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BRIEFLY IN PUBLIC SAFETY

Party-hopping man accused of car theft

A 29-year-old Laguna Beach man was arrested early Sunday after he was accused of stealing a car at a party and driving it to another party in the city, Laguna Beach Police Det. Debbie Kelso said.

The suspect, Bryce Aebig Popko, was attending a party on Third Avenue in Laguna Beach, police said. The hostess reported that a car belonging to her friend was missing shortly after midnight. The keys to the missing Mercedes had been in her purse, she told police.

The vehicle was equipped with a Lojack system, and police located the vehicle at a Canyon View Drive location, where another party was in progress. When police knocked at the door, the suspect answered, Kelso said.

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Popko claimed that he had permission to take the car, but the victim refuted that claim, and Popko was arrested on suspicion of grand theft auto. He was booked at police headquarters and taken to Orange County Jail, Kelso said.

Three cited in alcohol sales to minor

Three employees of local businesses were cited Monday on suspicion of selling alcohol to a minor in an undercover operation conducted by the Laguna Beach Police Department, according to Police Chief Mike Sellers.

Nine businesses were targeted in the operation, in which a 17-year-old decoy entered and attempted to buy an alcoholic beverage. Of the nine, six businesses complied with state law and did not sell the alcohol after checking for ID.

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Also as a result of this operation, an adult Laguna Beach resident was cited for drinking an alcoholic beverage in public.

Those cited in alcohol sales to a minor were:

  • Juan Rivas, 26, of Mission Viejo, an employee at Ralph’s Supermarket, 700 S. Coast Highway;
  • Dominique Carson, 26, of Laguna Beach, an employee at the White House restaurant, 320 S. Coast Highway; and
  • Andrew Olson, 20, of Laguna Niguel, an employee at BJ’s, 280 S. Coast Highway.
  • This violation is a misdemeanor. It is illegal in California to furnish any person under the age of 21 with an alcoholic beverage.

    Personnel costs associated with the decoy operation are refundable by a grant the police department has received from Alcoholic Beverage Control.


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