Briefly In Public Safety

Checkpoint yields five arrests

Police arrested five drivers on Dec. 21 during a DUI and driver's license checkpoint in Laguna Beach.

The Laguna Beach Police Department conducted a checkpoint from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Dec. 21 in the 1500 block of N. Coast Hwy. in an effort to decrease deaths and injuries related to impaired driving.

Officers screened 608 vehicles during the checkpoint and arrested four people on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. One other driver was arrested on suspicion of criminal charges.

Checkpoints are placed in locations that have the greatest opportunity for achieving drunk and drugged driving deterrence and provide the greatest safety for officers and the public.

Officers issued five citations and six drivers were cited or arrested for operating a vehicle without a license or with a suspended or revoked license.

Checkpoints serve as a deterrent to those who might drive impaired while raising awareness to using a designated driver.

The checkpoint was funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The Laguna Beach Police Department increased its DUI saturation patrols for the holidays and will continue the effort in January.


Residents request firearms be destroyed

Two Laguna Beach residents asked the police department to destroy their firearms, with one choosing to do so because of the Newtown school shooting that took place earlier this month, according to police.

The first resident went to the Laguna Beach Police Department on the 500 block of Forest Avenue at 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 14. The person said she wanted to turn in her gun, according to the dispatch log. Police had no information on whether it was connected to the school shooting, said Sgt. Louise Callus said in an email.

The resident turned in a rifle and it will be destroyed, Callus said.

A second resident called the department at 8:28 p.m. on Dec. 15 from the 400 block of Canyon Arches Drive. The caller said they want the police department to destroy a rifle and 1000 rounds of ammunition.

The call was connected to the Newtown shooting, Callus said.


Caller reports tiger on the loose

A Laguna Beach resident received an unknown call that a Bengal tiger was loose in the area, but police found no tiger.

A caller reported suspicious circumstances in the 21000 block of Raquel Road at 3:54 p.m. on Tuesday. The caller received a recording that a Bengal tiger was roaming the area and the neighborhood should remain indoors.

Sgt. Louise Callus said in an email it is unknown where the recording came from and patrol checks of the area found nothing.


Officers, LBPEA give back to theft victim

Laguna Beach police officers replaced a crime victim's stolen cash and cell phone for the holidays.

The two officers gave a woman $100 out of their own pockets to replace the money stolen out of her wallet. The Laguna Beach Police Employees Assn. also found a cell phone provider, Boost Mobile, to replace the woman's new phone that was also stolen.

A local hair stylist was in a parking garage walking to her car from the salon on Dec. 8 when two men with a gun — later determined to be an air soft gun — demanded her wallet. The woman continued walking to her car when the men approached her and allegedly pushed the air soft gun into her back and fired.

The men allegedly grabbed her and dragged her to her car while she kicked and screamed. The men finally got her purse away from her and ran away.

Inside the woman's purse was a new cell phone and $100 cash, which was her entire month's groceries budget.

The Police Employees Assn. contacted the Orange County nonprofit Crime Survivors, which provides mental, physical, emotional and financial support and guidance. The organization's Founder and CEO Patricia Wenskunas immediately contacted the Laguna Beach stylist to provide her with resources.

Association board members delivered the woman's new cell phone on Christmas day.

— Britney Barnes

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