Mary A. Castillo
The Laguna Beach Police Department received a burglary call that
quickly involved the Newport Beach Police Department and uncovered a
scheme to fool police.
Sunday night police received a call from Kenneth Uranga, owner of
Gallery One on North Coast Highway reporting that he caught Ruben
Oliveras in the act of stealing jewelry at the gallery.
“He told us that he had just went to the gallery to do some work and
found the front door open and his former employee stuffing jewelry in his
pockets,” said Sgt. Guy Miller.
When Uranga confronted him, Oliveras reportedly took off in a white
Toyota Camry heading north on Coast Highway.
After the police received Uranga’s call they sent out a countywide
broadcast, said Miller. Several Newport Beach officers conducted a felony
car stop at Pacific Coast Highway and MacArthur Boulevard within 10
minutes of receiving the broadcast.
At the scene Uranga identified Ruben Oliveras as the burglary suspect,
but police did not find evidence. Oliveras and his passenger were
transported to Laguna Beach. When police questioned both Oliveras and
Uranga, their stories about what happened at the store were not making in
sense, said Miller.
Police brought in the manager who had been at the store when the
The manager told police that Uranga owed Oliveras back pay and had
called him to come down to the store where he would pay him. When
Oliveras arrived, Uranga accused him of stealing during his employment.
Oliveras left the store threatening to sue his former employer and
according to the manager, Uranga decided that he would tell police that
they saw him stealing.
“We walked in and told Mr. Uranga that we talked to his manager and
she told us the whole story,” recalled Miller. “After we read him his
rights he chose not to speak to us and wanted an attorney.”
Uranga was arrested for suspicion of filing a false police report and
transported to the Orange County Jail. The case is currently under review
at the district attorney’s office. However this is not the first time
Uranga has had dealings with Laguna police. In June 2000 he was arrested
for battery upon a custodial officer. He plead guilty and was sentenced
to community service and to pay state restitution.
Oliveras was arrested on an outstanding Harbor Court warrant for
possession of a prescription drug without a prescription. The other
passenger was released.