Corona del Mar Today: Newport police crack Fashion Island case

Newport Beach police have announced an arrest in a credit card fraud case that was made two months ago in Fashion Island.

A man, 24, of Alhambra, was arrested Aug. 12 at Bloomingdale's after buying $2,262 worth of women's makeup, said Sgt. Steve Burdette of the Newport Beach Police Department.

Store security, which had been working with Newport Beach economic crime detectives, recognized the man and called police. Officers arrived and arrested the man as he left the store. At the time of his arrest, the man had six credit cards in his name that all were fraudulently obtained, Burdette said.

"The accounts were attached to other actual cardholders and their accounts," he said.

The man is suspected of a similar crime that occurred on June 19 at Macy's in Fashion Island, as well in other upscale shops in other cities.

"This particular suspect would use stolen credit card accounts and other forms of identification in order to purchase thousands of dollars worth of property," Burdette said.

When he was arrested, the man also had identification that matched the six fraudulent cards, Burdette said.

"He claimed to be a 'runner' and said he was given the cards by an unknown subject," Burdette said. "He said as a 'runner' he would get a percentage of the items purchased. He said he was driven to that location by an unknown subject driving a silver Toyota Matrix."

Newport Beach Police Department's economic crime detectives Garrett Fitzgerald and Kyle Cammack had developed relationships with the various store security officers, which helped identify the suspect and lead to his arrest, Burdette said.

"This case was made due to the communication efforts made by Detectives Fitzgerald and Cammack to the store Security and Loss Prevention Officers in some of our larger retail establishments," Burdette said. "Great job by everyone involved."

Numerous charges are pending against the man, Burdette said.

Police waited more than two months to disclose information about the case and the arrest because it would have hurt the investigation, he said.

"Even though they are still pursuing leads, this info released won't hinder the investigation," he said.


City Council chooses safety committee members

It took two votes to break the ties, but the Newport Beach City Council last week appointed seven residents to the newly formed Citizens Bicycle Safety Committee.

The members include former Newport Beach Mayor John Heffernan, a lawyer who lives in the Port streets neighborhood; Tony Petros of Big Canyon, who rides with Velo 605, a Corona del Mar cycling group; Denis LaBonge of Newport Coast; and Stephen Sholkoff, a retired radiologist.

The final three members were chosen after a tie-breaking vote. They are Tom Croxton of Newport Coast; Barbara Danzi of Newport Coast; and Sean Matsler of Dover Shores.

Two Corona del Mar residents were not selected: Scott Bergey and John Tzinberg, who had served on the cycling task force last winter.


Brown and Stowell real estate team open CdM office

Their trademark website is "Love CDM," and now the team of Brown and Stowell are living and working in the 92625 with the opening this week of their new office at 2515 E. Coast Hwy.

Michelle Brown, Eliisa Stowell and associate Bianca Avila, long-time residents of Corona del Mar, were working out of the Surterre Properties Newport Beach office. When they had the opportunity to move into Corona del Mar's business district and remain part of the Surterre Properties firm, they were very excited.

"We are very passionate about this special community and the many amenities it offers to residents and tourists," said Brown. "We wrote a nice offer on a CdM home for an out-of-state buyer our first day open, so we are quite thrilled."

"I think we're going to have great success here and will be able to offer even greater service to our clients and neighbors," Stowell said. "We hope people will stop by and visit and learn more about our involvement in the Corona del Mar community."

A small private party was held this week, and three larger parties are planned for next week on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and those will be open to the public. Corona del Mar Today will update as details become available.

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