Mail was reportedly stolen out of blue collection boxes in Los Alamitos and in areas of Los Angeles recently.
U.S. Postal Service spokesman Richard Maher said these incidents usually take place “under the cover of darkness.”
“The Postal Service recommends that customers only deposit mail into collection boxes before the final pick up on the same day of deposit,” said Maher.
“Do not allow mail to sit overnight or over a weekend,” he said.
The Postal Service is responding by modifying blue collection boxes. They are replacing the drop-down door with a thin letter slot that is fitted inside with an anti-theft device. Envelopes must then be fed one at a time into the slot.
Maher said customers don’t like the new boxes all that much but it is being done for security purposes.
As for the prior tampering and theft incidents, Maher said the U.S. Postal Inspection Service is “vigorously investigating these incidents.” Residents are asked to remain vigilant and immediately report any suspicious activity around a collection box or the Post Office to the police.
Unknown suspect shoots car in Los Al
On Jan. 8 at approximately 5:35 a.m., the Los Alamitos Police Department received a report of a shooting at an inhabited vehicle that occurred at approximately 5 a.m., near the area of Katella Avenue, and Bloomfield Street.
The suspect, described as a black man in his 20s to 30s, reportedly fired a single shot at the victim’s car from what was described as a white Dodge Charger with collision damage to the driver’s side rear tail lamp and a Goodyear sticker near the trunk. The suspect’s car was last seen going eastbound on Katella Avenue.
No one was injured and there have been no other reports of similar incidents in the area.
The victim, a member of the California military reserve who was wearing a military uniform at the time of the incident, did not believe the shooting was related to his military service and was more likely an incident of road rage. Police did not release his name or specify his branch of the armed forces.
This incident is under investigation. Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call the Los Alamitos Police Department at 562-431-2255, extension 426.
Former youth coach pleads innocent to 20 counts
Seal Beach Lewd conduct
A former youth sports coach pleaded not guilty last week to 20 separate felony counts related to the alleged sexual abuse of two different children.
A pre-trial hearing has been set for Feb. 18. A trial date has not yet been set.
According to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, Scott Durzo, who owned a youth sports camp business called the Total Sport Camp, was originally charged Friday, May 9, 2014, with nine felony counts of lewd acts upon a child under age 14.
Durzo has now been charged with 20 counts involving two victims, identified in court records as John Doe and John Doe 2.
According to the complaint filed with the Orange County Superior Court, 18 counts stem from incidents that allegedly occurred between May 1, 2005 and Oct. 3, 2006, involving John Doe.
Sixteen of the counts accuse Durzo of lewd conduct with John Doe, a child of 14 and 15 years old, as well as one count of sodomy when John Doe was 16 and one count of distributing pornography to a minor.
The complaint also accused Durzo of two more counts of lewd conduct stemming from incidents that allegedly occurred between Jan. 13, 2003 and Jan. 12, 2005, involving John Doe 2, a child of 14 and 15 years of age.
In addition to the felony charges, the complaint includes six “enhancements” for “substantial sexual contact with a minor.”
In June 2014, Durzo was released on $250,000 bail.
A judge ruled in late November 2015 that the case would go to trial.
DUI Checkpoint results in one arrest
The Seal Beach Police Department didn’t make any DUI arrests during last week’s traffic checkpoint, but they did arrest one individual for a warrant.
According to Cpl. Mike Ezroj, 773 cars passed through the Friday, Jan. 8, checkpoint at Seal Beach Boulevard and Adolfo Lopez Drive. Of those cars, 164 were screened. Three individuals were detained for field sobriety tests.
Police also identified three individuals driving without licenses or driving on suspended licenses.
Police also towed two cars.
In addition to last weekend’s checkpoint, Seal Beach Police made one DUI arrest on New Year’s Eve 2015 and two DUI arrests on New Year’s Day.
One person was arrested on suspicion of DUI on Christmas Eve 2015 and one person was arrested for public drunkenness on Christmas Day 2015.
There were no DUI arrests on either Christmas Day or Christmas Eve 2014. One person was arrested for public drunkenness on Christmas Eve 2014 and two individuals were arrested for public drunkenness on Christmas Day 2014.
Crime Log Compiled by Charles M. Kelly
Thursday, December 31
Reported Vehicle Burglary—7:28 a.m.—Eighth Street—The crime occurred between 9:30 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 30, and the time of the call to police. Point of entry: unknown. Loss: no property taken. No signs of forced entry. No report desired. The caller requested extra patrol checks during evening hours. Log entry.
Suspicious Occupied Vehicle—10:22 a.m.—Apollo Court—The caller said the car, occupied by a man, had been present for a while. The man had been seen out of the car, “shuffling” around it. Police unit 106 determined that the driver ran out of gas and was waiting for money to buy some. No further police services were necessary.
Throwing Substance at Vehicle—7:25 p.m.—Yale and College Park Drive—the caller said a man at the bridge was throwing things at cars. It was too dark for the caller to describe him. The caller thought the man might be homeless. Police were unable to locate the suspect.
Friday, January 1
Arrest—1:26 a.m.—Pacific Coast Highway and First Street—The caller said a car was swerving as it drove 15 m.p.h. less than the speed limit. The car reportedly struck the center divider, then passed Fifth Street. Police unit 207 arrested Sharon Ljunqvist on suspicion of drunken driving.
Animal Bite—11:02 a.m.—Main Street—The caller said three dogs were in a fight. One dog owner was bitten, but declined medical treatment.
The dogs were separated by the time of the call to police. Message delivered to Long Beach Animal Care Services. Police counseled the humans involved.
One individual said they would contact Animal Care Services later.
Municipal Code Complaint—4:29 p.m.—Ocean Avenue—The caller reported an unspecified number of individuals walking dogs on the Seal Beach Pier. Police were unable to locate them.
Assist Other Agency—9:53 p.m.—Ocean Avenue—The Orange County Fire Authority requested assistance for a fire on the beach. Initially, the Fire Authority did not know what was burning. It turned out to be two Christmas trees smoldering on the beach.
Saturday, January 2
Drunk—11:21 a.m.—Main Street—The caller said a man in front of the location was stumbling and hanging on cars. He had a friend with him, who helped him into a pick up truck. Police unit 107 found the car at Seal Beach Boulevard and Landing. The log described the driver as uncooperative. Police arrested Rick Loy on suspicion of drunken driving and resisting arrest. Police arrested Brian Eugene Lee on suspicion of public drunkenness.
Auto Theft Report—11:29 a.m.—Ocean Avenue—The caller’s Honda Civic was stolen between 11 am., Thursday, Dec. 31, and the time of the call to police.
Extra Patrol Checks Requested—11:36 a.m.—Pacific Coast Highway—The caller reported seeing a homeless man urinating on the side of a wall two hours earlier. The caller reported having to clean up fecal matter in the past. The caller requested extra patrol checks at night for the man. Log entry.
Bike Theft—2:53 p.m.—College Park Drive—The caller said a man took his bike from the area of the river bed. The caller saw the suspect riding down the street on the suspect’s bike while carrying the caller’s bike. The caller retrieved his bike. The suspect said he thought the bike was his. The suspect reportedly gave the caller his name and a cell phone number. The suspect was last seen riding out of the neighborhood on a bike that was described as a BMX style bike, but larger. Police were unable to locate the suspect.
Petty Theft—4:39 p.m.—17th Street—The caller reported the loss of a backpack loaded with survival gear from a car that was parked in front of the caller’s residence. The crime occurred between 9 p.m., Friday, Jan. 1, and 3:30 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 2. Report taken.
Arrest—9:02 p.m.—Main Street—The caller said a man had been staggering around in the alley to the rear of the location. He was now sleeping between some condos. Police unit 207 arrested Tony McCormick on suspicion of public drunkenness.
Bon Fire—10:20 p.m.—Second Street and Ocean Avenue—The caller reported a large fire on the beach between Second and Third streets. The caller said Christmas trees were on fire close to the water. Public Works personnel had picked up the trees by 12:47 a.m., Sunday, Jan. 3. Assisted.
Sunday, January 3
Bike Thefts—3:27 p.m.—Montecito Road—The caller reported the theft of two bikes. Someone cut the chain and took the bikes between 9 a.m. and the time of the call to police. Report taken.
Car Theft—4:22 p.m.—Edinger Avenue—The car was taken from a fenced-in storage area during the previous six weeks. The caller discovered that the vehicle was missing on New Year’s Day.
Disturbance—5:32 p.m.—First Street—The caller heard a man yelling and cursing inside an apartment. Then something hit a wall. Police contacted a man who was drunk. He went back to bed. No further police services were necessary. The log did not provide his name.
Suspicious Person—7:23 p.m.—Island View Drive—A woman arrived at the caller’s front door. According to the caller, she appeared to be in distress or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. She was crying and mentioned something about a dispute with someone. Police arrested Jessica Gibson on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine and suspicion of possession of drug paraphernalia.
Suspicious Circumstances—9:27 a.m.—Ocean Avenue—The caller reported seeing a large fire on the south side of the Seal Beach Pier. The caller thought someone might be burning a Christmas tree. The caller could see the fire from a block away. Police had Public Works respond to pick up the tree. Assisted.
Monday, January 4
Municipal Code Violation—7:09 a.m.—Ocean Avenue—The caller reported a pit bull off the leash and on the berm. Police were unable to locate the dog.
Suspicious Occupied Vehicle—8:10 a.m.—North Gate Road—The caller said an occupied car had been parked for 20 minutes. The caller said the occupants were staring at the firemen and the caller thought this was suspicious. Police unit 141 determined that the car was occupied by contractors for the city, waiting for city personnel to arrive and walk the area. Matter solved.
Disturbance—1:04 p.m.—Marina Drive—The caller said a woman in the back of the business appeared to need help. Police unit 141 arrested Paula Heider-Stromberg on suspicion of public drunkenness. Arrested.
Disturbance—3:09 p.m.—Pacific Coast Highway and Seal Beach Boulevard—The caller said a man was in traffic, bothering drivers. The caller said he appeared to be homeless. Police unit 107 contacted the man at the median. Details were blacked out in the log. He was interviewed in the field.
Tuesday, January 5
Disturbance—11:38 a.m.—Seal Beach Boulevard—The caller said a woman customer who had been asked to leave was refusing to go. The woman reportedly approached another woman with a child and began cursing them. Police unit 106 advised the customer to go and she said she would comply.
Hazard—12:03 p.m.—16th Street and Landing—The caller reported sparks from a transformer and or power lines in the alley between 16th and 17th streets. A second caller said wires were down. Volunteers in Policing said lights were out at Ocean and Main. Message sent to Public Works requesting stop signs. Police notified Southern California Edison and the Orange County Fire Authority. Police unit 141 checked another possibly downed line at 16th Street and Electric Avenue. At 1:35 p.m., Edison took over dealing with the electrical hazards. Log entry.
Refusing to Leave—12:22 p.m.—Seal Beach Boulevard—The caller said a woman was bothering customers, refusing to leave and throwing food. According to the log, this woman might have been the same woman from the 11:38 a.m. disturbance call. Police contacted the woman. She was advised to go and said she would comply.
Illegal Peddler—4:38 p.m.—Seal Beach Boulevard—The caller said a man was soliciting in front of the store. The caller wanted police assistance in asking him to leave. The man was advised to go and said he would comply.
Wednesday, January 6
Pedestrian Check—2:09 a.m.—Pacific Coast Highway—Police unit 207 contacted a pedestrian. Details were blacked out in the log. The individual was en route to a cold weather shelter in Santa Ana. Field interview.
Wednesday, December 23
Disturbance, Party—12:13 a.m.—Howard Avenue—The caller reported a holiday party being loud and a woman screaming. The caller did not want contact. Patrol contacted the person responsible for the loud party and that person agreed to comply.
Suspicious Person—2:22 a.m.—4401 Howard Avenue—The caller reported three men in all black clothing who were seen looking into a car which had two smashed windows. One individual was arrested.
Thursday, December 24
Petty Theft—1:02 a.m.—Paseo Bonita—The caller reported an individual driving a white Jetta stole some props from his Nativity scene. The caller was following the suspect in Rossmoor now. Patrol contacted the caller at a neighbor’s home where the Nativity scene was located. One individual admitted to taking a penguin in a Santa suit from an unknown location in the Highlands, and it was in his trunk. Property returned.
Saturday, December 26
Transient—5:52 p.m.—Farquhar Avenue and Los Alamitos Boulevard—The caller reported a transient man being argumentative with people passing by. Prior to the call he was seen swinging a stick at people, but the caller did not see the stick when she passed by him a second time. Police were unable to locate.
Sunday, December 27
Water Problem—5:34 p.m.—Howard Avenue—The caller reported her toilet and her neighbor’s toilet were backing up and that there was a large amount of water in the gutter on Howard Avenue, possibly due to a water main problem in the area. Patrol was unable to locate any water main breaks, and the problem appeared to be contained only to the complex. The Water Department was en route. Assisted.
Monday, December 28
Suspicious Person—1 a.m.—Farquhar Avenue—The caller reportedly heard something on top of her roof.
Her dog was barking out of control, going toward the backyard from inside the home. The dog had since stopped barking and was inside the house. Patrol determined the noise was caused by a large cat on the caller’s roof.
Laurie Hanson of the News-Enterprise contributed to this article.