On May 26, the Laguna Beach Police Department received three reports of theft from three different residences in the city. Police discovered that all of the victims who reported a theft had hosted “open houses” earlier that day. The suspects posed as potential buyers, and the male suspect would distract the listing agent while the female suspect went from room to room stealing desired items.
Sgt. Jim Cota said through the use of video surveillance, victim/witness photo lineups and law enforcement databases, Laguna Beach PD officers and detectives narrowed in on two suspects—Sara Neal, 28, of Whittier, and Richard Maloney, 29, of Whittier.
On June 19, the Huntington Beach Police Department arrested Neal and Maloney in relation to a series of residential burglaries occurring during open house events. Then on June 25, LBPD detectives interviewed Neal and Maloney at Orange County Jail.
“Neal admitted to the Laguna Beach crimes, while Maloney remained vague about his involvement,” Cota said. “Neal and Maloney are believed to be responsible for over seven residential burglaries related to open houses throughout the State of California.”
Neal is being charged with two counts of burglary, two counts of conspiracy, two counts of identity theft, and one count of grand theft. Maloney faces two counts of burglary, two counts of conspiracy, and one count of identity theft.
Sunday, June 23
Traffic stop. 1:23 a.m. 900 block of Laguna Canyon Road. A 55-year-old Laguna Hills man was arrested on suspicion of DUI and held for $2,500 bail.
Traffic stop. 2:14 a.m. Montage Resort Drive and Coast Highway. A 24-year-old Bakersfield woman was arrested on suspicion of DUI and held for $2,500 bail.
Occupied vehicle. 2:44 a.m. 500 block of Brooks Street. A 37-year-old Laguna Beach woman was arrested on suspicion of DUI and held for $2,500 bail.
Traffic stop. 4:10 a.m. Oak Street and South Coast Highway. A 25-year-old San Clemente woman was arrested on suspicion of DUI and held for $2,500 bail.
Saturday, June 22
Vandalism. 9:10 a.m. 20500 block of Laguna Canyon Road. A vehicle’s window was smashed—it was unknown at the time if anything had been stolen.
Petty theft. 11:56 a.m. 200 block of Wave Street. A “hoverboard” was reportedly stolen from a patio. Approximate loss was $500.
Drunk driving. 4:12 p.m. Crescent Bay Drive and North Coast Highway. After reportedly being seen drinking a beer while driving, a 27-year-old Huntington Beach man was cited for misdemeanor driving with a license suspended or revoked for DUI.
Traffic stop. 5:23 p.m. Montage Resort Drive and Coast Highway. A Mission Viejo man was arrested for driving without a license and false identification to a police officer and held for $500 bail.
Petty theft. 5:33 p.m. 600 block of North Coast Highway. After allegedly leaving Pavilions without paying for alcohol, a Costa Mesa man was arrested for shoplifting ($500 bail) and possession of drug paraphernalia and methamphetamine ($500 bail), and a Montclair man was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia.
Stolen vehicle. 9:55 p.m. 20300 block of Sun Valley Drive. A small truck was reportedly stolen by a homeless man who had taken it before. The 30-year-old man, Michael Matekel, was arrested for vehicle theft and held for $20,000 bail.