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Briefly In Public Safety

Man yells, spits at officer

Laguna Beach Police charged a man with assault after he yelled obscenities and flipped off an officer at a traffic stop Saturday, Sgt. Louise Callus wrote in an email.

Police arrested Laguna Beach resident Eli Grossman, 60, after responding to a call at 9:52 a.m. in the 1000 block of Glenneyre Street, Callus said. Grossman drove up to the officer and began yelling, according to the report. The officer reportedly turned to get away and Grossman followed him.

The officer parked his car and Grossman came to the officer’s door and continued yelling obscenities, Callus said. Grossman allegedly spit on the officer through the open car window.


"[Grossman] had not been drinking; he just doesn’t care for the police,” Callus said. “This is not the first incident.”


Man arrested for resisting arrest

Police charged a man with resisting arrest after he allegedly harassed women and asked to eat customers’ food inside a South Coast Highway restaurant Saturday night.


Laguna Beach police arrested Nicholas Glenn Zink, 33, of Laguna Niguel and he is no longer in custody, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department website.

The alleged incident took place at NEApolitan Pizzeria and Birreria at 31542 South Coast Hwy. Police received the first call at 8:06 p.m. Saturday.

Police also received a second call from a man who said Zink reportedly jumped into his car, demanding he drive to the restaurant, according to the police log.


Fraudulent painting investigated

A Laguna Beach resident reported someone tried to sell art under her deceased father’s name using a website based in Europe.

Police declined to give the woman’s name, but said the victim alerted police to the alleged fraud at 11:20 a.m. Saturday. No arrests have been made, according to police.

The victim claimed her father, Sacha Thebaud, was a famous painter, Callus said. A representative from the website,, contacted the woman regarding one of her father’s paintings. Someone submitted the painting to the website for auction, police said.


The woman discovered the painting was counterfeit. The signature on the painting was not her father’s and the type of media used was not correct, Callus said. The painter used oil, but the woman told police her father never used oil. Callus said there is no evidence that a crime occurred in the U.S.


Police to target distracted drivers

The Laguna Beach Police Department will be ticketing people who are text or hold a cell phone while driving on April 3 and 16 as part of April’s Distracted Driving Awareness Month campaign.

The current minimum ticket cost is $159 with subsequent tickets costing at least $279. Last April, more than 57,000 tickets were written statewide for texting and hand-held use, according to a Laguna Beach police press release. There were nearly 450,000 convictions in 2012.

Nationally, an estimated 3,331 people died in 2011 as a result of collisions involving at least one driver who was distracted. Drivers who use cell phones or other hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes, according to the release. Studies show that texting while driving can delay a driver’s reaction time just as much as having a blood alcohol content of a legally-drunk driver.

Studies also show that there is no difference in the risks between hands-free and hand-held cell phone conversations, both of which can result in “inattention blindness,” which occurs when the brain isn’t seeing what is clearly visible because the driver’s focus is on the phone conversation and not on the road, the release said.

Laguna Beach is one of 225 local agencies participating in the campaign.


—Bryce Alderton