassing by occupying property without consent and resisting a peace officer. Stoner’s bail was set at $50,000.

No loss resulted in the crime other than the broken sliding glass door.

Fighting suspect also batters police and hospital emergency room personnel before being arrested, according to reports

Newport Beach Police officers were called to the 1200 block of W. Coast Highway at 1:45 a.m. on Sunday, December 22, for a reported physical fight in progress.

Upon arrival, officers found Dalton James Barge, 27, of Rolling Hills Estate, extremely agitated and intoxicated with alcohol and drugs. He allegedly resisted officers’ attempts to arrest him, battering both the officers and later Emergency Room personnel at Hoag Hospital.

He was finally arrested and taken into custody on charges of battery with serious bodily injury, being under the influence of a controlled substance, resisting a peace officer, battery against an emergency person, assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer and resisting an executive officer.

His bail was set at $50,000.

Expensive watch reportedly taken from locker, time will tell 

if a suspect is found

Sometime between 10:15 a.m. on Sunday, December 22 and 8:30 a.m. on Monday, December 23, a valuable watch was reportedly taken from a locker in a building located at E. Coast Highway and Clubhouse Drive.

The watch was reportedly valued at $34,691.

Newport Beach Police took a full report on Wednesday, December 24. It is too soon to know if there are any workable leads.

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

Vehicle pursuit leaves trail of destruction and a charge of sexual battery

Newport Beach Police pursued a vehicle shortly after midnight on Saturday morning, December 21, finally bringing it to a halt at 38th St. and the beach.

Daniel Lucius Raygosa, 23, of Los Angeles, was arrested on a litany of charges including assault with a deadly weapon (vehicle), reckless driving, hit and run with property damage, obstructing and resisting a peace officer and vandalism by defacing property.

Additionally, Raygosa allegedly imprisoned a victim and was additionally charged with sexual battery.

He was taken into custody and held without bail.

Two local burglaries lead to huge losses

Homes and vehicles are prime targets for criminal activity throughout the holidays. Residents are encouraged to take extra precautions to avoid being victims. 

Two such incidents hit the local community in the days leading up to the holidays.

The first was a major motor vehicle burglary that took place in the 300 block of Larkspur Ave. sometime between 8:30 p.m. last Wednesday and 6:50 a.m. on Thursday.

Valuable merchandise, totaling $100,330, was taken from the vehicle.

Newport Beach Police continue to investigate.

Homes are also a target and residents are encouraged to keep them secure, perhaps with lights on.

A residential burglary took place in the 200 block of W. Promontory Drive sometime last Wednesday evening between 6:50 and 8:13 p.m.

In a report filed with the NBPD, property in the amount of $68,400 was taken.

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

Lifeguards advise swimmers to stay out of the water for 72 hours following rainfall

Last week Newport Beach Ocean Lifeguards watched over an estimated 25,000 people. This past week we had cool winter temperatures in both the air and ocean. Water temperature is hovering around 58-60 degrees.

We are expecting rain this week, and it is recommended that you stay out of the water 72 hours after any significant rainfall. Please stay safe if you get out enjoying our amazing beaches, and make sure you check in with a lifeguard. Happy Holidays from the Newport Beach Fire Department.

Police Files Lifeguard Truck

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Lana Johnson

For the last week, lifeguards made one ocean rescues, 15 preventative actions, 152 public contacts and 11 medical aids.

Lifeguards Weekly Statistics are from Monday, December 16 through Sunday, December 22, 2019.

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


Police Files

Death by suicide takes place in Lido Isle park

On Monday, December 16, at approximately 8:52 a.m., Newport Beach Police responded to a call for service referencing suspicious circumstances in the area of Via Lido Soud and Via Fermo. 

Upon arrival, officers discovered a 72-year-old unresponsive male who had died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound on a park bench. The Orange County Coroner was also called and responded.

The incident is under investigation.

This is a reminder that loneliness and depression can be major factors affecting people around the holidays. If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide and is in need of emotional support, the Lifeline Network is available 24/7 across the United States. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline telephone number is 800.273.8255.

NBPD make grand theft arrest in October incident

On October 16, 2019, $8,000 worth of automobile shock absorbers were stolen from the 700 block of Domingo Drive in Newport Beach. Newport Beach Police were called and took a report.

On Tuesday of this week, following an extensive investigation, NBPD traveled to Moreno Valley and arrested Raymund Enriquez, 29, of Moreno Valley, on charges of grand theft.

Enriquez was returned to Newport Beach and his 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.


Police Files

Attempted commercial burglary leads to arrest of two out-of-town suspects

A commercial burglary was reported shortly after midnight on Saturday morning, December 14 on MacArthur Blvd. Newport Beach Police responded and stopped a vehicle with two occupants at Villaggio and MacArthur Blvd.

Upon further investigation police discovered burglary tools and other items connecting them to the reported burglary.

Arrested were Dushaun James Lett, 21, of Compton, and Brandon Marcus Williams, 35, of Los Angeles. Both were charged with commercial burglary with an attempted forced entry, possession of burglary tools and conspiracy to commit a crime. Additionally, Lett had an outstanding warrant related to a previous burglary.

Lett’s bail was set at $120,000 and Williams’ bail was set at $20,000.

Police pursue stolen vehicle to San Juan Capistrano with two suspects onboard

A vehicle reported missing was seen by Newport Beach Police in the early morning hours of Wednesday, December 11. Police pursued the vehicle with two occupants, finally ending with a stop in the 33800 block of Montanas Del Mar in San Juan Capistrano.

During the pursuit the suspects attempted to evade police with excessive speeds.

Police arrested Shanna Dawn Taylor, 39, of Nashport, and Jason Michael Tucker, 41, of Zanesville, for taking an auto without the owner’s consent and obstructing a peace officer.

Taylor, who was driving the vehicle, was also charged with driving without a license, presenting false identification to a specific peace officer, evading a peace officer with wanton disregard and reckless driving on a highway.

Bail was set $50,000 for Taylor and $20,000 for Tucker.

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 population is small as surfers enjoy good winter swell…chance of rain later this week

Last week Newport Beach Ocean Lifeguards watched over an estimated 17,500. This past week had a small beach population and was mostly made up of surfers enjoying some good winter swell. 

We are expecting fair surf conditions this week, with cool air temperatures and a chance of rain later in the week. Please stay safe if you get out enjoying our amazing beaches, and make sure to check in with a lifeguard!

Police Files lifeguard truck

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Lana Johnson

For the last week, lifeguards made 0 ocean rescues, 57 preventative actions, 62 public contacts and 8 medical aids.

Lifeguards Weekly Statistics are from Monday, December 9 through Sunday, December 15, 2019.

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


Police Files

Newport Beach man arrested twice in two days, first following a fire set at the Transportation Center

On Sunday morning at approximately 8:35 a.m., Newport Beach Police officers responded to a call for service at the Newport Beach Transportation Center in the 1500 block of Avocado Ave. A fire was reported in the area.

Police officers arrived and detained a suspect, Steve Daniel Lawton, 56, of Newport Beach, and extinguished a small fire that was active. It was determined that Lawton had started the fire.

Upon further investigation it was found that Lawton was in possession of stolen property, including the identity documents of another person.

He was booked on charges of recklessly starting a fire, receiving stolen property with a value less than $950 and identity theft.

His bail was set at $500.

The very next day at around 5:15 p.m., officers again responded to the Transportation Center and found Lawton trespassing. 

Upon making contact, officers found him in possession of a controlled substance and in possession of an animal he was not maintaining in a safe manner.

He was arrested on charges of possession of a controlled substance and failure to provide animal care.

Bail was set at $10,000.

Alleged “road rage” and strong arm robbery reported

On Monday, December 9, at approximately 9:35 a.m., Newport Beach Police officers responded to a call for service in the area of E. Balboa Blvd. and B St. in reference to an alleged “road rage” incident.

Police arrived on site and upon further questioning found that a 34-year-old female victim reported that a male suspect used physical force to take her cell phone.

Officers took information and the case remains under investigation.

The suspect is wanted on charges of strong arm robbery.

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

Another local pleads guilty in college admissions scandal

Karen Littlefair, 57, of Newport Beach, has agreed to plead guilty in the college admissions scandal. Littlefair utilized William “Rick” Singer’s services to hire someone to take three classes at Georgetown to assure her son passing.

She paid Singer $9,000 for his services.

Her son graduated from Georgetown in 2018 using class credits fraudulently obtained.

Littlefair will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. 

The government in exchange will recommend a four-month prison sentence, with one year of supervised release, a $9,500 fine and restitution.

Tesla owner activates vehicle’s video recording system that leads to arrest of student tire slasher

A Tesla car owner noticed he had incurred a flat tire on the way to work last Wednesday morning, December 4. While waiting for a new tire to be delivered for repair, the vehicle owner decided to check the vehicle’s Sentry Mode videos that stores all suspicious activities that take place around the car.

The Sentry Mode comprises four video cameras that become engaged when suspicious activity takes place near the vehicle.

The victim noticed that sometime during the previous night, someone had slashed one of his tires on the vehicle while it was parked in front of the leasing department at the Baywood Apartments.

Once his tire was repaired, he drove to the Newport Beach Police station with the video in hand showing the suspect in the act around 3 a.m.

Police began an investigation and by 4:40 p.m. that same afternoon they arrested their man. Taken into custody was Noah Michael Delgadillo, 23, of Newport Beach, a student. He was arrested in the 900 block of Baywood Drive on the charge of felony vandalism.

His bail was set at $20,000.

Local pharmacy’s controller pleads out on $305,000 embezzlement

A former employee of Horton & Converse Pharmacy was sentenced last Friday to 16 months in prison for embezzling some $305,000. Dennis Sam Medici, 58, from Fullerton, had written 361 checks to himself over a seven-year period while he served as the company’s controller.

In October, Medici pleaded guilty to 53 felony counts, including sentencing enhancements for a white-collar crime of between $100,000 and $500,000.

His scheme included voiding the checks written in an attempt to avoid detection.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Karen Robinson accepted a plea deal from Medici which gave him credit for 440 days in custody toward the sentence and an agreement to pay restitution of more than $305,000 to Horton & Converse Pharmacy.

The plea agreement allows for Medici to be released from custody in the very near future.

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

Wild weather expected over the next week in and around the beaches

Last week Newport Beach Ocean Lifeguards watched over an estimated 26,400. The beach had winter conditions with rain and good sized surf. 

We are looking at a warming trend this week, and Thursday, December 12 should be a fantastic beach day. It is advised that you avoid contact with the ocean for 72 hours after any significant rain event (especially around the Santa Ana River mouth runoff). Please stay safe if you get out enjoying our amazing beaches, and making sure, you check in with the lifeguard!

Police Files Lifeguard Tower

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Lana Johnson

For the last week, lifeguards made zero ocean rescues, 35 preventative actions, 163 public contacts and 14 medical aids.

Lifeguards Weekly Statistics are from Monday, December 2 through Sunday, December 8, 2019.

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


Police Files

Man found trespassing while sleeping in another’s car, later caught with meth in NB jail

On Sunday, December 1 at approximately 3 p.m., a Newport Beach Police officer was dispatched to the area of Scholz Plaza and Cagney Lane regarding a possible trespass in progress.

The security company at the residential complex had previously received a complaint that a man, who was not a resident, was sleeping in a vehicle and refused to leave the property.

Police encountered Benito Chavez Garcia, 55, of Newport Beach, and began questioning him. Upon further investigation police found a meth pipe, meth residue and black gloves in the vehicle. Additionally, the vehicle did not belong to Garcia and was later to be determined that it was taken without permission from a friend.

Garcia was arrested and taken to Newport Beach jail. While in custody, Garcia removed his left sock and a small plastic bag fell out containing one gram of methamphetamine.

He was arrested on multiple charges including possession of unlawful paraphernalia, burglary tools, possession of a controlled substance and for bringing a controlled substance into prison.

His bail was set at $20,000.

Woman consumes bottle of wine in store with no available form of payment and illegal ID in her possession

On Monday evening shortly before 9 p.m., Newport Beach Police officers were dispatched to the area of San Joaquin Hills Road and Newport Coast Drive in reference to an alleged shoplifting in progress.

Police arrived on the scene and waited for the suspect to exit the store. Once she did, officers made contact with Alea Shanae Abdalla, 32, of Anaheim. Further investigation found that Abdalla had left an empty wine bottle that had been consumed in the store bathroom. Prior to leaving the store she also attempted to purchase other items with no type of payment on her person, including cash, check or credit card.

Police did discover that Abdalla was in possession of an ID that did not belong to her.

She was arrested on charges of commercial burglary with no forced entry and for appropriating lost property.

Her 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.


Police Files

Four arrested near Cameo Shores in connection with forced entry residential burglary 

A forced entry residential burglary led to the arrest of four suspects on Saturday evening, November 30, at E. Coast Highway and Morning Canyon.

Arrested were Francisco Javier Zuniga Duran, 27, of Santiago; Rodolfo Antonio Cifuentes, 36, of Puente Alto; Daniel Elias Herrera, 30, of Los Angeles; and Ricardo Lleul-Moreno, 38, of Los Angeles.

Because these arrests are part of an ongoing investigation, many details are not being released at this time.

All suspects were charged with residential burglary with a forced entry and conspiracy to commit a crime. Additionally, Herrera had an undisclosed warrant from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.

Bail was set at $50,000 for Duran, Cifuentes and Lleul-Moreno. Herrera’s bail was set at $250,000.

Airstream trailer apparently hooked up and stolen

Newport Beach Police responded to a call to the area of Irvine Ave. and W. 16th in reference to a vehicle theft report. Taken was an Airstream trailer that was parked on the public street.

The victim reported that sometime between 5 p.m. on Wednesday, November 27 and Friday morning, November 29, at 8 a.m., the trailer disappeared.

No suspects are under consideration and police continue to investigate with potential charges of taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent potentially pending.

Multiple vehicles damaged with vandalism along Bayside Drive

Newport Beach Police took a vandalism report following damage to several automobiles in the area of Bayside Drive and El Paseo.

Sometime between 4 p.m. on Wednesday, November 27, and Thursday, November 28 at 9 a.m., someone dislodged driver side mirrors on several vehicles. Included in the damaged vehicles were a black BMW SUV and a white Audi.

Both vehicles were parked in the 1600 block of Bayside Drive.

Police took a report and continue to investigate.

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

Wild weather expected over the next week in and around beaches

Last week Newport Beach Ocean Lifeguards watched over an estimated 31,800. The beach had nice conditions for the start of Thanksgiving break, until Thanksgiving Day when the biggest rainstorm hit since the winter/spring of 2019.

We are looking at more wild weather this week, so please stay safe if you get out enjoying our amazing beaches, and making sure you check in with a lifeguard.

Police Files Lifeguard Rescue Boat

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo By Joshua Leith

For the last week, lifeguards made four ocean rescues, 92 preventative actions, 180 public contacts and four medical aids.

Lifeguards Weekly Statistics are from Monday, November 25 through Sunday, December 1, 2019.

For the month of November, lifeguards served a beach population of 176,800, made 9 ocean rescues, 384 preventative actions, 1,613 public contacts and 99 medical aids.

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


Police Files

Resident comes across burglary in progress in Cameo Highlands, then police arrest suspects after short pursuit

Monday night, November 25, around 7 p.m., a resident returned to his Cameo Highlands residence and noticed people moving about inside his home with flashlights. He also noticed a window ajar.

The homeowner immediately called Newport Beach Police dispatch and officers responded with a Code 3, without lights and sirens, to the area.

As police responded, the suspects attempted to run, going from yard to yard in an attempt to evade police. The HB-1 helicopter was utilized to assist officers in establishing and maintaining a perimeter.

Eventually, the adults and one minor were taken into custody in connection with the burglary. Arrested was Mya Lania Davis, 19, of Los Angeles, for conspiracy to commit a crime, residential burglary with no forced entry, false impersonation of another, cruelty to a child and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a juvenile female.

Also arrested were James Devon Pugh, 23, of Los Angeles, for residential burglary with a forced entry, obstruction and resisting a peace officer, receiving stolen property and presenting false identification to a peace officer; and Jaylen Davion Street, 21, of Inglewood, for residential burglary with a forced entry, obstructing and resisting a peace officer and being a felon in possession of tear gas.

All were arrested and taken into custody. 

Additionally, a 16-year-old female was also taken into juvenile hall.

Bail was set at $100,000 for Davis and $50,000 each for Pugh and Street.

Local suspected of driving drunk again and getting confrontational with police

On Sunday, November 24 at approximately 3 p.m., a Newport Beach Police officer was dispatched to the area of Jamboree Road in reference to a call of a possible drunk driver swerving and running into the curb. The witness stated that the vehicle was a white Mazda GT.

Shortly thereafter, officers observed a vehicle fitting that description stopped approximately 50 feet south of the intersection on a green light. There were several vehicles behind the Mazda that were stopped and unable to proceed through the intersection.

The officer attempted to initiate a traffic stop, however, the Mazda failed to yield. The officer then used his PA system and instructed the driver to pull over and then utilized a different tone on the siren to get the driver`s attention but was unsuccessful. 

The vehicle eventually came to a stop and the officer was able to make contact.

The driver, however, refused to exit his vehicle upon the officer’s commands. Multiple officers then assisted in removing Joseph Anthony Coppola, 37, of Newport Beach, from his vehicle. While taking the suspect back to one of their units, Coppola attempted to wrap his leg around an officer and came within inches of his face.

It was found that Coppola was driving with an alcohol level over .08. Additionally, he was found to have one prior DUI.

He was arrested on charges of evading a peace officer, obstructing and resisting a peace officer, battery on a peace officer, DUI with a prior and DUI with an alcohol level exceeding .08.

His bail was set at $10,000.

Falsified vehicle tags lead to charges against all four occupants for a variety of charges

On Sunday, November 24, just before 8 p.m., a Newport Beach Police officer observed a vehicle driving with an expired registration from 2018 but displaying false 2020 registration tags. The officer initiated a traffic stop.

Further investigation revealed that the driver, Katelyn Virginia Thomas, 35, of Midway City, knowingly put the 2020 tags on her vehicle.

The officer questioned three other occupants of the vehicle and found that everyone was on probation, parole or supervised release.

During a search of the vehicle, a collapsible baton was located and within reach of each of the four occupants.

All were arrested and charged with possession of a leaded cane.

Thomas’ bail was set at $5,000, while the three occupants, Anthony Michael George, 41, Newport Beach; Isabel Ruth Marcos, 18, Huntington Beach; and Brendan Taylor Filice, 22, of Irvine, were all assigned a $500 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.


Police Files

Coroner’s office IDs 20-year-old killed in Newport Beach car crash

The Orange County Coroner’s office has identified Brandon Vergara, 20, of Stanton, as the driver killed in the vehicle crash on Pacific Coast Highway in the late evening hours of November 17. Vergara, heading westbound, left the roadway at 61st St. crashing into South Coast Army and Navy Surplus store just before 11 p.m.

Upon impact, the Infiniti G35 burst into flames. Vergara’s body was found by Newport Beach firefighters once the flames were doused.

No other vehicles were involved in the accident and Newport Beach Police continue to investigate the cause.

Victims return to rental home only to discover burglary in progress

On Thursday, November 21, Newport Beach Police officers received a report of a possible residential burglary in progress in the area of W. Balboa Blvd. and 9th St.

The victims had returned to their rental home only to discover their front door open and items which did not belong to them on the kitchen counter. Upon further checking, the suspects also noticed that their personal belongings had been put in someone else’s bag.

When police officers arrived they began checking the interior of the residence and found a suspect, Mike Anthony Banuelos, 50, from Nuevo, Calif.

Banuelos stated to officers that an unknown male had given him access to the home.

Banuelos was arrested for residential burglary with no forced entry and held on $50,000 bail.

The arrest also called for a parole hold to be placed on Banuelos.

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

Sunny skies bring a beach crowd out for weekend, rain in the forecast this week

Last week, Newport Beach Ocean Lifeguards watched over an estimated 46,000. What a wild week in weather we had. Last week started off with hot, classic beach conditions, and by Wednesday we had rain and strong winds. Wednesday morning can be described as dangerous “Victory at Sea” conditions with strong currents, big choppy seas and big waves. By Wednesday afternoon, the wind shifted offshore and some very lucky surfers were treated to 6-foot perfect waves down in the “Blackie’s” area.

More wild weather is on the way this week, so please stay safe if you get out enjoying our amazing beaches, and making sure you check in with the lifeguard. 

Police Files Lifeguard tower 17 

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Lana Johnson

For the last week, lifeguards made two ocean rescues, 101 preventative actions, 278 public contacts and 16 medical aids.

Lifeguards Weekly Statistics are from Monday, November 18 through Sunday, November 24, 2019.

We also wish everyone a super epic Thanksgiving.

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


Police Files

DeCinces charged again, this time with attempting to bribe and dissuade a witness

Tim DeCinces, 45, Newport Beach, has apparently found trouble again with law enforcement, following a previous arrest on multiple charges and an accompanying $500,000 bail.

His latest charges include multiple efforts to allegedly dissuade a witness from reporting a crime.

DeCinces was charged in September following a reported alleged assault on a female with force likely to produce great bodily injury, battery with serious bodily injury, inflicting great bodily injury, soliciting/engaging or agreeing to engage in prostitution, child abuse and endangerment, possession of a controlled substance (two counts) and possession of unlawful paraphernalia.

Latest charges that came in the days following the initial arrest include two counts of bribery of a witness, two counts of dissuading a witness from reporting a crime and two counts of a secondary offense committed while released from custody.

DeCinces has pleaded not guilty to all charges, while denying the charges of inflicting great bodily injury and both secondary offenses committed while released from custody.

Sarah Rae Carpenter, 30, of Garden Grove, and Amanda Lynn Schauerte, 32, of Huntington Beach, were both previously arrested with DeCinces in his initial charges.

DeCinces is the son of former baseball star Doug DeCinces, who played 15 years in the Major Leagues, starring with both the Baltimore Orioles and the California Angels.

Tim also played baseball as a catcher and first baseman in college for UCLA and then eight seasons in the minor leagues.

Most recently he has worked in the residential real estate industry with several large Newport Beach companies, following an ownership stint with a Costa Mesa restaurant named Beach Pit BBQ.

DeCinces remains out on bail.

Housekeeper interrupts residential burglary and police capture five

On Monday, November 18, around 3:40 p.m., a Newport Beach Police Officer was flagged down in the area of G St. and E. Balboa Blvd. A housekeeper told police that she had just arrived at a residence to begin work when she came across a burglary in progress.

Upon seeing the housekeeper, the alleged suspects departed the house taking with them a backpack and leaving the area in a black Honda Accord with no rear plate.

Police broadcasted a description of the vehicle and the occupants, which led to another officer locating the vehicle. A traffic stop was then initiated, and five occupants were taken into custody without incident.

Upon further investigation, police found the backpack, which contained a Bose stereo, 35-lb. weight, two bottles of Champagne, tennis shoes and a television.

Arrested were Christian Ruiz Gonzalez, 27, Westminster; Crystal Lee Gurrola, 42, Westminster; Osvaldo Viveros, 23, Santa Ana; William Andrew Cubias Jr., 31, Anaheim; and Maria De Jesus Navarros, 23, Corona.

All were charged with residential burglary with no forced entry and conspiracy to commit a crime.

Additionally, Viveros gave officers a fake name and had two outstanding warrants, while Gonzalez had warrants for criminal contempt, vandalism and possession of dangerous drugs.

Viveros was held on $100,000 bail, Gonzalez $82,500, Navarros and Gurrola both at $50,000, and Cubias had no bail set.

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

20-year-old male killed in Sunday night vehicle vs. building crash

A 20-year-old male was killed late Sunday night in a single-car collision on West Coast Highway. The vehicle, a black 2004 Infiniti G35, was traveling westbound and crashed into the South Coast Army & Navy surplus store at 61st Street, according to Newport Beach Police.

The driver, whose identification is pending, suffered fatal injuries as a result of the crash and was pronounced dead at the scene at 10:55 p.m.

The impact of the vehicle caused a fire to breakout and spread to the building before being extinguished by Newport Beach Fire.

No other passengers were in the vehicle. 

The cause of the collision is still under investigation. NBPD is seeking witnesses and anyone who can assist is encouraged to contact Investigator Troy Zeeman at 949.644.3742 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Surveillance footage leads to arrest of man who allegedly took a number of Mac products from local retailer

On Thursday morning, November 13, just after 11 a.m., Newport Beach Police were dispatched to the Newport Center area in reference to a burglary that had just occurred. According to an employee at the reporting business, a suspect entered the store requesting two laptops, two iPhones and two iPads. He then took them and exited the store without paying.

Officers opened an investigation and reviewed surveillance footage enabling them to identity Dylan Hai Huu Duong, 25, of Santa Ana.

Several hours later that same day, police took Duong into custody in the 2300 block of S. Haster in Anaheim, on charges of burglary and receiving stolen property.

He was booked into custody for commercial burglary by shoplifting an amount greater than $950 and receiving stolen property with a value greater than $950.

He was 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.

Lifeguards: On the Waterfront

Sunny skies bring a beach crowd out for weekend, rain in the forecast his week

Last week, Newport Beach Ocean Lifeguards watched over an estimated 70,000. Not too much to report this week, however, Sunday was an incredible beach day with an estimated 22,000 beach population. We hope everyone got out to enjoy our amazing beaches as the weather forecast calls for rain this week. 

Police Files Lifeguard truck on sand

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Lana Johnson

For the last weekend, lifeguards made two ocean rescues, 112 preventative actions, 496 public contacts and 26 medical aids.

Lifeguards Weekly Statistics are from Monday, November 11 through Sunday, November 17, 2019.

Stay safe and make sure, you check in with the lifeguard.

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


Police Files

Stolen vehicle is stopped with bounty on board

On Sunday, November 10, just before 10 p.m., Newport Beach Police were alerted to a stolen vehicle entering Newport Beach city limits after leaving Laguna Beach. The vehicle was described as a red KIA Forte with CA plates. An NBPD officer observed the vehicle traveling westbound on E. Coast Highway at Goldenrod Avenue. The officer verified the plate and that it was recently reported stolen out of the City of Redlands.

The officer initiated a traffic stop, and two subjects, Nicole Antinoa Hernandez, 27, of Redlands, and Armando Frankie Contreras, 18, of San Bernardino, exited the vehicle without incident.

Further investigation led to the finding that Hernandez had an outstanding warrant out of Riverside County and Hernandez was driving the stolen vehicle. Hernandez was in possession of pepper spray, which was a parole violation, and a meth pipe. Contreras was in possession of a Taser, which also was a parole violation due to his prior felony conviction, and a meth pipe.

Also located in the vehicle was another meth pipe, shaved keys, which are used to steal vehicles, multiple tools, bolt cutters, gloves and a pick tool.

Additionally, Contreras’ wallet contained multiple credit cards with different names on them.

Both were arrested and taken into custody.

Contreras was charged with possession of unlawful paraphernalia, possession of a stolen vehicle, being a felon in possession of a stun gun, appropriating lost property and later with possession of a narcotic controlled substance in prison.

His bail was set at $25,000.

Hernandez was charged with possession of unlawful paraphernalia, being a felon in possession of tear gas, possession of burglary tools and on a warrant from Riverside Superior Court. 

Her bail was set at $30,000.

Man caught by police cold-handed with packages in his hand on resident’s porch

A suspicious male was reported to Newport Beach Police at 9:47 a.m. in the area of Galaxy Drive and Mariners Drive. Upon arrival, the officer observed a male matching the description and it was confirmed by a witness.

The officer stopped Jacob Manuel Romo, 20, of Commerce, who was standing on a resident’s porch holding a package. Romo stated he worked for Amazon, however, the package in his possession had been delivered by UPS.

Upon further investigation, the vehicle in Romo’s possession was reported stolen out of L.A. County by the Sheriff’s Department. Romo also initially provided police with a fake name.

He was arrested and charged with petty theft of mail packages, taking an auto without the owner’s consent and false personation of another. 

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.


Police Files

Woman found with stolen mail, false IDs, credit cards and more, once arrested methamphetamine shows up in jail

On Wednesday, Nov. 6, at 3:16 a.m., a Newport Beach Police officer was dispatched to the area of Bay View Avenue and Zenith Avenue in reference to a suspicious circumstances incident. The reporting party had just returned home and discovered that all of the mailboxes near his residence had been opened.

Further investigation by police led them to the suspect, Victoria Louise Schnitger, 34, of Santa Fe Springs, who was found in the area with mail overflowing from her open purse and in her jacket. A check showed the mail did indeed belong to the local residents. She additionally had numerous IDs from other individuals, charge cards and numerous individuals’ personal information written in notebooks.

She was arrested and provided a fake name to officers. She was taken to jail and while detained was found with methamphetamine on her person. 

She was charged with petty theft of mail/packages, possession of unlawful paraphernalia, false personation of another, receiving stolen property with a value less than $950, possession of a controlled substance and identity theft for using another’s ID for financial gain. 

Her bail was set at $20,000.

Local resident punched in business deal gone wrong

On October 25, at approximately 9:44 p.m., a Newport Beach Police officer was dispatched to the area of San Miguel Drive and Ford Road in reference to an alleged robbery that had just occurred.

The reporting party, a 19-year-old Newport Beach male resident, reported that he had been waiting in a parking lot to meet someone for a business deal. The buyer joined him in the car.

Suddenly, another man allegedly pulled into the area, approached the vehicle and opened the door. He then allegedly punched the victim with keys in between his fingers, inflicting injury.

The “buyer” allegedly took the items in the vehicle, exited the car and put them in the suspect’s truck. Both then left the area together.

Then, on Wednesday, November 6, police followed up on leads and made an arrest of the suspect, Peyton Wyatt Burtt, 19, at a residence on Via Gatillo in Rancho Santa Margarita.

Burtt was charged with strong arm robbery and conspiracy to commit a crime.

His bail was set at $50,000.

Fugitive from justice located and arrested in Newport Beach

Newport Beach Police stopped and questioned a female at 1:11 a.m. on the morning of the Friday, Nov. 8, in the 2100 block of W. Ocean Front. Upon further investigation police found that Meredith Lane Marks, 22, of Rhoadesville, VA, was wanted on a fugitive from justice arrest warrant from that jurisdiction.

Marks had been arrested on June 18 in Virginia on charges of possession of schedule I and II controlled substances (two counts), possession of controlled substances, possession of marijuana, giving false identity to law enforcement officers and possessing and/or distributing controlled paraphernalia.

After failing to appear, Stafford Circuit Court in Virginia issued a probation violation on Marks.

Following that, Marks, along with an accomplice, was arrested by the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office following an alert of a possible stolen vehicle entering Arizona. Authorities there initiated a high risk traffic stop on the vehicle, with weapons drawn. Marks, who was driving, and her passenger exited the vehicle without incident and were arrested.

Marks was charged with felony theft of a means of transportation. She once again failed to appear and had another warrant issued by the Mohave County Superior Court.

Newport Beach Police were holding her locally on a bail of $100,000.

Suspect enters store and walks out undetected with 18 bottles of wine

On Friday, Nov. 8, at approximately 8:30 p.m., a Newport Beach Police officer was dispatched to the area of Newport Coast Drive and San Joaquin Hills Road. Upon arrival, the officer took a report of grand theft.

An employee at the location noticed around 5 p.m. that a wine display near the front entrance of the store was fully stocked.

Later, around 6:30 p.m., the same employee noticed that 18 wine bottles were now missing from the same display.

Upon review of surveillance footage, a Hispanic male, 30-40 years old, had entered the store, taking the bottles and exiting without paying.

Police continue to investigate with grand theft charges from a building pending.

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

Surf expected to pick up this week, otherwise fairly quiet on the beachfront

Last week Newport Beach Ocean Lifeguards watched over an estimated 77,000. There was still a good amount of people enjoying the beaches this week and Saturday looked like a summer day with an estimated beach attendance of 27,000. 

The surf has been small but expected to pick up this week.

Police Files Lifeguard Rescue Boat

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Joshua Leith

For the last weekend, lifeguards made zero ocean rescues, 68 preventative actions, 248 public contacts and 27 medical aids.

Lifeguards Weekly Statistics are from Monday, Nov. 4 through Sunday, Nov. 10.

Stay safe and we hope everyone gets out enjoying our amazing beaches and making sure, you check in with the lifeguard.

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


Police Files

Man arrested for discharging firearm near Newport Harbor High School leading to $250,000 bail

On Tuesday, Nov. 5 at 8:32 a.m., the Newport Beach Police Department’s (NBPD) Dispatch Center received a report of a possible domestic disturbance inside a residence in the 800 block of Irvine Avenue. Officers responded to the residence and made contact with Jesse Taylor Sweeny. Officers determined that he was the suspect who had discharged a firearm inside his apartment. 

Sweeny was taken into custody without incident and arrested. There were no associated injuries.

During the initial response, an NBPD School Resource Officer at Newport Harbor High School initiated a “Lockout” on the campus through school administrators due to the proximity and nature of the call. A “Lockout” limits campus ingress and egress while still allowing students and faculty to continue with normal school activities inside the classrooms. Once the investigation revealed there was no ongoing threat to the school, the school resumed normal activities.

According to NBPD, Sweeney, a white male, is a 24-year-old resident of Newport Beach. A search of Sweeny’s premises turned up marijuana, narcotics and a controlled substance. 

His arrest charges included possession of a narcotic controlled substance for sale, shooting at an inhabited dwelling, discharging a firearm in a school zone, being a felon in possession of a firearm, possession of marijuana for sale, possession of a controlled substance while armed and possession of a designated controlled substance for sale.

His bail was set at $250,000.

Suspect allegedly steals from business then gets in physical altercation with employees

Newport Beach Police were dispatched on Sunday, Nov. 3, just after 3 p.m., to the area of Superior Avenue and Halyard Road in reference to the alleged theft of a cell phone. Upon arrival, the officer observed the suspect involved in a verbal and physical altercation with staff members. The staff members were attempting to secure the suspect until police arrived.

Police approached the suspect and were able to handcuff him without incident. Further investigation of the suspect led police to finding a cell phone, speaker and an amount of cash hidden in his underwear, all of which was allegedly taken from a nearby employee’s workspace in an adjoining business.

Police arrested Ramiro Lopezayala, 27, from Santa Ana, on charges of strong arm robbery and commercial burglary with no forced entry.

He was taken into custody and held on $50,000 bail.

Local man allegedly attempts to steal another’s belongings and draws a knife in confrontation

On Sunday, Nov. 3 at 12:56 p.m., a Newport Beach Police officer was dispatched to the area of Avocado Avenue and San Miguel Drive regarding a disturbance. The reporting party indicated to police that an individual that referred to himself as “TJ” was threatening him and taking some of his belongings.

Further investigation led to police finding that the suspect was in a verbal altercation with two males and a female threatening to harm them with his pocketknife.

Police arrested Steve Daniel Lawton, 56, of Newport Beach, for threatening a crime with the intent to terrorize.

He was taken into custody 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.


Police Files

87-year-old Newport Beach pedestrian killed Saturday night

Stu News Newport questioned Newport Beach Police regarding an apparent auto collision resulting in the death of a pedestrian on Saturday, October 26, shortly after 6 p.m. near MacArthur Blvd. and San Joaquin Hills Road.

A police spokesperson responded, “The only information that I have at this time is that it was a fatal vehicle/pedestrian incident.”

Stu News Newport located an Orange County Coroner’s release identifying a male deceased, 87-year-old George Stryker, of Newport Beach, with his death listed as “pedestrian vs. auto.”

No other information was available.

Police identify suspicious vehicle and find loot from previously unreported burglary

At approximately 11:42 p.m. on Wednesday, October 23, a Newport Beach Police officer, while on patrol in the area of Goldenrod Ave. and Fifth Ave., noticed a silver Nissan Maxima with a cloth rag covering the rear license plate. A traffic stop was conducted.

A records check showed that one of the vehicle’s occupants was on active probation.

Upon further investigation, the officer found an open alcohol bottle, a large jewelry cabinet, a wrench and a tire iron in the vehicle.

The following morning at 6:49 a.m., another Newport Beach Police officer responded to the area of Geranium and Daffodil for a report of residential burglary. Missing were jewelry and a jewelry cabinet.

The two suspects from the previous night remained in custody.

Xavier Ariassalas, 22, of Santa Ana, was arrested for possession of burglary tools, drinking in public and residential burglary with no forced entry. 

Ivan Jesus Miranda, 20, of Santa Ana, was arrested for possession of an open container while driving, possession of burglary tools, drinking in public, residential burglary with no forced entry and receiving stolen property with a value greater than $950.

Both suspects were held on $50,000 bail.

Suspected thief, with great taste, is caught following alleged wine heist

At 10:50 p.m. on Wednesday, October 23, Newport Beach Police were dispatched on a call for alleged felony theft of liquor in the area of Bayside Drive and Jamboree.

The reporting party stated that the subject was leaving the area in a silver Honda Civic.

Officers observed a vehicle matching that description in the parking lot and conducted a traffic stop.

Upon further investigation, police located 17 bottles of Duckhorn wine, two bottles of Chimney, one bottle of Caymus, one bottle of Round Pond and one bottle of Joseph Phelps.

Surveillance footage of the business impacted showed the subject entering the store, placing the alcohol in a cart and exiting the business without attempting to pay.

Arrested was Derick La, 31, of Santa Ana. Police also found a meth pipe in his possession.

He was arrested and charged with commercial burglary with shoplifting an amount over $950, conspiracy to commit a crime, possession of unlawful paraphernalia and for violating a felony probation.

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.

Fire Files

NBFD on the move from Tick Fire to northern California to battle blaze in Sonoma

At the end of last week, the City of Newport Beach had sent two engines to the Tick Fire in Los Angeles County that included four personnel on each engine, as part of two separate Strike Teams (a Strike Team is a group of five engines, plus command vehicle).

Newport Beach also sent a Battalion Chief as a Strike Team leader.

Since then, fires have continued to rage throughout the state.

According to Brian McDonough, Acting Assistant Fire Chief, as of yesterday, “our two crews and Strike Team leader have been redeployed to the Kincade Fire in Sonoma. We have also sent an additional member up as a Safety Officer.”

Police Files fire base camp

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of NBFD

NBFD base camp before the morning briefing when deployed firefighting crews receive their assignments

On Sunday, Newport Beach crews were on a structure protection assignment and according to McDonough, “were able to prevent three homes from burning.”

Both teams were back out working on the line yesterday on a 24-hour assignment.

Newport Beach has recalled personnel in to cover stations due to any potential shortages.

Lifeguards: On the Waterfront

Hot air temps good for a day at the beach

Extremely hot air temperature had Newport Beach Ocean Lifeguards watching over an estimated 63,000 people enjoying Newport Beach last week (October 21 through October 27). Surfing conditions were good with small surf, but kept ocean lifeguard rescue activity low.

Sunday had completely different conditions with strong onshore winds and overcast sky that kept the beach population low. 

Police Files lifeguard truck

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Lana Johnson

Look for our lifeguards patrolling in trucks and hit them up for the safest places to swim and for other beach conditions. 

For the weekend, 9 ocean rescues, 241 preventative actions, 372 public contacts and 69 medical aids were made.

We hope everyone gets out to enjoy our amazing beaches and make sure you check in with the lifeguard.

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


Police Files

Boat catches fire 10 miles off coast on way home from Catalina Island

Friday morning, October 18, at 9:21 a.m., a mayday call was received by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department regarding a boat fire about 10 miles off the Newport Beach coast.

Two male occupants onboard were on their way back from Catalina Island when the fire broke out. They were able to board a dinghy attached to the boat and escape. A Good Samaritan assisted both men onto a nearby boat that was offering assistance.

Police Files Boat catches fire

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of OCSD

No significant injuries were suffered by either passenger.

OCSD Harbor Patrol deputies responded to the mayday call and extinguished the fire.

The boat suffered extensive damage.

Suspicious circumstances call leads to drug arrests and series of outstanding warrants

In the early morning hours of Thursday, October 17, Newport Beach Police responded to a suspicious circumstances call to the area of Newport Ridge Drive East and San Joaquin Hills Road.

Upon arrival around 4:30 a.m., police observed the suspect standing alone next to the only vehicle parked in the parking lot. Upon questioning, the suspect provided police with a fake name and DOB.

Further investigation led to his actual identity, Lucas Paul Hudson, 34, of Newport Beach. Police discovered that Hudson had multiple warrants, including a felony warrant for miscellaneous property crimes that included second degree burglary, resisting an executive officer, a felony warrant for grand theft and a misdemeanor warrant for a number of health and safety charges. 

Additionally, police found in Hudson’s possession a syringe loaded with heroin, an additional .9 grams of heroin and 5.4 grams of methamphetamine.

Hudson was charged with possession of controlled substances, presenting false identification to a specific peace officer, possession of narcotics and for the outstanding warrants.

His bail was set for $70,000.

Vehicle stolen, found within minutes using iPhone Find My Phone app, suspect arrested

An Audi Q3 was stolen from a local citizen near the area of Morning Canyon Road and Seaward Road at 6:10 a.m. on Wednesday, October 16.

However, the case took an interesting turn just 23 minutes later when the suspect and vehicle were found and recovered in Huntington Beach with the aid of an iPhone Find My Phone application.

Arrested was 29-year-old David Jr. Gonzalez, of Santa Ana. He was charged with taking an auto without the owner’s consent.

His 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.

Lifeguards: On the Waterfront

Santa Ana winds bring beautiful fall weather

Newport Beach has been experiencing fantastic weather over the past week with average daily high temperatures in the low 80s. Mild Santa Ana winds made the conditions for surfing excellent and the addition of a northwest wind swell mixed with a building southwest swell created an atmosphere for all to enjoy.

Water temperatures have dropped slightly over the past few days with a daily average of 65 degrees. Some 74,800 people came down to enjoy the beach creating heavy beach activity over the weekend. 

Police Files Tower 1

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Lana Johnson

Stingray calls were down, but in the areas where water recreation is consistent, we still had several stings. 

Look for our lifeguards patrolling in trucks and hit them up for the safest places to swim and for other beach conditions. 

For the weekend, four ocean rescues, 147 preventative actions, 363 public contacts and 28 medical aids were made.

We hope everyone gets out to enjoy our amazing beaches, remember your beach safety tips 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

Bookkeeper charged with allegedly stealing $1.5 million while working for local physician group

Tina Marie Reyes, 45, of Lake Forest, was arrested by Newport Beach Police on Tuesday, October 15, on a warrant for grand theft.

Reyes previously worked for California Orthopaedic Specialists Inc. of Newport Beach where she is accused of stealing $1.5 million as their bookkeeper.

A doctor in the practice, while on vacation to Europe in 2017, noticed some irregularities in contractor pay, company credit card balances and other miscellaneous accounts. Upon returning from that vacation, Reyes was fired.

Her charges include 36 counts of grand theft with sentencing enhancement allegations of aggravated white collar crime exceeding $500,000.

Reyes was hired in 2014 to replace a longtime previous bookkeeper who retired after 21 years of employment.

She is being held on $1,500,000 bail.

Vehicle stuck on beach turns up as carjacked from San Diego, multiple people arrested

On Monday, October 14, at approximately 8:21 p.m., Newport Beach Police officers were dispatched to the area of 51st Street and Seashore Drive in response to a report of a BMW vehicle in the sand on the beach. Upon arrival, police found the car some 10 feet out and stuck in the sand, with no one inside.

A check of the vehicle’s plate found that it had been stolen. A subsequent VIN check revealed that the vehicle was suspected of being part of an armed carjacking out of San Diego.

Further investigation led officers to find Tyquan Maurice Rawlins, 29, of Compton, and Channing Robert Tarrell Douglas, 31, of Anaheim, in the area in possession of keys to the vehicle and a stolen plate removed from the vehicle.

Both were arrested – Rawlins on charges of possession of a stolen vehicle, false personation of another for deceiving officers and for a warrant for previously attempting to commit fraud. His bail was set at $30,000.

Douglas was arrested for being in possession of a stolen vehicle. His bail was set at $20,000.

Two others were also arrested. Violeta Arzeta, 37, of Newport Beach, was arrested for warrants relating to transporting a controlled substance for sale and possession of drugs for sale. No bail was set against her charges.

Also, Jose Noe Valerio, 26, Santa Ana, was arrested on a warrant for unlawfully taking a vehicle.

Tinted windows and inoperable brake light turn up drugs and numerous identity theft-related items

On Monday, October 14, a Newport Beach Police officer was driving southbound on MacArthur Blvd. at Bonita Canyon Drive when he noticed a suspicious stopped Saturn in the left turn lane. The vehicle had an inoperable driver side brake lamp and the front door windows were heavily tinted limiting visibility inside the auto.

The officer conducted a traffic stop of Matt James Gauvin, 45, of Rancho Cucamonga. Further investigation revealed that Gauvin was on probation through Los Angeles County.

A subsequent search of the vehicle turned up 5.4 grams of methamphetamine, Xanax pills, syringes, a spoon and bottle cap of meth residue.

Additionally, the officer found numerous personal identifying items which belonged to other people, including checks, California driver’s licenses, debit cards, personal information for other people, 18 blank magnetic strip cards and an additional two magnetic cards found in the center console. 

Gauvin also possessed a re-encoder that could be used to turn the blank cards into active ones.

He was arrested for possession of a controlled substance, identity theft for possessing 10 or more IDs, receiving stolen property with a value less than $950, possession of a controlled substance, identity theft by using another’s ID with intent to defraud, fraudulent possession of a re-encoder, possession of an incomplete access card and being an addict driving a vehicle. 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.


Police Files

Bicyclist busted with burglary tools, paraphernalia and a knife

While on patrol around 1:42 p.m., on Friday, October 11, a Newport Beach police officer observed a male subject picking through trash in the area of 52nd St. and Seashore Drive. Picking through trash is in violation of Newport Beach Municipal Code 6.04.070(b).

The officers stopped to contact the subject and observed black and red bolt cutters in the front basket of his bicycle. He was also wearing black gloves.

Further investigation led to the subject, James Vance Hoover, 49, of Riverside, admitting that he was in possession of a methamphetamine pipe with burn marks and a five-inch knife. 

Police also found additional miscellaneous tools often used in the commission of burglaries and thefts.

Hoover was arrested on charges of being in possession of burglary tools, carrying a concealed dirk or dagger and for possession of unlawful paraphernalia.

He was held on $20,000 bail.

Another construction site hit with after-hours theft

On Friday, October 11, at about 8:11 a.m., a Newport Beach Police Department officer was sent to the area of San Joaquin Hills Road and Crown Drive N for a call referencing a burglary from a construction site. 

Upon arrival, the victim told the officer that the construction site was locked for the night at 6:30 p.m. the day prior. When employees arrived that morning, at around 7:30 a.m., and began opening the construction site, it was observed that the lock on the exterior of the fence had been cut off. 

It was then discovered that power tools were stolen, including a Honda generator, two Rollair air compressors and three Stehl blowers. The estimated loss of property was valued at $4,660.

Police continue to investigate.

The NBPD also sent out a community message last week asking for the public’s help with observing closed construction sites. If the public notices any strange activity at these sites after hours, they are urged to contact the Newport Beach Police Department.

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

Lifeguards: On the Waterfront

Warm weather nice, but be on the lookout for stingrays

The month of October at the beach continues to deliver classic California fall conditions, and Newport Beach Ocean Lifeguards watched more than an estimated 69,400 people enjoying Newport Beach. Warm summer-like conditions are still attracting people to enjoy our amazing beaches. Small surf did not make conditions great for surfers and kept lifeguard rescue activity low (always use caution in the ocean even when you think conditions are safe). 

Police Files Lifeguard truck in sand

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Lana Johnson

Stingrays have been a nuisance this week, so make sure you shuffle your feet (stingray shuffle) while entering into the water. 

Look for our lifeguards patrolling in trucks and hit them up for the safest places to swim and for other beach conditions. 

For the weekend, three ocean rescues, 444 preventative actions, 683 public contacts and 83 medical aids were made.

We hope everyone gets out to 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

DUI chase starts in Laguna Beach, ends in Newport, cars damaged in between

On Wednesday, October 9, at approximately 6:39 p.m., Laguna Beach Police officers became engaged in a vehicle pursuit of a reported DUI driver. 

The driver initially yielded in the area of Glenneyre Street and Cleo Street, but then fled when an officer approached his vehicle on foot. The suspect then evaded officers traveling through Laguna Beach and outbound on Laguna Canyon Road, before heading onto northbound SR-73 toward Newport Beach. 

Orange County Sheriff’s Department helicopter “Duke” arrived at that time and began broadcasting the pursuit. The suspect soon exited the toll road and continued into the city of Irvine, colliding with a motorist causing a non-injury collision.

Police Files Favreau

Courtesy of LBPD

Kevin Laurence Favreau

 The suspect failed to stop and continued into the city of Newport Beach. Officers pursued the vehicle, but eventually lost visual observation. 

Shortly thereafter, the Newport Beach Police Department received a report of a second collision involving the suspect’s vehicle. However, when the vehicle was found shortly thereafter, it was unoccupied. 

A search of the surrounding area was conducted, and Newport Beach Police located and took into custody Kevin Laurence Favreau, 40, but not before he physically resisted officers. 

Newport Beach Police were familiar with the suspect because they arrested him the previous week for DUI (drugs), when he also allegedly assaulted one of their officers. 

Favreau was taken into custody for felony evading of a peace officer, DUI (drugs), hit & run and possession of a controlled substance without a prescription (Xanax).   

Man fills grocery bag with electronic products, attempts to leave and is arrested for grand theft

Newport Beach Police were called to Newport Center on Monday, October 7, at approximately 4:16 p.m. on a report of a suspect in custody for possible grand theft. 

Around 4:10 p.m. the detained suspect had reportedly entered a retail store carrying an empty grocery bag. Prior to leaving, he was observed putting multiple Apple products inside of it and then leaving the store without paying.

A loss prevention officer subsequently stopped the suspect, Milan Amador Mansfield, 22, of Los Angeles, and held him until police arrived.

Upon questioning, the suspect initially provided police with a fake name and date of birth.

He was arrested and held on charges of presenting false identification to a specific peace officer and grand theft.

His bail was set at $20,000.

Man arrives home, finds unwanted woman in garage

On Sunday, October 6, Newport Beach Police were summoned to the area of 12th St. and W. Balboa Blvd. 

A resident at the location had returned home around 3:40 p.m. and found a woman inside of his garage. He instructed her to leave and she did so with multiple confidential papers.

Police located Karen Leanne Lewis, 50, of Irvine, and took her into custody on charges of residential burglary with a forced entry.

She was held on $50,000 bail.

Community asked to report any construction site suspicious after-hours activity

Newport Beach Police are asking the community for help in preventing construction site burglaries. The public is asked that if they see suspicious activity at a site in their neighborhood after hours, to please contact police.

Be prepared to give the location, possible suspect description and, if a vehicle is involved, the make, model and color.

Construction hours should be weekdays, 7 a.m.-6:30 p.m., Saturdays, 8 a.m.-6 p.m., and no activity on Sundays or Federal Holidays.

Report all suspicious activity to 949.644.3717.

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


Police Files

Home broken into in Mariners community; police advise residents to follow security tips

Last Tuesday, October 1, an unknown suspect entered a property in the 1600 block of Lincoln Lane through a side gate sometime between 7:10 a.m. and 9:20 p.m. The victim was gone for the day.

Once in the backyard, the suspect shattered a French door and entered the home. All the rooms in the residence were ransacked before the suspect fled the scene.

Based on video footage, at approximately 6 p.m., an unknown male rang the front doorbell. Then, at approximately 8 p.m., another unknown male rang the doorbell. 

The suspects’ information is as follows: Suspect 1 – male, white, wearing a grey and neon yellow short-sleeve polo shirt, black belt, blue jeans, watch and black backpack. Suspect 2 – male, wearing a baseball hat, hooded sweatshirt and pants.

The loss to the victims was unknown at the time the police report was filed.

Home security tips

Police advise the following: If you see suspicious activity within your neighborhood at a home where you know your neighbors are on vacation, have gone out for the evening, or their home is for sale, please call the Newport Beach Police Department immediately at 949.644.3717.

Residents are also urged to follow the following security tips: Always lock your windows and doors when you go out, even if for only a few minutes. Second story windows and doors should be secured as if they were on the first story. If you return home and find your pedestrian door that leads into your home locked, and you are certain that you left it unlocked, DO NOT GO INSIDE! Call 9-1-1. Burglars often lock this door to slow down a victim, allowing the burglar extra time to get out of the home before the resident enters. If your home is equipped with an alarm, always activate it even if you’re only going out for a short walk.

Consider adding a motion sensor in your master bedroom/bathroom, which will activate the alarm if someone comes in through a glass window or door without opening it. Always keep your front and rear porch lights on from dusk to dawn and use motion detector lighting along the sides of your home or areas with little foot traffic. Use timers on indoor lamps to give the appearance that you are home. Adjust window coverings for optimal privacy while maintaining good visibility outside. Assess whether or not a window can be easily accessed from a tree, balcony, roof, wall, or with patio furniture and adjust your security plan accordingly.

Ladders should be stored inside or locked to a stationary object. If your garage door has a remote shutoff button on the wall-mounted control, located in the garage, consider locking the door nightly. This will prevent your garage door from being opened remotely. If you have a safe, make sure that it is properly bolted to concrete so that it cannot be easily removed. Always close and lock your safe and never leave a key or combination out or in an easy to find location (i.e. office, nightstand, etc.). When you leave on vacation, remember to call the Police Department for a “Vacation Check” at 949.644.3681. Also, ask a trusted friend or neighbor to pick up your newspaper and mail while you are away.

Suspect decides not to pay for parking, breaks off parking control gate arm

Last Wednesday, October 2, at approximately 5:20 p.m., a Newport Beach Police officer responded to a parking garage in the area of Via Lido and Newport Blvd. regarding a vandalism incident that occurred. 

Security detail at the parking structure informed police that a video showed that on Saturday, September 28, a male patron of the structure apparently broke off the parking control gate arm, with his hands, on purpose. The patron was attempting to leave the structure without paying.

Further discovery showed that the patron made no attempt to use the automated, electronic payment station, to which the gate was affixed, at any point.

The vehicle in question was a 2004 Chevrolet Avalanche.

Police are investigating, with potential charges of vandalism for damaging property pending.

Lifeguards: On the Waterfront

Warm weather and the air show increase beach traffic

Last week, Newport Beach Lifeguards watched over an estimated 112,500 people enjoying Newport Beach. Warm summer-like conditions and the Great Pacific Airshow kept the beaches full of people and lifeguards on their toes. There was an estimated beach attendance of 55,000 this past weekend. The number of boaters out on the water for the air show was in the hundreds. The harbor entrance looked like a 4th of July weekend. 

Surf conditions were small and not that great for surfing, but great for swimmers. However, the water temperature is starting to drop, and hovering around a refreshing 66-67 degrees.

Police Files Lifeguard Tower

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Lana Johnson

If you’re out there, look for lifeguards patrolling in trucks and hit them up for the safest places to swim and for other beach conditions. 

For the weekend, three ocean rescues, 397 preventative actions, 258 public contacts and 20 medical aids were made.

We hope everyone gets out to 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

After leaving Newport Beach bar, woman found guilty of murdering three teens in DUI

A jury on Tuesday found Bani Marclea Duarte, 29, of San Clemente, guilty of murdering three Las Vegas teenagers and injuring a fourth while driving under the influence.

In the early morning hours of March 29, 2018, Duarte was driving under the influence on Pacific Coast Highway toward Huntington Beach, after leaving a Newport Beach bar.

At approximately 1 a.m., four Las Vegas high school students, who were celebrating their spring break in Orange County, were stopped in a vehicle at a red light on Pacific Coast Highway and Magnolia. Duarte failed to stop at the red light and rear-ended the victims’ vehicle at a high rate of speed, causing an impact that pushed the car through the intersection and forced it into a pole, where it stopped and burst into flames.

17-year-old Brooke Hawley, 18-year-old Dylan Mack and 17-year-old Albert Rossi were pronounced dead at the scene. John Doe survived the collision, suffering great bodily injury, including burns and a concussion.

Duarte was arrested at the scene by the Huntington Beach Police Department. 

She was convicted of three felony counts of murder, one felony count of driving under the influence of alcohol causing bodily injury and a sentencing enhancement of great bodily injury. She faces 51 years to life in state prison.

Duarte had previously been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in 2016 and had lost her license for a year.

“There was no reason for these three young people to have lost their lives to a repeat drunk driver,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. “The unnecessary loss of life is why I, as a member of the State Assembly, authored the Steve Ambriz Act to require every Californian who wants a driver’s license to sign a form that states he or she has been advised that being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or both, impairs the ability to safely operate a motor vehicle, and if they do so anyway and someone is killed, they can be charged with murder. This was not an accident. It was a choice – and it was a deadly one.”

Unknown man discovered in woman’s bedroom closet in early morning hours allegedly attempting to steal

On Monday, September 30, at approximately 6:44 a.m., Newport Beach Police officers were dispatched to the 20400 block of Santa Ana Ave. on a report of an unknown male inside a residence.

The victim, a female, stated that she found the suspect in her bedroom closet in the act of stealing her property.

Police arrested Nicholas Amarante Romero, 23, of Newport Beach, on charges of residential burglary with no forced entry and receiving stolen property valued at less than $950. The suspect did not know Romero. 

Further investigation found that the victim’s bedroom was ransacked, her shoes were placed in bags and items were missing, including a gold necklace and sunglasses.

Romero was held on $50,000 bail.

Woman reportedly attacked near Shake Shack with metal rod

On Sunday, September 29, at approximately 6:37 p.m., Newport Beach Police Department officers were sent to the area of Los Trancos and E. Coast Highway regarding a possible assault that had just occurred.

The victim, near the Shake Shack, reported being attacked with a metal camping rod and a metallic water bottle. The victim, a Caucasian 40-year-old female was in need of medical treatment and transported to a local hospital for treatment. There, she signed a private person’s arrest form.

Police arrested John Andrew Wilson, a 59-year-old painter, on charges of assault with a deadly weapon.

He was held on $25,000 bail.

NMUSD school vandalized for second time in week

On Monday, September 30, at approximately 8:09 a.m., a Newport Beach Police officer was dispatched to the 3100 block of Pacific View Drive regarding a vandalism report.

This was the second report of vandalism within the week at the same address.

A custodian at the school observed an upper classroom window that was broken, an air vent in the door to an electrical room damaged and the boy’s bathroom damaged.

The campus was reportedly intact as of Friday, September 27 at 3 p.m., and upon the custodian’s return on Monday at 6 a.m.

Police are investigating.

Wallet taken from purse hanging on chair back, fortunately immediate usage was denied

On Sunday, September 29, the Newport Beach Police Department’s front desk received a call regarding a theft report.

Between 1:45 and 2:45 p.m., the female victim was sitting at a commercial establishment near E. Coast Highway and Orchid Ave., with her purse hanging behind her on the chair. 

Roughly 10 minutes later around 2:55 p.m., the victim received an alert from a store referencing that one of her credit cards had been declined. At 2:59 p.m., 3:01 p.m. and 3:02 p.m., the victim received fraud alerts on her phone about three other declined attempts on her other credit cards.

The victim, consequently, discovered that her blue wallet had been removed from her purse earlier.

No on as of yet has been arrested or charged.

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

Altercation between two CdM students leaves one hospitalized

An altercation between a 14-year-old Corona del Mar High School student and a 12-year-old CdM Middle School student turned ugly last Thursday. The result was a seventh grader heading off to a hospital with multiple head fractures and a 14-year-old in handcuffs heading out to juvenile jail.

The high school student was taken into custody on suspicion of battery with the intent to cause great bodily injury.

Eyewitnesses alleged that the older boy grabbed the younger one, then threw him down, causing him to land on his head.

Neither boy’s name was disclosed due to their ages.

School officials did not immediately know the cause and said they would explore disciplinary action against the 14-year-old. The school district and the Newport Beach Police Department will not comment further also due to the fact that both students are juveniles.

Vandal suspected of defacing multiple signs in beach area 

On Saturday, September 28, at approximately 9:07 p.m., a Newport Beach Police officer was dispatched to the area of Miramar Drive and I Street regarding a suspicious male who was reportedly looking into unoccupied residences.

Once the officer had arrived on scene he was able to locate the suspect as described by witnesses in the area. 

Further investigation led to finding the suspect, Andres Berruete, 20, of Santa Ana. Police discovered a black marker in his possession and noticed a trashcan on the beach and approximately seven signs in the area that had been defaced by a marker.

Police arrested Buerette on three counts of vandalism.

Lifeguards: On the Waterfront

Cloudy skies and light rain equal quieter beaches

Last week Newport Beach Lifeguards watched over an estimated 45,517 people enjoying Newport Beach. Lifeguards saw a decline in the activity this week due to cloudy sky, light rain Thursday and Saturday, and cooler temperatures. 

The overall beach conditions were still nice, and surfers saw great south swell conditions Friday, and a good run of west swell on Sunday. 

Lifeguards yellow rescue boat

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of NB Lifeguards

Newport Beach is scaling back operations and lifeguard towers as we normally do in the fall season. Look for our lifeguards patrolling in trucks and hit them up for the safest places to swim and for other beach conditions. We hope everyone gets out to enjoy our amazing beaches and make sure you always swim near an open tower and check in with the lifeguard!

For the weekend, 8 ocean rescues, 206 preventative actions, 278 public contacts and 31 medical aids were made.

For the month of September, 235 ocean rescues, 4,698 preventative actions, 2,135 public contacts and 202 medical aids were made on a monthly beach population of 586,017.

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


Police Files

Son of baseball star arrested on a number of charges including attempted homicide

Tim DeCinces, 45, a real estate advisor and Newport Beach resident, has been charged with nine counts by the Orange County Superior Court following an alleged assault on a female with force likely to produce great bodily injury.

Additional charges against DeCinces include making criminal threats, child abuse and endangerment, possession of a controlled substance, possession of paraphernalia for controlled substance use, soliciting and/or agreeing to engage in prostitution and battery with serious bodily injury.

Police Files Tim DeCinces

Courtesy of OCDA

Tim DeCinces

Newport Beach Police arrest records show that DeCinces was arrested at 9:33 p.m. on Pauma Lane the evening of Sunday, September 22. According to a Newport Beach Police spokesperson, the original charges against DeCinces included an attempt to commit a felony crime, attempted homicide, cruelty to a child with a possible injury, possession of a narcotic controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance.

His initial bail was listed at $1,000,000, but according to court documents that amount has subsequently been reduced to $500,000.

At the time of his arrest, two female suspects were also taken into custody at the same location.

Sarah Rae Carpenter, 30, of Garden Grove, was arrested for possession of a controlled substance, possession of a narcotic controlled substance and possession of unlawful paraphernalia. Her bail was set at $10,000.

Amanda Lynn Schauerte, 32, of Huntington Beach, was also taken into custody. Her charges included false personation of another, possession of a controlled substance, possession of a narcotic controlled substance, possession of unlawful paraphernalia and four outstanding warrants for possession of unlawful paraphernalia. Her bail was set at $32,500.

DeCinces is the son of former baseball star Doug DeCinces, who played 15 years in the Major Leagues, starring with both the Baltimore Orioles and the California Angels.

Tim also played baseball as a catcher and first baseman in college for UCLA and then eight seasons in the minor leagues.

Most recently he has worked in the residential real estate industry with several large Newport Beach companies, following an ownership stint with a Costa Mesa restaurant named Beach Pit BBQ.

DeCinces was scheduled to appear twice in court on September 24, but both hearings were canceled according to the Orange County Superior Court records. He is currently out on bail.

Vandals hit Lincoln Elementary

Newport Beach Police responded Sunday morning, September 22, at 8:30 a.m. to a felony vandalism that occurred at Lincoln Elementary School in the 3100 block of Pacific View Drive in Corona del Mar.

According to reports, the vandals destroyed the campus garden, took some parts and broke classroom windows. 

The incident occurred sometime between 10 a.m. on Saturday and early Sunday morning.

Police are investigating.

Four establishments busted for selling liquor to minors in sting operation

Detectives from the Newport Beach Police Department, in cooperation with Investigators of the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), have issued citations to four people for selling alcohol to a minor. The action was the result of a “Minor Decoy Operation” on September 20, in which minors under the direct supervision of the investigators, attempted to purchase alcohol from 15 separate retail licensees in the city of Newport Beach.

Citations were issued at four establishments: Sancho’s Tacos, Gina’s Pizza (Balboa Peninsula), Tide Poole’s, and Minute King (Irvine Avenue). The remaining eleven businesses did not sell alcohol to the underage decoys: Circle K, Sportsman’s Liquor Store, The Alley Restaurant and Bar, Bal-Port Liquors, Pavilion’s (Balboa Peninsula), Dory Deli, Henry’s Groceries, Bal Harbor Liquor, Azar’s Pizza, Cassidy’s Bar and Grill, and Outpost Liquor.

Those who sell alcoholic beverages to minors may face a fine of up to $1,000 and/or 24-32 hours of community service for a first violation. In addition, ABC will take administrative action against the alcoholic beverage license belonging to the businesses where the sales to minors occurred. Possible repercussions include fines, suspension of the establishment’s liquor license, or the permanent revocation of the license.

Minor Decoy Operations have been conducted by local law enforcement throughout the state since the 1980s. In 1994, the California Supreme Court ruled unanimously that use of underage decoys is a valid tool for law enforcement to ensure that licensed premises are complying with the law.

Funding for this program was provided by a $25,000 grant awarded to the Newport Beach Police Department from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) 2018/2019 Alcohol Policing Partnership Program (APP). The AAP grant award will allow the Police Department to work with retail alcohol establishments on issues such as over-service, underage drinking, and ABC condition violations.

The City of Newport Beach has 360 licensed establishments.

Man allegedly terrorizes and batters landscaper

On Monday, September 13, at 7:14 a.m., a Newport Beach Police officer received a report of a battery that had allegedly just occurred in the area of Avocado Ave. and San Miguel Rd.

Upon investigating, the officer found that a landscaper was attempting to clean up an area with a leaf blower when he was approached by the suspect. The suspect allegedly yelled at the victim and then shoved him to the ground by placing his hands on the victim’s chest and pushing him violently backwards.

The victim then attempted to leave the area, however, the suspect allegedly followed him and continued yelling.

Witnesses confirmed the suspects ‘account.

Gregory Allan Scafferty, 59, of Santa Ana, was arrested on charges of threatening a crime with the intent to terrorize and battery.

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.


Police Files

Missing check leads to $100,000 fraud filing

On Wednesday, September 19, a victim came into the Newport Beach Police Department front desk to file a fraud report. 

The victim had previously dropped off a check into the blue mailbox in front of a post office at 10:30 p.m. on Sunday, September 15. The victim later received a telephone call from the bank asking if the check had been issued to the name on the front of the check. The victim advised the bank that he did not know a person by that name.

A report of grand theft fraud for $100,000 was subsequently filed against the suspect listed on the check that was cashed. 

Police are investigating.

Stolen vehicles become the crime of the day

On Wednesday, September 19, a Newport Beach Police officer was dispatched to the area of MacArthur Blvd. & Corinthian Way relating to a missing vehicle. 

The reporting party told police that the vehicle was parked in a parking lot at approximately 7 p.m. When he returned two hours later, the vehicle, a Lexus sedan, was missing.

Police took a report and are investigating. The value of the vehicle was placed at $15,000.

Earlier the same day, at approximately 1:15 p.m., police investigated another stolen vehicle in the Irvine Avenue and Mariners Drive area. 

The victim had parked his black and chrome Harley Davidson Dina Wide Glide motorcycle at the location at 8:30 a.m. Upon returning around 1 p.m., the motorcycle was missing.

Police are investigating.

The vehicle thefts are not related.

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

Beaches quieter, but water is warm

Last week Newport Beach Lifeguards watched over an estimated 94,000 people enjoying Newport Beach! The beach was still full of beach goers as we enter into the fall season (last day of summer was Monday, September 23).

Lifeguards saw a dramatic decrease in activity due to extremely flat surf conditions. Although conditions were poor for surfing, they were epic to for beach goers with water temperature hovering around a warm 72 degrees, and air temperature in the upper 70s. Cooler conditions are expected this week, with a chance of a shower at the end of the week. 

Lifeguards Red truck

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of NB Lifeguards

For the weekend, 13 ocean rescues, 136 preventative actions, 298 public contacts and 28 medical aids were made.

We hope everyone gets out to 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

Newport Beach trucker found with a sizeable cargo of marijuana in Wyoming

A Newport Beach man, Boby James Ferregno, 44, was driving his freightliner truck and trailer earlier this month through Wyoming. A fellow driver reportedly noticed some erratic driving by Ferregno and called into Report Every Drunk Driver Immediately (REDDI).

The Wyoming Highway Patrol located his vehicle shortly thereafter traveling southbound on the I-25. The trooper witnessed Ferregno’s vehicle crossing a white fog line several times and made a traffic stop.

Ferregno’s bill of lading showed he was supposedly transporting children’s toys. However, a required shipping seal was missing from the back door of the van and replaced with heavy duty locks.

The trooper called in a K9 unit that then turned up 15 large duffle bags of raw marijuana, THC oil and THC candies. The estimated amounts found were 241 pounds of raw marijuana, 496 grams of wax THC, 344 packages of THC gummies and 2,450 THC vape cartridges.

Ferregno was arrested and bound over to Wyoming’s Eighth Judicial District Court for trial.

Woman allegedly flees upscale store with clothing in hand and is arrested a short time later

On Monday, September 16, at approximately 2:21 p.m., a Newport Beach Police Department officer responded to the Crystal Cove Shopping Center area in response to a grand theft report.

According to NBPD, an employee at a store in the center reported that a female suspect had just stolen clothes and then fled westbound on E. Coast Highway in a silver Acura.

Another NBPD officer observed the reported vehicle and the suspect matching the description. The officer conducted a traffic stop in the area of San Joaquin Hills Road and MacArthur Blvd.

Further investigation led to the suspect stating that she had stolen four blouses from the store.

Police arrested Jinn Hee Hong, 60, of Santa Ana, at 3:54 p.m., charging her with commercial burglary by shoplifting an amount greater than $950, receiving stolen property with a value greater than $950 and driving a vehicle without a license.

She was 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.


Police Files

Local man arrested five times in a week for disorderly conduct related to alcohol

Disorderly conduct is a crime in most jurisdictions in the United States that makes it a crime to be drunk in public, to “disturb the peace,” or to loiter in certain areas. 

Nathaniel Monks Hutchinson, 54, Costa Mesa, appears to be a habitual violator locally of this crime. This past week alone, Hutchinson was arrested and charged on five separate occasions for violating Penal Code 647(F), disorderly conduct: alcohol.

Hutchinson was arrested on Sunday, September 8, then again twice on Wednesday, September 11, again on Thursday, September 12, and then, once more on September 13.

This pattern has continued over the past year with many violations.

Each time on the arrest record, Hutchinson lists his occupation as “drinker.”

Although the arrest only carries a $500 bail, it requires NBPD personnel each time an arrest occurs.

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

Warm weather, but crowds down as we move towards fall 

Last week Newport Beach Lifeguards watched over an estimated 101,500 people enjoying Newport Beach. The beach population is down as we move towards fall. Warm water and air temperature made the weekend beach conditions pretty epic. Cooler conditions are expected this week. 

Lifeguards Yellow Rescue Boat

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of NB Lifeguards

For the weekend, 29 ocean rescues, 772 preventative actions, 419 public contacts and 42 medical aids were made.

We hope everyone gets out to 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

Car chase ends in four captured for Newport Beach residential burglary, each held on $1,000,000 

On Monday, September 9 at approximately 10:37 p.m., a Newport Beach police officer observed a black Toyota Camry driving in the area of San Joaquin Hills Road and Spyglass Hill Road. The vehicle had the front windows tinted, a violation of 26708(a)(2) CVC, and was moving at a high rate of speed. 

Upon activating the emergency lights and siren to conduct a traffic stop, the Camry continued to drive and not yield for the officer. The vehicle continued to be in violation of many vehicle codes and was not yielding as it traveled through Newport Beach and onto the 73 Freeway. 

After a period of time, the California Highway Patrol assisted the NBPD and was able to use spike strips and stop the vehicle at the intersection of the 71 and 91 Freeways. 

The four occupants exited the vehicle without incident. A safe was located in the vehicle upon their arrest.

Further investigation of documents in the safe led officers to the area of Half Moon Bay Drive and Point Loma Drive. Officers arrived on scene of that location and noticed a garage door open and a shattered glass door. 

Officers entered the home and found mud throughout the house, ransacked rooms and the location the safe was taken from. The owner of the residence was not home at the time.

Police arrested Elante Lamar Gilliam, 28, of Altadena, Lindsay Claudine Lacy, 25, of Rancho Cordova, Martrell Eric Robinson, 18, of Pasadena, and Brittany Victoria Chatman, 27, of Pasadena.

The four were booked on a variety of charges ranging from conspiracy to commit a crime, residential burglary with a forced entry, possession of burglary tools and receiving stolen property.

Gilliam was also charged with a parole violation, while Chatman added charges of evading a peace officer and driving while her license was suspended.

All four had their bails set at $1,000,000.

NBPD joins in Child Passenger Safety Week

The Newport Beach Police Department is joining law enforcement agencies, public health departments and other community organizations to raise awareness about the importance of keeping children in the correct car seat for their age and size.

The effort to promote car seat safety coincides with Child Passenger Safety Week, which is from September 15-21.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 46 percent of car seats are not used properly.

“Children mean the world to parents and caregivers, but unfortunately many are putting them in harm’s way without knowing it,” Lieutenant Cartwright said. “Our goal is to educate parents and caregivers on how they can keep children riding in the car as safe as possible.”

Child Passenger Safety Week wraps up with National Seat Check at Safety Belt Safe U.S.A., which will a host a car seat check event on Saturday, September 21, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Safety Belt U.S.A is located at 22481 Aspan Street, Lake Forest.

“Even if you think you have the right car seat and installed it correctly, it doesn’t hurt to get it checked,” Lieutenant Cartwright.

Under California law, children under two weighing less than 40 pounds and less than 40 inches tall are required to be in a rear-facing car seat. Children under the age of eight or less than 4’ 9” tall must be secured in a car or booster seat. The fine for not securing a child in the correct child safety seat is $490.

To find the right seat for your child, visit the NHTSA website here. To find a car seat fitting station near you, contact your local California Highway Patrol area office or go to the California Office of Traffic Safety website for a listing of car seat programs statewide.

Funding for this child passenger safety program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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

Click on photo for a larger image

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

Click on photo for a larger image

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.

Scroll down to Police Beat for all arrests & crime report


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.

Scroll down to Police Beat for all arrests & crime report


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.

Scroll down to Police Beat for all arrests & crime report

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