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Thieves place ATM theft devices at gas station

A sophisticated organized crime ring has installed ATM-like equipment and cameras on real ATMs in Laguna Beach to steal ATM numbers "” and cash, Laguna Beach Police Chief Michael Sellers said.

The devices transmit ATM card numbers and PINs over wireless transmitters.

The devices were discovered twice since April at Thrifty Gas on So. Coast Highway, including one incident on April 19 and another on May 19, according to police records.


The equipment is disguised to look like normal ATM equipment.

A “skimmer” is mounted to the front of the normal ATM card slot that reads the ATM card number and transmits it to the criminals sitting in a nearby car, according to police.

At the same time, a wireless camera is disguised to look like a leaflet holder and is mounted in a position to view PIN entries.

The thieves copy the cards and use the PINs to withdraw thousands from many accounts in a very short time, directly from the bank ATM, police said.


For more information, call the Laguna Beach Police Department at (949) 497-0701.

One business cited in alleged alcohol sale to minor

Fourteen of 15 businesses targeted in a May 26 undercover operation passed with flying colors and did not sell alcohol to a minor, Laguna Beach police said.

Wahoo’s Taco employee Marco Diaz, 25, of Lake Forest, was cited on suspicion of selling alcohol to a police decoy who was less than 21 years of age, according to police.

The violation is a misdemeanor.

It is illegal in California to furnish any person under the age of 21 with an alcoholic beverage.

It is also illegal for any person under the age of 21 to possess any type of alcoholic beverage.

City caravan for burn survivors arrives Tuesday


The Laguna Beach Fire Department and the Laguna Beach Firefighters Assn. invite the community to welcome the annual “Firefighters Quest for Burn Survivors Caravan” on Tuesday, between 1:30 and 2:00 pm, as it makes its way through downtown Laguna Beach via No. Coast Highway and Forest Avenue, ultimately stopping at Fire Station No. 1 for the public to take part in.

The caravan of fire engines, police units, and burn survivors will be led through Orange County by a CHP motorcade, stopping at each fire department along the way to raise awareness about those affected by burn injuries and general fire safety.

Firefighters Quest for Burn Survivors is a non-profit organization managed by firefighters and civilians who volunteer their services and are dedicated to assist those who have been affected by burn injuries.

The organization hosts several fundraisers each year in which donations are received and distributed on behalf of each donor to local burn centers and foundations as well as burn survivors and their families.

The organization was founded in 1996 following the Malibu Brush Fire in which six firefighters were injured due to burns received during a firestorm.

For more information on the Firefighters Quest for Burn Survivors or Fire Safety, contact (949) 497-0700.