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Man surrenders after standoff in Newport Beach following multi-city chase

A police pursuit and standoff ended in a parking lot near Newport Beach’s Fashion Island on Wednesday afternoon when a man in a Mercedes-Benz surrendered to police.

The chase started in Laguna Beach, the Orange County Sheriff's Department said, and deputies joined it at about 3:20 p.m.

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The pursuit, at normal speeds, ultimately involved multiple law enforcement agencies and wound along various roadways in Costa Mesa, Irvine and Newport Beach before the Mercedes driver stopped in a parking lot at 1441 Avocado Ave. in the Newport Center area. The car was quickly surrounded by police officers with guns drawn.

The driver sat with one hand on the steering wheel and the other on the passenger seat.

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“Officers don’t want to use force,” Laguna Beach police Sgt. Jim Cota said on KABC-TV/7 during the standoff. “We couldn’t ask for a better situation … him boxed in.”

At about 4:55 p.m., after an armored police vehicle pulled up behind the Mercedes, the suspect exited the car, got on the ground and surrendered before officers led him away.

Crisis negotiators had been speaking with him by phone, police said.

Richard Bloustine, 53, was arrested Wednesday after a pursuit and standoff ended in a Newport Beach parking lot.
Richard Bloustine, 53, was arrested Wednesday after a pursuit and standoff ended in a Newport Beach parking lot. (Laguna Beach Police Department)

The suspect was identified as Richard Bloustine, 53, according to the Laguna Beach Police Department. His last known address was in Newport Beach, police said.

The Daily Pilot reported in February 2016 that Bloustine was sentenced to seven years in prison after pleading guilty to intentionally writing more than $200,000 worth of bad checks.

He also was ordered to pay restitution to his victims and a $444,000 fine as part of his sentence, according to the Orange County district attorney’s office.

He pleaded guilty to five felony counts of grand theft, 10 felony counts of writing a check for non-sufficient funds, one felony count of unlawful taking of a vehicle and a variety of sentencing enhancements.

Bloustine had at least a dozen fraud-related misdemeanor or felony convictions across the country, the district attorney’s office said at the time.

Police pursue a Mercedes-Benz near Fashion Island in Newport Beach on Wednesday afternoon. The chase started in Laguna Beach and went through several cities before ending in a standoff in a parking lot in Newport. A suspect eventually surrendered to police.
Police pursue a Mercedes-Benz near Fashion Island in Newport Beach on Wednesday afternoon. The chase started in Laguna Beach and went through several cities before ending in a standoff in a parking lot in Newport. A suspect eventually surrendered to police. (KTLA)

Police said Wednesday that officers tried to stop the vehicle in Laguna Beach because the driver was wanted on a fraud-related felony no-bail warrant. Details of the warrant were not immediately available.

Cota said the driver had a criminal history including fraud and assault with a deadly weapon and told authorities in a phone call that he was armed. After the arrest, authorities determined there was no weapon in the vehicle, Cota said.

Several roads in the area were closed during the standoff.

KTLA contributed to this report.

This article was originally published at 4:15 p.m. May 1 and was later updated with additional information.

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