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BRIEFLY IN PUBLIC SAFETY

A fire damaged a South Coast Highway apartment complex on Sunday. Laguna Beach firefighters were alerted at 10:26 p.m. by the resident, who had been awakened by the smell of smoke. A smoke detector in the unit was inactive, according to the Laguna Beach Fire Department.

It took 23 fire personnel about 30 minutes to knock down the fire and 90 minutes to completely extinguish the blaze at 2442 S. Coast Highway. Police and automatic aid and mutual aid units from Orange County Fire Authority and Newport Beach Fire Department also responded.

The resident was able to exit the apartment without assistance and alert adjacent neighbors. No injuries were reported.

It is estimated the fire caused approximately $140,000 of damage. The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Laguna Beach Fire Department.

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A pharmaceutical technician was recently sentenced to 180 days in jail and sex offender registration for attempting to meet a fictitious 13-year-old girl in Laguna Beach with the intention of having sex with her after exchanging explicit sexual messages over the Internet, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s office.

In April, Robert Carlos Alarcia, 30, of Los Angeles, was found guilty by a jury of felony attempted lewd act on a child under the age of 13.

Alarcia, along with 12 other men, was arrested as a result of an Internet sexual predator operation conducted in February 2006 in cooperation with Perverted-Justice.com, the Laguna Beach Police Department, Orange County Probation and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. Alarcia engaged in an explicit sexual conversation over the Internet with a person he believed to be a 13-year-old girl. Alarcia was actually exchanging messages with a citizen volunteer from Perverted-Justice.com, a group aimed at protecting children from Internet sexual predators.

The defendant drove from Los Angeles to Laguna Beach and arrived at the location with condoms in his car and a pornographic movie in his jacket, according to the District Attorney’s office.

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