Briefly In Public Safety

Apartment damaged in New Year's Eve fire

Laguna Beach firefighters extinguished a fire at a 30-unit apartment complex on New Year's Eve, containing the damage to one unit. There were no injuries.

Around 4 p.m. Saturday, the sound of the apartment's smoke alarm alerted nearby neighbors, who called the Fire Department, according to a news release. Firefighters arrived and quickly stopped the fire from spreading in the complex in the 200 block of Lower Cliff Drive.

"The presence of a working smoke alarm certainly increased the early 911 notifications and our emergency response to this incident," Fire Division Chief Dan Stefano said in a statement.

Officials determined the cause was related to a wall heater, but the investigation is ongoing. Preliminary property damage is estimated at $50,000, according to the release.

"With cooler, winter temperatures now starting to be felt during this time of year, it is vital that combustible items — such as floor rugs, window coverings, clothing — are not placed on top of, adjacent to or within 3 feet of any type of home heating device," Stefano said.


Hiker rescued from park

A woman was rescued from Laguna Coast Wilderness Park around noon Dec. 28.

The Orange County Fire Authority was notified after hikers noticed on the path a 48-year-old female who wasn't able to walk due to ankle injuries.

According to Capt. Marc Stone, a helicopter was requested because the trail isn't easily accessible by vehicle. The woman was transported to the Shady Canyon Fire Station in Irvine and then taken to Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills.


DUIs increase during holidays

The Laguna Beach Police Department reported that DUI arrests doubled this season compared to last year's numbers.

From Dec. 19 to Jan. 1, police reported 29 drunk-driving arrests. The same time period last year reported 14 arrests, Sgt. Louise Callus said.

Police had saturation patrols on Dec. 23 and Dec. 30 with four extra patrol units specifically for DUI enforcement. Out of the 29 arrests, seven were made Dec. 23 and six were made Dec. 30.


Two flee police in car, get stuck in stairway

Two were arrested after fleeing police and getting their vehicle stuck in a Park Avenue stairway around 2 a.m. Saturday, police said.

Karly Bosson, 33, of Anaheim and Samuel Eric, 29, of Brea are facing charges of vehicle theft, receiving stolen property, obstruction and hit-and-run. They also had outstanding felony warrants, according to police.

Police attempted to stop their Volkswagen Jetta on South Coast Highway when they observed it moving erratically. The vehicle did not stop for officers and continued into a residential area. Shortly afterward, it was seen speeding on Park Avenue.

The driver attempted to drive down a stairway that turned out to be too narrow, crashing the vehicle and causing it to become jammed. Bosson and Eric fled through the sunroof and went downtown, where they were caught by police.

The car had been reported stolen in Anaheim. Police found drugs and a cash drawer from a Dana Point pet store inside the vehicle. The pet store had reported the burglary an hour prior, police said.


String of jewelry thefts reported

Multiple reports came through Laguna Beach police last week regarding jewelry thefts.

Sgt. Louise Callus said the crimes appear to be unrelated. The five reports came within three days — Dec. 29 to Dec. 31 — totaling a loss of more than $613,000.

A woman reported Dec. 29 that $92,000 worth of jewelry was taken in the 600 block of Alta Vista. The jewelry was inside a bag inside a drawer in her home. She said she last saw it Dec. 2.

On Dec. 29, a person reported that several pieces of jewelry had gone missing in the last year beginning in June in the 31000 block of Holly Drive. They estimated the loss at $14,275. There are no signs of forced entry into the home and no suspects.

Another woman reported that on Dec. 29 she had left her home in the 1400 block of La Costa Court while a cleaning crew was inside; she said she came back to find that $5,000 worth of jewelry was missing.

In another incident, a woman filed a report regarding a theft that occurred sometime between Dec. 24 and Dec. 29 in the 900 block of Park Avenue. She reported that $2,691 worth of jewelry was missing.

Lastly, the most recent report appears to be premeditated and had the highest loss, Callus said.

The victims left their Rivera Drive home Saturday to attend a New Year's Eve party. During the two hours they were away, a male suspect climbed a ladder to access a second-floor balcony, police said. Specific pieces of jewelry from the home were taken, with a total value of $500,000.

—Joanna Clay and Kelly Parker

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