Briefly In Public Safety

Police seek suspect in watch theft from Kokopelli

Laguna Beach police are searching for a suspect wanted in connection to a theft from Kokopelli Gallery last month.

According to a police bulletin, a man in his 50s entered the gallery at 332 Forest Ave. the afternoon of Feb. 18 and distracted employees, reportedly walking out with a watch valued at $806.

Employees described him as white, with balding hair and a soft, feminine voice. He told employees he lived in La Jolla, police said.

While he spoke to gallery employees, he took the watch out of a display case and put it in the right pocket of his jacket, according to the bulletin. Police said he used his body to block employees from noticing the theft.

Police do not know if the suspect is associated with the Feb. 29 burglary at the gallery, which resulted in a $11,000 loss of jewelry from the display cases.

Anyone with information can contact Det. Matt Meadows at (949)497-0758.


Police seek suspects in eight car burglaries

Laguna Beach police released information March 2 regarding a dramatic increase in thefts from unlocked vehicles.

According to police, eight incidents were reported Feb. 29.

A Porsche Cayenne parked on Via Majorca Street reportedly had its driver's-side window smashed in and an iPhone 4 was stolen.

A laptop, backpack and two sets of golf clubs were stolen from an unlocked car near Glenneyre and Alta Vista.

Windows in a vehicle parked in the Smithcliffs gated community, in north Laguna near Emerald Bay, were reportedly smashed and a wallet was stolen.

A camera valued at $2,500 was stolen from an unlocked vehicle from a car parked in a resident's garage in the Lagunita community.

A car parked in an underground parking structure in the 300 block of Cliff Drive had its window smashed and $1,000 worth of items were stolen.

A handbag was reported stolen from an unlocked car in the 200 block of Ruby Street.

Police are asking all residents to lock their vehicles and be watchful of suspicious activity, especially between midnight and 6 a.m.

Anyone who notes suspicious activity is asked to call 911.

Police believe the suspects wear dark clothing and carry flashlights. They travel around Laguna Beach in an unknown vehicle that stores the stolen items.

Anyone with information about the incidents can contact Det. Matt Meadows at (949) 497-0758 or


Bluebird Canyon crash results in DUI arrest

A Garden Grove man was arrested on suspicion of felony drunk driving and hit-and-run early Sunday morning after allegedly crashing into the brick wall of a house and fleeing the scene.

The accident occurred in the 1400 block of Bluebird Canyon Drive, according to police.

Jon William Downey, 48, and his damaged white van were located at Bluebird Canyon near Wykoff Way, Laguna Beach police Lt. Jason Kravetz said.

When officers arrived, Downey was attempting to pry the fender off the left tire with a wrench. Downey was identified as the driver. The van had major front-end damage consistent with the reported collision, police said.

One of his two passengers, Brian Kent Tompkins, 26, of Cypress was arrested on a felony warrant for drug possession. Tompkins had a fractured shoulder and another passenger, a 20-year-old male, had lacerations to his face.


Change clocks, smoke alarm batteries

The Laguna Beach Fire Department wants to remind residents to change their smoke alarm batteries in conjunction with daylight saving time, when clocks move one hour ahead Sunday.

"Changing the batteries in your smoke alarm is a simple, effective way to reduce home fire deaths," Fire Chief Kris Head said in a statement.

In recent years, there have been three residential structure fires and none of the homes had working smoke detectors, according to a news release.

Fire officials recommend having at least one smoke alarm in each bedroom and outside each living area.

The Fire Department also works with seniors who may need help inspecting or installing smoke alarms, or changing their batteries.

For more information, contact the department at (949) 497-0700.

—Kelly Parker and Joanna Clay

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