Crime Log: Outline of police shooting in Seal Beach


A pursuit that began in Garden Grove on Saturday, Dec. 1, ended in Seal Beach when a Garden Grove police officer  fatally shot a suspect who had allegedly violated a domestic-violence related restraining order and fled when police arrived after his ex-girlfriend called from her home.

The man has been identified as Matthew Lane, 35, a Glendale resident. He did not die at the scene. He died later at a hospital.

The pursuit, which was about an hour long in the late afternoon, ended when Lane abandoned his car at the Hampton Inn & Suites hotel parking lot on Seal Beach Boulevard and officers pursued him on foot, authorities said. Lane dodged into a Chevron gas station on Westminster Boulevard and attempted to steal another man’s car, authorities said.

A Garden Grove officer shot Lane while he was struggling with the man whose car he was trying to steal, according to authorities. Lane died at 5:27 p.m., according to officials from the Orange County Coroner’s Office. It was not clear if he was armed or threatened the officer, but a weapon was recovered at the scene.

The officer will likely be placed on administrative leave.

“We do have a protocol where the officer is placed on leave until he and the department feel he’s ready to return,” said Lt. Jeff Nightengale of the Garden Grove Police Department. “But it’s certainly not mandatory.”

The incident began when Garden Grove police were called to the home of a woman on Huntley Avenue in Garden Grove around 4:30 p.m.  The woman said an ex-boyfriend was violating a domestic violence-related restraining order. While officers were interviewing the woman, the ex-boyfriend drove away, prompting a chase.

An officer pursuing Lane broadcast a countywide description of him and his vehicle to law enforcement. Seal Beach police received calls shortly after the broadcast of someone driving erratically and deduced that the driver could be the suspect. The Orange County District Attorney’s Office and local police departments will investigate the incident and urge anyone with information to contact the Garden Grove Police Department at (714) 741-5800.

Woman waives arraignment in JFTB murder case

By Charles M. Kelly

A woman charged with being an accessory to two murders, one of which occurred on the Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos, waived her arraignment hearings on Monday, Nov. 26, and Friday, Nov. 30. Another arraignment hearing was scheduled for Monday, Dec. 3. Details were not available at press time.

The Orange County Grand Jury has indicted Rachel Mae Buffet, 25, of Costa Mesa, on three counts of being an accessory after the fact of two 2010 Orange County murders.

According to the District Attorney’s Office, Buffet is engaged to Daniel Wozniak, who has been charged with fatally shooting Samuel Herr  and Juri “Julie” Kibuishi in May 2010.

Prosecutors have accused Buffet of lying to police investigators to help her then-fiance evade arrest.

If convicted, Buffet faces three years and eight months in prison for her role in the case. Wozniak faces the death penalty.

However, news reports say Buffet that is no longer engaged to Wozniak.

She was, however, engaged to him during the 2010 investigation into the Joint Forces Training Base murder case.

Prosecutors say Buffet lied to Costa Mesa Police investigators several times in May and June to support claims by her then-fiance Wozniak that his neighbor Samuel Herr was having problems with his family.

The following is the DA’s account of the case:

Samuel Herr was shot twice in the head at the Liberty Theatre on the grounds of the JFTB on May 21, 2010.

The murderer then took Herr’s wallet and cell phone back to Herr’s Costa Mesa apartment and used the cell phone to ask Kibuishi to come over to Herr’s home. When she arrived shortly after midnight on May 22, 2012, she was shot twice in the head. According to both the Costa Mesa Police Department and the District Attorney’s Office, the murderer staged the crime scene to look like an attempted sexual assault.

Herr’s father found Kibuishi’s body the night of May 22.

Costa Mesa Police immediately suspected Samuel Herr of being Kibuishi’s murder, as they did not yet know Herr was dead.

According to the DA’s Office, Herr’s murderer returned to the military base and dismembered him. His torso remained at the Liberty Theatre, but his head and limbs were left in Long Beach’s El Dorado Park.  Investigators were immediately intersted to learn that Herr’s ATM card was being used in Long Beach.

It turned out that a 17-year-old boy was using the ATM card.

The boy reportedly took $2,000 from Herr’s bank account.

Wozniak was arrested for the murders on Wednesday, May 26, 2010, at the Tsunami restaurant in Huntington Beach, where Wozniak was celebrating his bachelor party.

No trial date has been set yet in the Wozniak case. On June 10, 2010, the District Attorney’s Office’s special circumstances committee reviewed Wozniak’s case and DA Tony Rackauckas decided to seek the death penalty.

Wozniak and Herr lived in the same apartment complex in Costa Mesa. Wozniak sometimes appeared on the stage of the Liberty Theatre as an actor.

Buffet is currently in custody in the Orange County Jail. Bail has been set at $100,000. Daniel Wozniak’s brother Timothy Wozniak was also charged with one count of being an accessory to the murder. Timothy Wozniak entered a not guilty plea on Feb. 21, 2012.

Timothy Wozniak was released on bail on May 7, according to

Belmont Shore residents to meet new LBPD commander

Staff report

LBPD Commander Michael Beckman will introduce Paul LeBaron, the new East Division commander, to the Belmont Shore Residents Association at the association’s meeting Thursday, Dec. 13. LeBaron was recently promoted and on Saturday, Dec. 1, assumed command of the East Division, the largest patrol area in Long Beach.

East Division includes the Belmont Shore area of Long Beach.

Beckman is now in command of the Field Support Division, which encompasses 12 separate areas, including special events, the DUI Team and the SWAT team.

Following the introduction of Commander LeBaron, LBPD Officer Claudia Lopez will speak about the Community Watch program.

All residents of Belmont Shore are invited to attend the association’s monthly meetings, which are held the second Thursday of every month at 6 p.m. at the Bay Shore Library, 195 Bay Shore Ave.

Police arrested man on Seal Beach pier for seeking sex with minor

Staff report

Los Alamitos Police Capt. Bruce McAlpine confirmed that a man named Arturo Fernando Shaw Gutierrez was arrested Saturday, Dec. 1, at the Seal Beach Pier. Authorities accused him of trying to meet with a minor to have sex.

McAlpine said Los Alamitos Police assisted the Orange County Child Exploitation Task Force in the case because the victim in the case is a Los Alamitos resident. According to news reports, the parents of the victim reported suspicious social network conversations to authorities, triggering the investigation. Los Alamitos PD turned the case over to the task force.

There is no record of Gutierrez’ arrest at the Orange County Sherriff’s Department website.

News reports say the suspect is a Ventura County criminal defense attorney.

The Seal Beach Police Department also assisted the task force in this case.

Crime Log Compiled by Charles M. Kelly


Monday, November 19

Vehicle Burglary—6:48 a.m.—11th Street—The crime occurred between 9:14 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 18, and the time of the call to police. Loss: a purse and a  bag. Point of entry: a sashed window. Report taken.

Petty theft—5:31 p.m.—Marina Drive—Someone stole the caller’s black Schwinn beach cruiser bike sometime this month. The lock was cut and the bike was taken from a bike rack. Log item issued.

Suspicious Person—9:23 p.m.—Ocean Avenue—The caller and his friend were taking a walk. A woman followed them. Police unit 207 contacted the woman and spoke with her.

Patrol Check—11:03 p.m.—Landing Avenue—Pollice unit 207 checked the area for possible transients.

Tuesday, November 20

Illegal Peddlers—11:08 a.m.—Seal Beach Boulevard—The caller reported a family of panhandlers in the parking lot at the location. Police unit 106 contacted them and advised them to discontinue panhandling. They said they would comply.

Suspicious Circumstances—9:39 p.m.—2nd Street—The caller said three juveniles with backpacks were running back and forth through the alley. The caller thought they might be committing petty thefts in the area. At 9:50 pm., dispatch spoke with the caller—who thought the juveniles were setting off fireworks. Police unit 207 contacted the juveniles. The officer advised them against toilet papering locations and setting off fireworks.

Wednesday, November 21

Disturbance—12:50 p.m.—Seal Beach Boulevard—The caller said a young man riding a skateboard was trying to hustle elderly individuals for money.

Found Property—4:43 p.m.—Ocean Avenue—The caller found a purse and cell phone at the shower area.

Suspicious Circumstances—6:45 p.m.—Seal Beach Boulevard—The caller saw an individual at the rear of a business, playing with a knife. The caller became uncomfortable and contacted the police. The caller said the man was pacing back and forth, flipping the knife. Police unit 207 contacted the man. He was interviewed in the field.

Thursday, November 22

Counseling—7:47 a.m.—Ocean Avenue—The caller said that an unspecified number of individuals showed up at the vacation home opposite the caller’s residence and had been making noise since they arrived after midnight. Counselled.

Possible Transient—5:23 p.m.—12th Street and Landing—The caller said a woman was sleeping on the grassy area. Police unit 107 contacted the woman and advised her to leave. She said she would comply.

Friday, November 23

Patrol Check—11:14 a.m.—Adolfo Lopez Drive—The caller said someone just dumped a poodle at the location.

Defraud Innkeeper—2:18 p.m.—Old Ranch Parkway—The caller said that on Saturday, Nov. 17, an individual left the location without paying the remainder of a $400 bill. Counselled.

Road Rage—2:50 p.m.—Westminster and Kitts—The caller said the driver of another car tried to run the caller’s vehicle off the road. The caller’s vehicle was not actually hit. The call was cancelled before a unit could be dispatched. The suspect’s vehicle had left the area.

Shots Heard—10:02 a.m.—13th Street—The caller heard three or four possible gunshots. Police unit 207 spoke with a jogger in the area. The officer located additional witnesses who said the noise was caused by juveniles setting off fireworks in the area.

Saturday, November 24

Illegal Peddler—11:39 a.m.—Bayside and Crestview—The caller said an individual was selling meat door-to-door from a Japanese truck with a cooler on the back.

Petty Theft—1:53 p.m.—Main Street—The owner of a business tried to confront a woman who reportedly took a pair of earrings from the store. The caller said the suspect did the same thing a year ago. Report taken.

Patrol Check—4:16 p.m.—Avalon Drive—The caller said an unspecified number of individuals were taking photographs in the park. The caller was concerned that they might need permits.


Wednesday, November 21

Identity Theft—10:56 a.m.—Sunningdale Road, Mutual 14—The caller received a letter from a business that said someone from their company had stolen the caller’s identitity. The former employee was now in jail. Counselled.

Found Property—7:31 p.m.—St. Andrew’s Drive, Mutual Unknown—The caller was at the apartment of a deceased resident in the company of Leisure World Security to pick up prescription medication that had belonged to the deceased. Report taken.


Wednesday, November 21

Disturbance—3:16 p.m.—Katella Avenue—The caller said a woman refused to leave the premises. The caller said she was going in and out of the caller’s office, talking about random things. The unknown woman left and was last seen walking on the south side of Katella. The caller said she possibly has mental issues.

Thursday, November 22

Suspicious Circumstances—10:15 a.m.—Ticonderoga Drive—The caller said that their trashcan was found across the street and someone’s belongings—including a cell phone and receipts—were on the side of the caller’s house. The caller was conducting a search for the trashcan. They would also attempt to contact the owner of the cell phone. The caller was counseled.

Wednesday, November 28

Suspicious Person—7:59 p.m.—Katella Avenue—The caller said a man wearing a hoodie was walking around the buildings, making awkward movements and gestures. The caller requested a patrol check because the individual was unknown to the area. Patrol contacted the subject, who was listening to his music and dancing around. He checked out OK.


Monday, November 26

Disturbance—12:44 a.m.—Los Alamitos Boulevard—The manager of a business reported some sort of fight outside. The victim, whose face was bloody, was last seen leaving on a scooter traveling northbound on Los Alamitos Boulevard.

Identity Theft—5:27 p.m.— Walker Lee Drive.

Suspicious Person in Vehicle—10:25 p.m.—Yellowtail Drive and Silver Fox Road—The caller was sitting in her vehicle, talking to a friend, while a silver Jeep kept driving by in the same direction for the past 40 minutes.

Tuesday, November 27

Suspicious Person in Vehicle—9:13 a.m.—Harrisburg Road—The caller said a car occupied by a man had been parked in front of the location for  the past 45 minutes. The caller was concerned because of recent burglaries in the area.

Suspicious Person in Vehicle—5:39 p.m.—Martha Ann Drive—A car occupied by a woman was reportedly parked in front of the location for over an hour-and-a-half.

Wednesday, November 28

Disturbance—6:59 a.m.—Martha Ann Drive and Ruth Elaine Drive—The caller said a woman was going through the trash.

Burglary Report—7:58 a.m.—Cortese Drive—This appears to have been an automobile burglary.

Burglary Report—8:57 a.m.—Hillrose Drive—This appears to have been an automobile burglary.

Suspicious Person in Vehicle—12:55 p.m.—Bostonian Drive.

Burglary Report—4:55 p.m.—Hillrose Drive.

Thursday, November 29

Suspicious Person or Circumstances—4:42 p.m.—Hedwig Road—A woman phoned a Rossmoor resident to ask the resident to contact the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. The woman did not say why. She did say her cell phone was dying. The caller lost contact with the woman and did not get a phone number from her.

Welfare Check—7:21 p.m.—Donovan Road—A caller heard a 10-year-old crying in the street. A deputy determined that the 10-year-old yelled at his dad to stop the car so he could get his homework.

Friday, November 30

Burglary Report—7:48 a.m.—Baskerville Road—Someone burglarized a vehicle, took a bike off the front porch and vandalized a fence.

Petty Theft Report—8:24 a.m.—Loch Lomond Road.

Disturbance, Family Dispute—10:40 a.m.—St. Albans Drive.

Burglary in Progress—7:58 p.m.—Engel Drive—The log did not say if this was a residential or automobile burglary.

Disturbance—10:48 p.m.—Gertrude Drive.Saturday, Dec. 1

Unknown Trouble—1:34 p.m.—St. Albans Drive.

Illegal Peddling—7:03 p.m.—Christy Lane and Salmon Drive.

Illegal Peddling—8:26 p.m.—Tucker Lane.

Sunday, December 2

Disturbance—3:09 a.m.—Chianti Drive and Blume Drive.

Suspicious Person or Circumstances—7:24 a.m.—Mainway Drive.

Ted Apodaca of the News-Enterprise contributed to this article.