Briefly In Public Safety

Sheriff's Department investigates bombing threat

A Laguna Beach man threatened to bomb Sears in Laguna Hills after a heated exchange with a company phone operator.

Police responded at 7:12 p.m. April 22 to his home in the 200 block of Diamond to assist the Orange County Sherriff's Department in the investigation.

The resident, described to be 80 years old with a small dog, had called Sears in Laguna Hills to file a complaint regarding a repair. They transferred him to their call center in Florida where he got upset and threatened to bomb the Laguna Hills location.

The man told police that it was not intended as a threat and was a result of his frustration. The Sherriff's Department was advised and they deemed his threat was not credible and ended the investigation.


Sculpture stolen from 484 North Gallery

A sculpture was reported stolen from the front of the 484 North Gallery at 1:01 p.m. Sunday.

Owner Bob Kronquist said he noticed the sculpture was gone on Easter. A neighbor mentioned that she noticed a side gate was left open the night before, which is usually closed. Kronquist believes the burglar parked in the alley and went up the side of the building to be discrete. He believes it occurred between 7 and 11 p.m. Saturday.

The copper kinetic wind sculpture by Mark White titled "Flame II" was valued at $1,950. It was placed in a sculpture garden in the front of the property among many other sculptures.

White's pieces attract a lot of attention, Kronquist said, and they've been selling quite a few. He mentioned one had been stolen in La Jolla recently.

Kronquist said he is installing a surveillance system and is working to secure the statues properly so they're more difficult to remove.

Although only one was taken, Kronquist noticed that other sculptures were looser and could have been tampered with.


Major crimes drop 10%

Major crimes dropped 10% in Laguna Beach in 2010, police said April 22.

Part two crimes, such as vandalism, simple assaults, threats, weapons offenses, narcotics violations and juvenile crimes, went down 14%.

In the major crime category, forcible rape went down 54.5%; burglary, 28.1%; vehicle theft, 40.9%; and arson, 75%.

In its annual report, the Laguna Beach Police Department noted some of their major cases from the year, such as catching a suspect thought to be the fast-food robber, the floods that hit Laguna, busting a rave and finding $40,000 in Ecstasy pills, allegedly solving a 1978 homicide cold case and the sentencing of the Citizen's Bank robber to 54 years in prison.

Laguna Beach Animal Services said that although the floods displaced many animals and the Laguna Beach Animal Shelter was severely damaged, no animals were injured.

Their report noted that cat impounding has gone up by 17% and animal adoption has decreased since 2009.

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Children rescued from riptide

Children were reportedly stuck in a riptide in the 100 block of Shreve Drive on 12:48 p.m. Saturday.

Lifeguards assisted the children and an adult, who were pulled out to the shore.


Vehicle stuck on beach

A person reported that a vehicle was stuck in the sand and could be dragging a body at Aliso Beach at 2:18 a.m. Sunday.

Officers noticed that the subject had driven his car into the sand and could not get out.

"Officers initially had difficulty communicating with the subject because of his anti-establishment rhetoric, but the subject eventually warmed up to the officers," Sgt. Louise Callus said.

He was cited for driving a motor vehicle on the beach. A tow truck arrived but could not help the vehicle. Eventually people pushed it off the sand.

There was no dead body.


Lift station hit

The Nyes Place Lift Station was reported to have been run into by a vehicle April 11.

A city worker believes the damage occurred between April 8 and 11 due to his last visit to the station.

The vehicle was able to maintain speed when it knocked over the control system panel. The lift station's emergency overflow function kicked in until the staff could identify the damage, which they believe totals $9,000.

The station was repaired and made operational this week, according to Sgt. Callus.

— Joanna Clay

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