Vandals Leave a Costly Trail of Wreckage

One of several shopfronts shot by BB-gun toting vandals in a shooting spree in Laguna Beach early on Sunday.

Sheriff’s deputies arrested two active duty Marines for suspicion of felony vandalism early Sunday in Dana Point, suspects in a 30-minute spree that caused thousands of dollars in shattered windows along nearly nine miles of coastline.

At least eight storefronts and windows of 17 vehicles in between Dana Point and  Newport Coast were smashed by a high-powered BB gun shortly after midnight on Sunday, according to sheriff’s department spokesman Jim Amormino and Laguna Beach Capt. Jason Kravetz.

Joseph Nahale, of Fremont, Calif., and Jesse Ivie, of Gresham, Ore., both 25, were arrested in Dana Point about 12:30 a.m. and turned over to their commanders at Camp Pendleton, Amormino said. Deputies confiscated two guns from their vehicle, which the suspects told deputies had been purchased earlier from a Walmart store, Amormino said. The suspects were not believed to be under the influence of either alcohol or drugs, he said.

Merrilee’s Swimwear was also hit.

The shooting spree began late Saturday, Oct. 20, shortly before midnight, when the back and side windows of a vehicle parked in the Monarch Bay Shopping Center in Dana Point were shot out, Amormino said. A 25-year-old woman, who works in a nearby business, was resting inside the vehicle but escaped injury, he said.

Within minutes, Laguna Beach police also started receiving reports of vandals shattering windows, beginning at 12:15

Joseph Nahale

a.m. Sunday.

Lewis Tarter, 15-year owner of Laguna Beach’s Cottage Furnishings, said police awakened him after 11 p.m. and suggested he needed to come down and secure his now wide-open store since its two bay front windows lay in shards.

Firefighters already were sweeping up the demolished glass when Tarter arrived at the store, bringing along a personal handgun for protection as he prepared to bed down for the remainder of the night in the unsecured shop.

Fortunately, Merrilee Madrigal, owner of the nearby Merrilee’s Swimwear, which was also targeted by the vandals, had already contacted a service that boards up windows in emergencies. “I was blessed by having these guys show up,” said Tartar, who took advantage of the $500 service to secure the store with plywood sheets. One of the swimshop’s windows also was shattered.

Tarter expects to replace the $900 windows by Thursday of this week and submit the entire bill to his insurer.

The BB-gun shooters went as far north as the Gap store in the 8000 block of E. Coast Highway, where a $2,000 window was damaged, confirmed Newport Beach spokeswoman Kathy Lowe.

Jesse Ivie, one of two suspects in the vandalism spree.

And additional reports of imploded windows continued to trickle into the Laguna police department on Monday.

“Count yourself lucky if you didn’t park your car on Coast Highway on Saturday night, Laguna Sgt. Robert Rahaeuser said.

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