Monthly Archives: June 2013

Costa Mesa moves against ‘realignment’ probationers

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The Costa Mesa Police Department and Orange County Probation Department conduct a joint probation compliance sweep at an apartment building in Costa Mesa as part of a zero tolerance program against probationers who violate terms of their probation.

The realignment of California’s prison system since October 2011 resulted in a reduction in offenders being sent to state prison, as many instead are serving time in county jails. Additionally, eligible offenders released from state prison are now supervised by county probation officers rather than state parole officials. Because of a reporting error, this story initially mischaracterized realignment as involving the large-scale release of offenders from crowded state prisons. Also, because of incorrect information provided to the Register, the location of a sex offender’s arrest was initially incorrect. Police now say one man was arrested on Superior Avenue and another on Placentia Avenue.


Costa Mesa police launched a well-publicized roundup of probationers suspected of re-offending Monday as the city expressed dissatisfaction with “realignment,” which includes the transfer of responsibility for offenders from crowded state prisons since October 2011.

With media invited to ride along, officers arrested seven people – four on probation and three new alleged offenders.

“Not just in Costa Mesa, but you have all the cities in Orange County, and I would say California in general, that have been affected” by realignment, said Mayor Jim Righeimer. “Crime rates, especially petty crime and property crime, are up all throughout California and it’s not up across the nation.”

Police said that among those arrested Monday by Costa Mesa police and Orange County Probation officers were two sex offenders who were subject to a law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in April 2011, AB109.

Under that law, supervision of low-level offenders has been transferred from the state to local agencies. And because of prison crowding, some offenders who would normally go to state prisons are now serving time in county jails.

Court orders are requiring the state to reduce the state prison population by about 33,000 people.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department has said that about 1,000 inmates locally at any one time are AB109 inmates, while the county Probation Department has said that through January more than 2,600 inmates have been released from state prisons and placed in county supervision.

One of the arrested sex offenders, a 66-year-old, was found hiding in bushes with a sleeping bag behind a row of thick foliage along Superior Avenue, said Commander Lt. Mark Manley. His name was not immediately released, but police said he was suspected of failing to report to his probation officer. Police also arrested a 19-year-old sex offender at a mobile home park, on Placentia Avenue in Newport Beach.

“Here in Costa Mesa we have zero tolerance,” said Righeimer. “If you don’t follow the rules, we’re going to check on you and make sure you are, and if you’re not, you’re going back to jail.”

The mayor also complained that the shift in responsibility under AB109 is stressing the resources of police and other local agencies.



If you are charged with a crime, contact an experienced Orange County Bail Bondsman to assist you in any bail situation.


La Palma woman dies in Long Beach collision

LONG BEACH – A La Palma woman was killed Monday morning after a speeding motorcyclist collided with her minivan in an intersection.

Marianne Krone, 65, was traveling west on Wardlow Road when a motorcyclist collided with her in the intersection near Norwalk Boulevard around 6:10 a.m., investigators said.

 Officials said the motorcyclist, Frank Aldana Escalante, 23, of Lakewood, was speeding on southbound I-605, just south of South Street, around 6:05 a.m. when a California Highway Patrol officer attempted to pull him over.

Escalante did not stop and a pursuit started. He exceeded speeds of more than 100 mph before exiting Spring Street and turning into an industrial complex, ending the pursuit, according to a statement released by the California Highway Patrol.

Investigators believe that Escalante left the industrial complex on his 2005 Aprilla motorcycle and was speeding on Norwalk Boulevard when he ran a red light at Wardlow Road.

Krone had just entered the intersection when Escalante crashed into the left side of her 1998 Toyota Sienna van, killing them both.

Authorities said the intersection was closed for about seven hours and reopened at 1:15 p.m.



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2 Santa Ana police dogs get new bulletproof vests

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Officer Ross Barrera, right, and his K-9 partner, Puscas, a three-year-old Dutch Shepherd, practice restraining a criminal, played by Cpl. Kevin Graham, Tuesday. Puscas is sporting new body armor – courtesy of the Santa Ana Police Foundation. The extra protection gives the department peace of mind when sending the dogs into tactical missions.

SANTA ANA – Officers remember when they almost lost a four-legged co-worker in September 1996. The police dog was shot in the shoulder in a SWAT mission about a mile from Centennial Park. Now, newest members of the furry force have bulletproof protection for most of their midsections.

The Santa Ana Police Foundation raised funds to supply the two youngest police dogs in the fleet with high-end bulletproof vests through local businesses. The extra protection gives the department peace of mind when sending the dogs into tactical missions.

Sgt. Mark Kozakowski, supervisor of the canine unit, said that the dogs are an important part of strategic operations because they intimidate suspects more than officers and their senses are much stronger than humans.

“It’s safer for officers to send them in during tactical situations,” he said. “It’s safer for the suspect and safer for everyone around.”

Two Orange County companies helped raised funds to purchase the new vests for the dogs, each costing $895.

Michelle Kerns, operations manager for financial consulting company Deloitte, said that the company participated in Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. During the event, they taught the children marketing and business management lessons by having them create their own business models.

Forty-eight children decided to create an ice cream business, in which they sold about $600 in ice cream to employees at the company. Earlier in the day, the canine unit came and gave a demonstration that persuaded the children to donate their earnings to the Santa Ana Police Foundation, Kerns said.

Securitas, a security company that recently completed emergency training through the foundation, donated the funds for the second vest.

“They asked ‘What can we do to help?’ ” said Bull Cunningham, president of the Santa Ana Police Foundation. He said 90 percent of all vest funds came from donations.

Police dogs have worn vests in the past, but the new vests protect the dog’s chest and vital organs, something older vests did not do, Kozakowski said.

He also said the vests have to be fitted for specific dogs. When choosing which dogs would receive the newest vests, he said they picked the youngest dogs so they would get the most use out of them. The vests usually last about five years, he said.

Kozakowski supervises Puskas, the youngest canine in the six-dog fleet, a Belgian Malinois who came into the department eight months ago.

“We can send the dogs in and they can alert officers to the suspect’s location,” he said. “In the end, the best result is when the suspect surrenders, which is typically what happens with the dogs. There’s no debating with the dog, you can’t say ‘I give up.’ We have more give ups than dog bites.”

Zandor is the second-youngest dog and will receive the second vest, Cunningham said.

The Santa Ana Police Foundation is attempting to raise $25,000 in the next six months to pay for the replacement of two retiring dogs.

Cunningham said the dogs cost about $10,000 each, and the department has to pay about $4,200 per dog for narcotics training.

Exact fundraising plans have not been announced, but Cunningham hopes the money will be raised in time to keep the fleet complete.



If you are charged with a crime, contact an experienced Orange County Bail Bondsman to assist you in any bail situation.


Woman taken into custody after stabbing on beach

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Paramedics lift a man onto a gurney for transport to the hospital as Huntington Beach police officers and State Park Service police responded to the restrooms at the very Northern end of the Bolsa Chica State Beach Monday about 2:45 p.m. for a report of a stabbing.

HUNTINGTON BEACH – A woman was taken into custody Monday after a man was stabbed during a fight at the beach, authorities said.

The stabbing was reported about 2:45 p.m. near tower 28 at the state beach near Pacific Coast Highway and Warner Avenue, police said.

Witnesses reported that a man and woman got into a fight and that the woman had stabbed the man before leaving the area, Huntington Beach police Lt. John Domingo said.

The man was taken to a hospital. His injuries were not life-threatening, authorities said. A police helicopter located the woman’s vehicle a short time later, and she was taken into custody, Domingo said. Authorities have not identified the man or woman.



If you are charged with a crime, contact an experienced Orange County Bail Bondsman to assist you in any bail situation.



Police seek help in locating man suspected in ‘Midnight Bandit’ robberies

orange county bail bondsPolice seek the public’s help in identifying the “Midnight Bandit,” a man suspected in nearly 60 robberies at gas stations and convenience stores over the past year across Southern California, including thefts in a half-dozen Orange County cities.

Detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department’s major crimes bureau released surveillance photos Monday that were taken from robberies carried out by the Midnight Bandit, believed to have robbed 58 gas stations since April 2012.

Armed with a handgun, the Midnight Bandit typically targets lone gas station clerks between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., authorities said.

Among the Orange County cities where the robberies have taken place are Anaheim, Buena Park, Garden Grove, La Palma, Los Alamitos and Newport Beach, police said. Los Angeles detectives are conducting a joint investigation with 18 law enforcement agencies to track the man suspected in the robberies.

Authorities described the Midnight Bandit as a black man, 25 to 30 years-old, 5-foot-7 to 5-foot-9 and 180 and 200 pounds. Before and after one of the robberies, he was seen driving a silver-gray 2000 to 2004 Jaguar S Type four-door sedan.

Police cautioned that the man is known to be armed and should be considered “very dangerous.”

Authorities are asking anyone with information on the Midnight Bandit’s whereabouts to contact the LAPD’s major crime bureau at 562-946-7893 or to provide anonymous tips to 800-222-8477 or



If you are charged with a crime, contact an experienced Orange County Bail Bondsman to assist you in any bail situation.


Meritage widow settles insurance lawsuit

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A photograph of Randy and Sandi Fannin

SANTA ANA – Hairstylist Sandi Fannin lost her husband, their business and several close friends in a two-minute eruption of violence in October 2011 when an angry man gunned down eight people at her Seal Beach beauty salon.

She later contended in a lawsuit filed in Orange County Superior Court that her intense grief over the massacre at the Salon Meritage was compounded by a cold, compassionless response from her business insurance company.

But Fannin acknowledged Monday that the lawsuit with Employers Mutual Casualty Co. has been quietly settled in an out-of-court agreement

“I am really happy this is over so I can try to move on with my life and concentrate on the criminal case,” she said.

The terms of the settlement are confidential, said Howard S. Shernoff, her attorney.

“Sandi is quite satisfied,” Shernoff added. “We are pleased for Sandi that she can go now forward without this hanging over head…To resolve this case early giving her the opportunity to move on is absolutely terrific.”

Robert Closson, an attorney for Employers Mutual, acknowledged Monday that the case settled, but declined further comment.

Shernoff said the lawsuit settled after a series of pre-trial issues were resolved by Orange County Superior Court Judge Kirk Nakamura. The agreement was reached in March after a session with a mediator with Judicate West in March, and became final in April.

Fannin’s 11-page lawsuit accused Employers Mutual of operating in bad faith and inflicting emotional distress by delaying and then withholding payments after the salon closed in the wake of the deadliest mass killing in Orange County history.

The lawsuit contended Fannin and her husband, Randy Fannin, had a commercial insurance policy with Employers Mutual, but after Randy Fannin became one of eight people shot to death, the insurance company treated Sandi Fannin “as an adversary,” rather than looking out for her best interests.

Sandi Fannin eventually sold the salon to Irma Acosta, one of the hairstylists who worked there prior to the shootings. Fannin now comes into the shop on Pacific Coast Highway once a week to style hair.

She said that even though she will not have to return to court for the civil case, she plans on attending the trial in Orange County of Scott Evans Dekraai, the Huntington Beach man indicted on eight counts of special circumstances murder for the shooting spree.

His trial, which could lead to the death penalty, is now slated for November but could be continued to sometime next year.

Authorities contend Dekraai walked into the salon about 1 p.m. on Oct. 12, 2011, and shot hairstylist Michelle Fournier, his ex-wife, after arguing with her earlier on the phone over child custody. Next he shot Christy Lynn Wilson, 47, Fournier’s friend and colleague, according to authorities, before shooting Randy Fannin, 61.

Witnesses said Dekraai then started shooting others at random, killing Victoria Ann Buzzo, 54; Lucia Bernice Kondas, 65; Laura Lee Webb Elody, 46; and Michele Fast, 47. Victim Harriet Stretz, 73, was shot and wounded. David Caouette, 64, was shot and killed while sitting in his parked car outside.

A Seal Beach patrol officer arrested Dekraai a few blocks from the crime scene. The officer said Dekraai told him, “I know what I did,” according to grand jury testimony.

Dekraai, 43, has pleaded not guilty.



If you are charged with a crime, contact an experienced Orange County Bail Bondsman to assist you in any bail situation.