Happy, happy weekend, everybody! Who’s ready for another great tale from the (not-so-mean) streets of Newport Beach??
Our story begins on a Monday, just after 2 am. A pair of officers from our Peninsula Enforcement team are driving down Balboa Boulevard, near the end of the peninsula. They spot a grey Dodge Charger. The Dodge, dear readers, has no front license plate. (Yes, that’s still illegal.) Time for a chat! 🚨🚨🚨
Inside the Dodge, the officers find two people. They shall, for the purposes of our tale, henceforth be known as Driver Guy and Passenger Gal.
Things get off to a rocky start when the officers check Driver Guy’s license. His license is expired, he’s on parole, AND he has an outstanding warrant in Nevada for burglary. 😨 Nevada, it seems, is happy to let Driver Guy keep enjoying his coastal hangout, because they refuse extradition on the warrant. He’s gonna just be California’s problem, for now. (And yes, a “problem” he most certainly is!)
You see… despite his claim that he and Passenger Gal are "just trying to find a hotel for the night" (in the middle of a residential area, at the very end of a peninsula), Driver Guy happens to have some rather suspicious items in his car and about his person.
Like what, you ask?? Well, like a fascinating little object known as an “auto jiggler”. Never heard of it? Let us educate you. An auto jiggler is a is a small metal object with various sliding parts. In Driver Guy’s case, there are five slidey bits, and three of the five are cut to resemble different key shapes. A jiggler, dear readers, is inserted into the door lock on a car, and then “jiggled” around to see if it can (criminally) persuade the door to open.
Lovely, huh? 😒
Driver Guy's tool kit is more extensive… there’s a metal file (although less *dynamic* than a jiggler, a file is often used on car looks too), a window punch (with a well-used punch tip), and a bandana (all folded up and ready to cover a car burglar’s face at a moment’s notice).
Oh, and he’s got a baggie full of meth. Why not. 😔
But let’s not forget about Passenger Gal! What’s going on with HER?
Well, our Gal seems to have some issues of her own. She’s got a bunch of paperwork and checks in a bunch of other people’s names.
When the fine officers ask her for an explanation, Passenger Gal is SHOCKED. Where did all that paperwork come from? It CERTAINLY isn’t hers! Oh no. Never mind that it’s all next to her seat, in a box that also has a few pieces of her mail in it! She has *NO* idea how it got there.
The shock, evidently, is contagious. Driver Guy begins loudly wondering which of his friends would have left their meth in his car. He then moves on to the bandana, explaining that he uses it to cover his face because he has a cold. It’s just for *public courtesy*, man! 🙄
Plus, they both maintain, they’re just trying to find a good hotel.
The cops aren’t buying it.
Cop stuff, cop stuff, cop stuff… there’s some investigation-y business, some calls to possible victims... aaaaaaand one more little surprise when Passenger Gal admits she’s shoved a meth pipe down her pants. 😬
In the end, Driver Guy and Passenger Gal are both off to jail. He’s racked up charges for possession of burglary tools and possession of meth. SHE’s faring far worse… What started out as a charge for misappropriating lost property has grown during the “cop stuff” interlude. Passenger Gal is now booked for three additional charges: possession of the meth pipe, possession of stolen property, and false checks.
You see, the officers were able to track down one of the people listed on Passenger Gal’s It’s-a-Mystery-How-They-Got-Here checks, and he confirmed that the checks were stolen. AND it appears as if *someone* has whited-out the payee information on a number of these checks. Thousands of dollars’ worth of checks. As if, perhaps, Passenger Gal was planning to personally profit from these magically-appearing bank orders. Harrumph.
And thus ends our tale. We have some follow-up to do to identify all the victims in the Incredible Case of the Apparating Checks… but at least the paperwork is all safe from misuse and identity theft for the time being. In addition to getting more drugs – and another pesky meth pipe – off the street, we’re also pretty happy about another less-measurable achievement. There were no vehicle burglaries in that neighborhood that night. And, if Driver Guy and his bandana-and-burglary-tool kit had been free to flit around the quiet nighttime streets for a while longer, we’re not sure that would have been the case. Well done, officers. Well done. 👏👏