Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Burglar Caught In Short Order

Another win for the depleted staff of the Costa Mesa Police Department this week.  According to a press release yesterday, early Monday morning - around 2 a.m. - rookie CMPD officer Jake Jacobi and his partner, James Brown, were cruising along Harbor Blvd. looking for suspicious activity.  Jacobi observed a bicyclist who appeared to be trying to evade them.  They made a stop for a minor violation and discovered that the bicyclist, Luis Morales, was on probation.  He admitted to possessing methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.
However, Morales was found to be holding more than just drugs.  He was also carrying numerous items of women's gold jewelry.  Morales was arrested and the officers met with fellow officer Jodi Schmidt at the police station to compare notes on a residential break-in for which she had taken the report less than four hours earlier.

The short version of the story is that the jewelry Morales was carrying was identified as the items stolen earlier at the burglary on Maple Street.  Although worth about $2,000, several items were priceless to the owner - family heirlooms given to the her as a family tradition.

Morales was booked at the CMPD Jail for burglary in addition to the drug charges.  He was later transported and booked at the Orange County Jail in Santa Ana with bail set at $20,000.  CMPD detectives made arrangements with the jewelry theft victim so she could later claim her stolen belongings.

Kudos to all involved.  Despite running with a skeleton crew, the men and women of the Costa Mesa Police Department continue to serve the community at a high level of professionalism and proficiency.


In a sidebar, I also received a notice that the team from the Newport Beach Police Department finished 1st in their division and 5th overall in the Baker-To-Vegas Challenge Cup Relay event last weekend.  The NBPD team consistently does well in this event - a grueling relay that begins 24 miles outside Baker, California and ends the next day in Las Vegas.  The 20 runners finished in an impressive 14 hours, 54 minutes.  Some may know that my pal, Larry Moore, created that event 25  years ago while he was on the Los Angeles Police Department and conducted it until his untimely death ten years ago.

Unfortunately, because of our severely depleted staff, the Costa Mesa Police Department was unable to send a team to this event.  Some might say, "Well, so what?  We pay them to be cops, not run."  That's true, but this event is run on their own off-duty time for the teamwork and spirit of the event, and to represent their city - OUR city.  This event has teams from around the world and life-long friendships have been made among the competitors from different parts of the world through the competition.  It is my hope that Costa Mesa will soon be able to field a team in this event - it will be one sign of a healthy department once again.

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