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Newport Beach


Police Files

National Teen Driver Safety Week is a good time to make certain that driving is being done safely

As part of National Teen Driver Safety Week that runs October 17-23, the Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) reminds parents and guardians of the importance of talking to their teen(s) about driving responsibly and safely.

Driving remains the most dangerous activity for teens. Per mile driven, teen drivers are nearly four times as likely to be involved in a crash as drivers in all other age groups. 

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), speeding was a factor in 43 percent of all teen driver and passenger fatalities from 2015 to 2019, compared to approximately 30 percent of all traffic deaths among adults 20 and older.

“Like most skills, experience and training make you better and more prepared as a driver,” NBPD Lieutenant Ryan Peters said. “Teen drivers are naturally inexperienced and more likely to take risks and pick up bad habits, which is why it is important for parents and caregivers to play an active role in instilling safe driving habits in their teen.”

The NBPD offers the following tips to parents and guardians for starting conversations about safe driving with teens:

–Provisional Driver’s License: Learn about California’s provisional licensing law, which places restrictions on passengers and driving at night during the first year they have a license.

–Lead by example: Have driving sessions with your teen. Tell, but also show your teen how to drive safely.

–Set ground rules: Be firm on rules such as no phone use, being distracted by friends, always following the speed limit and always buckling up.

–Sober driving: Emphasize the importance of never driving under the influence or riding with someone who has been drinking.

Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Bike safety meeting scheduled Monday at NHHS

The Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) invites residents to join them for a meeting to discuss bicycle safety. Parents of school-age children in the area are especially encouraged to attend. 

The meeting will take place in the gym at Newport Harbor High School at 6 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 18. 

Topics covered will be information about electric bikes, rules of the road, safety equipment, NBPD’s enforcement efforts and preventing bike thefts.


Police Files

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NBPD receives ABC grant to address alcohol-related issues

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Tis the season for stolen packages and mail

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

Mail theft prevention

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

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

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

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

–Never send cash or coins through the mail. 

–When reordering checks have them sent to your bank. 

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

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

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

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

Pack theft prevention

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

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

Never leave your deliveries unattended on your front porch.

Always require a signature when having items delivered.

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


Police Files

Police seeking help with info on vehicle involved in collision fatality

Police Files Pickup

Courtesy of NBPD

On Saturday, Oct. 2, at approximately 7:39 p.m., the Newport Beach Police Department responded to a fatal traffic collision in the area of MacArthur Boulevard and Bison Avenue.

The NBPD is seeking the public’s assistance with their investigation of this incident as well as any activities leading up to the collision. Anyone with information regarding the vehicle depicted in the photographs or its occupants are encouraged to contact Officer Laverty at 949.644.3746 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The vehicle is reportedly a 2016 Toyota Tundra Crew-Cab, with a lifted suspension and a blue Nevada personalized license plate, along with an L.A. Chargers lightening logo in the rear cab window.

No identification has been released concerning the victim of the fatality.

NBPD receives grant to deter dangerous and illegal driving behaviors

The Newport Beach Police Department will roll out a traffic services program to deter dangerous and illegal driving behaviors that increase the risk of crashes in the community, courtesy of a $270,000 grant from the Office of Traffic Safety.

“Impairment, speeding and other dangerous driving behaviors jeopardize the safety of other people on the road,” Newport Beach Police Lieutenant Ryan Peters said. “This funding allows us to provide necessary traffic enforcement measures with the goal of reducing serious injury and fatal crashes on our roads.” 

The grant will pay for additional enforcement measures, including:

–DUI checkpoints and patrols specifically focused on suspected impaired drivers.

–Enforcement operations focused on suspected distracted drivers in violation of California’s hands-free cell phone law.

–Bicycle and pedestrian safety enforcement operations focused on driver behaviors that put vulnerable road users at risk.

–Enforcement operations focused on top violations that cause crashes: speeding, failure to yield, stop sign and/or red-light running and improper turning or lane changes.

–Community education presentations on traffic safety issues such as distracted driving, DUI, speeding, and bicycle and pedestrian safety.

–Collaborative enforcement efforts with neighboring agencies.

–Officer training and/or recertification: Standard Field Sobriety Test (SFST), Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) and Drug Recognition Expert (DRE).

The grant program will run through September 2022.

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


Police Files

NBPD: The subject is bicycle safety

With bicycle safety becoming one of the more talked about issues in town these days, the Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) will conduct a Bike Safety meeting for residents on Monday, Sept. 27, beginning at 6 p.m., at Ensign Intermediate School.

Topics that will be discussed include electric bikes, rules of the road, safety equipment, the NBPD’s enforcement efforts and the subject of preventing bike thefts.

Scholl policy requires attendees to be mindful of social distancing and to wear a mask while indoors on school grounds.

Ensign Intermediate School is located at 2000 Cliff Drive, Newport Beach.


Police Files

Bay bridge Labor Day crash appears tied to suspected DUI

The vehicle that crashed Monday (Sept. 6) on the bay bridge crossing, between Dover Drive and Bayside Drive, before leaving the roadway over the side railing, was reportedly the result of suspected speeding and DUI. Kevin Avoncejaimes, 20, of Costa Mesa, was extracted from the vehicle, airlifted to a nearby hospital and later arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.

Police Files vehicle crash

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Amy Senk

Vehicle parts remain down hillside near Pearson’s Port from car that left PCH in Labor Day crash

The incident occurred shortly after 5 p.m. and closed traffic on PCH in both directions while emergency personnel worked to save the solo occupant of a silver Mazda.

Eastbound lanes remained closed for an hour before reopening to through traffic, while westbound lanes remained closed for several more hours while the incident was investigated.

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 goes over bay bridge crossing and crashes into Pearson’s Port area

Newport Beach Police issued a Nixle alert at 5:54 p.m. last evening, Sept. 6, announcing a road closure in both directions of Pacific Coast Highway between Dover Drive and Bayside Drive due to a major traffic accident.

Preliminary reports from NBPD spokesperson Heather Rangel indicate that a vehicle traveling on PCH “in an unknown direction” went over the side railing of the bay bridge located there and landed in the Pearson’s Port area below. 

The police are reporting that a “single occupant was being extracted from the vehicle and airlifted to a nearby hospital.”

Eastbound lanes on PCH opened for traffic an hour after the initial alert, but the westbound lanes were expected to be closed another 3-4 hours.

There was no immediate report of injury or death.


Police Files

Efforts to improve driver and pedestrian interaction on the agenda for the NBPD

As part of Pedestrian Safety Month, the Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) is supporting efforts throughout September to improve pedestrian safety and help reduce crashes and injuries.

Pedestrians are more and more at risk on the road. Based on data from the Governors Highway Safety Association, 2020 had the largest ever annual increase, 21 percent, in the rate at which drivers struck and killed pedestrians. In California, pedestrian deaths accounted for 27 percent of all traffic-related deaths in 2019.

NBPD Lieutenant Ryan Peters said, “It’s simple: slow down and stop for pedestrians. They have the same rights to the road as everyone else. If you’re walking, be mindful of vehicle traffic and be predictable. We should all be looking out for one another.”

For the safety of everyone walking or driving, the NBPD will have additional officers on patrol throughout the month of September specifically looking for California Vehicle Code (CVC) violations pertaining to drivers and pedestrians.

These violations include right-of-way at crosswalks, illegal turns and not stopping for signs or signals (e.g., right turn on red or red light running) and speeding.

The NBPD offers steps drivers and pedestrians can take to greatly reduce the risk of getting injured or in a crash, including staying off the phone when behind the wheel or walking:

Pedestrians

–Be predictable. Use crosswalks.

–Take notice of approaching vehicles and practice due care.

–Do not walk or run into the path of a vehicle. No vehicle can stop instantly. At 30 mph, a driver needs at least 90 feet to stop.

–Be visible. Make it easy for drivers to see you – wear light colors, reflective material and carry a flashlight, particularly at dawn, dusk, or at night.

–Be extra careful crossing streets or entering crosswalks at night when it is harder to see, or when crossing busier streets with more lanes and higher speed limits.

Drivers

–Follow the speed limit and slow down at intersections. Be prepared to stop for pedestrians at marked and unmarked crosswalks.

–Avoid blocking crosswalks while waiting to make a right-hand turn.

–Never drive impaired.

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

NBPD to focus September on bicycle and e-bike safety

The NBPD will also be conducting additional bicycle and e-bike safety enforcement and education throughout the month of September. This operation is aimed at educating both drivers and bicyclists on how to use the roadways safely.

Officers will be looking for violations made by drivers and bicyclists, like failing to yield, speeding, improper turning, riding a bike on the wrong side of the road, not complying with stops and signals, or any other dangerous violation.

“We want the public to understand that bicyclists and drivers should be sharing the road and following all traffic laws intended to help everyone get where they need to go safely,” Lieutenant Ryan Peters said. “Sharing is caring, and that responsibility falls on both drivers and bicyclists.”

Under California law, drivers are required to provide at least three feet of space when passing bike riders. Bicyclists need to use lights from dusk to dawn, with a front white light and rear red flashing light or reflectors, as well as wear a helmet. Wearing a helmet is required by law for anyone under 18. Bicyclists must travel in the same direction of traffic and have the same requirements as any slow-moving vehicle.

If you are opening a car door or pulling out of a parking space, be on the lookout for bicyclists. Yield to bicyclists at intersections and as directed by signs and signals and be careful making turns. Drivers and bicyclists should avoid any distractions, like using their cell phone.

“Whether you are on two wheels or four, taking these precautions helps reduce injuries and deaths,” added Sergeant Corey Wolik.

The NBPD supports the new OTS public awareness campaign, “Go Safely, California.” To find out more about ways to go safely, visit www.gosafelyca.org

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


Police Files

Male acting strangely shot and killed by occupant after reportedly entering home in early morning hours

Yesterday morning, Aug. 26, at approximately 4:13 a.m., Newport Beach Police were called regarding a male subject who was reportedly suffering from mental health and/or possibly under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Police were directed to the area of Indus Street and Redlands Drive, located in a neighborhood area west of the 73 Freeway, between Santa Ana Country Club and Newport Beach Golf Course, in the Santa Ana Heights area.

While officers were responding to the call, the male subject reportedly forcibly entered a nearby residence and was subsequently shot by an occupant. The subject was found deceased at the scene when the police arrived.

Newport Beach Police Detectives and Crime Scene Investigation personnel are conducting an active homicide investigation. 

The identification of the deceased is still ongoing and will be released by the Orange County Sheriff-Coroner’s office.

The preliminary investigation indicates that this was an isolated incident and there is no ongoing community threat to public safety.


Police Files

Vandals damage B.Candy, China Cove homes in early morning spree

Newport Beach Police are investigating after two cases of vandalism occurred early Saturday morning, August 21, at homes in China Cove and at B.Candy, located at 3100 E. Coast Highway.

At B.Candy, a woman was caught on video pulling wiring extension cords from a decorative display and throwing it into the street and parking lot, then grabbing other decorations and breaking them, according to a police spokesman.

The popular candy shop’s owner, Brandy Valdez, said the decorations included a faux lollipop and ice cream cone that were in front of the store, as well as a flower banner that adorned the shop’s awning. 

Police Files vandalism

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Brandy Valdez

Decorations were damaged outside of B.Candy

Earlier Saturday, police also took a report of vandalism at multiple homes near Shell Street and Way Lane in China Cove. One resident said someone during the night had removed light bulbs from the front porch and slightly moved furniture items on the rear porch. A second resident said a pot at the entryway had soil and flowers removed and thrown onto the porch and a doorbell camera removed. A third resident saw a woman, and had multiple lights pulled out of the ground with electrical wires broken.

Police did not confirm that the same woman was suspected in both incidents.

Three burglaries reported, two in homes where residents were out

Three more residential burglaries were reported this week to Newport Beach Police, two of which occurred with the victims away.

The first one occurred in the Harbor View community in the 1700 block of Port Barmouth Place on Friday, Aug. 20 between 5:30-10 p.m.

With the victims away, an unknown suspect shattered a rear glass door to enter the home. Once inside, the suspect ransacked the master bedroom and office. The suspect then used a patio chair to assist in climbing the backyard fence, allowing them to flee.

The reported loss was jewelry.

No suspect information was available.

The second one occurred in the Mariners community in the 2100 block of Windward Lane between 12 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 14 and 10 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 19.

Again, with the victims away, an unknown suspect shattered a window on the side of the residence and then climbed through to enter the home. Once inside, the suspect ransacked the master bedroom, office and another bedroom before fleeing the scene.

The reported loss was jewelry.

No suspect information was available.

The third incident occurred on Wednesday, Aug. 18 around 3:30 p.m. in the 4500 block of Surrey Drive in the Cameo Highlands community.

At approximately 2:15 p.m., one of the residents noticed a suspicious vehicle in front of their house. Shortly thereafter the vehicle left, and the victim then left the residence while another victim remained home.

Then, around 3:30 p.m., the suspects accessed the home either through an open garage pedestrian door or through an open bedroom door. They apparently rummaged through some of the bedrooms before discovering one of the victims was still at home and fled the scene.

No loss was reported.

However, the victims did supply the NBPD with the suspects’ identification as two black males, approximately 5’9”-6’ in height, wearing black masks. Their vehicle was a silver sedan.

No arrests have been made.

• • •

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.

Tips from the Newport Beach Police to make your home safer

–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.

–Use timers on indoor lamps to give the appearance that you are home. If you’re going out for the evening, leave a television or a radio on in the home. 

–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.

–Make sure your utility box is secured with a padlock.

–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.).

–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.

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


Police Files

OCSD deputies spot burglary in process, notify NBPD and the chase is on

Suspects entered the back yard of a Dover Shores community home in the 1600 block of Antigua Way around 9 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 14. To gain access, the suspects shattered a rear glass door leading to the master bedroom.

While this was going on, Orange County Sheriff’s Department deputies were in the area and witnessed the burglary in progress. The deputies contacted Newport Beach Police.

Meanwhile the suspects ransacked the master bedroom and bathroom, before fleeing the scene.

Law enforcement pursued the suspects, with reports of assistance with an adjoining city’s police helicopter. The suspects were apprehended in neighboring back yards and taken into custody by the OCSD.

Losses were reported as jewelry, a watch, handbags and sunglasses.

Suspect enters Pelican Point home through second story balcony shattered glass door

A Pelican Point community home located on Pelican Point Drive was burglarized at approximately 11:40 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 14.

While the victim was away, an unknown suspect climbed to the second story balcony of the residence and shattered a glass door to gain access to the master bedroom. Once inside, the suspect rummaged through drawers in both the master bedroom and bathroom. 

It also appeared that the suspect attempted to force open the master closet door and the door leading from the master closet to the rest of the house without success.

The loss is unknown and no suspect information is available.

Fire Files

NBFD helps battle statewide fires raging out of control

More than 11,000 firefighters continue to battle 13 large wildfires and two extended attack wildfires burning in California. Yesterday, the weather continued to test firefighters, as well as increase the risk of new wildfires. 

The Newport Beach Fire Department is engaged. Originally, a strike team of five fire engines from Orange County was sent up to the Dixie Fire about three weeks ago, including one from Newport Beach. That one included one fire engine as part of that strike team staffed with four firefighters. NBFD also sent Battalion Chief Nic Lucas to work in a Safety Officer role. 

All five members returned last weekend after working there for 14 days, plus several travel days.

This week, on Tuesday (Aug. 17), Orange County sent another strike team of five fire engines that included one from Newport Beach. The NBFD engine has four personnel on it. 

Additionally, NBFD sent two Battalion Chiefs to serve as Strike Team Leaders to supervise and direct the five engine companies from the various Orange County agencies. 

The Strike Team Leader responsibility rotates among the different Orange County fire agencies, and this one was Newport Beach’s turn to lead. 

Newport Beach Fire Chief Jeff Boyles told Stu News, “I can tell you from experience, that taking 20 firefighters from five different agencies to an area you have never been to before and battle a fire that is completely out of control, is one of the most dynamic, stressful, yet exhilarating experiences one will ever have in a career. Very few people get the opportunity. 

“We have Battalion Chiefs Brian McDonough and Nick Stocks filling those roles. Alongside them on our Newport Beach fire engine we have Captain Joe Harrison, Engineer Paul Cortes and Firefighter/Paramedics Cory Freeman and Drew Kaford.”

The fire they are battling is the Dixie Fire, which continues to rage out of control and is only about 35 percent contained. It is the largest fire in California state history.


Police Files

DUI checkpoint set for Newport Beach next Friday

The Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) will hold a DUI checkpoint on Friday, Aug. 20 from 8 p.m.-2 a.m. at an undisclosed location within the Newport Beach city limits.

Checkpoint locations are chosen based on a history of DUI crashes and prior arrests. The primary purpose of checkpoints is not to make arrests, but to promote public safety by deterring drivers from driving impaired.

During the checkpoint, officers will look for signs that drivers are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

The Newport Beach Police Department is committed to keeping the traveling public safe.

“The safety of our community is and always will be our mission,” Lieutenant Ryan Peters said. “We are looking for impaired drivers because driving under the influence is dangerous and puts others on the road at risk.”

The NBPD also reminds the public that impaired driving is not just from alcohol. Some prescription medications or over-the-counter drugs may interfere with driving. Always follow directions for use and read warning labels about “driving or operating heavy machinery,” which includes driving a car. While medicinal and recreational marijuana are legal, driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal.

If you plan on drinking or taking medications that may impact your ability to drive safely, plan on staying at home.

Drivers charged with a first-time DUI face an average of $13,500 in fines and penalties, as well as a suspended license.

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

Mariners home burglarized, suspect makes off with contents from safe

A residential burglary occurred earlier this week in the Mariners community. Sometime over the weekend between Saturday, Aug. 7 and Sunday, Aug. 8, an unoccupied home in the 1800 block of Toyon Lane was burglarized.

An unknown subject entered the home after shattering a glass door. Once inside, the suspect ransacked all of the bedrooms. The suspect located a safe and the key to the safe, allowing him/her to remove all of the contents within.

Reported losses included U.S. currency and a firearm.

No suspect information was available.

Resident surprised by suspect in master bedroom after three males enter Spyglass Hill home

While one victim was working in the upstairs master bedroom and the other was working in a downstairs room, three suspects entered a residence in the Spyglass Hill community by shattering a glass door. The incident occurred on Thursday, Aug. 5 at approximately 1:30 p.m.

Despite the glass breaking, neither of the victims heard the noise.

When one suspect entered the master bedroom and began rummaging through the master closet, the victim was alerted and confronted the suspect.

All suspects fled downstairs and out the same door that was used to enter the home. Nothing was taken.

Suspect #1 was described as a Hispanic male, wearing a dark colored long sleeve shirt; suspect #2 as a Hispanic male, wearing a gray long sleeve shirt; and suspect #3 as a Hispanic male wearing a white long sleeve shirt, blue jeans and a dark colored hat.

No other information was available.

Suspect ransacks Newport Coast home making off with safe and contents

While the victims were away between 8:45-11:15 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 7, an unknown suspect burglarized a residence on Tidal Surf in the Newport Coast community.

The suspect accessed the back yard by climbing over a wall and then entered the house through an unlocked rear sliding door. Once inside, the suspect ransacked the master bedroom and closet, before rummaging through drawers in another bedroom. 

While inside the home, the suspect located a safe, removed it and fled the scene.

Losses reported included U.S. currency, watches, jewelry, identification and checks.

There was no suspect information available.

Worker scares off burglars from neighboring roof

On Thursday, Aug. 5, sometime between 12-1 p.m., two males attempted to burglarize an unoccupied home in the 1800 block of Kings Road in the Cliff Haven community.

The two unknown suspects accessed the back yard of the residence and then attempted to forcibly open a back door to enter the home. However, at some point the suspects realized that a worker on a neighbor’s roof was observing them and they fled the scene.

Newport Beach Police were not contacted until this past Tuesday, Aug. 10.

There was no loss of property, but NBPD was able to obtain information on the two suspects, both reportedly with short black hair and wearing dark blue long sleeve shirts.


Police Files

Pedestrian killed in single-car Coast Highway collision

At approximately 3:14 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 6, Newport Beach Police Officers responded to Pacific Coast Highway and 60th St., near Cappy’s Café, on the report of a traffic collision.

Upon arrival, officers found a collision involving a single vehicle and a pedestrian. The pedestrian was transported to the hospital, where they subsequently died.

Police closed the area, rerouting traffic while they began an active investigation. That investigation continues.

The identity of the deceased has not yet been released by the Orange County Coroner’s Office.

Two Eastbluff residential burglaries take place over weekend time period

Two residential burglaries recently occurred in the Eastbluff community.

The first was an unoccupied home in the 2800 block of Carob St., which was accessed by an unknown suspect through the back yard, including possibly through a neighboring back yard before that. Once there, the suspect shattered a rear sliding door, entered and ransacked the residence, including prying open a number of cabinets before fleeing the scene.

The incident took place sometime between Thursday, July 22 and Tuesday, July 27.

Newport Beach Police reported no loss and no suspect information.

A second burglary occurred in the 2400 block of Blackthorn St. between Friday, July 23 and Tuesday, July 27.

At some point during this time frame, an unknown suspect accessed the second story patio, then shattered the glass door leading to the master bedroom. Once inside the house, the suspect then ransacked the master bedroom closets before fleeing back through the shattered patio door.

Newport Beach reported losses including jewelry, watches and a firearm. No suspect information was available.

As schools reopen for in-person learning, the NBPD encourages everyone to “Go Safely”

As students and staff return to schools for in-person instruction, the Newport Beach Police Department reminds everyone to keep the safety of students in mind when traveling around schools.

This includes stopping for school buses. California law requires drivers to stop when a school bus is in front of them and extends its stop sign with flashing red lights. Drivers must remain stopped for as long as the red lights are on. Drivers in both directions must stop on any two-lane road without a median or two-lane road with a center turn lane.

“Please drive carefully in school zones,” Lieutenant Ryan Peters said. “Let’s help keep students safe to ensure as smooth a transition as possible back to in-person learning.”

The Newport Beach Police Department offers the following tips for drivers, parents and students:

–Walk on sidewalks and use marked crosswalks, preferably at stop signs or signals.

–Watch for cars entering/backing out of driveways or leaving parking spaces.

–If you need to walk into the street to maintain social distancing, remember to look both ways for cars. 

–Always look left-right-left before crossing the street. Make sure cars see you. Continue scanning for cars when entering the crosswalk.

–Do not listen to loud music or use a phone when crossing the street.

–Drivers: Slow down in school zones. Anticipate more foot and car traffic around schools for drop-off and pick-ups.

–Drivers should do their best to avoid blocking the crosswalk when making a right-hand turn. 

–Parents: Follow any school guidance related to dropping off or picking up students, as well as utilizing social distancing and face covering requirements.

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


Police Files

NBPD making noise about cars that produce a lot of noise

The Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) has received numerous complaints regarding loud vehicles with modified exhaust as well as racing vehicles traveling throughout the city in 2021. Many of these types of vehicles gather at non-permitted car shows and other locations within city limits. 

These loud and racing vehicles pose a safety risk and affect the quality of life of our residents and visitors. As a result, the NBPD has stepped up their traffic enforcement and launched a Loud/Modified Vehicle Exhaust and Street Racing Enforcement Operations through summer.

During the summer months, the NBPD has increased enforcement of California Vehicle Code violations related to vehicles with loud/modified exhaust and street racing using direct deployments of Newport Beach Police Officers. 

On Saturday, July 31, the NBPD conducted a joint operation utilizing patrol and motor officers, along with the Laguna Beach Police Department, Huntington Beach Police Department, California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and the California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR). 

The joint operation resulted in the following:

–68 vehicles were stopped for violations.

–41 vehicles were cited for vehicle code violations (which includes loud/modified exhaust).

–Two vehicles were inspected on-site for modified exhaust violations by a BAR referee.

–Four drivers were arrested for various misdemeanor violations.

–Four vehicles were towed due to a licensed driver not being present.

This was their fourth joint operation held in 2021. The overall numbers after four operations are:

–649 vehicles have been stopped for violations.

–500 vehicles were cited for vehicle code violations. 

–72 vehicles were inspected for modified exhaust violations by a BAR referee.

Additionally, the NBPD issued a press release as well as placed several electronic signboards with messaging in high traffic areas within the city in order to educate the public on vehicle exhaust laws in California as well as notify the community of the upcoming enforcement operations. The NBPD Traffic Division has also done outreach at these various non-permitted car shows and other locations to educate vehicle owners on the California Vehicle Code and Newport Beach Municipal Code as it relates to loud/modified exhaust and street racing.

Early morning vehicle crash leads to fire and eventually to arrest for suspected DUI

On Tuesday, July 27, at approximately 2 a.m., Newport Beach Police Officers responded to a call reporting a vehicle fire near the 73 Freeway and Birch Street. 

Upon arrival, officers observed multiple people attempting to extinguish the fire, but their efforts were unsuccessful. Police were also alerted to the fact that someone was still inside the vehicle.

An officer moved in to open the driver’s door to pull the driver to safety. No one else was found in the vehicle. Officers rendered first aid until paramedics arrived and transported the victim to the hospital.

Eyewitness reports say the fire engulfed the vehicle shortly after the victim was removed, virtually saving his life.

Further investigation revealed that the vehicle was involved in a single car accident which caused the auto to catch fire.

Police later arrested the driver, Robert Valdez, 34, from Costa Mesa, on suspicion of DUI.

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

Detective work leads to arrest of Anaheim man for local commercial burglary

On Thursday, July 8 at approximately 11:40 a.m., a Newport Beach Police officer was dispatched to the area of Quail and Birch streets on a report for commercial burglary. 

Upon arrival, employees of a business located there reported to police that they found the rear door smashed in, however, nothing was reported taken.

Newport Beach Police Department’s Detective Division undertook an investigation eventually leading to 35-year-old Raymond Emilio Chapa, of Anaheim.

On Monday, July 19 at 1:52 p.m., NBPD arrested Chapa in the 800 block of S. Beach Blvd. in Anaheim. He was arrested on suspicion of commercial burglary with a forced entry 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.


Police Files

Burglary suspect arrested after being confronted by victim and fleeing with bike

A residential burglary reportedly occurred on Tuesday, July 13 at around 11:25 a.m. in the central Newport Beach community. While the victim was inside the residence in the 1600 block of West Oceanfront, a suspect reportedly jumped over a backyard wall to access the property.

Once inside, the suspect reportedly entered the garage through an unlocked open door. Then, while preparing to leave the residence with the victim’s bike, the victim heard noises coming from the garage and observed the suspect. He confronted the suspect who then took the bike and fled.

Newport Beach Police were called, and they located the suspect shortly thereafter, making an arrest while recovering the bike.

Ryan Ross Harris, 25, of Huntington Beach, was arrested in the 4500 block of West Coast Highway. He was charged with the burglary of a garage with no forced entry. Bail was set at $20,000.

With victim sleeping, suspect jumps wall to access residence but leaves with nothing

While a victim was sleeping in the bedroom of their residence, a burglary occurred in the Colony community on Colony Plaza at 12:45 a.m. on Friday, July 9.

The suspect entered the patio area of the unit and found access to the inside of the residence through an unlocked patio door. However, the suspect then abruptly left the residence shortly after entering and alerted the victim who heard a noise and observed him fleeing as he jumped over the surrounding patio wall.

Although there was no reported loss, a report was filed with the Newport Beach Police. The suspect was reportedly a white male.

No other information was available.

Suspect smashes window to burglarize Pelican Hill residence

Another residential burglary occurred on Canyon Terrace in the Pelican Hill community sometime between 10 a.m. on Monday, July 5 and 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 14.

While the victims were away, an unknown suspect entered the home by cutting the window screen to the master closet and then smashing the window. Once inside, the suspect rummaged through drawers and closets in the master bedroom and master bathroom before fleeing the scene.

Reported losses to the Newport Beach Police included watches, clothing, jewelry and shoes.

No suspect information was available.

Unoccupied Santa Ana Heights home latest to be victimized

An unoccupied home in the Santa Ana Heights community was burglarized sometime between 9:45 p.m. on Tuesday, July 13 and 3:45 a.m. on Wednesday, July 14. The residence, located in the 1600 block of Pegasus, was accessed through a backyard side gate.

Once inside the yard, the suspect cut the screen to a bathroom window and entered through the unlocked window. The suspect did not steal any property from inside the residence before leaving through the front door.

The suspect was described to Newport Beach Police as a white male, mid-30s, approximately 5’10” and 190 lbs., with a long brown ponytail and beard.

No arrests have been made.

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

Police arrest suspect after stabbing investigation

On Friday, July 2 around 2:25 p.m., the Newport Beach Police Dispatch Center received a telephone call reporting a stabbing that had just occurred in the 1900 block of E. Balboa Blvd. Police responded and found a victim who had reportedly been attacked on the sidewalk while waiting for an Uber.

Newport Beach Police Detectives began investigating which eventually led to the arrest on Monday, July 12 of 36-year-old Adam Langerbarsotti of Newport Beach. Langerbarsotti was charged with assault using a cutting instrument as a deadly weapon and attempted murder using a cutting instrument.

According to reports, the victim and suspect were not known to each other.

Bail was set at $500,000.

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

Eastbluff community hit with three residential burglaries over several-week period

Multiple residential burglaries have occurred over the last several weeks in the Eastbluff community.

The first took place sometime between 9 a.m. on June 19 and 8:30 p.m. on June 25, in the 2400 block of Blackthorne St.

While the victim was away, an unknown suspect entered the home by removing a window screen and then climbing through. The suspect then ransacked the kitchen, living room, bedrooms, master bedroom and master closet before fleeing through the front door.

The reported losses were collectible items.

No information on the suspect was available.

Another residential burglary occurred in the 700 block of Bison Ave., sometime between 5:30 p.m. on June 23 and 7 a.m. on June 24.

While the victim’s home was being fumigated, an unknown suspect ripped part of the tent covering and accessed the residence through the garage. The suspect rummaged through the garage and then moved inside the home to a bedroom and office.

The suspect also moved a safe in the residence and attempted to force it open but was unsuccessful.

Losses included electronic devices, recreation gear and a record player.

No suspect information was available.

The final one occurred on Sunday, July 7 at approximately 8:45 p.m.

While the victims were away, an unknown female approached the front door and rang the doorbell. Shortly thereafter, unknown suspects pried open the rear French doors to access the house. Once inside, the suspects located a safe and made an unsuccessful attempt to pry it open. They also ransacked the master bedroom and an additional bedroom before fleeing out through the front doors.

The loss was unknown at the time of the report to police.

Possible suspect information included a Hispanic female and two adult males. No other information was released.

Woodward to be tried for the murder of Blake Bernstein by year’s end

Samuel Woodward, of Newport Beach, will reportedly be tried for the murder of Blake Bernstein toward the end of 2021, according to Orange County Superior Court Judge Kimberly Menninger.

The trial at first was expected to take place this summer.

Woodward was arrested and charged with killing his former Orange County School of the Arts high school classmate Bernstein in January of 2018. It is suspected that Woodward picked up Bernstein at his parents’ Lake Forest home in the late evening hours of January 2, 2018. The two then drove around, landing in the Foothill Ranch Shopping Center, before leaving to go on to Borrego Park.

Woodward told detectives following his arrest that Bernstein left the vehicle to enter the park and disappeared. Bernstein was found buried in a shallow grave in the park six days later.

Woodward, who allegedly has ties to the neo-Nazi organization Atomwaffen Division, is thought to have killed Bernstein partly because he was gay. Additionally, a former attorney of Woodward’s also stated that he suffered from issues with his own sexuality.

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

Burglar pries safe from mount, drags it downstairs to open and take contents

A residential burglary occurred on July 4th in the Tesoro community on Marisol. The incident took place sometime between 7-11 p.m., while the victim was away.

An unknown suspect entered the home through unknown means. Once inside the residence, the suspect rummaged through various drawers in an upstairs bedroom. The suspect also located a safe in an upstairs closet, pried it from the floorboards and dragged it downstairs. Once there it was forcefully opened before the suspect fled.

Taken were U.S. currency, firearms and watches.

No suspect information was available.


Police Files

Former mayor busted on suspicion of DUI

Former Costa Mesa Mayor Gary Monahan, 61, of Costa Mesa, was arrested at 4:15 p.m. on Thursday, June 3 for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. The arrest took place in the 400 block of Old Newport Blvd.

The arrest included an additional charge of having a prior arrest for DUI. That former incident occurred on November 26, 2018, when Monahan was arrested on suspicion of DUI hit-and-run outside of the restaurant he owned on Newport Blvd. in Costa Mesa. The restaurant, Skosh Monahan’s, closed in April of 2019.

Monahan was a multi-term city councilman and mayor for the city of Costa Mesa.

His bail was set at $10,000.

NBPD capture burglary suspect following several alleged unsuccessful attempts on Kings Road

Newport Beach Police arrested 21-year-old Jacob Walter Mifsud, of Encino, at 3:28 p.m. on Saturday, June 5 in the 1300 block of Kings Road following a residential burglary.

Mifsud was apprehended following several alleged attempts at forced entry burglaries.

NBPD arrested Mifsud on two counts of residential burglary and for allegedly attempting to commit a felony crime.

His bail was set at $50,000.

Suspect scared off after finding resident in the home

A residential burglary occurred in the Mariners Community around 9:15 p.m. on Friday, June 4. While the victim was getting ready for bed in their residence on Westcliff Drive, an unknown suspect accessed the back yard by climbing over a wall from an adjacent property.

Once inside the yard, the suspect pried open a sliding glass door and entered the house. The suspect cracked open the bedroom door where the victim was about to go to sleep. Upon realizing the home was occupied, the suspect fled the scene.

The victim then called the Newport Beach Police.

No loss was reported, and no suspect information was available.

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

Burglar does balancing act to gain access to second story

A residential burglary occurred in Newport Heights sometime between 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 27 and 3 p.m. on Monday, May 31. The incident took place in the 400 block of Santa Ana Ave. while the victims were away.

The unknown suspect(s) accessed the back yard through an unlocked side gate. They then stacked a patio chair on top of the outdoor backyard bar to access a ledge. From the ledge, the suspect was able to get onto the balcony.

The suspect then made an unsuccessful attempt to shatter a sliding glass door, and then broke the window next to a door to eventually gain entry to the house.

Once inside, the drawers in the master bedroom and a hallway closet were ransacked before the suspect fled the scene.

The victim reported losses that included jewelry.

No suspect information was available.

Dog greets burglar in hallway to prevent any loss

A residential burglary occurred on Augusta Lane in the Canyon Hills community at approximately 4:15 a.m. on Thursday, May 27.

The victim was sleeping when an unknown suspect accessed the residence through an unlocked exterior pedestrian garage door and then proceeded through the unlocked interior garage pedestrian door into the home.

Once inside, the suspect was confronted by a barking dog in the hallway and entered the first open room near him and attempted to close the door behind him. When the dog stopped barking and left the area, the suspect fled the scene through a side door.

There was no loss reported.

Newport Beach Police did obtain some suspect information, saying it was a male with curly hair wearing a hoodie.


Police Files

NBPD investigation uses cameras and witnesses that lead to the arrest of a suspect charged with vandalism

On Friday, May 21 just before 4 p.m., the Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) dispatch center received a call reporting a vandalism incident inside a parking structure at Newport Center Drive and Santa Rosa Drive. 

Upon arrival, NBPD officers discovered six vehicles that were vandalized by a sharp object causing deep scratch marks. The estimated damage to the six vehicles exceeded $40,000.

On Wednesday, May 26 through detective investigation, surveillance cameras, along with the help from witnesses and the assistance of the Irvine Police Department, Shallom Han, 35, of Irvine, was arrested. Han was charged with six counts of vandalism by damaging property.

His bail was set at $20,000.

The NBPD is seeking anyone who may be able to provide additional information on this case to contact Detective Spenser at 949.644.3761 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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

Dover Shores burglary sees suspect make off with unsecured safe

A residential burglary was reported in the Dover Shores community, occurring between 4:30-6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 19, in the 1700 block of Antigua Way. While the victims were away, an unknown suspect entered the property through an unlocked side gate.

Once inside the yard, the suspect was able to enter the house through unknown means where they removed an unsecured safe and fled the scene.

Included in the safe was U.S. currency, checkbooks, jewelry, personal documents and personal identification.

The victim was able to obtain suspect information, reporting a male, 5’10” tall, heavy set, wearing a white shite and a red & white baseball hat.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the NBPD.

Suspect breaks back yard glass pane, enters home in Mariners area, makes off with jewelry

While the victims were away, a suspect entered the side yard of a home through an unsecured gate in the Mariners community. The incident occurred in the 1600 block of Anita Lane sometime between 6 a.m. on Sunday, May 16 and 12 p.m. on Wednesday, May 19.

Once in the back yard, the suspect shattered a glass pane in a French door to gain access to the inside of the home. The suspect then ransacked the master bedroom and closets before fleeing the scene.

A report filed with the Newport Beach Police showed jewelry as the loss.

There is no suspect information available. 

Burglar breaks glass and enters home while residents are upstairs

A residential burglary occurred in the Harbor View Hills South community while the residents were home. The incident happened in the 3400 block of Quiet Cove around 9 p.m. on Wednesday, May 19.

An unknown suspect shattered a glass door on the first floor of the home while the victims were upstairs. One of the victims heard a noise, briefly checked the first floor, but did not observe anything suspicious. 

While inside, the suspect accessed the office and rummaged through various drawers. It also appeared they may have accessed the victim’s computer.

The victims discovered the burglary the next morning and contacted the Newport Beach Police.

No loss was reported, and no suspect information was available.

Locked patio door appears to have stopped burglary

Around 7:45 p.m. on Wednesday, May 19, a resident heard a noise coming from the sliding patio door in another room of their apartment. The victim, however, did not think much of it and did not investigate it further.

Then, the following day, around 6:30 a.m., it was discovered that there was damage to the sliding glass door, and it gave the appearance that someone had attempted to pry it open without success.

The incident occurred in the 2100 block of Sherington Place, in the Eight80 community.

There was no loss reported and no suspect information was obtained.


Police Files

Burglar enters home on Cliff Drive, alarm sounds saving residents from loss

A residential burglary was reported to Newport Beach Police yesterday, May 20, occurring in the 500 block of Cliff Drive.

Sometime around midnight on Tuesday, May 18, while the victims were away, an unknown suspect accessed the side of the house through an unsecured side gate. Once inside the back yard, the suspect used a ladder to access two second story windows. 

The suspect attempted to first pry open one window, breaking a pane. They then moved to the second window and successfully removed a window screen, pried open the window and entered through the upstairs.

Around this time the alarm was activated forcing the suspect to flee the scene.

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

Get that belt on because it’s Click It or Ticket time and the NBPD is on the lookout

The Newport Beach Police Department encourages the public to wear a seat belt and keep children secured in child safety seats.

This year’s Click It or Ticket campaign is from May 24-June 6. During this time, the Newport Beach Police Department will actively look for drivers and passengers who are not wearing a seat belt. This includes drivers who do not secure children in child safety seats.

“Wearing a seat belt is the easiest and safest way to protect yourself in a vehicle,” Lieutenant Damon Psaros said. “It only takes a few seconds and is your best defense in the event of a crash.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), of the 22,215 passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2019, 43 percent (9,466) were not wearing seat belts. In 2019, 620 passengers killed in crashes across California were not wearing a seat belt.

California law requires a child to be properly secured in a car or booster seat in the back seat, until they are at least 8 years of age or at least 4’9” tall. Children under the age of two shall ride in a rear-facing seat unless the child weighs 40 or more pounds or is 40 or more inches tall. 

California has a primary seat belt law, which allows law enforcement officers to ticket someone for not wearing a seat belt without committing another traffic violation.

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


Police Files

Three suspects break into Dover Shores home while victim sleeps through it in living room

Three suspects climbed over the wall of a Dover Shores home in the 1400 block of Galaxy Drive around 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 15 to burglarize the residence.

Once the suspects, wearing dark clothing and gloves, gained access to the back yard they broke a window leading to the master bathroom. They were then able to reach through the broken window and slide it open, to get into the house.

Inside, they ransacked the master bedroom and master bathroom, then exited through a master bedroom door into the back yard, then again climbed over the same wall that they had initially used to enter the property.

A victim was asleep in the living room during the entire incident and awoke around 10:30 p.m. to discover the burglary had occurred.

The reported loss included jewelry.

No further details were available concerning the suspects, other than their vehicle was identified as a white Jeep SUV.


Police Files

Man arrested on hate crime charges after attack on 7-Eleven owner

A man is facing felony hate crime and violation of civil rights charges for attacking the owner of a Newport Beach 7-Eleven with a bottle after being asked to leave the business. The defendant is accused of using racial slurs and making disparaging remarks about immigrants.

Danny Martin Loros, 64, of Costa Mesa, has been charged with one felony count of assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm, one felony count of violation of civil rights causing violent injury and one felony hate crime enhancement.

He faces a maximum sentence of seven years in state prison if convicted on all counts.

On May 7, Loros is accused of throwing a liquor bottle at the owner of a 7-Eleven store, striking the victim in the stomach.

Loros is accused of using racial slurs and making denigrating comments regarding immigrants.

He is currently being held at the Theo Lacy Facility in Orange on $40,000 bail. 

“Business owners should be able to run their businesses without fear of being attacked because of how they look,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. “Hate crimes are not only devastating for the individual victims, they are also devastating for the entire community because of the fear these kinds of crimes create. The Orange County District Attorney’s office is fully committed to holding haters accountable and prosecuting hate-motivated crimes to the fullest extent of the law.”

Deputy District Attorney William Ha of the office’s newly created Hate Crime Unit is prosecuting this case.

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

Alarm alerts CdM resident to possible burglary

A Corona del Mar resident was in another part of their home when the front entry alarm was activated. The victim deactivated the alarm and then heard a noise but was unable to determine the location it came from.

The next day the victim discovered an exterior door lock had been tampered with and notified the Newport Beach Police Department.

The incident took place in the 200 block of Heliotrope Ave. on Sunday, March 2 around 9 p.m.

The resident had no reported loss and there was no suspect information reported.

Burglar enters residence in the middle of the night while residents slept

A residential burglary occurred on Thursday, April 29 in the 100 block of 43rd St. in West Newport. Sometime between midnight and 7 a.m., while the victims slept, an unknown suspect entered the residence through an unknown means (there were no signs of forced entry and a door may have been left unlocked).

Once inside the residence, the suspect removed and consumed food and beverages from the kitchen and took items from the victim’s wallet that was left in one of the common areas. The suspect also removed clothing from the dryer inside the garage.

Reported losses were U.S. currency, credit cards, clothing, food and beverages.

No suspect information was available.

Residence entered after unidentified suspect found hide-a-key

Sometime between 11 a.m. on Friday, April 16 and 12 p.m. on Thursday, April 29, a residential burglary occurred on the 200 block of Revere Way in the Bayside Village Community.

The victims had been away from home from April 16 through April 20. Then on April 29, the victim found their hide-a-key had been moved and then discovered items were missing from a closet.

Reported losses included U.S. currency, a checkbook, jewelry, a purse and some personal paperwork.

No suspect information was available.


Police Files

Celebrate National Heatstroke Prevention Day – look before you lock

In honor of National Heatstroke Prevention Day that is celebrated each May, the Newport Beach Police Department reminds parents and caregivers to always look before you lock and walk away from a vehicle. The yearly campaign is an effort to raise awareness about the dangers of vehicular heatstroke. 

“Leaving a child unattended in a hot car is something no parent would ever imagine they would do, but it happens, is dangerous and tragic,” said Lieutenant Damon Psaros. “These tragedies are 100 percent preventable. Heatstroke Prevention Day is a reminder to parents that we are human and prone to be forgetful, even for the seemingly impossible.”

“Forgotten” circumstances, where a parent or caregiver forgets a child is in the car, account for nearly half of all total child vehicular heatstroke fatalities. Last year, 24 children died of vehicular heatstroke, the lowest total since recordkeeping began in 1998. Families staying home during COVID-19-related health orders likely contributed to this decline in vehicular heatstroke deaths. However, the percentage of children playing in and around the car increased.

The temperature inside of a car can rise nearly 20 degrees in just 10 minutes. Children are more prone to heatstroke because their body temperatures rise much faster than adults.

“A child’s body temperature can rise five times faster than an adult’s,” said Sgt. Corey Wolik. “We understand it may be difficult to wake a child up or get them out when they do not want to leave the car, but even a few minutes alone can be dangerous.”

To help protect you and your family, keep the following tips in mind to help prevent child heatstroke:

–Make it a habit to look in the back seat every time you get out of the car. Put something in the back seat you are likely not going to forget as a reminder, such as a purse, phone, or wallet.

–Never leave a child alone in a vehicle, even if it is just for a few minutes.

–Always lock the car and put the keys out of reach.

–Teach your children that the vehicle is not a playground. Another main cause of vehicular heatstroke is when children gain access to an unlocked vehicle and are unable to get out. 

The warning signs of heatstroke include red, hot and moist or dry skin; no sweating; a rapid or weak pulse; nausea; confusion; or acting strangely. If you see a child in a hot vehicle that appears to be in distress or is unresponsive, call 911. If necessary, attempt to get into the car.

A new Good Samaritan Law went into effect in California this year providing legal protection for people who break into a locked vehicle to save a child in imminent danger.

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

May is Motorcycle Awareness Month

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and the Newport Beach Police Department reminds drivers to check twice for motorcycles.

“It’s important for drivers to understand motorcycle rider behaviors and learn how to drive safely around riders,” Lieutenant Damon Psaros said. “Motorcycle riders are more vulnerable and have much less protections as those in vehicles do, which is why it is critical for drivers to be mindful of those on two wheels.”

Motorcycle riders are 28 times more likely to die in a crash than vehicle occupants. In 2019, there were 474 motorcycle deaths on California roads.

To help protect you and your family, keep the following tips in mind while driving or riding:

–For drivers, always check twice for motorcycles, looking at all mirrors and blind spots; motorcycle riders have the same rights to the road as other vehicles. Allow motorcycles to always use the full width of a lane; never follow a motorcycle too closely. Always keep a safe distance; and, if you see a motorcycle with a signal on, be careful. The rider may have forgotten to turn the signal off. Be sure that the rider is turning before proceeding.

–For motorcyclists, always wear a DOT-compliant helmet; wear appropriate gear like leather clothing, boots with nonskid soles and gloves. Consider adding reflective tape to your clothing to make it easier for other drivers to see you; ride defensively. Don’t assume a driver can see you. Try staying out of a driver’s blind spot; always keep your lights on, even during the day; and signal well in advance before changing lanes and watch for turning vehicles.

Lastly, both drivers and riders should never drive/ride under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

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


Police Files

NBPD arrest suspect in March break-in at Harbor Day School

On Wednesday, March 17 at 7:50 a.m., the Newport Beach Police Department dispatch center received a call concerning a burglary at Harbor Day School. It was discovered that two classrooms had been broken into and 16 Apple iPads were taken.

Through the tireless work of the Property Crimes Detective Division and the Crime Suppression Unit, an arrest has been made and several iPads recovered. 

The suspect arrested is Kayla Evette Johnson, 21, of Moreno Valley. Another suspect is still at large described as a Black male, 5’10, 180 pounds.

NBPD Detectives are still conducting an active investigation. Anyone who may be able to provide additional information on this case is encouraged to contact Detective Geoffroy at 949.644.3799 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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

Victim wakes to hear burglary suspect upstairs, calls out prompting suspect to flee

While a victim was sleeping downstairs, an unknown burglary suspect entered a residence through a side gate in the 2600 block of Lighthouse Lane in the Broadmoor Hills community on Monday, April 19 at approximately 8:45 p.m.

Once inside the back yard, the suspect climbed some stairs that led to an upstairs spare bedroom. The suspect then shattered a sliding glass door to enter the room. Once inside, the suspect rummaged through drawers in the room.

Around this time, the victim heard the dog barking and some activity upstairs. The victim started up the stairs and called out, prompting the suspect to flee the scene. 

The victim then called the Newport Beach Police Department. When the police arrived, the suspect was no longer in the area.

The loss from the burglary is unknown at this time, however some small collectible items were recovered outside on the side of house.

No suspect information was available.


Police Files

Cabin cruiser sinks at harbor entrance, 14 people safely rescued

At approximately 2:48 p.m. on Sunday, April 18, the Orange County Sheriff’s Harbor Patrol responded to a vessel taking on water outside of the harbor entrance, next to the channel marker. The Newport Beach Lifeguard boat responded from West Newport to assist. 

When the lifeguards arrived on scene, there were people in the water and the vessel was sinking with 10 feet of the bow sticking out of the water. There were 14 people rescued without injury. Private vessels, OCSD Harbor Patrol and lifeguards all took part in rescuing passengers out of the water. 

Police Files boat sinking

Courtesy of OCSD Harbor Patrol

Orange County Sheriff’s Harbor Patrol approach sinking vessel near the entrance of Newport Harbor

The vessel completely submerged, sunk and currently sits on the bottom of the ocean floor in 108 feet of water. 

Newport Beach Lifeguard Battalion Chief Brian O’Rourke added, “The cause of the vessel sinking is unknown at this time. We do not know if there will be a salvage operation to recover the vessel. The vessel was a 36-foot cabin cruiser.”

Fire breaks out twice on Kings Road, police arrest suspect on charges of arson and vandalism

According to Newport Heights residents, a fire broke out behind a residential lot in the 1400 block of Kings Road around 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, April 18. The fire was located on the hillside between the back of the lot and the Jiffy Lube that is located below on W. Coast Highway. 

The Newport Beach Fire Department responded and quickly extinguished the flames. However, fire personnel were called again later the same afternoon around 3:30 p.m. to a second fire incident.

Residents also reported the presence of NBFD arson investigators.

Sunday, in related action, Newport Beach Police arrested Charles Thomas Miller, 66, from Costa Mesa, in the area of the 1400 block of W. Coast Highway on charges of vandalism and arson.

No other details have been released.

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

Seventy-four-year-old Newport Beach resident dies attempting to prevent other driver from leaving the scene of an accident 

A 28-year-old Costa Mesa man, Stewart Waithanji, has been charged with murder for killing a 74-year-old Newport Beach man around 4 p.m. last Saturday afternoon, April 10, in a hit and run collision near Newport Blvd. and 17th St. Waithanji was allegedly driving under the influence at the time. 

He was arrested by Costa Mesa Police at a Los Alamitos bar parking lot a short time after the collision that left Richard Frost dead. Witnesses reported the victim was attempting to stop the driver of his silver Chevy Malibu from leaving the scene of the accident when he was struck. Waithanji continued driving. 

Upon arriving at the scene, Costa Mesa Police found Frost in the street where he was treated by paramedics and taken to a local hospital where he subsequently died.

Police Files Waithanji

Courtesy of OCDA

Stewart Waithanji

Waithanji has also been charged in a hit-and-run incident that occurred in Newport Beach shortly before the fatal collision according to the Orange County District Attorney’s office.

His charges include one felony count of murder, one felony count of driving under the influence, one felony count of driving under the influence with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or higher, and two misdemeanor counts of hit and run.

Prosecutors have asked for an increased bail of $2 million. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted on all charges.

Waithanji was wanted on a warrant for a September 2019 driving under the influence case and on a second warrant for an October 2019 driving under the influence case. He also has three prior driving under the influence convictions in Iowa.

“The life of a human being is not something to be discarded and thrown away; a life is something to be celebrated, treasured and lived to the very fullest,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. “Yet, a 74-year-old man was left for dead in the middle of the street, tossed aside as if he never mattered, because of the selfish decision of a stranger to get behind the wheel while intoxicated. His life may not have mattered to the driver who left him for dead, but it matters to me and it matters to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. And we will fight for justice for him and everyone who loved him.”

Senior Deputy District Attorney Heather Brown of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.

DUI doesn’t just mean booze, be safe and responsible if participating in 4-20 festivities 

April 20, or 4-20, is a “holiday” among marijuana users. Although recreational and medicinal use of marijuana is legal in California, the Newport Beach Police Department reminds drivers that it is dangerous and illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana.

“Whether it is on 4-20 or any other day, marijuana consumption puts you at risk of driving impaired,” Lt. Damon Psaros said. “Any substance that impairs makes it unsafe to drive.”

If you plan to participate in 4-20 activities and consume marijuana, designate a sober driver to take you home or stay at home. Do not drive, and never ride with an impaired driver.

Studies have shown that THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, can slow reaction times and make it more difficult for drivers to judge distances and keep a steady position in their lane.

If you see an impaired driver on the road, call 911.

Funding for this 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.


Police Files

Suspect info garnered in Santa Ana Heights backyard burglary

A residential burglary recently occurred in the 20100 block of Santa Ana Ave. in the Santa Ana Heights community. At approximately 6:45 a.m. on Monday, April 5 while the victims were away, a suspect accessed the backyard through an unlocked gate.

While there, the suspect took items from the backyard area including the laundry area and a refrigerator before fleeing the scene.

Reported losses included a bicycle, tools, cleaning products, clothing, a bag, blanket and miscellaneous beverages.

The suspect was reported to be a white female with long brown hair wearing black pants and a denim jacket, while carrying a blue bag.

Newport Beach Police took the report and are investigating.

Burglars enter unlocked door to ransack home

Burglars entered a home’s unlocked office door, ransacking a Granville community residence in the 1000 block of Granville Drive. The incident occurred between 11:45 a.m. and 5:45 p.m. on Sunday, April 11.

The victims were away when the suspect entered, overturning drawers throughout the house and leaving the scene with some of the victim’s property.

Reported taken was U.S. currency, a phone and a guitar.

There is no suspect information available at this time.

Chief Lewis leads other OC police and sheriffs in stance against hate crimes and bigotry

The Orange County Chiefs of Police & Sheriff’s Association, and all of its membership, stands in unity with Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities across the country.

“We condemn hate crimes and bigotry against these communities and remain committed to our role in protecting these individuals from hateful acts.

“Our hearts go out to all those who have been affected by instances of hate or intolerance. We stand against these unjustified attacks and against the fear and pain that they cause. We urge everyone to come together in solidarity with the AAPI community, and to do everything we can to prevent hate and discrimination.”

Police Files Chief Thompson

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Police Files

Street racing and loud exhaust violators facing consequences from NBPD

The Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) has publicized the facts that they are cracking down on street racing activity and on vehicles with loud or modified exhaust.

Case in point: On a late Saturday night, March 20, several NBPD officers observed multiple vehicles in the Corona del Mar Main Beach parking lot driving recklessly.

Prior to making contact with the car club, officers set up a perimeter that prevented any vehicles from fleeing the area. The illegal driving resulted in multiple citations, with two individuals cited for numerous violations; two vehicles impounded with a 30-day hold, due to their reckless driving; and several arrests. 

Police Files NBPD vehicle impounded

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Courtesy of NBPD

NBPD impound vehicles racing in CdM Main Beach parking lot

Those arrested included Vondrea Williams, 21, from Paramount. His charges were possession of an open container while driving and reckless driving in an off-street parking facility.

The other was Christopher Givens, 29, of Long Beach, who was arrested for possession of an open container of marijuana, driving without a license and reckless driving in an off-street parking facility.

Another example of the vehicles cited for racing and for loud or modified exhaust included a Sunday, March 28 joint operation with other law enforcement agencies that led to 136 vehicles being stopped for violations, 102 vehicles cited for vehicle code violation (which includes loud/modified exhaust), 17 vehicles inspected for modified exhaust violations, two vehicles referred to on-site DMV investigators for possible registration violations, five vehicles cited for speeds exceeding 100 MPH, one vehicle cited for speed exceeding 130 MPH and one driver arrested for driving a stolen vehicle.

The Newport Beach Police Department continues to request the public’s assistance in reporting street racing activity and loud/modified exhaust when observed in the city, to the Newport Beach Police Department non-emergency phone number at 949.644.3717.

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

NBPD announces new appointments

The NBPD has appointed two new Community Services Seniors and one Community Services Manager.

Newly promoted CSO Seniors Fear and Schilf will oversee a fluctuating staff, which at this time consists of 14 Records CSOs and four Front Desk CSOs.

Police Files Fear Police Files Schilf

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Photos courtesy of NBPD

(L-R) Newly appointed Community Services Seniors Fear and Schilf

They will:

 –Receive direct supervision from police management staff and exercise direct supervision over Community Service Officers and temporary, part-time staff and evaluate the performance of personnel as assigned.

–Supervise, direct and evaluate the activities of Community Services Officers or other staff as assigned.

–Provide training and instruction for newly hired or assigned personnel.

CSO Manager Frink will oversee Seniors, Records personnel and Front Desk personnel.

Police Files Frink

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Courtesy of NBPD

Newly appointed CSO Manager Frink

Frink’s duties will include:

–Supervising the daily activities and operations of the property and evidence room, front desk, data entry processing and mail processing; overseeing the development, maintenance and system administration for the records management system; maintaining administrative privileges for departmental personnel.

–Coordinating records retention schedules and document destruction; converting and maintaining hard copy records to document imaging.

–Overseeing fingerprinting activities and services. 

–Coordinating regular and mandated statistical crime reports for the Department of Justice, preparing audits of CLETS system training records.

–Overseeing responsibility for responding to subpoenas, photo requests, record sealing, in-custody medical billings and registrants.

Officer rides off in the sunset after 23 years of service to the community

Police Files Yim

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Courtesy of NBPD

The Newport Beach Police Department recently thanked Officer Yim (foreground) for 23 years of service to the city. Officer Yim retired as a motor officer.


Police Files

Burglary takes place in Balboa Island home while victim is on the front porch

An unknown suspect entered a kitchen through an unlocked rear door and burglarized a Balboa Island home in the 100 block of Marine Ave. sometime between 6-6:30 p.m. on Monday, March 29.

At the time of the burglary, the victims were on the front porch of their home and did not hear any commotion. The suspect took the victim’s watch from the kitchen counter and left the scene.

The loss was reported to Newport Beach the next day after the victim searched for the watch and was unable to locate it.

No suspect information was available.


Police Files

Nevada man convicted of 2015 Newport Beach murder

A Nevada man was convicted Tuesday by a jury of first-degree murder for strangling an 81-year-old Newport Beach man to death in his sleep in 2015. Prosecutors argued the murder was an attempt to gain control over the estate of the victim’s dying wife, but the jury did not find the special circumstance of murder for financial gain to be true.

Anthony Thomas Garcia, of Carson City, Nev., was convicted of one felony count of first-degree murder. He faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life. He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 28 at the Central Justice Center in Department C35.

A previous jury was unable to reach a verdict and charges were refiled against Garcia last year.

Abelardo “Abby” Lopez Estacion was found dead in his Newport Beach bedroom by his live-in caretaker on April 11, 2015. He had been strangled.

At the time of his death, Estacion had been arguing with members of his wife’s family over her assets, which included valuable real estate in several Orange County cities along with bank accounts. Estacion and Dortha Lamb had dated for more than 20 years but had only recently been married. Garcia is the former boyfriend of Lamb’s granddaughter and he is the father of two of Lamb’s great-granddaughters.

Lamb was dying from terminal cancer and suffered from dementia at the time of her husband’s murder. Her family members accused Estacion of capitalizing on his wife’s health issues in order to take control of her assets.

The day of Estacion’s murder Lamb’s family had asked a judge to grant a temporary restraining order against Estacion and force him to move out of the Newport Beach home. The judge denied the request.

Hours later, Estacion was strangled to death in his bedroom.

“The entire prosecution team worked tirelessly to ensure the family of Abby Lopez received justice and I could not be prouder of the work they did,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. “This is a tragic case of how a family squabble over money and property crossed the line into murder. I want to thank the jurors for their careful consideration of the evidence and returning a guilty verdict that will keep a coldblooded killer behind bars for a very long time.”

Senior Deputy District Attorney Seton Hunt of the Homicide Unit prosecuted this case. 

NBPD reminds you that it’s time to put the cell phone down while driving

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and the Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) encourages drivers to give the phone a break and focus on the road. Throughout the month, the NBPD will have additional officers on patrol specifically looking for drivers who violate the state’s hands-free cell phone law.

“When you are driving, give the phone a rest,” Newport Beach Police Department Lieutenant Damon Psaros said. “A driver’s number one focus should be on the road. Anything that distracts you from the task of driving, especially a phone, puts yourself and others at risk.” 

According to the 2020 California Statewide Public Opinion Survey, more than 75 percent of surveyed drivers listed “distracted driving because of TEXTING” as their biggest safety concern.

“Not driving distracted is a simple, but significant behavior change,” Sergeant Corey Wolik said. “The goal is to increase compliance with the hands-free cell phone law and keep people safe.”

Under current law, drivers are not allowed to hold a phone or other electronic device while behind the wheel. Drivers under 18 are not allowed to use a phone for any reason, including hands-free.

If you need to make a call or send a text, pull over and park at a safe location. Drivers should silence their phones or put the phone out of reach, such as in the glove box 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.


Police Files

Eighty-year-old Newport Beach resident killed on a Sunday bike ride by suspected DUI driver

Eighty-year-old Newport Beach resident Ernest Adams was killed Sunday, March 28, while riding his bicycle near Newport Harbor High School by a suspected drunk driver. The incident occurred at approximately 3:16 p.m. in the area of 16th Street and Irvine Avenue. Adams’ death was confirmed by the Orange County Sheriff’s Coroner’s Office.

According to the Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD), who received the initial call for the incident, Adams was struck and then transported to a local hospital where he succumbed to major injuries.

Multiple eyewitnesses reported that the suspect apparently ran a stop sign prior to hitting Adams.

The suspect did stop following the incident and was then put through a field sobriety check by the NBPD. After failing the test, Alexis Garcialopez, 20, of Norwalk, was arrested on suspicion of DUI by alcohol causing serious bodily injury.

Drive a loud or modified exhaust vehicle or race throughout the city limits and you face consequences of NBPD enforcement

The Newport Beach Police Department has received numerous complaints over the last few months regarding loud vehicles with modified exhaust as well as racing vehicles traveling throughout the city.

Many of these types of vehicles are thought to gather at non-permitted car shows and other locations within city limits. These vehicles pose a safety risk and affect the quality of life of residents and visitors to Newport Beach. As a result, the NBPD has stepped up their traffic enforcement and launched a Loud/Modified Vehicle Exhaust and Street Racing Enforcement Operations through summer.

Police Files loud vehicle

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Courtesy of NBPD

The NBPD has taken steps to educate the public on vehicle exhaust laws and ongoing enforcement efforts by placing several electronic signboards with messaging in high traffic areas within the city. 

The NBPD Traffic Division has also done outreach to the various non-permitted car shows and other locations to educate vehicle owners on the California Vehicle Code and Newport Beach Municipal Code as it relates to loud/modified exhaust and street racing.

Over the last several months, the NBPD has increased enforcement of violations related to vehicles with loud/modified exhaust and street racing using direct deployments of Newport Beach Police Officers. 

This past weekend, on Sunday, March 28, the NBPD conducted a joint operation utilizing NBPD Patrol and Motor Officers, Newport Beach Code Enforcement, California Highway Patrol, California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and the California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR). Because of this successful joint operation, 136 vehicles were stopped for violations, 102 were cited for vehicle code violations (which includes loud/modified exhaust), 17 were inspected on-site for modified exhaust violations by a BAR Referee, 2 vehicles were referred to on-site DMV Investigators for possible registration violations, 5 vehicles were cited for exceeding 100 MPH, 1 vehicle was cited for driving 130 MPH, and 1 vehicle was stopped and the driver arrested for possessing a stolen vehicle.

The Newport Beach Police Department thanked the various allied law enforcement and state agency partners for their assistance with this operation.

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

Victim encounters suspect entering her home and notifies police, who then do their job

A victim was driving home to her residence in the 700 block of St. James Place on Monday, March 22 around 6:30 p.m., when she was approached by a suspect walking down her neighbor’s driveway. The suspect attempted to speak to the victim, but the victim chose to ignore the suspect and continued to drive through the neighborhood before approaching her house.

When the victim pulled into her driveway, she observed the suspect at her front door. It appeared the female suspect was attempting to enter the house through the front door, but it was locked. She then went around the side of the home and entered it through an unlocked side door. Once inside, the suspect took several pieces of property that would later be identified as personal identification, U.S. currency, gift cards and a bill.

The victim, after observing the suspect on the side of her home, called Newport Beach Police. Shortly after the police arrived, the suspect exited the home and was taken into custody. 

Arrested was 37-year-old Ebony Marie Pearson, of Long Beach, who was charged with residential burglary with a forced entry, identity theft for possessing another’s personal identification, trespassing, identity theft for using another’s identification with the intent to deceive and for being a felon in possession of tear gas.

All items taken were recovered and Pearson was held on $500,000 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

Suspect shatters window, enters residence

A residential burglary occurred in the Harbor View Broadmoor Community last week. Sometime between 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 17 and 9 p.m. on Thursday, March 18, a suspect shattered a window to enter a residence in the 2700 block of Windover Drive. 

While the victims were away, a suspect accessed a walkway along the side of the house entering through a window in a French door leading to the master bedroom. Once inside, the suspect ransacked the master bedroom and bathroom before fleeing the scene. 

The loss was unknown at the time of the complaint and no suspect information was available.


Police Files

DUI checkpoint planned for next Friday, March 26

The Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) will hold a DUI Checkpoint Friday, March 26 from 8 p.m.-2 a.m. at an undisclosed location within the Newport Beach city limits.

Checkpoint locations are chosen based on a history of DUI crashes and arrests. The primary purpose of checkpoints is not to make arrests, but to promote public safety by deterring drivers from driving impaired. During the checkpoint, officers will look for signs that drivers are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

As the state continues to work to stop the spread of COVID-19, the NBPD is committed to keeping the public safe.

“The safety of our community is and always will be our mission,” Lieutenant Damon Psaros said. “We are still out there looking for impaired drivers because driving under the influence is still dangerous.”

The NBPD reminds the public that impaired driving is not just from alcohol. Some prescription medications or over-the-counter drugs may interfere with driving. Always follow directions for use and read warning labels about driving or “operating heavy machinery,” which includes driving a car. While medicinal and recreational marijuana are legal, driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal.

If you plan on drinking or taking medications that may impact your ability to drive safely, plan on staying at home.

Drivers charged with DUI face an average of $13,500 in fines and penalties, as well as a suspended license.

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

NBPD to crack down on both loud and racing vehicles through the summer

The NBPD has received numerous complaints regarding loud vehicles with modified exhaust as well as racing vehicles traveling throughout the city over the last few months. As a result, the NBPD has stepped up their traffic enforcement and they are now launching a Loud/Modified Vehicle Exhaust and Street Racing Enforcement Operation through this summer.

During this effort, there will be additional officers on patrol looking for vehicles with loud/modified exhausts that do not comply with California Vehicle Code (CVC) regulations and citing those drivers as appropriate. 

Officers will also cite or arrest those drivers who engage in street racing activity as well as impound their vehicles as circumstances warrant.

The NBPD requests the public’s assistance in reporting street racing activity when observed in the city to the Newport Beach Police Department non-emergency phone number at 949.644.3717.

Fire Files

Truck fire temporarily closes road south of town

Reef Point Drive from Archipelago Drive to Shore Walk (just east of the Crystal Cove Shopping Center) was closed for a period of time yesterday morning, Thursday, March 18, due to a construction truck fire that was quickly extinguished. 

The road remained closed and then partially closed for several hours as cleanup took place.


Fire Files

Late night fire causes heavy damage as NBFD rescues resident from second-story smoke-filled room

Crews from the Newport Beach Fire Department responded to a residential structure fire at 1061 Dover Drive that broke out at 11:56 p.m. Wednesday, March 10, and fought two separate fires over the course of the next seven hours. 

Upon the initial attack a male resident was rescued after two Newport Beach Firefighters climbed a ladder to his second-story apartment and entered the smoke-filled room. Firefighters lifted the victim to the ladder where a third firefighter assisted the victim down to safety. 

Fire Files fire billows

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Photos courtesy of NBFD

Paramedics transported the victim to a burn center for treatment. 

The townhome sustained heavy fire damage and the fire spread through the attic area to the adjoining units. Newport Beach fire units along with Costa Mesa Fire and Rescue had an initial knockdown of the fire at 12:55 a.m. The fire continued to smolder in the attic area. The fire was declared out at 1:14 a.m. 

Units on scene continued to look for hot spots to extinguish in the overhaul phase of the incident. The fire scene was left suppressed and overhauled with no sign of active fire at approximately 3:15 a.m.

Then, at approximately 5:17 a.m. units were called back out to the residence to contain a secondary fire that broke out minutes earlier. Crews worked diligently to assure all occupants had exited the building, and then quickly extinguished the fire.

Fire Files building

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Crews remained on scene until approximately 11 a.m. to ensure the fire was out. The fire is currently under investigation.

Police Files

NBPD to staff extra patrols for St. Patrick’s Day

The Newport Beach Police Department is suggesting that if you are celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, remember to do so responsibly by having a plan to get home safely.

Tomorrow, St. Patrick’s Day (March 17), the NBPD will have additional officers on patrol looking for drivers suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

“If drinking is part of your plans, plan on designating a sober driver and find a safe way home,” Newport Beach Police Department Lieutenant Damon Psaros said. “Don’t make poor choices and allow yourself to mix alcohol or drugs with driving.”

On St. Patrick’s Day 2019 in California, seven people were killed, and 116 others were injured in crashes caused by driving under the influence.

Not only does driving under the influence put yourself and others on the road at risk, but it also hurts financially; attorneys’ fees, fines, court costs, insurance rate hikes and car repairs can reach $15,000 or more in California.

“It’s simple: don’t drink and drive,” Sergeant Corey Wolik said. “Stay at home or find a sober driver to take you home.”

California’s public health guidance advises to limit mixing with people you don’t live with as much as possible to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Although many St. Patrick’s Day celebrations will be held virtually this year, it’s important to designate a sober driver or stay at home for the night.

If you ever see a suspected drunk driver on the road, call 911.

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


Police Files

Juveniles involved in fight near Balboa Pier identified

Last Saturday, March 6 at 10:11 p.m., the Newport Beach Police Department dispatch center received a call regarding a physical fight in the area of Balboa Blvd. East and Main St. near the Balboa Pier. Officers responded to the area and subsequently found one male adult with serious injuries. He was transported to the hospital in stable condition. The juvenile male suspects reportedly involved in the incident fled the area prior to officers arriving on scene.

Through assistance of the media, local citizens and detective follow-up, all parties involved in this incident have been identified. Still, the investigation is open and ongoing. Due to the incident involving juveniles, the NBPD is unable to provide further details regarding this investigation.

Anyone who is able to provide additional information on this case is encouraged to contact Detective Gamble at 949.644.3771 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Suspect makes off with electronics in Promontory Point burglary

A residential burglary recently occurred in the 400 block of Promontory Drive West between 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 27 and 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 28.

While the victim was away, an unknown suspect entered the residence through an unlocked front door. The suspect fled the scene with property left on the kitchen table.

The losses were reported as electronics.

There is no suspect information available.

Valuables left behind a potential problem for active adults

The Newport Beach Police Department has distributed an advisement related to the participation in outdoor recreation and its correlation to theft. 

It’s a common habit for people to leave their valuables in their car, not wanting to carry a bulky purse or wallet with them when they’re going to be on the sports field or hiking trail?

However, because this is a common habit, burglars know that the parking areas for these activities can be a goldmine for unsecured property. Even if you lock your car, burglars don’t mind breaking into a car if they know there’s something valuable in there.

With that in mind, please plan ahead when you are getting ready to enjoy your outdoor activities. Here are four things you should do:

–Pack light. Leave anything at home that you don’t absolutely need and that you don’t want to carry with you.

–Utilize zipper pockets or a fanny pack for essentials. Take small items that you don’t want to leave at home with you if possible – for example: keys, cell phone, ID or credit cards.

–Hide valuables before you get to your location. If you must leave something in your car, place that item in your trunk (where it is not visible) prior to getting to the parking area. You never know if a burglar is hanging out in that area watching for victims who make it obvious exactly where they stored their valuables.

–Lock your car. Don’t be an easy target for burglars who are looking for convenient opportunities. Keeping your car locked is one of the best ways to avoid having it rummaged through.


Police Files

Battery investigation involving “juvenile suspects” underway, adult hospitalized with serious injuries

On Saturday, March 6 at 10:11 p.m., the Newport Beach Police Department dispatch center received a call for a physical fight in the area of Balboa Blvd. East and Main Street. Officers responded to the area and subsequently found one male adult with serious injuries. He was transported to the hospital in stable condition. The juvenile male suspects fled the area prior to officers arriving on scene.

At this time, NBPD Detectives are conducting an active investigation and are aware of the video circulating on social media.

Anyone who may be able to provide additional information on this case is encouraged to contact Detective Gamble at 949.644.3771 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Police Files

Second burglary in a week hits residential community

For the second time in a week, a residential burglary has been reported in the Corona Highlands community. The latest one occurred Monday, March 1 at approximately 7:15 p.m. in the 400 block of Mendoza Terrace.

While the victims were away, unknown suspects shattered a glass door and entered the residence. In the master bedroom, the suspects rummaged through desks and nightstands. They also ransacked the master bathroom closet before fleeing the scene. 

At some point, the home’s security alarm was activated, and the Newport Beach Police Department was contacted. When officers arrived, the suspects were gone. 

People reported three subjects involved, driving a light colored, four-door sedan. No further details were available.

The loss is unknown at this time.

Another residential burglary was reported on Monday, Feb. 22 in the early evening in the 400 block of Morning Canyon Road.

Community grandparent scam alert

Have you heard of “Grandparent Scams?” Here’s how they work:

“Grandma? Is that you? This is Joe.”

“Yes, are you okay?”

“No, I’m in jail. In Canada. I had a car accident and they arrested me. Now I need money to get out of jail. Please don’t tell mom and dad; I want to tell them myself when I get home. Will you help me?”

Telephone calls like this are happening throughout the country, including right here in Newport Beach. This is only one variation of the scam; in each case the suspect uses a different but similar story.

In this scam, impostors call senior citizens identifying themselves as their grandchild and requesting money for an emergency situation. The con artist may then ask the grandparent to wire money, often out of the country or out of state, to cover the alleged grandchild’s fees or fines to be released from jail or to re-enter the United States. Alternately, the suspect may ask the grandparent to purchase pre-paid debit/credit cards and send them to a distant address for similar purposes.

In some calls, the “grandchild” is crying (to disguise his/her voice). The suspect may know an actual grandchild’s name, or may use a ruse to get the grandparent to disclose the grandchild’s name (“Grandpa, do you know who this is?”, “Is this Susan?”).

The Newport Beach Police Department offers these tips to help you avoid this scam:

–Do not fill in the blanks for the caller. Often, they do not know the names of the grandchildren, but are relying on their victim to provide that information. Ask callers to identify themselves. If you do not provide them any information, they will likely hang up.

–Verify the whereabouts of the alleged caller by contacting other family members, or the grandchild they claim to be. Do not use telephone numbers provided by the caller.

–Keep your information (and your money) safe. Never give out personal identifying information, such as bank account or credit card account numbers, to anyone you do not know. And never send money unless you have verified that your relative is really in trouble.

Keep in mind with the many sources of public information at their fingertips, these con artists can easily find out basic information about people and use it to their advantage. They may read obituaries, go on social media, or use other sources to find out just enough details to pull off their scam.

Most importantly, remember once the money is sent by a wire transfer, there is no way to stop the transaction. If the money is sent to a foreign country, U.S. authorities have no jurisdiction to pursue the matter. Authorities rarely, if ever, are able to recover the consumer’s payment.

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

If you believe you’ve been the victim of a scam, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/complaint.


Police Files

Newport Pier parking lot death is an unfortunate and sound reminder

As a follow-up to the Tuesday, Feb. 23 Police Files story titled “Body of deceased female found inside vehicle near Newport Pier,” the Orange County Sheriff’s Department is ruling the cause of death as a suicide.

According to an OCSD spokesperson, the decedent was identified as Cassandra Castellon, 24, of Santa Ana.

It’s a sad reminder of the difficult times so many are facing in these challenging times.

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, you are encouraged to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.TALK (8255). The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, and also provides prevention and crisis resources for all interested parties.

We can all help to prevent suicides.

Alarm alerts residents and scares off suspect

At approximately 3:15 a.m. on Sunday morning, Feb. 21, an attempted residential burglary occurred in the Upper Newport Bay community in the 2300 block of Tustin Avenue.

With the residents asleep upstairs, an unknown suspect accessed a side door of the house and attempted to enter the home through the unlocked laundry room door. When the suspect opened the door, an alarm was activated, and the suspect fled the scene.

The alarm did wake the victims who were able to get a glimpse of the suspect and contacted Newport Beach Police.

The suspect was described as a male with a thin build, wearing a dark colored jacket and dark colored pants.

No loss was reported.

Suspect forces entry through the front doors and makes off with jewelry and a watch

A suspect forced open the front doors of a home in the Irvine Terrace community to enter the residence. The crime took place sometime between Saturday, Feb. 20 and 12 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 22 in the 1900 block of Chubasco Drive. The victim was away at the time.

Once inside, the suspect ransacked the master closet and other bedroom closets before leaving through the front doors.

Losses reported were jewelry and a watch.

There was no suspect information available.

Shattered window allows for access in Cameo Highlands burglary

A residential burglary took place Monday night, Feb. 22, sometime between 6-7:15 p.m. in the Cameo Highlands community. While the victim was away, an unknown suspect accessed the backyard and shattered a first-floor bedroom window on a residence in the 400 block of Morning Canyon Road.

The suspect climbed through the window and ransacked multiple bedrooms and an office/laundry room.

The victim reported a loss of jewelry.

No suspect information was available.


Police Files

PCH closed following pursuit, suspect arrested for alleged vehicle theft

Coast Highway was closed in Newport Coast early Friday (Feb. 19) afternoon following a police chase that had come to a conclusion there.

The suspect, William Joey Bennett, 29, of Los Angeles, was spotted near Ruby’s Diner in Laguna Beach in a vehicle reported stolen out of Los Angeles. Laguna Beach police pursued the vehicle as it headed north into Newport Beach where Newport Beach Police also joined in the pursuit. 

The suspect was stopped near Crystal Heights Road but then refused to exit the vehicle. SWAT teams from Newport Beach and Irvine PDs arrived on the scene and eventually forced the man to finally surrender.

Laguna Beach Police arrested the suspect, and he was later booked into Orange County Jail. He was arrested for allegedly taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent/vehicle theft and on an outstanding warrant. He was also under Post Release Community Supervision (PRCS) for carjacking, according to Laguna Beach Police.

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.

Body of deceased female found inside vehicle near Newport Pier

Newport Beach Police discovered the body of a deceased 22-year-old female inside a vehicle in the parking lot adjacent to Newport Pier on Friday (Feb. 19). The vehicle was parked with a windshield cover inside the vehicle obstructing the front view. There reportedly were previous parking tickets on the windshield inserted under the driver’s side windshield wiper, according to an eyewitness.

Police Files vehicle

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of a Stu News Newport reader

Police tape surrounds vehicle in the Newport Pier parking lot where a deceased 22-year-old female was discovered

The identification of the decedent has yet to be released by the Orange County Coroner’s office.

A Newport Beach Police spokesperson said that “there is nothing suspicious” about the death.


Police Files

Burglary suspect allegedly enters home and encounters resident, leaves and is later arrested 

A residential burglary reportedly occurred on Wednesday, Feb. 10 around 11:30 p.m. in the Santa Ana Heights community. 

According to reports, a suspect entered the residence in the 20400 block of Santa Ana Avenue through an unlocked front door and went upstairs. One of the victims was upstairs watching television and heard the suspect in the hallway. The victim confronted the suspect who reportedly claimed he thought he was in his friend’s house. 

The suspect then reportedly left the scene and the police were not contacted at this time.

About five hours later, Costa Mesa Police (CMPD) received a call of a suspicious person trying door handles of homes and vehicles in the area. CMPD stopped the suspect and found property from the previous victim’s home in his possession.

Newport Beach Police were then notified of the alleged burglary at that time and took the suspect into custody.

The victim ultimately reported losses of clothing, a wallet and a cell phone, all of which was recovered.

Arrested was DeVaughn Claude Hanley, an unemployed 27-year-old from Santa Ana, who was charged with residential burglary with no forced entry. His bail was set at $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

You should be on the lookout for pickpockets looming about

A Newport Beach Police alert! Unfortunately, pickpocketing is on the upswing. One trend the NBPD is noticing is in grocery stores.

NBPD has provided this video for the community to see: https://youtu.be/Db0ygkFaLUc.

Here are a few key takeaways: 

–Pickpockets utilize distraction to create an opportunity to snatch your property. 

–They often work in groups or pairs. One or more act as decoys while the pickpocket takes the property. 

–Some victims reported they felt someone bump into them while in a narrow aisle or crowded area. They later discovered their wallet missing. 

Here’s what you can do to avoid being the victim of a pickpocket theft: 

–If you carry a purse, choose one that secures at the top – preferably with a zipper. When you are out shopping, if you set your purse in the cart, buckle it in with the child safety belt and make sure the top is zipped closed. If you carry your purse on your shoulder, make sure that you carry it next to you or in front of you and never behind you.

–Keep valuables – especially your wallet – in the bottom of your bag.

–Be aware when someone gets into your personal space.

–After you pay or retrieve something from your purse, remember to take a moment to make sure your wallet and purse are secured again.

–Whenever you are out and about, always try to keep your property in your line of sight. 

Body found in Kings Road Park

Newport Beach Police were called to Kings Road Park on Saturday afternoon, February 13, with the report of a dead body. Upon arrival, police found a 50-year-old transient who was deceased. No suspicious circumstances were discovered.

The Orange County Coroner’s office arrived on the scene to recover the body. Further identification will be made public following notification to next of kin.


Police Files

Bail denied for 22-year-old charged with DUI and murder

Attorneys for DUI/murder suspect Grace Coleman, 22, of Newport Beach, were denied bail Tuesday for their client during an arraignment hearing.

Coleman was arrested December 8 in Newport Coast after reportedly crashing into a vehicle occupied by a family after running a red light and killing the driver, Henry Saldana Mejia, 27, and his wife, Gabriela Andrade, 28, both of Santa Ana. The incident also seriously injured the couple’s three young children.

Attorneys Tuesday entered a not guilty plea for Coleman, who is facing five felony counts that include hit-and-run, two for DUI and two counts of second-degree murder. 

The police report also indicated that on the night of the incident that Coleman had been driven home from a local brewery after reportedly drinking excessively, only to then drive the family’s Range Rover soon thereafter. Within minutes of leaving, an accident occurred. Newport Beach Police additionally reported that Coleman attempted to then flee the scene, only to be arrested a short distance away.

Her blood alcohol level was reported at more than .20 according to the criminal complaint.

Another report said that Coleman was arrested on suspicion of DUI three months prior in Laguna Beach. 

Following Tuesday’s appearance in court, she remains in custody on a no-bail hold with a pretrial hearing next scheduled for March 3.

In addition, a wrongful-death lawsuit has also been filed in civil court against Coleman and her parents, James and Kelli Coleman, of Newport Beach. 

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.

Oops, burglar evidently drops one TV, before making off with another

A residential burglary occurred in the early morning hours of Monday, Feb. 8, in the Cliff Haven community. At approximately 3:45 a.m., an unknown suspect accessed the side of a house in the 300 block of Signal Road, shattering the side window to gain access.

Once inside, the suspect attempted to steal a mounted television from the living room but appeared to have dropped it. The damaged TV was left at the scene. The suspect did remove a different mounted television from another part of the home before fleeing the scene.

The television was the only reported loss.

The suspect was described as a Hispanic female in her late 20s/early 30s, with long brown curly hair, wearing a blue sweatshirt with white lettering, gray sweatpants and blue shoes.

She was associated with a dark colored sedan, possibly a Prius.


Police Files

NBPD arrests burglary suspect leaving property

On Saturday, Jan. 30, around 11:30 p.m., Newport Beach Police arrested a suspect leaving the scene of a residential burglary in the Irvine Terrace community.

In an unoccupied home in the 500 block of Angelita Drive, a suspect accessed the backyard where he tried some exterior doors to see if they were unlocked. He eventually entered the garage and attempted again to enter the home through an interior door.

Around that time, the NBPD received an alarm activation notice and responded to the scene. Upon arrival, officers located Daniel James Moretti, 41, of Laguna Beach, leaving the scene and took him into custody.

There was no loss reported.

Moretti was charged with residential burglary with no forced entry and held on bail of $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.

Security system notifies victims via phone of suspects inside their home

A residential burglary occurred in Big Canyon on Oak Crest Lane, Thursday evening, January 28. 

At approximately 6:20 p.m., while the victims were away, unknown suspects smashed a window of a rear door to gain access to the home. Once inside, they ransacked the master bedroom, master bathroom, master closet and rummaged through drawers and boxes. The suspects located a safe inside the home and attempted to pry it open.

The victims received a phone notification from their security system and observed the suspects inside their home. The victims contacted the police, but the suspects had fled the scene before police arrived.

The loss is unknown at this time and there is no suspect information available.

Burglar breaks glass, enters home and ransacks home

During a multi-week period while the victim was away, a residential burglary occurred in the Spyglass Hill community. Sometime between 8 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 14 and 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 30, a suspect pried a window screen off a window on the side of a home on Tiburon Bay Drive.

The suspect then shattered a glass pane of the window, allowing him to open it and gain access to the residence. Inside, the suspect ransacked the office and several bedrooms before fleeing the scene.

The victim reported missing jewelry.

No suspect information was available.

NBPD reminds residents of extra DUI patrols over Super Bowl weekend

Super Bowl LV is this Sunday, Feb. 7, and the Newport Beach Police Department will have additional officers on patrol over the Super Bowl weekend looking for drivers suspected of being under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

“If you are watching the game at home and plan to have a drink or two, stay at home,” Lt. Damon Psaros said. “Have a family member who hasn’t been drinking go out on your behalf or have your food delivered.”

The Newport Beach Police Department reminds the public that alcohol is not the only thing that impairs and may lead to a DUI. Prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications and marijuana may affect your ability to drive safely. Do your research and understand how a drug affects you before deciding whether or not you are okay to drive.

California’s public health guidance advises to limit mixing with people you don’t live with as much as possible to limit the spread of COVID-19. Although many watch parties will be virtual this year, it’s important to plan ahead, designate a sober driver, or simply stay at home for the night.

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


Police Files

Burglar hops fence to break into Peninsula Point residence

A residential burglary occurred in the Peninsula Point community during the early morning hours of Sunday, Jan. 17. Around 5:30 a.m., in the 400 block of M St., an unknown suspect jumped over the fence from an adjoining alley to access the back patio.

With the residence vacant, the suspect shattered a back patio window to gain access into the house. Once inside, the suspect removed a television from the wall and tampered with a bedroom closet before leaving through the garage.

The reported loss was the television.

The minimal information on the suspect was that the male was wearing a hoodie. No other information was available. 

Suspect enters vacant home, makes off with wall-mounted television

 Sometime between Saturday, Jan.16 and Monday, Jan. 18, a residential burglary occurred in the 100 block of Via Havre in the Lido Isle community.

While the residence was vacant, an unknown suspect accessed the side of the house, pried open the utility box and shut off the power. Then the suspect removed a window screen and shattered the window to gain access to the interior. The suspect took a television off the wall and left through the garage door. 

The only reported loss was the television.

The was no suspect information available.


Police Files

NBPD encounters an alleged robbery in progress while responding to another call

Last Wednesday, January 13, Newport Beach Police received a call from the security office of a Newport Center area hotel referencing guests using fake credit cards in order to obtain a room. 

When officers arrived on scene, they discovered another alleged crime in progress when a victim notified them that he had just been robbed. 

Police investigated and arrested three suspects on charges of trespassing and strong arm robbery. Those arrested included Raymond Edward Henry Jr., 20, a student from New York; Luis Martinez, 23, from Fayetteville; and Tori Renee Proctor, 22, from Brooklyn.

All were taken into custody and each held on $50,000 bail.

Group accused of taking sunglasses and leaving store, NBPD rounds up all six

Newport Beach Police responded to a call from loss prevention at a store in Newport Center on Wednesday, Jan. 13, around 5 p.m. Employees stated that they had witnessed one person in a group of six suspects taking several pairs of sunglasses and leaving the store.

NBPD investigated further in an attempt to find a related vehicle and the scattering of the other suspects involved. 

Police eventually located the vehicle and arrested the driver, while others were apprehended in other various locations, including one suspect who was a minor. 

Robert Andrew Orozco, 27, of San Pedro, was arrested in the 2600 block of Eastbluff Drive driving the vehicle and charged with receiving stolen property with an amount greater than $950 and for driving while his license was suspended or revoked.

Others arrested nearby were Brenna Renee Flores, 20, of Azusa, in the 100 block of Newport Center Drive; Haley Victoria Soto, 20, Harbor City, arrested at Granville Drive and Newport Center Drive; Andrew Burt Lookadoo, 24, Harbor City, taken into custody on Clubhouse Drive; and Steven Peter Bustos, 22, San Pedro, arrested at W. Coast Highway and Begonia Avenue.

Charges for each were obstructing or resisting and conspiracy to commit a crime by Flores; receiving stolen property with a value greater than $950 by Soto; commercial burglary through shoplifting an amount greater than $950, obstructing or resisting and conspiracy to commit a crime by Bustos; and Lookadoo was charged with receiving stolen property with a value greater than $950.

Bail was set at $20,000 for all five suspects. 

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

Catalytic converter thefts on the rise

The Newport Beach Police Department has seen a recent trend of catalytic converters stolen from vehicles. These incidents have been happening most frequently in the Flower Streets in Corona del Mar. They have also started to see some reported in and around the Newport Heights/Cliff Haven area.

Thieves steal catalytic converters because they contain precious metals – typically platinum, palladium and rhodium. It can take just a minute or two for a thief to remove a catalytic converter. The most common vehicle they have seen targeted for these thefts is the Toyota Prius.   

With this information in mind, consider one or more of these methods for preventing your catalytic converter from being stolen:

–Park your car in your garage if you have one.

–When parking outside, park in well-lit areas and/or close to a building entrance.

–Have the bolts welded.

–Purchase a security device that can make it more difficult to access or remove the catalytic converter.

–Have your VIN number engraved on the catalytic converter, so it is easy to identify if stolen.

–If parking in the driveway or close enough to your home, install a video surveillance camera that has your vehicle in view.

–If you have a car alarm, set it so that vibration will activate it. This will set the alarm off if a thief tries to saw it off.   

Please call the Newport Beach Police Department immediately if you see suspicious activity at 949.644.3717.


Police Files

Two arrested after allegedly breaking front door from hinges

On Friday, Jan. 8, at approximately 4:55 a.m., Newport Beach Police were dispatched to the area of Shorecrest Lane and E. Coast Highway for a residential burglary that had just occurred. The reporting party stated that they heard a loud bang and discovered the front door of the residence had been broken from its hinges.

The resident was able to offer police a description of two suspects fleeing the area, each driving a gold and gray truck.

Officers arrived on the scene and were able to locate both trucks and suspects in the area. 

Whitney Noelle Vigil, 28, of Lakewood, was arrested at 6:14 a.m. at Clubhouse Drive and E. Coast Highway. She was charged with alleged residential burglary with a forced entry.

Gordon Kenny Abbott, 44, of Long Beach, was also arrested in the 4500 block of Shorecrest Lane. His charges included alleged residential burglary with a forced entry and possession of unlawful paraphernalia.

Both suspects were held on $50,000 bail.

Suspect reportedly climbs tree to enter home through rear balcony

While residents of a Big Canyon home on Rue Deauville were out, a suspect reportedly climbed a tree in the backyard to enter inside their home through the rear balcony. The incident occurred sometime between 2 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 6.

After getting onto the balcony, the suspect shattered a glass door panel and was able to reach through to unlock the door leading into the home. Once inside, the suspect ransacked the master closets and master bathroom and also rummaged through drawers, cabinets and closets throughout the upstairs portion of the house.

Taken were a purse and jewelry.

No suspect information is available.

Fraudulent credit card investigation leads to arrest

Newport Beach Police were dispatched to the area of Irvine Avenue and Westcliff Drive on December 24 at 3:23 a.m. The reporting party notified police that a suspect attempted to use a fraudulent credit card.

Before police arrived, the suspect fled the scene reportedly driving a white Chevrolet.

Newport Beach Detectives investigated, which eventually led to the arrest of Michael John Raymond O’Keefe, 31, of Fountain Valley, at 10:40 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 7. O’Keefe was apprehended in the 11800 block of Amethyst Ct. in Fountain Valley.

He was charged with alleged commercial burglary using fraud, identity theft for personating another in an attempt to get money or property and on a felony probation violation.

His bail was set at $20,000.

Unknown employee paid $37,556

Newport Beach Police took a fraud report on Friday, Jan. 8, from a business in the 200 block of Newport Center Drive.

The report stated that an unknown suspect was added to the payroll of the business and had four transactions totaling $37,556. The incident occurred on December 9.

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.


Police Files

Two homes on same block burglarized on Balboa Island

Between 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 2 and 8:30 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 4, two residential burglaries occurred on the same block on Balboa Island.

Both burglaries took place in the 200 block of Diamond Ave. The first occurred as the residence was unoccupied, when an unknown suspect located a hidden key on the outside of the house and used it to access the side pedestrian door to the garage.

The suspect entered the interior of the house through an unlocked interior garage pedestrian door and removed property from the living room and master bedroom.

The suspect forced open an electrical panel on the side of the second house, which was also not occupied and shut off the power. The suspect then shattered a front sliding door to gain entry. Once inside, the suspect removed property from the living room before fleeing the scene.

The reported losses were televisions.

There is no suspect information available at this time. 

Irvine Terrace burglar gets away just before police arrive

A residential burglary occurred in the Irvine Terrace community in the 1300 block of Dolphin Terrace at approximately 8:15 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 31.

While the victim was away, an unknown suspect shattered a glass panel in a rear door and then unlocked the door. The victim then received a cell phone notification from a home security camera indicating that there was activity inside the residence. She immediately notified the Newport Beach Police Department.

Officers responded within a few minutes, but the suspect had already fled the scene without taking any of the victim’s property. As such, there was no reported loss.

The suspect was described as a black male, wearing a face mask, baseball cap, white T-shirt with red sleeves and black pants.

Suspect accesses multiple unlocked doors to burglarize home

On Tuesday, Jan. 5, sometime between 2 and 5 p.m., while the residents were out, a suspect entered a Mariners community home. The incident took place in the 1600 block of Beryl Lane. 

The unknown suspect accessed the home through a series of unlocked doors leading through the patio, the garage and into the house. Once inside, the suspect ransacked drawers, closets and cabinets in the master bedroom, guest bedroom and office, before fleeing the scene.

The victims reported losses of jewelry, a watch, personal documents and checkbooks.

No suspect information is available.

Burglar finds hidden key, then enters home

A residential burglary recently occurred in the 500 block of Mesa Drive in the Palm Mesa Apartments Community. Sometime between 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 3 and 8:00 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 4, while the victim was away, an unknown suspect entered the residence through unknown means.

Once inside, the suspect went through drawers in the bedroom and living room before fleeing the scene with the victim’s property.

The reported losses included U.S. currency, checks and a gift card. 

There is no suspect information available at this time.


Police Files

Even a swim in the Back Bay can’t allow suspect to escape

On December 31, a Newport Beach Police Officer attempted to stop a vehicle in the area of Santiago Drive and Mariners Drive for excessive speed. The motorist continued to drive, failing to yield to the officers.

The suspect then drove to the area of Whitecliffs Drive and N. Star Lane, near the Newport Aquatic Center and exited his vehicle. He then entered the water of the Back Bay in an apparent attempt to evade the officers.

Orange County Sheriff’s patrol boats were called, forcing the subject back to the shore. Nicholas Jonathan Alviso, 38, La Habra, was ultimately taken into custody on charges of allegedly evading peace officers with wanton disregard, suspicion of DUI – under the influence of drugs, obstructing and resisting peace officers, taking another’s vehicle without the owner’s consent and on a felony warrant from an outside agency.

His bail was set at $25,000.

Suspect allegedly kicks and punches vehicle causing damage leading to his arrest

On New Year’s Day, at approximately 9 p.m., Newport Beach Police Officers were dispatched to the area of Cedar Street and Newport Shores Drive on a report of a suspicious person. The reporting party advised that a male was in the alley punching and kicking a vehicle.

Officers arrived on the scene and found a subject matching the description given by the reporting party. They also found multiple dents, approximately the size of a basketball, on the back and along the sides of the vehicle.

Further investigation revealed that the suspect, Trinity Alexander Crummie, 40, of Santa Ana, had also allegedly forcefully opened the door of a local nearby business causing damage.

There was no reported loss from within the business.

Crummie was arrested on charges of alleged vandalism by damaging property, commercial burglary with a forced entry, obstructing or resisting a peace officer, with an attempt to commit a felony crime and on a parole violation.

His bail was set at $20,000.

Reports of “nude runner” running through business lead to arrest

On Thursday, Dec. 31, at approximately 10:36 a.m., Newport Beach Police Officers were called to Birch Street and Von Karman Avenue in reference to reports of a “naked subject” running through a business and trying to enter other patrons’ rooms.

Police made contact with Wesley Alan Plohr, 59, of Irvine, who was found wearing shorts. According to NBPD, he approached officers in an aggressive manner. 

As officers began interacting with Plohr, he allegedly pushed one of them forcefully into a wall.

Officers ultimately took Plohr into custody on charges of alleged felony battery against a police officer, trespassing by refusing to leave the property, obstructing and resisting a peace officer and resisting a peace officer resulting in injury.

His bail was set at $20,000.

Two arrested after allegedly using lost credit cards

On Wednesday, Dec. 23, a victim lost his credit card and driver’s license in the area of San Miguel Drive and San Joaquin Hills Road. The following day the victim was alerted that four fraudulent charges had taken place in the city of Newport Beach. The fraudulent charges took place in the area of San Miguel/San Joaquin Hills Road and Avocado/San Miguel Drive.

Newport Beach Police Detectives investigated the case and discovered subjects of suspicion. One had been previously arrested, and on Thursday, Dec. 31, police also arrested Dale Ira Haviland Jr., 55, of Irvine. It was discovered that Haviland had allegedly used the stolen credit cards. 

Additionally, police located methamphetamine and a meth pipe in Haviland’s belongings after he was arrested.

Haviland was arrested on charges of alleged commercial burglary for shoplifting an amount greater than $950, identity theft for using another’s identification and credit cards, possession of unlawful paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance.

His bail was set at $20,000.

Unknown suspect attempts to burglarize Upper Newport Bay home to no avail

While the victims were away from their home, an unknown suspect accessed their backyard in an attempted residential burglary in the Upper Newport Bay community.

At approximately 7:20 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 22, a suspect attempted to shatter a rear glass door and two windows at a residence in the 2500 block of Sierra Vista. The attempt activated an alarm.

It did not appear that the suspect was able to make entry into the house.

There was no reported loss and no suspect information at this time.

Mariners community burglary leads to missing safe and more

Sometime between 7:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 22, a residential burglary occurred in the 1600 block of Highland Drive in the Mariners community.

While the victim was out, an unknown suspect shattered and unlocked a rear glass door to enter the residence from the backyard. Once inside the home, the suspect rummaged through drawers and closets in the master bedroom. The suspect was able to locate a safe in the house and fled the scene with the safe and other property belonging to the victim.

In addition to the safe, other reported losses included jewelry, U.S. currency, a firearm and personal documents.

There was no reported suspect information.

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

Two NBPD Deputy Chiefs sign off after combined 60 years of service

Two of Newport Beach’s longtime “men in blue” retired this week from the Police Department. Deputy Chief Dennis Birch and Deputy Chief Jay Short, with a combined 60 years of service, each called it a career.

Police Files Deputy Chief Birch

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Photos courtesy of NBPD

Deputy Chief Dennis Birch

Deputy Chief Birch started his career in 1989 with the NBPD. Over the years, his assignments included:

–Patrol officer serving as a bike officer, gang officer, SWAT operator, FTO (field training officer), detective and FBI task force.

–Sergeant of patrol, personnel, training, bike team, SWAT and SWAT Commander.

–Lieutenant of patrol watch commander, jail manager, jail training manager, detective, support services.

–Deputy Chief of the Patrol/Traffic division. 

Police Files Deputy Chief Short

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Deputy Chief Jay Short

Deputy Chief Short started his career in 1992 with the NBPD, serving as: 

–Patrol Officer as a reserve officer (prior to 1992), police officer, jail training officer, SWAT operator, defensive tactics instructor and detective.

–Sergeant of Patrol, SWAT, as a detective. 

–Lieutenant of Patrol, Chief’s Assistant (Executive Officer to the Chief, XO).

–Deputy Chief of the Detective division.

Their impact on the NBPD “was significant and will benefit the organization for years to come,” according to a police spokesperson.


Police Files

Man arrested by Harbor Patrol after allegedly boarding and burglarizing sailboat

At 11:16 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 27, the Newport Harbor Patrol responded to Marina Park regarding a male adult allegedly spray painting a 50’ sailboat and throwing objects into the bay. 

Upon arrival, deputies contacted 43-year-old Kristoffer Mayfield, who was reportedly uncooperative and attempting to launch the vessel. The deputy radioed for assistance and when additional deputies arrived, Mayfield was detained. 

An investigation revealed that the vessel did not belong to Mayfield. Mayfield was arrested for alleged burglary and is suspected of causing $50,000 in damage to the inside and outside of the vessel as estimated by the vessel’s owner. 

Police Files man boards

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Photo by Don Logan

The Newport Harbor Patrol arrives to arrest suspect accused of burglarizing moored vessel

While being transported to the Harbor Patrol Station on a vessel, Mayfield allegedly assaulted deputies causing minor injuries to both and force was reportedly used to restrain him. Upon arrival at the Harbor Patrol Station, officers with the Newport Beach Police Department assisted deputies with Mayfield’s transfer to a patrol car as he allegedly continued to be combative. 

Mayfield was then transported to the Orange County Jail where he was booked for alleged Assault and Battery on a Peace Officer and Burglary.

The Newport Harbor Patrol is comprised of Orange County Sheriff’s Deputies assigned to Marine Operations in Newport Harbor.

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

Suspect strikes out twice allegedly trying to burglarize homes, arrested by NBPD

A resident in the 300 block of Kings Road found an unknown man in his garage on Wednesday, Dec. 16, around 10 a.m. The suspect had entered the backyard of the residence and then reportedly entered the garage through an unlocked door.

The resident then opened the main garage door to get the man to leave. 

The suspect then left and allegedly moved on to the property next door. Once there, the victims received a cell phone notification from their doorbell camera showing that he was trying to open their front door. They immediately contacted police and a family member who was still at home inside the residence.

The suspect allegedly entered the home making contact with the family member who had also contacted police before exiting the residence.

Newport Beach Police responded and located the suspect, taking him into custody. Arrested was Simon William Robert Jasiewicz, 23, of Long Beach, who listed his occupation as “homeless” on the arrest report. Police allegedly found him in possession of a box of photographs that were recovered.

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

Suspect reportedly found opening Christmas presents from under the tree by victims in Cliff Haven community

A suspect reportedly entered a home on the 100 block of Kings Place in the late afternoon on Friday, Dec. 18, and appeared to help himself to his own Christmas celebration.

After allegedly trying door handles to other homes in the area, the suspect reportedly entered the victims’ home through an unlocked door. The suspect was reportedly found opening packages from under the Christmas tree until he was confronted by the victims, at which point he fled the scene.

The victims immediately contacted Newport Beach Police who arrived to take the suspect into custody.

Arrested was William Chrystoferlee Beasley, 20, of Westminster. Recovered was jewelry, candy, keys and toys.

Beasley was arrested for alleged residential burglary with no forced entry 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

Jewelry, cash and electronics taken in West Newport Beach burglary

Newport Beach Police answered a residential burglary complaint that occurred in the 200 block of 33rd Street in the West Newport Beach community on December 6 between the hours of 5-10 p.m.

While the victim was away, a suspect entered the residence through unknown means, took the victim’s property and exited through a patio door.

Reported losses included a wallet, jewelry, U.S. currency and electronics.

No suspect information was available.

Suspect enters through unlocked door and steals credit cards from wallet

A suspect stole credit cards during a residential burglary in the 1100 block of Campanile on December 8 between the hours of 7-10 a.m.

The victim had left his wallet on the dining room table and a suspect at some point entered the room taking the cards. The point of entry was possibly an unsecured sliding door.

Newport Beach took a report, however no suspect information was available.

Burglar ransacks Cliff Drive home

A Newport Heights residential burglary occurred in the 2700 block of Cliff Drive between Monday, Dec. 14 at 5 p.m. and Wednesday, Dec. 16 at 8 a.m.

While the house was unoccupied, an unknown suspect entered the residence by shattering a glass door in the rear of the house. The suspect then ransacked the master bedroom and family room, while also rummaging through cabinets and closets throughout the house.

The loss was reported as jewelry.

No suspect information is available.

NBPD encourages safe and sober roads for the holidays

This holiday season, the Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) wants to remind the public about the importance of being safe and sober when you are driving.

While the COVID-19 pandemic is changing how we celebrate the holidays, the NBPD is dedicated to keeping the public safe and urges people to stay at home or use a designated sober driver if you plan to drink.

Now through New Year’s Day, the NBPD will have officers on patrol looking for drivers suspected of being under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. The enforcement effort is part of a national campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, intended to show zero tolerance for drunk driving and keeping roads safe.

“This year has been challenging and difficult on all of us,” Lt. Damon Psaros said. “The last thing we need is more heartbreak and tragedy. Make the right choice by not driving impaired so everyone can have a safe holiday.”

The NBPD reminds the public that impaired driving is not just from alcohol. Prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs and marijuana can also impair, especially in combination with alcohol and other drugs. Do your research and understand how certain drugs you are taking may affect your driving ability.

Due to COVID-19, the state of California is asking residents to avoid large gatherings for the holidays to mitigate the spread of the virus.

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


Police Files

Bookkeeper arrested on suspicion of grand theft and held on $100,000 bail

A Newport Beach construction company filed an online report to the Newport Beach Police Department with a complaint against a longtime employee.

The filing led to the arrest of Pauline Victoria Omae, 69, of Costa Mesa, who was a bookkeeper for the company for the past 12 years. Omae is accused of using the company’s corporate account to pay personal bills.

Police arrested Omae at 7:35 a.m. in the 900 block of 17th Street in Costa Mesa on suspicion of grand theft.

Her bail was set at $100,000.

Quick-acting NBPD arrest two at Fashion Island for allegedly using stolen credit card

On Saturday, Dec. 12, Newport Beach Police received a call from a victim saying that an unknown person was in the process of using their credit card at Fashion Island. The victim had been previously burglarized.

NBPD immediately began an investigation and, with the assistance of loss prevention personnel at Fashion Island, located and arrested two suspects in the 900 block of Newport Center Drive. Apprehended were Arthur Chevel Thomas, 30, of Las Vegas and David Lee Chamberlin, 26, also from Las Vegas.

Both men were arrested for alleged commercial burglary using fraud and forgery, grand theft using fraud, identity theft by personating another person to obtain property and theft by use of an access card. Thomas was also arrested for possession of narcotics.

Bail was set at $20,000 for both suspects. 

Burglar jumps locked perimeter then enters unlocked door

A residential burglary occurred in the 2100 block of Fuentes in The Bluffs Community on Thursday, Dec. 10 between 2-5 p.m.

While the victims were away, an unknown suspect entered the residence by possibly jumping a locked gate and then entering through the unlocked front door.

Once inside the residence the suspect reportedly took items from the living room and master bedroom before fleeing the scene. Reported losses included U.S. currency, jewelry and collectibles.

No suspect information was available.

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 woman faces two counts of murder for Tuesday evening Newport Coast vehicle crash

Grace Elizabeth Coleman, 22, of Newport Beach, has been charged with two counts of murder for crashing into a Santa Ana family’s car, killing a husband and wife while she was allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol. The couple’s three young daughters were seriously injured. Prosecutors are alleging her blood alcohol level was more than .20 percent at the time of the collision.

Police Files Grace Elizabeth Coleman

Courtesy of Laguna Beach Police Department

Grace Elizabeth Coleman mugshot from prior suspected DUI arrest in August 2020

Coleman is charged with two felony counts of murder, one felony count of driving under the influence of alcohol causing bodily injury, one felony count of driving with a blood alcohol of .08 percent or more causing bodily injury, and one felony count of hit and run with injury. She has also been charged with three felony enhancements of great bodily injury for causing injuries to all three of the couple’s daughters. 

Immediately following the collision, Coleman allegedly attempted to leave the scene but was apprehended by Newport Beach Police nearby.

Coleman has also been charged with one misdemeanor count of driving under the influence of alcohol and one misdemeanor count of driving with a blood alcohol of .08 percent or more in connection with an August 29, 2020 arrest in Laguna Beach. 

Coleman faces a maximum sentence of 34 years and eight months to life in state prison if convicted on all charges.

She is a 2017 graduate of Laguna Beach High School and had attended Santa Barbara City College.

Gabriela Andrade, 28, of Santa Ana, and her husband, Henry Saldana-Meija, 27, of Santa Ana, were driving with their three daughters, ages 1, 4 and 5, near the intersection of Pelican Hill Road and Newport Coast Drive Tuesday evening, Dec. 8. At approximately 7:46 p.m., Coleman is accused of running a red light and crashing into the family’s vehicle, killing both parents and seriously injuring their three daughters who were secured in car seats. 

“Three young girls are orphans because of the selfish decision of a stranger,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. “Everyone knows how dangerous drinking and driving or using drugs and driving is, and that it is a crime. Yet over and over again people choose to get behind the wheel after drinking or using drugs, and they are killing innocent people and destroying lives. This has to stop. Children should not have to grow up without their parents because someone decided to make the wrong decision and get behind the wheel while intoxicated.” 

Coleman was originally placed under police supervision at the hospital and her bail was set at $2,000,000. On Thursday, a judge revoked her bail during her arraignment.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Walker of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.

Fundraiser for family of couple killed Tuesday in traffic collision underway

Police Files family GoFundMe

Courtesy of GoFundMe

A GoFundMe account has been established for the family of Gabriela Andrade, 28, of Santa Ana, and Henry Saldana-Meija, 27, of Santa Ana, who were killed Tuesday night, Dec. 8 in a tragic Newport Coast traffic collision. The couple leaves behind three young daughters, 5, 4 and 1, who were also seriously injured in the accident.

A 22-year-old Newport Beach woman driving a Range Rover is accused of running a red light while driving under the influence and colliding with the family’s Nissan Versa.

By yesterday afternoon, the account had exceeded $100,000 while showing more than 1,500 donors.

The GoFundMe can be accessed here at Gabriela .A. and Henry .S. Expenses.

DUI checkpoint tonight in Newport Beach

The Newport Beach Police Department will hold a DUI checkpoint tonight, December 11 from 9 p.m.-3 a.m. at an undisclosed location within the Newport Beach City limits. 

During the checkpoint, officers will look for signs that drivers are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

“The safety of our community is and always will be our mission,” Lieutenant Damon Psaros said. “We are still out there in the middle of a pandemic because driving under the influence is still dangerous and puts a further strain on critical resources.”

The Newport Beach Police Department reminds the public that impaired driving is not just from alcohol. Some prescription medications or over-the-counter drugs may interfere with driving. Always follow directions for use and read warning labels about “driving or operating heavy machinery,” which includes driving a car. While medicinal and recreational marijuana are legal, driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal.

If you plan on drinking or taking medications that may impact your ability to drive safely, plan on staying at home.

Drivers charged with DUI face an average of $13,500 in fines and penalties, as well as a suspended license.

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


Police Files

DUI checkpoint scheduled for Friday, Dec. 11

The Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) will hold a DUI Checkpoint on Friday, Dec. 11 from 9 p.m.-3 a.m. at an undisclosed location within the Newport Beach City limits.

Checkpoint locations are chosen based on a history of DUI crashes and arrests. The primary purpose of checkpoints is not to make arrests, but to promote public safety by deterring drivers from driving impaired.

During the checkpoint, officers will look for signs that drivers are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

With the easing of stay-at-home restrictions and more bars and restaurants being allowed to open, the NBPD is committed to keeping the public safe.

“The safety of our community is and alwaysa will be our mission,” Lieutenant Damon Psaros said. “We are still out there in the middle of a pandemic because driving under the influence is still dangerous and puts a further strain on critical resources.”

The NBPD reminds the public that impaired driving is not just from alcohol. Some prescription medications or over-the-counter drugs may interfere with driving. Always follow directions for use and read warning labels about “driving or operating heavy machinery,” which includes driving a car. While medicinal and recreational marijuana are legal, driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal.

If you plan on drinking or taking medications that may impact your ability to drive safely, plan on staying at home.

Drivers charged with DUI face an average of $13,500 in fines and penalties, as well as a suspended license.

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

NBPD shares holiday shopping safety tips

The holiday season is upon us, and the busiest shopping days of the year are here. If you are out and about hunting for gifts or grocery shopping for your holiday recipes, remember to keep safety in mind.

Here are some tips from the NBPD for preventing crime when you frequent the stores.

–Never leave your valuables unattended (phone, purse, wallet, etc.).

–Wait until asked before taking out your credit card or checkbook. An enterprising thief would love to shoulder surf to get your account information.

–Tell a security guard or store employee if you see an unattended bag or package. The same applies if you are using mass transit.

–Carry a purse with a zipper. Deter pickpockets by carrying your purse close to your body and keeping it zipped closed.

–If you carry a wallet, keep it in an inner coat pocket or front pants pocket.

–Do not buy more than you can carry. If you know you will be getting more than you can manage on your own, plan to take a family member with you or ask a store employee to help you carry your packages to the car.

–Have your keys in hand when approaching your vehicle. Check the back seat and around the car before getting in.

–Do not leave packages visible in your car windows. Lock them in the trunk or, if possible, take them directly home.

–Once you get home, do not park your car outside your home with shopping bags left inside.

When shopping with small children:

–If you are shopping with children, make a plan in case you are separated from each other and select a central meeting place.

–Teach them to know they can ask mall personnel, security or store employees if they need help.

–Keep a current photo of your child in your phone.

Don’t hesitate to call the Newport Beach Police Department if you see anything suspicious. The NBPD’s non-emergency line is 949.644.3717.

NBPD to conduct loud/modified vehicle exhaust enforcement

Over the last few months, the NBPD has received numerous complaints regarding loud vehicles with modified exhaust traveling throughout the city.

As a result of these noise complaints, coupled with the high number of illegally modified vehicles that are seen on a daily basis, the NBPD will be launching an enforcement campaign to address these safety and quality of life issues.

In an effort to educate the public regarding loud/modified exhausts, and to make it known to violators that enforcement action will be taken, the NBPD has placed two electronic sign boards with a warning message in different locations along Pacific Coast Highway.

The NBPD’s Loud/Modified Vehicle Exhaust Enforcement Operation runs now through December 27. During this time, there will be additional officers on patrol looking for vehicles with loud/modified exhausts that are not in compliance with CVC (California Vehicle Code) regulations.

The NBPD is also launching a social media campaign to heighten awareness of loud exhaust noise and increased enforcement of this violation. Visit the Newport Beach Police Department on Facebook and Instagram to view these posts.


Police Files

Community storage locker opened leading to multiple losses

A residential burglary occurred in the Park Newport Community between 12 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 21 and 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 22 in the 2200 block of Park Newport Drive.

On Sunday, a community storage closet door was found pried open and a number of storage lockers appeared to have been forced open. Property was missing from some of the lockers.

Losses included a golf bag, golf clubs, luggage, roller blades, decorative items and household items.

No suspect information was available.

Burglar breaks into home and detached guesthouse

Newport Beach Police received a report of a residential burglary in the Port Streets Community sometime between Saturday, Nov. 21 and 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 23. The incident occurred in the 1800 block of Newport Hills Drive East.

While the victims were gone, an unknown suspect removed a window screen near the back of the house and broke part of the window. The suspect was then able to reach through the broken window to unlock it and enter the residence.

Once inside, the suspect went through cabinets and drawers in the living room, dining room, guest room, master bedroom and master bathroom. 

The suspect was also able to get into the detached guesthouse by removing that window screen and entering through an unlocked window. The guesthouse was ransacked.

The loss is undetermined at this time. 

No suspect information is available.

Sure it’s a happy time of the year, but watch out for the crooks

The Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) reminds residents that during this wonderful and festive time of the year that it’s also busy. And because of that, sometimes we need to be reminded while shopping to protect information and packages.

Here are some guidelines to protect personal and financial information: 

–Before you jump on the internet, secure your personal computers by updating your security software. Everyone’s computer should have anti-virus, anti-spyware and anti-spam software, as well as a good firewall installed.

–Keep your personal information private and your password secure. Do not respond to requests to “verify” your password or credit card information unless you initiated the contact. Legitimate businesses will not contact you in this manner.

–Beware of “bargains” (especially in the form of popups or links) from companies with whom you are unfamiliar – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

–Shop with companies you know and trust. Check for background and customer service information if you plan to buy from a new or unfamiliar company. Companies with customer service phone numbers or emails and clearly stated return and exchange polices are more likely to be legitimate. A quick Google search can also tell you if someone else has discovered that website to be a scam.

–Use secure websites for purchases. Look for the icon of a locked padlock next to the URL address or “https” in the URL address.

–Save all receipts and confirmations from your online purchases. Start a file folder to keep all receipts together and to help you verify credit card or bank statements as they come in.

–Consider using alternate options to pay for your merchandise, such as PayPal, at online stores.

NBPD also tends to see an increase in reports of stolen packages during this time of year. Avoid becoming a victim of package theft by considering the following tips:

–Have packages sent to your office or the home of a friend or family member who will be home for the delivery.

–Use local pick-up options if available – in-store pick-up, Amazon locker, etc.

–Consider adding a doorbell camera near your front door.

–Track your delivery online. Check your package’s deliver status for an estimated delivery time and try to be home when it arrives.

–UPS and FedEx both offer customers the ability to customize the time and date of the delivery for a time when they will be home.

Finally, if you observe someone doing the following, call the Newport Beach Police:

–An individual taking packages from a doorstep.

–Someone following a delivery truck and then going up to a porch after a delivery has been made. 

NBPD’s non-emergency line is 949.644.3717.


Police Files

Jewelry and watches taken from Newport Heights home

A Newport Heights residential burglary occurred in the 500 block of Redlands Ave. Saturday, Nov. 21, between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.

With the victims gone, an unknown suspect entered the residence by shattering a glass panel on the side door of the house. The suspect was then able to enter through that door and ransack the master bedroom closets before fleeing the scene.

The losses reported were jewelry, watches and purses.

No suspect information was available.

Attempted burglary leaves thief empty-handed

An attempted residential burglary occurred sometime between Wednesday, Nov. 18 and Friday, Nov. 20, in the 1800 block of Sherington Place.

While the victim was gone, an unknown suspect attempted to pry open a back sliding door. The door jamb was damaged, but ultimately the attempt to enter was unsuccessful.

There was no loss and no reported suspect information.

Tips from NBPD to help protect home from potential burglaries

With the holidays upon us, shopping, dining and travel become the norm, leaving the security of our homes vulnerable.

The Newport Beach Police Department offers a series of Home Security Tips so that residents may conduct their own security assessment on their home.

–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.

–Use timers on indoor lamps to give the appearance that you are home. If you’re going out for the evening, leave a television or a radio on in the home. 

–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.

–Make sure your utility box is secured with a padlock.

–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.

–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.).

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

Increased officers over holiday looking for drivers that drink

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, the Newport Beach Police Department encourages drivers to arrive at their destinations safely by not driving impaired.

During the Thanksgiving holiday November 25-29, the Newport Beach Police Department will have additional officers on patrol looking for drivers suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

Officers will be actively looking for other unsafe driving practices – speeding, not wearing a seat belt, driving distracted – to make sure everyone has a safe holiday.

“We want everyone to enjoy the holidays and be safe when they must travel,” Lieutenant Damon Psaros said. “Taking simple safety measures like driving sober, following the speed limit and wearing a seat belt helps keep yourself and others safe.”

The Newport Beach Police Department reminds drivers that a “DUI Doesn’t Just Mean Booze.” Prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs and marijuana can also impair, especially in combination with alcohol and other drugs.

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


Police Files

Money and jewelry taken in burglary

A residential burglary occurred Tuesday, Nov. 10, in the Campobello community in Newport Coast. 

At approximately 7:45 p.m., while the victims were away, an unknown suspect entered the second story of the house through unknown means. The suspect ransacked the guest bedroom, master bedroom and master closet, before rummaging through drawers and opening a safe. The suspect then fled the scene.

Reported losses included jewelry and U.S. currency.

No suspect information is available.

Burglar breaks into storage locker

Sometime between 10 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 1, and 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 10, a residential burglary occurred in the 1800 block of the Park Newport Community.

The victim discovered that a storage unit’s lock was missing and that the property within had been removed. Taken were suitcases and a dolly.

No suspect information was available.


Police Files

Victim returns home and hears voices, police called

A residential burglary occurred Thursday, Nov. 12 around 4:25 p.m. in the Newport Coast community on Sea View Lane.

While the victims were gone, an unknown suspect entered the residence by shattering a bedroom window. Once inside, the suspect ransacked each room in the residence.

At one point, one of the victims returned home and heard voices in the home. The victim left the scene and called a family member. When the family member arrived approximately 25 minutes later, they went through the home and then called the Newport Beach Police Department.

Losses were reported as watches, a purse, wallets and collectibles.

There is no suspect information available.

Two residential break-ins minutes apart offer similar description in Newport Heights

Two residential burglaries occurred within several blocks of each other during a 15-minute time frame in the Newport Heights community on Saturday, Nov. 14.

The first one was in the 200 block of Santa Ana Ave. at approximately 5:45 p.m. While the victims were away, a male suspect approached the front door and rang the doorbell. The suspect returned about ten minutes later and rang the doorbell again. When there was no answer, two other suspects jumped over the gate and all three suspects went along the side of the house. They removed a window screen and slid the window open. The suspects did not appear to disturb anything inside the residence before they fled the scene.

No loss was reported.

The next one occurred in the 400 block of San Bernardino Ave. at approximately 6 p.m.

Here, the victims were not home; unknown suspects entered the residence by shattering a window. Once inside, they opened cabinets in the kitchen, ransacked the master bedroom, bathroom and closet, and rifled through the guest room closet. They also attempted to pry a safe open.

A neighbor noticed suspicious activity at the residence and went to check on the house. The neighbor called out when approaching the property, which caused the suspects to flee the scene. 

The reported loss was jewelry and pillowcases.

The suspect information in the two incidents offered similar features.

The first incident reported Suspect #1 as a heavyset male with light skin wearing a baseball hat, light colored sweatshirt, dark pants and a light colored mask. 

Suspect #2 was reported as a male with light skin, dark hair and medium build wearing a dark mask, light colored sweatshirt, light colored pants and dark gloves.

And Suspect #3 was described as a male with light skin and medium build, wearing a dark gaiter covering his nose and mouth, a baseball hat, light colored sweatshirt, dark pants and light colored gloves.

The witness in the second incident reported 2-3 suspects involved. One was described as a heavyset male, while another was thought to possibly be a female.

No further details were available.

Seat belt safety month reminds you to Click it or Ticket

Throughout the month of November, the Newport Beach Police Department is joining with agencies across the country to promote the importance of wearing a seat belt in the car and keeping children safe by making sure they are properly restrained.

This year’s Click it or Ticket seat belt enforcement campaign is from November 16-29. During this time, the Newport Beach Police Department will have additional officers on patrol looking for drivers and passengers who are not wearing a seat belt. This includes drivers who do not properly secure children in child safety seats.

While the seat belt use rate in California was 96 percent last year, there has been a noted drop in seat belt use by back seat passengers. A recent report by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) found only 76 percent of rear seat passengers wore seat belts.

“Wearing a seat belt is your best defense on the road,” Newport Beach Police Department Lieutenant Damon Psaros said. “It only takes a few seconds and helps keep you and your family safe.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seat belts saved nearly 15,000 lives of people ages five and older in 2017.

The fine for a seat belt violation is $162. California law requires a child be properly secured in a safety seat in the second row of a vehicle, when available, until they are at least 8 years of age. Children under the age of 2 must ride rear-facing or until they reach 40 pounds or 40 inches in height. 

California has a primary seat belt law, which allows law enforcement officers to ticket someone for not wearing a seat belt without committing another traffic violation.

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

What’s on the Docket

Couple begins process on major fraud charges

Misty Touchard/Ronald Touchard – Friday, November 20 at 8:30 a.m. (Harbor Court 1)

Pre Trial for Major Fraud

–Between June 13, 2016, and July 1, 2016, Ronald Touchard is accused of taking over the titles of three residences in the city of Newport Beach he did not own or have claims to by submitting paperwork to the State of Delaware indicating he was the sole officer of Capital Win Corporation and Gainquick LLC (CWCG), an investment company based in Laguna Beach.

–Ronald Touchard is accused of convincing “hard” money lenders that as the president of CWCG, he held the deed of trust for each residence although he did not. Mr. Touchard is further accused of taking $5.9 million in equity out of the three residences for his and his wife’s financial benefit.

–Ronald and Misty Touchard are accused of using the stolen funds to make numerous large purchases including a Land Rover and moving the money between various bank accounts in a pattern consistent with money laundering.

–The Orange County District Attorney’s Office investigated this case and arrested the defendants today with the assistance of Newport Beach Police Department.

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

Multiple boat burglaries hit private docks off Harbor Island 

On Monday, Nov. 9 at 1:45 p.m., Newport Beach Police were called to the boat docks located off of 800 Harbor Island Drive. The victims reported a burglary from their boat that had occurred sometime between Wednesday, Nov. 4 and Monday, Nov. 9. 

On Wednesday, following their use, the victim had docked their boat in a private slip. Upon returning on Monday they found the door handle leading into the boat had been damaged, allowing a suspect to enter and ransack the interior cabin. 

Taken was fishing equipment and tools valued at some $5,000.

Later the same day, around 6:07 p.m., NBPD officers were again dispatched to the same docks referencing a grand theft. 

The victims reported last being on their boat on Tuesday, Nov. 3. Upon returning Monday at 5 p.m., the victim observed the interior of their boat to be in disarray, with several fishing rods and reels missing. No damage was observed.

However, their loss was reported at $32,050.

The victim did report that a video has been obtained that possibly shows the suspect.

A number of cars broken into, with one stolen in Port Streets

A series of thefts from vehicles occurred Tuesday, Nov. 10 in the Port Streets community, ending with one vehicle being stolen.

The series of thefts included an unlocked vehicle being rummaged through on Port Charles Circle, with no reported loss; two vehicles in the 1900 block of Port Trinity Place entered and rummaged through with losses including a purse, key fob, U.S. currency, gift cards and personal identification; two vehicles in the 1900 block of Port Locksleigh Place entered and rummaged through, with a firearm being stolen from one; two vehicles in the 1900 block of Port Laurent Place entered, with losses including jewelry, a purse, wallet and gift cards; two vehicles entered into in the 1700 block of Port Tiffin Place, with no reported loss; and the theft of a wallet from an unlocked vehicle in the 1800 block of Port Renwick Place, with the suspect attempting to use the credit cards within.

The spree included a vehicle being broken into in the 1900 block of Port Edwards Circle, with the suspect finding keys inside. Another agency later recovered the auto.

Newport Beach Police found a vehicle stolen out of Los Angeles that was recovered near Newport Hills East and Port Edward Place. Police say it’s possible that the suspects entered the area in this vehicle and abandoned it.

No arrests have been made.

Vacation break-in leads to nearly $83,000 loss

In the early morning hours of Friday, Nov. 6, a victim left for vacation at 6:30 a.m. and returned home around 12:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 9. Sometime during that time a suspect entered their home in the 20200 block of Bay View Ave. after prying off a backyard window screen and then forcing the window open.

The suspect ransacked the master bedroom and master closet, before leaving the scene with jewelry, U.S. currency and savings bonds. The reported loss to Newport Beach Police was $82,900.

No suspects have been identified.

OC Sheriff’s Department awarded grant to assist in drug testing with DUI cases

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department – OC Crime Lab has been awarded a $117,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) for training and enhanced drug-impaired driving testing. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department will use the funding to facilitate the efficient testing of all blood samples collected in DUI investigations for the presence of drugs, regardless of the blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

“With illicit drug use on the rise, coupled with the introduction of fentanyl onto our streets, this type of efficient testing is a necessary tool to keep Orange County roadways safe,” said Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes. “This grant will assist Orange County law enforcement’s efforts to identify those individuals who drive while under the influence and hold them accountable for their actions.”

The prevalence of drug-impaired driving is increasing on our roadways. Based on case-derived data collected by the Orange County Crime Laboratory, more than 50 percent of drivers arrested for DUI in Orange County have at least one impairing drug in their system other than alcohol. 

Illicit drugs and certain prescription and over-the-counter medications can cause impairment in an individual. These substances in combination with even a small amount of alcohol can cause a person to become unable to operate a motor vehicle safely. 

“Drug-impaired driving is a significant problem in California,” OTS Director Barbara Rooney said. “Effective drug testing is needed to combat the rise in cases and assist in the prosecution of those who put lives at risk.” 

While alcohol remains the worst offender for DUI crashes, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department reminds drivers that “DUI Doesn’t Just Mean Booze.” Prescription medications and marijuana can also be impairing by themselves, or in combination with alcohol, and can result in a DUI arrest. 

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


Police Files

Four arrested in early morning heist attempt of bank ATM

At approximately 4 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 5, the Los Angeles Police Department notified Newport Beach Police that they were in Newport Beach on surveillance monitoring suspects in the area around Westcliff Plaza.

The suspects were reportedly part of a crew that would steal a pick-up truck and then chain it to a stand-alone ATM, rip the ATM apart, remove the cash and then flee the area.

A short time later the suspects reportedly attached a large chain to a truck that had allegedly been stolen and parked near the Chase Bank drive-thru ATMs. Then, taking the other end of the chain, they reportedly jammed a large hook into the ATM and ripped it from its mount.

BLUR PLATES Police Files 10.10.20

Click on photos for larger images

Photo by Lana Johnson

Chase Bank ATM kiosks after heist attempt

Witnesses stopped nearby at a stoplight at Westcliff Drive and Irvine Avenue then saw police and a helicopter immediately appear forcing the masked suspects to attempt to flee. Police could be seen tackling the suspects while taking them into custody.

LAPD ultimately arrested four suspects. NBPD then assisted in transporting them to the Orange County jail.

One officer mentioned to a nearby witness that the “ring was from out of state” and that the “police were expecting them.”

No other information is available.


Police Files

Doorbell cam leads to arrest of transient in alleged attempted residential burglary

Newport Beach Police arrested Brandon Christopher Morris, 35, a Newport Beach transient, for an alleged attempted forced entry residential burglary. Morris, who was allegedly under the influence of a controlled substance, allegedly attempted the burglary around 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 28 in the 300 block of Coronado St. in the central area of the Balboa Peninsula. 

While the victims were away, they received an alarm notification saying that someone attempted to open their front door. Through their doorbell camera, they reportedly observed the suspect attempting to force open the front door of their home. 

They contacted their neighbor who called the NBPD. Officers responded to the scene, located the suspect on A St. and took the suspect into custody.

He was additionally found in possession of unlawful paraphernalia and a controlled substance. Additionally, following his arrest it was discovered that he brought a controlled substance into the jail facility.

He was arrested for alleged residential burglary with a forced entry, being under the influence of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance, possession of unlawful paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance in prison. 

He was being held on a $50,000 bail.

No loss was reported in the incident.

Burglar breaks into home, trips alarm and runs

A residential burglary was reported on Skycrest in the Newport Coast community on Thursday, Oct. 29 between 1-7:40 p.m.

While the victims were away, an unknown suspect reportedly accessed the backyard of the residence from the greenbelt. Once inside the backyard, the suspect shattered a glass pane in a rear door and entered the home. 

The suspect went through dresser drawers in the master bedroom and attempted to pry open a safe without success. 

At one point during the break-in the suspect activated an alarm and fled the scene through another rear door. 

There was no reported loss to Newport Beach Police.

No suspect information is available.

Suspect possibly enters through balcony’s sliding glass door

A residential burglary occurred in the Park Newport community in the 1800 block of Park Newport Drive on Saturday, Oct. 31 between 1-3 p.m.

According to the Newport Beach Police, while the victims were away an unknown suspect accessed the residence, possibly through the balcony’s sliding glass door. Once inside, the suspect took items from the master bedroom, master bathroom and living room before fleeing the scene.

Missing items included a piggy bank, U.S. currency, shoes, a watch, jewelry, electronics and makeup.

There was no information available on a possible suspect.

Window screen removed leading to apartment burglary

Another residential burglary occurred in the Eastbluff Apartment Community in the 700 block of Domingo Drive. The incident took place sometime between 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 30 and 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 3.

While the victim was away, an unknown suspect attempted to enter the house by removing a window screen and pushed the window open. When the suspect could not open the window, they went to the front door and forced the locked door open.

Once inside, the suspect went through drawers in the living room, guest bedroom, master bedroom and master bathroom before they fled the scene.   

The loss reported included jewelry and checkbooks.

There was no suspect information available according to Newport Beach Police.

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

Convicted kidnapper and torturer of dispensary owner sentenced to three life sentences

Hossein Nayeri, 41, convicted of kidnapping and torturing a marijuana dispensary owner from Newport Beach in a vicious attack, was sentenced Friday to two life sentences in state prison without the possibility of parole. He was also sentenced to a third life sentence with the possibility of parole.

Police Files Hossein Nayeri

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of OCDA

Booking photo of Hossein Nayeri

“The devastating depraved heart and extreme intelligence allowed this individual to inflict unimaginable horror on his victims,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. 

At the time of the kidnapping, victim John Doe owned a lucrative marijuana dispensary business.

On Oct. 2, 2012, Nayeri, and several accomplices are accused of entering John Doe’s Newport Beach home with the intent to kidnap and rob him. Once inside, they are accused of zip-tying the victim’s wrists, severely beating him and forcing him in a van. They are also accused of zip-tying and kidnapping Jane Doe, who was the girlfriend of John Doe’s roommate. They are also accused of stealing a large amount of cash from the home.

The defendants are also accused of driving the victims to the desert where they believed John Doe was hiding money. They are accused of continuing to torture John Doe throughout the drive by burning him with a blow torch and severely beating him. Once in the desert, the defendants are accused of sexually mutilating the victim by cutting off his penis. They are accused of pouring bleach on the victim in an effort to destroy any DNA evidence and dumping both zip-tied victims on the side of the road. Jane Doe was not physically harmed.

John Doe spent an extensive period of time in the hospital recovering from his injuries. 

As part of its investigation, Newport Beach police canvassed John and Jane Doe’s neighborhood. A neighbor had been suspicious of a car parked outside John Doe’s home in the weeks prior to the kidnapping and wrote down the license plate. Upon locating the vehicle’s owner, Nayeri’s DNA was also found, and he was identified as a suspect.

Additionally, Nayeri is still facing trial for a brazen 2016 escape from the Orange County Jail. He and two other inmates are accused of orchestrating an escape from the county jail, kidnapping a cab driver, and forcing him to drive them to San Francisco. He and one of his co-defendants were captured after a homeless man recognized Nayeri from news coverage and alerted police. 

Multiple cars broken into on Balboa Peninsula

Newport Beach Police report that a series of thefts from vehicles took place in the 1700 block of W. Oceanfront between 6 p.m., Monday, Oct. 26 and 7 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 27.

Three vehicles were broken into by an unknown suspect. All the vehicles were parked in the victims’ carports. One vehicle’s front passenger window was shattered, another vehicle was left unlocked, and the last vehicle showed no signs of a forced entry.

Reported losses included U.S. currency, clothing, a garage door opener and a towel.

No further suspect information is available at this time.

NBPD joins in for Drowsy Driving Prevention Week

Newport Beach Daylight Saving Time ended Sunday, Nov. 1. With it, sleep patterns have changed and may be disrupted, possibly impacting our ability to drive safely.

In that light, the Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) joins the Office of Traffic Safety and other agencies across the country in recognizing Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, November 1-8.

“If you are feeling sleepy, it’s best to avoid driving,” Lt. Damon Psaros said. “Not having enough rest could have a similar impact as drugs or alcohol.”

To put things into perspective and highlight the dangers of driving while sleepy or tired, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention being awake for at least 24 hours is the same as having a blood alcohol content of .10 percent, which is above the legal limit of .08 percent.

The NBPD offers these tips to avoid drowsy driving:

–Get enough sleep (at least seven hours a day).

–Stick to a consistent sleep schedule.

–Avoid alcohol or medications that can cause drowsiness.

–If traveling long distances, take a break every two hours or 100 miles.

–Take turns with another driver on road trips.

–If you are sleepy, pull over to a safe place like a highway rest area or parking lot and take a 15- to 20-minute nap.

Signs of driver fatigue include frequent yawning, daydreaming, trouble remembering the past few miles driven, missing an exit, or drifting from lanes.

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) maintains more than 80 safety roadside rest areas across the state. To find a rest area near you, go to http://quickmap.dot.ca.gov, or download the free QuickMap app on Google Play and in the App Store.

What’s on the Docket

Barker mortgage and debt loan fraud cases

James Frank Barker – Friday, November 6 at 8:30 a.m. (Central Court 55) 

Sentencing – Major Fraud

–Between December 2013 and July 2015, Barker is accused of posing as an attorney under several different aliases and law firm names.

–Barker is accused of soliciting clients by promising to consolidate outstanding debts and/or reduce mortgage payments through loan modifications.

–Between November 2013 and July 2015, the defendant is accused of collecting $20,960 from his clients, John Doe 1 and Jane Doe 1, $3,000 from John Doe 2 and Jane Doe 2, and $21,640 from John Doe 3 and Jane Doe 3.

–The defendant is further accused of never notifying his clients’ debtors of his representation, never attempting to negotiate any debts on behalf of his clients, and never submitting any mortgage assistance applications on behalf of his clients.

–Barker is accused of refusing to refund his clients and laundering the money at a JP Morgan Chase bank.

–On December 7, 2015, the OCDA received a tip from an attorney in Orange County who represented two of Barker’s victims.

–OCDA investigated this case and discovered that Barker has never been a licensed member of the State Bar of California.

–Newport Beach Police Department arrested Barker on May 15, 2017.

Samuel Woodward pre-trial in Blake Bernstein homicide

Samuel Lincoln Woodward – Friday, November 6 at 9 a.m. (Central Court 30)

Pre-Trial – Homicide

–At approximately 11 p.m. on January 2, 2018, Woodward is accused of picking up the victim, 19-year-old University of Pennsylvania student Blaze Bernstein, from his residence in Lake Forest. The victim and the defendant knew each other from attending Orange County School of the Arts in Santa Ana.

–Woodward is accused of driving the victim to the parking lot of a shopping center in Foothill Ranch.

–Later that evening, Woodward is accused of driving the victim to a park in Lake Forest.

–The defendant, who is 6 feet 2 inches tall and 185 pounds, is accused of murdering Bernstein, who was 5 feet 8 inches tall and 135 pounds, by stabbing the victim multiple times because of the victim’s sexual orientation.

–Woodward is accused of burying the victim’s body in the dirt perimeter of the park.

–On January 3, 2018, Bernstein’s parents contacted the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) to report the victim as a missing person.

–After an eight-day investigation which included a team of 25 search and rescue deputies, police K-9 dogs, multiple helicopter searches, and drone, OCSD investigators discovered the victim’s body on January 9, 2018 in a shallow grave in the park.

–OCSD arrested the defendant on January 12, 2018, at his home in Newport Beach.

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

Burglary suspect reportedly attempts to hit two houses back-to-back

A residential burglary occurred in the 2000 block of Irvine Ave. in the Upper Newport Bay area between 10:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 23, and 3 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 24.

While the victims were sleeping in the residence, a female suspect entered the property through a side gate and went into the home through an unlocked side door. The suspect took laundry and a purse from the kitchen table, leaving some of the victim’s property as she exited through the side gate.

Residents reported the loss of U.S. currency and a towel.

A short time later, around 3 a.m., Newport Beach Police were called about a female suspect sleeping on property in the 2200 block of Santiago Drive. The suspect left the scene after responding officers issued her a trespass warning.

The next morning, the victims reviewed surveillance footage of their residence showing the suspect attempting to open a sliding glass side door around 4 a.m.

There was no reported loss.

However, NBPD identified the suspect, related to both cases, as a female, white, 45-50 years old, approximately 5’5” and 135 lbs., blonde hair, tan skin, wearing a khaki shirt, grey skirt and flip flops.

Anyone with information should contact the NBPD.

NBPD encourages Halloween and Día de los Muertos safety guidelines

The Newport Beach Police Department is encouraging the community to make this year’s Halloween and Día de los Muertos festivities as safe as possible by planning lower-risk online, at-home and car-based activities.

To limit the spread of COVID-19, the state’s Department of Public Health released safety guidelines strongly discouraging traditional trick-or-treating and asking families to plan safer alternatives. These alternative celebrations include a candy scavenger hunt at home, online pumpkin carving and costume contests, and car-based tours of Halloween displays.

The health guidance also covers Día de los Muertos, a Mexican tradition celebrated in the Latinx community honoring the deceased. Día de los Muertos celebrations often include gatherings of extended family. Families are encouraged to place traditional indoor altars outside so others can view them from a safe distance and create virtual altars online.

Families and individuals are also encouraged to check with local or county guidance on holiday celebrations.

Halloween is on tomorrow (Saturday) and the NBPD will have additional officers on patrol looking for suspected impaired drivers.

It is important to keep traffic safety in mind and designate a non-drinking driver before going somewhere to drink.

The Newport Beach Police Department offers these tips for drivers and those who are out walking:

–The days are getting shorter. Be visible and carry a flashlight or reflective vest if you are out at dusk or at night so drivers can see you.

–Stick to familiar, well-lit routes.

–Only cross the street at crosswalks or corners where it is safe. Always look left, right, then left again before crossing.

–If you are doing car-based tours of decorations, be extra alert for other vehicles backing out of driveways or leaving parking spaces.

–Watch for pedestrians and yield to them at all crosswalks.

Funding for this program to the NBPD was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Fire Files

NBFD engaged in Orange County fire fights

Reports as of yesterday have the Silverado Fire (east of Irvine) burning some 13,390, acres, with 51 percent containment.

Five structures have been damaged, one destroyed, two first responders injured and no fatalities. Full containment is expected on November 10.

The Blue Ridge Fire (Yorba Linda) has burned 14,334 acres and has containment of 39 percent.

Newport Beach Fire Department has been engaged in fighting both fires. Yesterday, NBFD crews were assigned from the Silverado Fire to the Blue Ridge Fire. They currently are utilizing three fire engines with four fire personnel each, along with two Battalion Chiefs. Additionally, they have one Fire Captain deployed as a Safety Officer.

One structure has been destroyed, 10 damaged, but no injuries reported. Full containment is expected on November 10.

As a point of reference, 14,300 acres is the equivalent of 22 square miles – roughly the land mass of Newport Beach.


Police Files

Red Flag conditions announced by police and fire

The Newport Beach Police and Fire departments both announced Red Flag warnings yesterday. Conditions included high/erratic winds and low humidity.

The morning began at 7 a.m. when the Orange County Fire Authority notified local fire agencies of a five acre brush fire in progress at the Silverado and Santiago Canyon areas. That location is directly east of the City of Tustin and north of the City of Lake Forest.

By 8 a.m., that fire had spread to approximately 50 acres and was growing rapidly. The winds pushed the smoke towards Newport Beach. Smoke and the smell of fire were highly noticeable. 

By late yesterday afternoon the fire encompassed some 4,000 acres and was forcing a mandatory evacuation to about 60,000 residents.

NBFD initially sent one fire engine but has increased its mutual aid response to three fire engines and two Battalion Chiefs. 

“We will continue to fully staff all of our fire stations on the eastern side of the City (Newport Coast, CdM and Fashion Island),” said NBFD Chief Jeff Boyles. 

Chief Boyles also said that three designated Fire Watch volunteers were assigned to work the Ridge Park area yesterday watching for spot fires or ignition points in our City limits.

Police Files 10.27.20

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

NBFD has sent three fire engines and two Battalion Chiefs to help battle the Silverado Fire

Weather conditions are expected to be dry and sunny over the next 10 days with temperatures ranging from the low to mid 70s, peaking in the low 80s on November 6.

Winds will taper down dramatically during this period and should range from 7-9 mph.

NBPD identifies homicide suspect and victim

On Thursday, Oct. 22 at 8 p.m., the Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) received a call requesting officers to the 20000 block of Orchid Street referencing gunshots heard in the area.

NBPD responded to the area and subsequently found one adult male, identified as Derek Leason, 63, of Newport Beach, deceased inside a residence. 

NBPD Detectives, Crime Scene Investigation personnel, the Orange County Coroner and the Orange County Crime Lab conducted a homicide investigation resulting in the arrest of Rodney James Hartzel, 57, of Irvine. 

A Newport Beach Police spokesperson would not provide details of what caused the shooting or how the suspect was identified. It was reported as an “isolated” incident.

Anyone with additional information or a witness to the crime is asked to contact Detective M. Fletcher at 949.644.3779.

Burglary occurs in Crystal Cove community

According to the Newport Beach Police, a residential burglary occurred in the Crystal Cove community on Sidra Cove between 10:30 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 16 and 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 17.

While the victims were away, an unknown suspect entered the property by climbing over a rear fence. Once in the backyard, the suspect first attempted to pry open the two rear doors to gain access and then shattered the glass on the patio door to gain access to the residence.

Once inside the suspect rummaged through drawers and cabinets in the office, master bedroom, closet and master bathroom, before fleeing the scene.

Loss was reported to include jewelry, a safe and purses.

No suspect information was available. 

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

Scam alert advisory to residents

Newport Beach Police were alerted earlier this week of a phone scam alert taking place in the community where callers are impersonating a police department employee.

NBPD advises the community that they will not contact residents to request money.

NMPD reminds you that 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.

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.

Burglary occurs in Park Newport

A residential burglary occurred in the 1300 block of Park Newport Drive in the Park Newport community on Monday, Oct. 19, between 8:30-9:30 a.m.

While the victim was out, an unknown suspect entered the property by unknown means. The suspect removed items for the bedrooms, living room and hallway before fleeing the scene.

The victim reported losses of jewelry, shoes, a laptop, bottles of alcohol and decorations. There was no associated value of loss reported.

There is no suspect information available at this time.

Good time to talk with teen drivers during National Safety Week

This week, October 18-24, is National Teen Driver Safety Week, and the Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) is encouraging parents to discuss the importance of safe driving habits with their teens as newly licensed drivers.

“New drivers will naturally be inexperienced,” Lieutenant Damon Psaros said. “Parents play an important role helping teens stay safe behind the wheel. It starts with practicing good habits like wearing a seat belt, staying off the phone and following the speed limit.”

The greatest risk for teen drivers is distracted driving, speeding and impairment. The NBPD offers tips to parents and caregivers on how to talk to teens about the consequences of making dangerous and illegal choices behind the wheel.

The top tips from NBPD:

–Avoid distractions: Cell phone use while driving is illegal. Drivers under 18 are not allowed to use a phone or other electronic device for any reason, including hands-free.

–Understand Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) Laws: For the first 12 months a teen has a license or until the age of 18, no passengers under 20 years old are allowed unless a licensed parent, guardian, or other adult 25 years old or older are in the car with them. Late-night driving (between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.) is also not permitted.

–Never drive under the influence: All teens are too young to legally buy, possess, or consume alcohol. Under California’s zero tolerance law, any driver under 21 cannot drink any alcohol and drive (blood alcohol concentration of .01 percent or higher).

–Follow the speed limit: The road is not a racetrack. Speeding is a risky behavior that increases the chances of serious injury or death in a crash.

It’s important for parents to let their teen know that driving is not a right, but a privilege. It can be taken away when they don’t follow the rules.

For more safe driving tips to share with your teens, visit https://gosafelyca.org. To learn more about state laws for different traffic safety issues, visit the Governors Highway Safety Association at www.ghsa.org/state-laws/states/california.

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

What’s on the Docket

Sean Robert McLaughlin – Monday, October 26 at 9:00 a.m. (Central Court 54)

Jury Trial

–At the time of the alleged crime, McLaughlin was employed as the security manager for a nightclub in Newport Beach.

–On September 18, 2016, the defendant is accused of holding a woman against her will inside his office at the nightclub and supplying her with ecstasy.

–Prior to November 18, 2016, the defendant is further accused of furnishing cocaine laced with fentanyl to four club patrons.

–At approximately 1:05 a.m. on November 18, 2016, the Newport Beach Fire Department (NBFD) and Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) responded to a call for medical aid for multiple victims at a business in the 2400 block of Newport Blvd.

–Four victims were transported to local hospitals, where one man later died.

–NBPD, who investigated this case, arrested the defendant.

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

Trump’s arrival to town is without incident

According to a spokesperson from the Newport Beach Police Department, there were no reported incidents related to the visit late Sunday morning, Oct. 18, by President Trump.

Trump arrived into town for a fundraiser at a private residence on the southeastern tip of Lido Isle.

Thousands of people lined major streets along the anticipated route throughout Newport Beach. The Trump entourage landed at John Wayne Airport and caravanned down Jamboree Road, making a right on Coast Highway, before eventually heading onto the Peninsula and then down to Lido Isle.

Police Files Truck for Trump

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Lana Johnson

This truck heading south on PCH at Bayside adorned Trump and American flags while blaring “Keep America Great Again” music

Chants and counter-chants from sign-waving citizens and vehicles sporting Trump and American flags were the norm along the route.

Fire Files

Men and women in red go PINK

The Newport Beach Fire Department (NBFD) along with the Newport Beach Firefighters Association (Association) is raising awareness and funding for breast cancer research. Uniquely designed pink t-shirts with the slogan “fighting for a cure” are being worn as a part of the department’s daily uniforms.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This annual campaign is centered around raising awareness and encouraging early detection with the goal of finding a cure for the disease. Pink is associated with breast cancer.

During the month of October, community members may see NBFD personnel around town or while responding to calls with a pop of pink under their safety gear. The NBFD refers to this as “Pinktober” and the personnel wear it proudly.

Police File NBFD personnel in pink

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of NBFD

Newport Beach Fire Station #3 crew wearing their Pinktober t-shirts 

While the NBFD personnel have been wearing Pinktober t-shirts for the past several years, they have traditionally been approved to only be worn underneath the uniform shirt. This year, Association President Bobby Salerno wanted to bring more attention to this important cause. He requested authorization from the Fire Chief for personnel to wear the Pinktober shirts in lieu of uniform shirts while on duty. 

Newport Beach Fire Chief Jeff Boyles agreed.

“Our personnel are out in the community every day,” Chief Boyles stated. “In light of the ‘Race for the Cure’ event being canceled this year and the focus being on COVID and wildfires, the Pinktober shirts are a visual reminder for people to take care of their personal health.”

The Association designed and ordered the pink t-shirts for its members to wear. Additional t-shirts were sold to other City of Newport Beach employees, friends and family. The Association is donating its profits from the t-shirt sales to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation.


Police Files

Residential burglary occurs in Eight 80 community

A residential burglary was reported to Newport Beach Police that occurred between 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Friday, October 9 in the Eight 80 community in the 1800 block of 16th St.

While the victims were out to dinner, an unknown suspect entered the residence through the front door (it is not clear how the suspect was able to unlock the door). Inside the residence, the suspect went through various dresser drawers before fleeing the scene.

Reported losses included jewelry, jewelry boxes, a computer, suitcase, car key and paperwork.   

Police reported no information available as to the suspects.

Deceased woman found in Eastbluff Park died of natural causes

The deceased woman recently found in Eastbluff Park on October 3 has been identified as Merry Watanasrimongol, 36. She was reported to be a transient.

According to a report from the Orange County Coroner’s office, Watanasrimongol died naturally of pulmonary thromboemboli and additionally suffered from large uterine fibroids and obesity. Pulmonary thromboemboli, or embolism, occurs when a clump of material, most often a blood clot, gets wedged into an artery in your lungs.

Watanasrimongol was found around 8 a.m. by a passerby, who then reported her to the Newport Beach Police Department. 

Phone and alleged threat lead to $50,000 bail

On Monday, October 12, at approximately 7:02 p.m., Newport Beach Police were dispatched to the area of West Bay Ave. and 18th St. referencing an alleged residential burglary that had just occurred.

Upon arrival to the residence, police found that Ryan Kelly Flynn, 25, of Fountain Valley, had taken a telephone from the victim’s hand and left the site. There was a relationship between the suspect and the victim, so no further information was released.

However, Flynn was arrested for alleged strong arm robbery, threatening a crime with the intent to terrorize and residential burglary with no forced entry.

His bail was set at $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.

NBPD awarded $237,000 grant from OTS

The Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) has awarded a $237,000 grant to the Newport Beach Police Department which will focus on the safety of everyone traveling on our roadways. The grant will assist in the Newport Beach Police Department’s continued efforts to reduce deaths and injuries on Newport Beach roads.

“These are trying times, and now more than ever, it is important that we are at the forefront of traffic safety,” Lt. Damon Psaros said. “This funding allows us to educate and enhance the safety of all residents.”

The one-year grant is for the 2021 federal fiscal year, which runs from Oct. 1, 2020 to Sept. 30, 2021.

The grant will fund a variety of traffic safety programs, including:

–Patrols with emphasis on alcohol and drug-impaired driving prevention.

–Patrols with emphasis on awareness and education of California’s hands-free cell phone law. 

–Patrols with emphasis on education of traffic rights for bicyclists and pedestrians.

–Patrols with emphasis on awareness and education of primary causes of crashes: excess speed, failure to yield, failure to stop at stop signs/signals, improper turning/lane changes. 

–Community education presentations on traffic safety issues such as distracted driving, DUI, speed, bicycle and pedestrian safety.

–Collaborative efforts with neighboring agencies on traffic safety priorities.

–Officer training and/or recertification: Standard Field Sobriety Test (SFST), Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) and Drug Recognition Expert (DRE).

“Through education and behavior changes, we hope to create an environment that is safe and equitable for all road users in our community,” Sgt. Corey Wolik said.

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

October is National Pedestrian Safety Month

October is National Pedestrian Safety Month and the Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) encourages the public to remember that everyone is a pedestrian.

“Whether in a parking lot, crosswalk, or intersection, we are all pedestrians,” Lieutenant Damon Psaros said. “Always be aware and look for pedestrians. We want those who are out walking to be safe and feel safe when traveling.”

In an effort to promote a safe walking environment in our community, the NBPD will focus on locations with a higher number of incidents of vehicle crashes involving pedestrians. Officers will monitor crosswalks for drivers and pedestrians who fail to yield the right-of-way or commit other violations that put pedestrians at risk.

The number of pedestrians killed has grown by about 50 percent over the past decade, with 6,283 pedestrians killed in traffic crashes nationwide in 2018, or one traffic-related pedestrian death every 84 minutes.

Excess speed, poor lighting, crossing outside crosswalks and impairment are the main factors that lead to a pedestrian being struck by a vehicle.

The Newport Beach Police Department offers the following tips for drivers and pedestrians:

For drivers: 

–Slow down on busy streets and intersections.

–Always look for pedestrians in intersections. Stop and allow pedestrians to cross. Pedestrians have the right-of-way at all marked or unmarked crosswalks.

–Stay off the phone and avoid other distracting behaviors such as eating, grooming, or using in-dash touch screens.

–Do your best to not block crosswalks making a right-hand turn.

–Keep headlights on at night and be extra careful when pedestrians are harder to see.

For pedestrians:

–Obey signs and signals. Try to cross at marked crosswalks, preferably at stop signs or signals where cars expect to see pedestrians.

–Make eye contact and nod or wave at drivers. A quick nod or wave is an easy way to let a driver know you see them, and they see you.

–Get in the habit of walking with a flashlight or wearing a reflective vest at night so it is easier for drivers to spot you.

–If you need to briefly walk into the street to maintain social distancing on sidewalks, look both ways for passing cars.

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


Police Files

CEO charged with child prostitution resigns

Haliburton International Foods CEO Ian Charles Schenkel, 59, of Newport Beach, has resigned his position with the company effective last Friday, Oct. 9 following charges of child prostitution.

He was immediately replaced by Dan Glick, a management and financial adviser previously with the company.

Schenkel was accused last week on allegations of paying for sexual relations with two underage teens. The incident came to light when the father of one of the girls reported an incident involving his daughter to the Newport Beach Police Department.

Also accused along with Schenkel is Huntington Beach resident Amanda Emilia Perez, 22, who allegedly arranged the girls for him.

Schenkel, who is free on a $100,000 bond, has been charged with six felonies and two misdemeanors. Included among the felonies are unlawful sexual intercourse, sexual penetration with a foreign object with a victim under the age of 16, oral copulation of a person under the age of 16, a lewd act on a child 14 or 15 years old, unlawful sex with a minor at least three years younger than the defendant, sexual penetration with a foreign object of a victim under the age of 18, and the two misdemeanor counts of soliciting prostitution of a minor.

Perez, free on $70,000 bail, has charges pending of six felonies for felony human trafficking of a victim under the age of 18, pimping a prostitute under the age of 16, pandering with a minor under the age of 16, human trafficking of a victim under the age of 16, pimping of a minor over the age of 16, and pandering with a minor for the purposes of prostitution.

Schenkel could face more than 10 years in prison if convicted, while Perez could face up to 14 years and eight months.

The girls involved were reportedly 15 and 16 years of age.

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 CEO accused of engaging in prostitution with minors

The CEO of Haliburton International Foods, Ian Charles Schenkel, 59, of Newport Beach, has been accused of engaging in prostitution with a 15-year-old and 16-year-old. 

Schenkel has been charged with six felonies and two misdemeanors. Included among the felonies are unlawful sexual intercourse, sexual penetration with a foreign object with a victim under the age of 16, oral copulation of a person under the age of 16, a lewd act on a child 14 or 15 years old, unlawful sex with a minor at least three years younger than the defendant, sexual penetration with a foreign object of a victim under the age of 18, and the two misdemeanor counts of soliciting prostitution of a minor.

Schenkel was arrested and released on $100,000 bond. He faces a maximum sentence of eight years in state prison and 728 days in county jail if convicted on all counts. 

Charges are also open in other cases against Schenkel for a driving under the influence case from November 2019 and for a hit and run and driving on a suspended license from January 2020.

A 22-year-old woman named Amanda Emilia Perez, of Huntington Beach, has been charged with pimping and pandering for allegedly arranging to bring the underage girls to Schenkel for sex.

Her charges include six felonies for felony human trafficking of a victim under the age of 18, pimping a prostitute under the age of 16, pandering with a minor under the age of 16, human trafficking of a victim under the age of 16, pimping of a minor over the age of 16, and pandering with a minor for the purposes of prostitution.

She was arrested and posted a $70,000 bond. Perez faces a maximum sentence of 14 years and eight months in state prison if convicted on all charges.

Newport Beach police began investigating the case in October 2019 when a man reported his teenage daughter had inappropriate sexual contact with Schenkel.

Jane Doe #1 told police that Perez would take her to meet men, including Schenkel, who would pay her to have sex and Perez would take a cut of the money. Perez is accused of bringing a second teenage girl to Schenkel, who paid the girl to have sex. Perez is also accused of taking a cut of that money.

Authorities are asking for the public’s help in identifying additional potential victims. Anyone with information is asked to call Newport Beach Police at 949.644.3790.

“The exploitation of children for sex acts shocks the public conscience,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. “It is reprehensible, and it is unlawful. We will prosecute this case to the fullest extent of the law, and we will work to ensure the judicial system protects these vulnerable victims.”

Anyone with knowledge of human trafficking is encouraged to contact the OC Human Trafficking Task Force at 949.250.4058 or at www.ochumantrafficking.com.

Passerby discovers dead body in Eastbluff Park

A Newport Beach Police spokesperson confirmed the death of a middle-aged female found Saturday morning (October 3) at Eastbluff Park.

NBPD does not suspect that foul play factored into her death and there’s no ongoing investigation involving law enforcement.

Police received a call from a passerby who discovered the deceased around 8 a.m. and reported it to police.

No identity has been released of the woman pending notification of next of kin by the Orange County Coroner’s office.

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

Burglar hits Mariners area residence

A suspect entered a residence in the 1700 block of Dover Drive in the Mariners community sometime between 12 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 25 and 7:40 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 30, while the victims were away.

The suspect entered the home by shattering the master bedroom window and then, once inside, ransacked the master closet before fleeing the scene.

Victims reported the loss of jewelry.

There is no suspect information available.

Newport Beach Police Department Home Security Tips

Residential burglaries are becoming a too common occurrence in Newport Beach. The Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) offers the following tips to reduce the chances of it happening to you.

–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.

–Use timers on indoor lamps to give the appearance that you are home. If you’re going out for the evening, leave a television or a radio on in the home. 

–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.

–Make sure your utility box is secured with a padlock.

–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.).

–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 911. Burglars often lock the door to slow down a victim, allowing the burglar extra time to get out of the home before the resident enters.

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


Police Files

NBPD arrest two in recovered stolen vehicle

A vehicle taken back on August 17, 2020, was recovered last week as Newport Beach Police arrested two suspects in the 16900 block of Brookhurst St. in Fountain Valley.

Initially, the vehicle, a Honda, was reported missing from the area of Eastbluff Drive and Vista Del Sol. The car had been parked around 2 p.m. and when the owner returned at 8:30 p.m., the vehicle was gone.

Last Thursday, Sept. 24, at 6:30 p.m., the NBPD Crime Suppression Unit detectives apprehended Erik Christian Lovejoy, 38, of Pico Rivera, and Robert Jeffrey Lombardo, 25, of Mission Viejo.

Lovejoy was arrested on suspicion of taking an auto without the owner’s consent, possession of a controlled substance, possession of narcotics, possession of burglary tools and on two warrants for burglary.

His bail was set at $210,000.

Lombardo was also arrested on suspicion of taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent, possession of burglary tools, possession of a controlled substance and possession of unlawful paraphernalia.

His bail was set at $40,000.

The Orange County District Attorney’s Office has filed charges against both suspects. 

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

NBPD regrouping at home with eyes on future deployments

The Newport Beach Fire Department just brought home a crew of four firefighters (Wednesday) who were assigned to the Bobcat Fire in Los Angeles.

They also sent a fire engine out on September 5 to the Valley Fire in San Diego. That crew was subsequently reassigned to the fire out in San Bernardino and later to the Bobcat Fire in Los Angeles. 

NBFD sent a fresh crew of four firefighters to replace the original crew on September 19. 

In total, that particular fire engine was deployed to three different counties for a total of 26 consecutive days.

NBFD currently has only one firefighter up in northern California assisting with radio communications. 

However, Fire Chief Jeff Boyles reminds us that, “We are positioned, staffed and ready for more deployments which I suspect will happen in the coming days.”

What’s on the Docket

James Frank Barker – Friday, October 2 at 8:30 a.m. (Central Court) 

Sentencing

Between December 2013 and July 2015, Barker is accused of posing as an attorney under several different aliases and law firm names. He is accused of soliciting clients by promising to consolidate outstanding debts and/or reduce mortgage payments through loan modifications. 

Between November 2013 and July 2015, the defendant is accused of collecting $20,960 from his clients, John Doe 1 and Jane Doe 1, $3,000 from John Doe 2 and Jane Doe 2, and $21,640 from John Doe 3 and Jane Doe 3. 

The defendant is further accused of never notifying his clients’ debtors of his representation, never attempting to negotiate any debts on behalf of his clients, and never submitting any mortgage assistance applications on behalf of his clients. 

Barker is accused of refusing to refund his clients and laundering the money at a JPMorgan Chase bank. 

On Dec. 7, 2015, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) received a tip from an attorney in Orange County who represented two of Barker’s victims. OCDA investigated this case and discovered that Barker has never been a licensed member of the State Bar of California. 

Newport Beach Police Department arrested Barker on May 15, 2017. 

Jamon Rayon Buggs – Friday, October 2 at 9 a.m. (Harbor Court) Preliminary Hearing for Homicide

Buggs, 44, of Huntington Beach will also be charged with one count of

possession of a firearm by a felon, one count of attempted first-degree burglary, and a sentencing enhancement of personal discharge of a firearm causing death.

Buggs faces a minimum sentence of life without the possibility of parole and a maximum sentence of the death penalty. 

Darren Donald Partch, 38, of Newport Beach, and Wendi Sue Miller, 48 of Costa Mesa, were found deceased inside a residence in the 2100 block of East 15th Street in Newport Beach on the evening of April 21, 2019. There is no evidence that Miller had any interaction with Buggs prior to the homicide. Miller and Partch were acquaintances. 

Buggs has a prior strike for an assault on a police officer in San Diego County in 1995.

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

One dies, one arrested following pursuit that ends on W. Coast Highway

A vehicle crashed on Sunday morning, Sept. 20, in Newport Beach following a police pursuit that began in Huntington Beach. The vehicle rolled over onto its roof in the 3000 block of W. Coast Highway around 5:45 a.m. injuring the driver and killing the passenger.

Police Files vehicle crash

Photo by Kathy Shaw

Vehicle rolls over on PCH causing passenger fatality

The driver was arrested by Huntington Beach Police, who were active in the pursuit.

Neither occupants have been identified.

Police are investigating. The vehicle was initially reportedly stolen from Modesto.

NBPD seeing uptick in fraud and identity theft

The Newport Beach Police Department’s (NBPD) core mission is to protect our community and provide a sense of security at all times. NBPD has learned there is a Fraud and Identity Theft trend occurring within California’s Employment Development Department (EDD).

This is a statewide trend confirmed with law enforcement partners at the EDD, California Department of Justice and the United States Secret Service. NBPD is working closely with all agencies regarding the arrests made thus far in the City of Newport Beach.

Victims typically include juveniles, homeless individuals, prison inmates and nursing home patients. NBPD is requesting the business community’s assistance effective immediately. They are strongly encouraging the following:

If you are going to accept an EDD card, please ask to see the physical card and matching identification. The suspects committing the fraud will generally have multiple EDD cards in their possession with different names on each card.

Please call NBPD at 949.644.3681 (non-emergency) or “911” if you need immediate assistance with a subject who is refusing to cooperate.

There are millions of tax dollars being spent fraudulently as a result of this trend. NBPD desires to work closely with local business partners to mitigate these crimes within the City. 

Fire Files

NBFD personnel still playing vital role in California fires

Nearly 30 Newport Beach firefighters have been deployed during the past several weeks to help battle some of the record-breaking wildfires that have consumed more than 3.4 million acres throughout California so far this year.

As of Friday, September 18, 11 NBFD firefighters are deployed at four fires throughout the state: the Bobcat Fire in Los Angeles County, the El Dorado Fire in San Bernardino, the Oak Fire in Mendocino and the Creek Fire in Fresno. Those firefighters nearing the end of a two-week deployment, returned Saturday, September 19, and were replaced by a fresh crew of eight. 

“I want to acknowledge the incredibly difficult work being done by members of our Newport Beach team and firefighters throughout the state of California,” said Newport Beach Fire Chief Jeff Boyles. “These are the most challenging fires we have ever faced in California. It takes a tremendous amount of courage and stamina to battle these fires over 12-hour shifts.”

The El Dorado Fire has claimed the life of one firefighter with the U.S. Forest Service, the agency announced Friday. That blaze, which has now burned 21,000 acres, was started by pyrotechnics used at a gender reveal party over Labor Day weekend. 

“It’s a tragic reminder to everyone that bad decisions can have deadly consequences,” Boyles said. “Under these dry, hot conditions, there is no place for fireworks of any kind.”

In addition to the wildfire deployment, members of the NBFD have also worked as part of an Orange County team to protect high risk areas within the County, Boyles said. 

What’s on the Docket

Timothy DeCinces – Wednesday, September 23 at 8:30 a.m. (Harbor Court)

Pre Trial

DeCinces, a Newport Beach real estate agent, is charged with felony counts each of assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury, battery with serious bodily injury, criminal threats and misdemeanor counts of soliciting, engaging or agreeing to engage in prostitution, child abuse and endangerment.

Hossein Nayeri, Kyle Handley, Ryan Kevorkian and Naomi Josette Rhodus – Friday, September 25 at 5 8:30 a.m. (Central Court)

Pre Trial

On Oct. 2, 2012, Handley, Nayeri, and Kevorkian are accused of entering John Doe’s home with the intent to kidnap and rob him. Once inside, they are accused of zip-tying the victim’s wrists and torturing him, including severely beating him. They are accused of kidnapping the victim and putting him in a van. They are also accused of zip-tying and kidnapping Jane Doe, who was John Doe’s roommate’s girlfriend who happened to be in the home at the time. Before fleeing the scene, they are accused of stealing a large amount of cash from the home. The defendants are accused of driving the victims to the desert near the area where they believed John Doe was hiding money. They are accused of continuing to torture John Doe throughout the drive by burning him with a blow torch. Once in the desert, the defendants are accused of sexually mutilating the victim by cutting off his penis. They are accused of pouring bleach on the victim in an effort to destroy any DNA evidence and dumping both victims on the side of the road. Jane Doe was not physically harmed.

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 DUI driver arrested on murder charges for killing woman and her dog

A 31-year-old man has been charged with murder and driving under the influence of alcohol in the death of a 72-year-old Newport Beach woman who was killed while crossing the street after the driver ran a red light and hit her Sunday morning. The woman’s dog was also killed.

Ali Zohair Fakhreddine, of Riverside, has been charged with one felony count of murder, one felony count of driving under the influence causing injury, one felony count of hit and run with permanent and serious injury, and one felony count of driving under the influence.

Police Files Fakhreddine booking photo

Courtesy of OCDA

Ali Zohair Fakhreddine

He faces a maximum sentence of 19 years to life if convicted of all charges. He is currently being held at the Orange County Jail on $1 million bail.

Fakhreddine was convicted of driving under the influence in San Bernardino County in 2008 and in Orange County in 2015.

Drivers convicted of driving under the influence in California are required to be given what is known as a Watson advisement that informs them that if they kill someone while driving under the influence they can be charged with murder. The Steve Ambriz Act, authored by then-Assemblymember Todd Spitzer, requires people applying for a California driver’s license to sign a form acknowledging that they can be charged with murder if they kill someone while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

On September 6, at around 6:33 a.m. Cleusa Moraes Coffman was crossing Irvine Avenue at Mesa Street in an unincorporated area of Orange County near the border of Newport Beach and Costa Mesa. Fakhreddine is accused of running a red light while driving southbound on Irvine Avenue and hitting Coffman and her Shih Tzu. Coffman and her dog were both killed.

The driver fled the scene and was found by the Riverside police passed out behind the wheel of his silver Hyundai Sonata which had sustained damage. When officers attempted to wake him up, he drove off. He was contacted again by officers and arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.

“Orange County roads have become incredibly deadly over the last few months because drivers are ignoring multiple warnings not to drink or use drugs and drive. Our county is experiencing a crisis when it comes to fatal crashes involving impaired drivers. Innocent people should not be dying as a result of the selfish decisions by impaired drivers to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. “This is unacceptable to me. If you drink or use drugs, don’t drive. The life you save maybe someone else’s, or it may be your own.”

Deputy District Attorney Brian Orue of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.

NBPD seeking public’s assistance to ID suspect in felony battery investigation

The Newport Beach Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying a suspect in a felony battery investigation. On Sunday, Sept. 6, at approximately 2:55 a.m., Newport Beach Police were notified of a battery that had just occurred in the 2600 block of Newport Blvd. The victim was attempting to leave the area in an Uber when the suspect struck him in the face multiple times rendering him unconscious.

The suspect is described as a male, 5’7’, with a full beard.

Police Files NBPD seeking 1 Police Files NBPD seeking 2

Photos courtesy of NBPD

NBPD is seeking identities of people in these photos

The NBPD is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying any person in these photos. Anyone who may be able to provide additional information on this case is encouraged to contact Detective Rick Henry at 949.644.3797 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Neighbor calls police reporting break-in, suspect arrested

Newport Beach Police received a call on Wednesday, Sept. 2, around 4:30 p.m. regarding a female observed breaking into a residence in the 1500 block of W. Balboa Blvd. 

While the victims were away, a female suspect, later identified as Lauren Elizabeth Quinn, 19, of Newport, was observed by a neighbor breaking into the residence.

Police responded to find Quinn inside and took her into custody. She had allegedly gained access by prying off a window screen and shattering a window in the rear of the home.

No loss was reported.

Quinn was arrested and charged with residential burglary with a forced entry, possession of a controlled substance, possession of burglary tools and for carrying a switchblade knife on her person.

Her bail was set at $50,000.

Suspect fails in attempt to break into Cliff Haven home

A residential burglary was recently attempted in the Cliff Haven community in the 300 block of Pirate Road around 8 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 3.

An unknown suspect entered the property through an unlocked side gate. The suspect then attempted to pry open several windows and doors on the back and the side of the residence, but was unsuccessful in breaking in.

There was no reported loss.

The suspect was described as a male wearing a hat and dark facemask, dark sweatshirt and a headlamp.

No arrests have been made.

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 and her dog killed in crosswalk by suspected drunk driver

An as yet to be identified Newport Beach woman and her dog were killed in a crosswalk on Irvine Avenue early Sunday morning by a suspected drunk driver. 

The suspect, identified as Ali Zohair Fakhreddine, 31, of Riverside, allegedly ran a red light driving southbound on Irvine Avenue at Mesa Drive at about 6:34 a.m. Fakhreddine did not stop to help the victim and continued on southbound on Irvine Avenue. 

First responders pronounced the woman and her dog dead at the scene.

Witnesses reportedly got a partial description of the vehicle. Some three hours later, California Highway Patrol officers detained Fakhreddine with his vehicle, a 2014 Hyundai, having “fresh damage to the right front,” according to a press release. He was arrested on charges of suspicion of driving under the influence and being involved in a hit-and-run crash.

The CHP requests anyone with information on the collision to contact Officer J. Patterson at 714.567.6000.

The woman’s identity is being held until notification to her next of kin.

Pedestrian killed on Coast Highway

On Sunday, Aug. 30, at approximately 7 p.m., Newport Beach Police dispatch received a call concerning a vehicle vs. pedestrian traffic collision in the area of Coast Highway and Hoag Drive.

Details show the vehicle was traveling westbound on Coast Highway near the intersection of Hoag Drive and struck a pedestrian who was crossing outside the crosswalk.

The pedestrian was transported to Orange County Global Medical Center in Santa Ana where he succumbed to injuries several hours later.

The pedestrian was described as a 48-year-old male.

His name has not yet been released by the Orange County Coroner’s office.

No arrests were made.

Fire Files

Newport Beach firefighters return home, before being shipped out again

Newport Beach Fire Department (NBFD) returned all 17 of their personnel from the fires in Northern California last week. Many of the crew were working in the Napa, Vacaville, Santa Cruz and other counties for nearly two straight weeks before being released from their assignments. 

All crews were back for only a couple of days before the Valley Fire in San Diego County and El Dorado Fire in San Bernardino County broke out.

NBFD currently has one engine deployed to both incidents. Both engines have four NBFD personnel on them as of yesterday. 

As with all out of county strike teams, the NBFD engines responded with a group of other Orange County fire agencies. 

According to Newport Beach Fire Chief Jeff Boyles, the high heat and low humidity this summer along with thousands of lightning strikes has created a recipe for extreme fire behavior across the Western United States.

“This fire season has already burned more total acreage than any other year in history, and we haven’t even started dealing with the Santa Ana winds yet,” Boyles said.

What’s on the Docket

Timothy DeCinces – Wednesday, Sept. 9 at 8:30 a.m. (Harbor Court 1)

This is a Pre-Trial Hearing.

Newport Beach real estate agent charged with felony counts each of assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury, battery with serious bodily injury and criminal threats and misdemeanor counts of soliciting, engaging or agreeing to engage in prostitution, child abuse and endangerment.

Information is gathered from the Orange County District Attorney’s court file bank.

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

Two employees of Newport Beach company among four arrested for alleged theft of military weapons documents

Federal authorities Wednesday morning arrested four defendants across the country on charges alleging a civilian employee of the United States Navy downloaded technical drawings and manuals related to U.S. military weapons systems and sold the items to a Newport Beach company, which later resold the documents to domestic and foreign customers.

The arrests were made pursuant to a criminal complaint filed in United States District Court in Los Angeles that charges all four defendants with theft of government property. The affidavit in support of the complaint alleges that the thefts have been occurring since at least 2012, and possibly since 2008.

The four defendants arrested were: Mark Fitting, 53, of Berlin, New Jersey, an engineer employed by the Navy at a facility in Philadelphia; Melony Erice, 54, of Lighthouse Point, Florida, who formerly cohabitated with Fitting in New Jersey; George Posey IV, 36, of Costa Mesa, an employee of Newport Aeronautical Sales Corporation (NASC), a Newport Beach company that sells technical aircraft data; and Dean Mirabal, 52, of Costa Mesa, another NASC employee.

All four defendants will make initial appearances in federal court in the districts in which they were arrested. For example, Posey and Mirabal made their appearance Wednesday afternoon in United States District Court in Santa Ana.

The investigation started when military investigators began looking at Fitting in relation to claims that he “was interfering with the quality assurance process for aircraft canopies intended for use in U.S. military aircraft,” according to the affidavit. The agents with the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) discovered two dozen emails from Fitting’s Navy email account to Erice’s Gmail account, all of which contained government-controlled technical drawings or manuals related to various military weapons systems, including aircraft.

“Some of those drawings and manuals were specifically labeled with International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) distribution warnings related to export control and destruction, as well as DOD contractor proprietary markings,” the affidavit alleges.

Investigators have concluded that Fitting also had access to Erice’s Gmail account, which allowed both of them to sell the documents and drawings to NASC. “Between September 21, 2012, and June 20, 2019, Fitting and Erice together unlawfully sold NASC at least 5,000 government-controlled technical manuals and drawings,” according to the affidavit.

Over the same nearly seven-year period, NASC issued Erice 150 checks totaling $509,845, but the two shared the proceeds of the sales, as evidenced by Fitting having access to one of Erice’s bank accounts and Erice being an authorized user on one of Fitting’s credit cards, according to the affidavit. Furthermore, the affidavit contains a lengthy email from Erice to Fitting obtained pursuant to a search warrant that outlines how Fitting was entitled to 75 percent of the proceeds, with the balance going to Erice.

The affidavit outlines how Fitting and Erice obtained documents and sold them to NASC, sometimes obtaining specific documents at the request of NASC. “In one such instance, on December 8, 2018, at the request of Mirabal, Fitting accessed and downloaded a government-controlled technical drawing for a military landing craft air cushion that he and Erice sold to NASC, along with at least 16 other government-controlled technical drawings and/or manuals, for $5,025,” the affidavit states. “Knowing the drawing was unlawfully procured outside of official government channels, Posey paid Erice for the drawing,” which NASC sold to a customer.

The affidavit notes that Fitting was allowed to access military computer systems after promising to safeguard controlled data. The affidavit also notes that Posey and Mirabal “are aware of the appropriate processes to procure government-controlled technical manuals and drawings and, as a result, they know that the acquisition of such manuals and drawings from Erice and/or Fitting is unlawful.”

The felony offense of theft of government property carries a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison.

This case is being investigated by DCIS; NCIS; Homeland Security Investigations; and the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security, Office of Export Enforcement. These agencies received assistance from the U.S. Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations and the U.S. Army’s Criminal Investigation Command.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Keith Ellison of the International Narcotics, Money Laundering, and Racketeering Section.

Editor’s Note: A criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

NBPD is on the lookout for affected drivers this Labor Day weekend

The Newport Beach Police Department is reminding everyone who is driving to do so while sober.

“The dangers of drinking and driving are very real,” Newport Beach Police Department, Lt. Damon Psaros said. “That includes drugs that affect your ability to drive. Please be responsible and think of your family and friends before considering driving when you are not in a position to do so safely.”

To protect the community, the Newport Beach Police Department, Huntington Beach Police Department and the Seal Beach Police Department will have additional officers on patrol this Labor Day weekend looking for suspected impaired drivers. The increased efforts to address impaired driving are part of a national enforcement campaign, “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.” Working in collaboration means you may see officers from different jurisdictions in our city, working to protect you and your family.

While less people are traveling, impaired driving continues to be a problem. During the 4th of July holiday, the CHP made 738 arrests for DUI over a 54-hour period.

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

If you plan on drinking or taking medications with a “may cause drowsiness” or other driving warning label, plan on staying home. If you see someone driving impaired, call 911.

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


Police Files

New K9 team on the force, ready for action

The Newport Beach Police Department has gone to the dogs, but that’s a good thing. Meet Garth, the newest K9 joining the force.

Garth joined the police department in early July and is teaming with K9 Officer Rosenberg. Together they began and completed K9 academy in July, a six-week training course.

Police Files 9.1.20

Courtesy of NBPD

(L-R) Garth and K9 Officer Rosenberg are the newest team on the force

Garth is a two-year-old Dutch Shepherd from the Netherlands.

The team will join K9 Officer Wilson and K9 Kajo in the department.


Police Files

Two residential burglaries occur in the same community, suspect apprehended

Two residential burglaries took place in The Waterfront Community in the 900 block of Bayside Drive in the early morning hours of Friday, Aug. 21. 

At approximately 7 a.m., a male suspect gained access to an apartment through unknown means. The victim was away.

While inside, the suspect ransacked the entire apartment before leaving the scene through the front door.

He then entered a second apartment through an open sliding glass door, removing some property from the kitchen before fleeing the scene.

A neighbor witnessed the suspect leaving the area on a bicycle.

Reported losses were a tablet, keys, documents, U.S. currency, a bottle of wine and a TV stand.

Shortly thereafter, Newport Beach Police arrested Miguel Angel Perez, 27, of San Diego at 8:47 a.m. nearby in the 1000 block of Bayside Drive.

Perez was arrested on suspicion of residential burglary with a forced entry, possession of burglary tools and for obstructing or resisting the arresting officer.

His bail was set at $50,000.

Suspect enters with victim home in evening hour

A residential burglary occurred in the 3000 block of Breakers Drive around 8 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 22.

An unknown suspect entered the residence through an unlocked door. The occupant, who was home at the time, saw the suspect inside the residence and screamed. The suspect fled the scene, but not before grabbing some of the victim’s property.

The initial loss was reported as a bag and some clothing.

The suspect was described as a male, Hispanic, 20-30 years old, approximately 5’7”, 200 lbs., bald and wearing tan shorts.

No arrest has been made.

Burglar enters property without using force while victim sleeps

A residential burglary was reported in the 2100 block of 16th St., the Eight 80 Community, on Monday, Aug. 24 at approximately 4 a.m.

While the victim was sleeping, an unknown suspect was able to enter the apartment through the front door without using force. Once inside, the suspect took some of the victim’s property from the kitchen and then fled the scene through the front door.

The reported loss was U.S. currency and debit cards.

No suspect description was available.

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.

Residential burglaries are a concern, here’s what you can do to help

Residential burglaries are unfortunately becoming too common of an occurrence. You can help secure your home, reducing the chances of an incident.

Here are some home security tips from the Newport Beach Police Department:

–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.

–Use timers on indoor lamps to give the appearance that you are home. If you’re going out for the evening, leave a television or a radio on in the home. 

–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.

–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. 

–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.

Finally, report all suspicious activity by calling the Newport Beach Police Department at 949.644.3717.

Weapon discharged unintentionally at JWA

On Wednesday, Aug. 26, around 7:02 a.m., an Orange County Sheriff’s Sergeant unintentionally discharged a weapon in the John Wayne Airport (JWA) Terminal Administrative Office. The round penetrated a wall and hit a JWA employee in the arm.

The employee was a woman in her 50s, who was transported to the hospital with a non-life threatening injury.

The incident did not affect airport operations and the Terminal Administrative Office is not an area regularly accessed by the public. The Terminal Administrative Office is closed until the follow-up investigation is complete.

An investigation is being conducted by the Orange County District Attorney, while the Sheriff’s Department will conduct an internal administrative investigation.


Fire Files

Newport Beach firefighters battling on Northern California’s frontlines

Numbers around the state of California indicate that there are currently some 625 fires burning. As a result, the Newport Beach Fire Department is actively engaged with 17 fire personnel deployed to Northern California.

The NBFD has three people assigned to assist the incidents in overhead assignments. Captains Charlie Dall and JC Nessa are working as a Safety Officer and Field Observer, respectively, and Civilian Life Safety Specialist Raymi Wun from our Fire Prevention Division has been requested to perform damage inspection as part of the incident management.

Fire Fires 1

Click on photo for a larger image

Photos courtesy of NBFD

Fires rage in many parts of Northern California

Three fire engines have been deployed with four personnel on each engine for a total of 12 fighting fire on the frontlines.

Two NBFD Battalion Chiefs, Brian McDonough and Nick Stocks, are operating as Strike Team Leaders. 

“Our crews are spread out across Northern California in places such as Napa County, Monterey County and the Vacaville area,” said NBFD Chief Jeff Boyles. “A tremendous amount of lightning strikes continue to start new fires throughout the vast array of hot and dry vegetation.”

Fire Files 2

Click on photo for a larger image

Engine from Newport Beach joins other companies from around the state

Orange County and fire agencies throughout Southern California have sent as many resources as possible to Northern California, while maintaining adequate service levels here.

Police Files

Bicycle and pedestrian safety operations planned for September

The Newport Beach Police Department will be conducting bicycle and pedestrian safety enforcement operations throughout the month of September aimed at keeping people who need to go out to exercise or run essential errands safe.

While the COVID-19 pandemic is requiring residents to stay home as much as possible, the Newport Beach Police Department recognizes the need to protect the public by looking for violations made by bicyclists, drivers and pedestrians that make roads unsafe.

These violations include drivers speeding, making illegal turns, failing to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, failing to stop for signs and signals or any other traffic violation. Officers will also look for pedestrians who cross the street illegally or fail to yield to drivers who have the right of way. Bike riders will be stopped when riding on the wrong side of the road, not complying with stop signs and signals, or other violation of the same traffic laws that apply to them as drivers.

“Just because there’s less traffic doesn’t mean traffic rules go out the window,” Lt. Damon Psaros said. “To protect you and your family, we want to make sure those that are out are following rules intended to keep them safe.”

The safety of bicyclists and pedestrians remains a top priority for the Newport Beach Police Department. So far this year, the Newport Beach Police Department has investigated three deadly and 62 injury collisions involving bicyclists and pedestrians.

To keep you and your family safe, the Newport Beach Police Department offers the following tips when out biking, driving or walking:

For Pedestrians:

–Only cross at marked crosswalks or intersections with a stop sign or signal.

–Look for cars backing up. Avoid going between parked cars.

–Make eye contact with drivers. Don’t assume they see you.

–Wear bright clothing during the day and use a flashlight when walking at night. 

For Drivers: 

–Wait for pedestrians to cross the street. Be courteous and patient.

–Stay off the phone.

–Follow the speed limit.

–Look for pedestrians when backing up or turning.

For Bicyclists: 

–Always wear a helmet. Helmets are required by law for anyone under 18.

–Bicyclists must travel in the same direction of traffic and have the same requirements as any slow moving vehicle.

Everyone who is out is reminded to practice physical distancing measures, when feasible, staying at least six feet away from others.

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

What’s on the Docket

Veronica Martin, Ronald Lee Martin, Jeffrey Scott Catanzarite & Max Humberto Matos – Friday, August 28 at 8:30 a.m. (Central Court)

Pretrial

Ronald Lee Martin, 68, Corona del Mar, and his wife Veronica Martin, 63, Corona del Mar, Jeffrey Scott Catanzarite, 59, Irvine and Max Humberto Matos, 78, Long Beach, are accused of involvement in a scheme that 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 more than $2.9 million

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 personnel on the road fighting fires around California

Fire season has picked up where last year left off. The extreme heat and dry fuels in Northern California continue to have devastating impacts on residents and wildlife. After returning all of Newport Beach’s resources home from the local fires in Riverside County a few days ago, 12 more Newport Beach Fire Department personnel have been dispatched up north to assist with the multitude of raging fires and evacuations.

Newport Beach currently has two fire engines deployed in Northern California. Both left Orange County on Tuesday. One fire engine staffed with four personnel is working the Carmel Fire in Monterey County along with two of our NBFD Battalion Chiefs who are serving as Strike Team Leaders. 

Fire Files

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of NBFD

Newport Beach engine NE63 and crew from the Fashion Island station working the fires in Napa County

The second fire engine is working the LNU Lightning Complex Fire in Napa County also with four personnel. 

In addition, NBFD has two Fire Captains serving in overhead assignments: one as a Field Observer on the Carmel Fire in Monterey and the second as a Safety Officer at the Del Puerto Complex Fire in Contra Costa County.

NBFD personnel and equipment have been joined by other Orange County fire agencies as part of strike teams.

Police Files

DUI checkpoint planned for Friday, Aug. 28

The Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) will hold a DUI checkpoint Friday, Aug. 28 from 8 p.m. until 2 a.m. at an undisclosed location within the city.

Checkpoint locations are chosen based on a history of DUI crashes and arrests. The primary purpose of checkpoints is not to make arrests, but to promote public safety by deterring drivers from driving impaired.

During the checkpoint, officers will look for signs that drivers are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

With the easing of stay-at-home restrictions and more bars and restaurants being allowed to open, the Newport Beach Police Department is committed to keeping the public safe.

“The safety of our community is and always will be our mission,” Lt. Damon Psaros said. “We are still out there in the middle of a pandemic because driving under the influence is still dangerous and puts a further strain on critical resources.”

The NBPD reminds the public that impaired driving is not just from alcohol. Some prescription medications or over-the-counter drugs may interfere with driving. Always follow directions for use and read warning labels about driving or “operating heavy machinery,” which includes driving a car. While medicinal and recreational marijuana are legal, driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal.

If you plan on drinking or taking medications that may impact your ability to drive safely, plan on staying at home.

Drivers charged with DUI face an average of $13,500 in fines and penalties, as well as a suspended license.

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

Thieves preying on distracted shoppers

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department would like members of the public to remain vigilant as investigators have seen an increase in thefts from distracted shoppers. 

Recent investigations show an increase in wallets and personal property being taken from purses while unsuspecting victims are distracted. In most cases, victims are followed through a store until the theft opportunity presents itself.   

The sheriff’s department is urging members of the public to maintain control of their personal property while shopping. If you are unable to maintain personal control of your property, consider zipping your purse closed and use the strap or a clip to secure it to the cart. Thefts of this nature tend to occur at grocery stores, home improvement stores, drug stores and membership warehouses.

In addition to thefts from purses, property crimes are on the rise countywide. As a reminder, set car alarms, secure vehicles, do not leave property of value in vehicles and never leave anything visible that may be enticing to thieves. 

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department will continue to be vigilant in safeguarding communities.


Police Files

Local man faces gun charges for actions during recent peaceful protest

A Newport Beach man has been charged with two misdemeanors for allegedly waving a loaded gun at Black Lives Matter protestors while screaming racial slurs during a Newport Beach protest in June. The confrontation was captured on video. 

Travis Patrick White, 48, is being charged with one misdemeanor count of brandishing a firearm in public and one misdemeanor count of possession of a loaded firearm in a public place. He faces up to two years in the Orange County Jail if convicted on both charges. 

White is scheduled to appear at the Harbor Justice Center on October 20, 2020 to be arraigned.

On June 4, White was seen yelling at Black Lives Matter protesters. White then exchanged words with one of the protestors who confronted him about the slurs he was using. White is accused of pulling out a loaded semi-automatic handgun from his backpack, cocking it and pointing it up in the air. 

No one was injured during the confrontation.

“It is scary that someone who disagrees with your right to express yourself freely during a peaceful protest would elevate that to the level of lethal force. That should cause all of us alarm,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. “This individual brought a gun to a peaceful protest. He was looking for a confrontation and when confronted with opinions that he disagrees with he pulled out his gun. That is not the America we want and those actions will not be tolerated. The freedom of speech and the right to peacefully protest are rights afforded to all Americans and the Orange County District Attorney’s office will always protect the public’s right to be heard.”

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

Residential burglary Sunday in Cliff Haven

A residential burglary occurred in the Cliff Haven community in the 400 block of Snug Harbor Road on Sunday, Aug. 16 around 2 a.m.

While the victim was sleeping inside the main residence, a male suspect entered the backyard through a side gate. Once there, he also entered both the guest house and the garage through unlocked doors.

The suspect moved numerous items from the garage before fleeing the scene. Some of the victim’s property was located in some bushes in the neighborhood later that morning.

The victim’s losses included a bicycle (recovered), clothing (recovered), bag (recovered), beer and exercise equipment.

No suspect description was available.

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.

Lifeguard Files

For local lifeguards it’s shark week

Two small thresher sharks came ashore on Newport Beach beaches Friday afternoon. 

The first at 1:30 p.m., thought to be a juvenile, was grabbed by a group of Newport Beach Lifeguards just north of Balboa Pier and dragged onto the sand, up and across the beach through sunbathing beachgoers to a nearby animal control vehicle. 

Shortly thereafter, the shark was euthanized due to injuries that made survival remote.

The second shark came ashore in Corona del Mar at Inspiration Point and was towed out to sea. Lifeguards said that that shark was also near death.

Speculation is that both sharks were possibly injured in commonly used fishing netting and released.


Police Files

Suspect repeatedly enters garage and residence while victims sleep

While victims were sleeping, a residential burglary took place in the Santa Ana Heights community. The incident occurred in the 1600 block of Indus Street sometime between 1-1:45 a.m. on Monday, August 10.

According to a police report from the Newport Beach Police Department, an unknown male suspect entered the open garage and went through cabinets and the victim’s vehicle that was parked in the garage. The suspect left the garage and returned multiple times, even once entering the residence through an unlocked garage pedestrian door and taking some of the victim’s property.

The suspect returned one more time, opened the pedestrian door again, before shutting it immediately and fleeing the scene.

The victim awoke after hearing the door open and shut the last time, and immediately called police.

The suspect made off with cell phones, wallets, U.S. currency, a bag and gift cards.

He was described as a male white or Hispanic in his 20s, approximately 5’8”-5’9”, around 160 lbs., dark hair, wearing a green sweatshirt, red shorts and a dark colored hat. He carried two backpacks on his back.

Anyone with any information is urged to contact the Newport Beach Police Department.

Returning home from weekend trip, victim finds ransacked room

A residential burglary occurred in the 2200 block of W. Oceanfront, near the Newport Pier, sometime between 8 a.m. on Saturday, August 8, and 1:25 a.m. on Monday, August 10.

When the victim returned from a weekend trip, he found his bedroom ransacked and a firearm missing. The bedroom window was also discovered open, which is not how the victim said he left it.

It is unknown how the suspect entered the room, but they may have exited through the window.

No suspect information is available at this time.

Fire Files

NBFD travels to support outlying fires

The Newport Beach Fire Department has deployed one fire engine with four personnel to the Lake Fire in the Los Angeles Castaic area. They left Newport Beach Wednesday evening at 6 p.m., joining neighboring Orange County agencies. 

Their first night there they worked into the early morning hours of Thursday and followed up with a 12-hour assignment yesterday, without much rest.

Additionally, all but one of the NBFD personnel and resources have returned from the Apple Fire in Riverside County. Initially, NBFD sent two engines and eight personnel, two Battalion Chiefs and two additional personnel as overhead support.

One Fire Captain remains committed to the Apple Fire as a Fireline Paramedic.

Despite pandemic concerns, Junior Guards completes healthy summer program

Yesterday marked the completion of the 2020 Newport Beach Junior Lifeguard program. One group (A) graduated last week, with three remaining (B, C, D) graduating yesterday at both Marina Park and the Balboa Pier. 

According to Fire Chief Jeff Boyles, “The program ended up being very successful. Participants and instructors remained healthy. I am very proud of everyone involved.”

What’s on the Docket

Cerissa Laura Riley & Grant William Robicheaux – Thursday, August 20 at 8:30 a.m. (Harbor Court 7)

Further proceedings

–In September 2009, Jane Doe 1, who was in her mid-20s, met Robicheaux at a bar in Newport Beach and proceeded to go on a few dates. On September 7, 2009, Robicheaux is accused of forcibly raping the victim at his residence after she told him she did not want to have sex. Jane Doe 1 was aware the defendant possessed weapons and was scared. Jane Doe 1 reported the alleged assault to OCDA after OCDA announced law enforcement was seeking potential additional victims. 

–On March 14, 2015, Robicheaux and Riley are accused of raping Jane Doe 2, who was in her mid-20s, while she was prevented from resisting due to intoxicating and controlled substances and they should have reasonably known of her condition. Jane Doe 2 reported the alleged assault to OCDA after OCDA announced law enforcement was seeking potential additional victims. 

–Jane Doe 3 is an amendment of initial charges filed September 11, 2018. In April 2016, Robicheaux and Riley are accused of meeting Jane Doe 3 who was in her early 30s, at a restaurant in Newport Beach. On April 10, 2016, Robicheaux and Riley are accused of inviting the victim to a party in Newport Beach and supplying multiple drugs to the victim until she was highly intoxicated. The defendants are accused of then kidnapping Jane Doe 3 with intent to commit rape by bringing her to their home and carrying her upstairs to commit the sex acts. Robicheaux and Riley are further accused of raping and orally copulating the victim while she was prevented from resisting due to intoxicating and controlled substances and they should have reasonably known of her condition. Jane Doe 3 contacted the Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) the next day and underwent a forensic exam, which tested positive for multiple controlled substances. 

–Jane Doe 4 is an amendment of initial charges filed September 11, 2018. On October 2, 2016, Robicheaux and Riley are accused of drinking alcohol with Jane Doe 4, who was in her mid-20s, at a bar in Newport Beach until the victim was highly intoxicated. The defendants are accused of kidnapping the victim with intent to commit a sexual offense by taking Jane Doe 4 to their home. Jane Doe 4 reportedly woke to Robicheaux attempting to sexually assault her with intent to commit rape and screamed for help until a neighbor called NBPD, who responded to the scene and investigated this case. 

–On October 29, 2016, Jane Doe 5, who was in her mid-30s, met Robicheaux and Riley at a Halloween party in Newport Beach through a mutual acquaintance and are accused of placing GHB in the victim’s drink while she was at the defendants’ residence. The defendants are further accused of sexually assaulting and raping the victim in their bedroom while she was prevented from resisting due to intoxicating and controlled substances. Jane Doe 5 awoke during the alleged assault. Jane Doe 5 reported the alleged assault to OCDA after OCDA announced law enforcement was seeking potential additional victims. 

–On April 16, 2017, Jane Doe 6, who was in her early 20s, met Robicheaux on a popular dating app and went on a date at a restaurant in Newport Beach. Riley is accused of showing up during the date and pretending to be Robicheaux’s friend, not a romantic interest. Jane Doe 6 and the defendants went to another bar where the defendants are accused of supplying intoxicating substances to the victim until she was highly intoxicated. Robicheaux and Riley are then accused of kidnapping Jane Doe 6 with intent to commit rape by bringing the victim to their home in this condition without her consent. The victim awoke in the defendants’ home where Riley and Robicheaux are accused of sexually assaulting her on the bed. Jane Doe 6 was eventually able to run to the bathroom where she locked herself for the night until she was able to leave the next morning. Jane Doe 6 reported the alleged assault to OCDA after OCDA announced law enforcement was seeking potential additional victims. 

–Jane Doe 7, who was in her early 20s, met Robicheaux and Riley at a Fourth of July party in 2017 while the victim was out with a friend. On July 8, 2017, the victim went with the defendants to a party on a boat in Newport Beach and consumed multiple alcoholic beverages. The defendants are accused of inviting Jane Doe 7 to Robicheaux’s residence. When the intoxicated victim laid down to sleep, Robicheaux is accused of raping her while reasonably knowing of the victim’s inability to resist. Jane Doe 7 reported the alleged assault to OCDA after OCDA announced law enforcement was seeking potential additional victims. 

During an investigation on Jan. 9, 2018, Robicheaux and Riley are accused of possessing large quantities of illegal drugs for purposes of sale, which were recovered in their residence (psilocybin mushrooms, MDA, cocaine, and GHB). Robicheaux is also accused of possessing two illegal, unregistered assault rifles, four other firearms, and several large capacity magazines. 

NBPD submitted the case to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office for review on September 6, 2018. The case was filed on September 11, 2018, and NBPD arrested the defendants at their residence on September 12, 2018.

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 resident struck and killed by vehicle

Newport Beach resident Carlos Romo, 77, was struck and killed by a vehicle Friday night near the intersection of 17th Street and Irvine Avenue. Costa Mesa Police responded to the call at 8:34 p.m.

Romo was taken to Orange County Global Medical Center and was pronounced dead an hour later.

Police say that drugs or alcohol did not appear to be factors in the accident. The driver of the vehicle remained on the scene following the incident.

Teens suspected of breaking into Newport Coast home

 A residential burglary occurred around approximately 2:15 p.m. on Monday, August 3, on Arbella in Newport Coast.

While no one was present at the property, an unknown suspect, or suspects, entered the residence by shattering a window. Once inside, the suspect(s) rummaged through drawers in the master bedroom before fleeing the scene through a living room door.

Two teenagers were seen nearby the residence around the timeframe that the burglary occurred.

There was no reported loss.

The possible suspect information is two white males, both approximately 15 years old, thin builds and approximately 5’8” tall.

Anybody with information is encouraged to call the Newport Beach Police Department at 949.644.3717.

What’s on the Docket

Samuel Lincoln Woodward, Newport Beach – Friday, August 14, 9 a.m. (Central Court 30)

At approximately 11 p.m. on January 2, 2018, Woodward is accused of picking up the victim, 19-year-old University of Pennsylvania student Blaze Bernstein, from his residence in Lake Forest. The victim and the defendant knew each other from attending Orange County School of the Arts in Santa Ana. 

Woodward is accused of driving with the victim to the parking lot of a shopping center on Portola Parkway in Foothill Ranch. 

Later that evening, Woodward is accused of driving the victim to Borrego Park in Lake Forest.

The defendant, who is 6 feet 2 inches tall and 185 pounds, is accused of murdering Bernstein, who was 5 feet 8 inches tall and 135 pounds, by stabbing the victim multiple times because of the victim’s sexual orientation. 

Woodward is accused of burying the victim’s body in the dirt perimeter of Borrego Park. 

On January 3, 2018, Bernstein’s parents contacted the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) to report the victim as a missing person. 

After an eight-day investigation, which included a team of 25 search and rescue deputies, police K-9 dogs, multiple helicopter searches and drones, OCSD investigators discovered the victim’s body on January 9, 2018, in a shallow grave in Borrego Park. 

OCSD arrested the defendant on January 12, 2018 at his home in Newport Beach.

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

Travel advisory for this weekend

Due to Caltrans repaving work, there is a construction alert this weekend as both SR-55 southbound and northbound connectors to I-405 southbound will be closed all weekend. The closures begin at 10 p.m. tonight and will remain in effect until Monday, August 10 at 5 a.m.

Detours are as follows:

Northbound details: SR-55 northbound, exit MacArthur Blvd. and continue southbound on MacArthur Blvd. and then left to I-405 southbound on-ramp.

Southbound details: SR-55 southbound to I-405 southbound, continue southbound on SR-55 to northbound I-405, exit Bristol St., turn left on Bristol St., then turn right on to I-405 southbound on-ramp.

What’s on the Docket

James Rayon Buggs, 44, Huntington Beach – Tuesday, August 11, 9 a.m. (Harbor Court 2)

This morning is a Preliminary Hearing & Hearing Bail Review.

Buggs faces a minimum sentence of life without the possibility of parole and a maximum sentence of the death penalty for the alleged murders of Darren Donald Partch, 38, of Newport Beach, and Wendi Sue Miller, 48, of Costa Mesa. Both were found deceased inside a residence in the 2100 block of East 15th Street in Newport Beach on the evening of April 21, 2019.

There is no evidence that Miller had any interaction with Buggs prior to the homicide. Miller and Partch were acquaintances. 

Buggs has a prior strike for an assault on a police officer in San Diego County in 1995.

Buggs will also be charged with one count of possession of a firearm by a felon, one count of attempted first degree burglary, and a sentencing enhancement of personal discharge of a firearm causing death.

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

NBPD working to curb distracted driving

Distracted driving is a dangerous and illegal behavior. The Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) is actively working to deter drivers from doing this.

On Thursday, Aug. 13 from 7 a.m.-3 p.m., officers will focus their efforts on drivers that are talking, texting, using an app or any other action on their phone that is not hands-free and violates California’s cell phone law. A violation is subject to a $162 fine for the first offense, and at least $285 for a second offense.

Distracted driving comes in many forms, but cell phones remain the top distraction. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,450 people were killed in 2016 due to distracted drivers. A 2018 observational survey by Fresno State and the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) found nearly five percent of California drivers were using their phone illegally behind the wheel, either by talking on or using their phone without a hands-free device.

“Using the phone should be the last thing a driver should be focused on,” Lt. Psaros said. “That text, phone call, email, picture, video or social media post can wait. None of these things are worth risking your life and the lives of other drivers and passengers over.”

In this day and age, it is natural instinct to answer the phone or read a text, but the focus for drivers should be on the road. Other distractions include eating, grooming, talking to passengers, using GPS, adjusting the radio, taking off a jacket, or reaching for an object on the floor.

If you have an important phone call or need to reprogram your navigation system, pull over to a safe parking place. To resist the urge of using your phone, either silence it or put it somewhere you can’t reach.

The Newport Beach Police Department will hold its next distracted driving enforcement operations on August 13 and August 30 between the hours of 7 a.m.- 3 p.m.

Funding for this distracted driving enforcement operation is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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