Archive for May, 2010

Police Volunteers aid in anti-theft campaign

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Proudly displaying their “Police Services Volunteer” uniforms, some of Dana Point’s finest have begun a very important new task….personal follow-up visits to neighborhoods recently affected by theft.  Every week, members of the van patrol unit take to the streets with stickers, keychains, literature and other information relating to the “Hide It, Lock It, Or Lose It” campaign in an effect to reduce thefts, specifically from unlocked vehicles and unsecured garages and homes.

 “We are very fortunate to be able to provide this extra level of service to the residents of Dana Point.  It’s a direct action in response to criminal activity in a neighborhood, in an effort to prevent people from being victimized,” says Community Services Officer Cassie Levine.

 The VIPS (Volunteers in Police Services) program has three separate volunteer areas. These include: Van Patrol, Bike Patrol and Clerical Support.  Each one provides a separate, but very important service to the community.  The VIPS help out at every special event in town with traffic and crowd control. Without their assistance at special events, Police Services would incur significantly higher overtime expenditures for these events.

“I have always taken an interest in the operations of law enforcement.  I have a lot of pride for the city I live in and wanted to help keep it safer” says VIP Barbara Zakaryan.  “When I am out in the van doing neighborhood follow-up visits, it’s great to educate the public about the high occurrence of thefts.  A lot of them have not yet heard about the program or were completely unaware of activity on their streets.  We pass our stickers and give them information on how to prevent themselves from becoming a victim and they really appreciate it!”  she says.

If you would like more information or are interested in becoming a member of the VIPS program, please contact Deputy Brett Gardner at 949-248-3517 or

  VIP Barbara Zakaryan assists at the front counter of Police Services taking phone calls and directing the public

 VIPS Bill McArtney and Bill Barcroft are just a couple members of the weekly van patrol unit

  Helping spread the word about the “Hide It, Lock It, Or Lose It” campaign.  Stickers, postcards and other

                                       information is available and distributed every week in various Dana Point neighborhoods

Stolen items returned to their owners

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Thanks to the GPS function on a stolen iPhone, Dana Point Police were able to recover more than 200 items taken from unlocked cars, garages and homes.

Our investigators located the stolen property and the suspect at the Beechwood Mobile Estates, where they recovered power tools, electronics, artwork, musical instruments, construction equipment … and the purse and iPhone taken from a Ladera Ranch women.

“We really lucked out with being able to utilize the GPS from the stolen iPhone to track down the location where several other stolen items were found” says Investigative Assistant Diane Hollenbeck.

The suspect – who has a long history of thefts and drug-related crimes — was arrested and sent to jail on 10 felony counts.

“This is a good example of the types of valuable items we lose to thefts here in Dana Point,” says Community Services Officer Cassie Levine.  “But the real message is that many of these thefts could have been prevented by simply locking your vehicle or hiding your items from view.”

On Wednesday, we offered a property viewing to help find the owners of the stolen items. 

So far, approximately 14 victims have been identified and over $55,000 in property has been returned.

One local painter was able to recover two stolen sprayers, valued at approximately $1,000 each.  He was very grateful because he depends on these items for his livelihood and to support his family.  One Dana Point home was hit twice, both times through an unlocked front door.

Other residents stopped by to look for an iPod left on a car seat in plain view … a GPS device and digital camera stolen from an unlocked vehicle … and a stereo taken from a car with its windows rolled down.

“We’re happy to return these stolen items,” says Investigator Chad Kajfasz. “But there are many more out there.  These are not isolated incidents.”

Unfortunately, no jewelry has been recovered but there are still several items that have been unclaimed including power tools and stereo equipment.  To determine if your stolen items may be available for recovery, please contact Investigative Assistant Diane Hollenbeck at 949-425-1946. 

To view the CBS2 News video click here


Investigators laid out several recovered stolen items in hopes that the rightful owners would come and claim them.

Surf shops spread the Shwazooki message

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

It’s still new to most ears, but the term “Shwazooki” is starting to become more and more familiar as slang for “protect your stuff,” thanks to Girl in the Curl and other local surf shops.

“The kids especially think it’s cool and love the Shwazooki stuff,” says Miranda Berkman, manager of Girl in the Curl at 34116 Pacific Coast Highway.  “We’ve passed out tons of stickers and key chains at our weekend sales.”

Owner Mary Hartmann says she wanted to get involved in the “Hide It, Lock It, Or Lose It” campaign as a way to support local police.

“They are inundated with paperwork from something that is such a common-sense issue. We need our police to take care of more important problems. So this is our way of giving back for all they have done for us,” Mary says.

“If we want Dana Point to stay the way it is and enjoy our city, we need to have some pride and look out for each other.”


Girl in the Curl has been a huge support of this program with posters and premium items on display.  Stop by and visit for some great beach apparel and accessories and be sure to ask about your free window stickers, as shown by store manager Miranda Berkman!

Steve Boehne of Infinity Surfboards agrees, adding that educating the public is crucial to gaining their support in reversing the increase in thefts from vehicles.

“People don’t realize the amount of loss that is occurring in the city,” Steve says. “Prevention can help reduce that loss and save money and time.”

Customers of the shop at 24382 Del Prado are handed campaign stickers to be used on their vehicles, to remind them to lock their doors and protect their valuables.

“I have personally been a victim of theft,” Steve says. “You feel silly having stuff taken.  Surfboards are stolen off cars or from the front of residences all the time.”

 Infinity Surf owner Steve Boehne


Infinity staff members hand out all kinds of campaign items to their customers.  From Left: Stephen Casica, Steve Boehne, George Flambures

Ralphy Andrews, owner of Killer Dana at 24621 Del Prado, is lending his help as well, noting that thefts of belongings are “a pretty serious personal violation.”

“This campaign can really be effective,” he says. “Locking cars is a simple concept. And if people just start doing it, there will be a lot less crime in Dana Point.”

Killer Dana employees Macarena Sainz and Dana Lizotte pass out Shwazooki and “it” stickers 

  Killer Dana owner Ralphy Andrews

To join the many Dana Point businesses supporting the campaign, contact Community Services Officer Cassie Levine at 949-248-3531 or