La Jolla Light Crime and Public-Safety News: Sept. 20


Car break-ins up in The Shores

At the Sept. 12 La Jolla Shores Association meeting, San Diego Police Community Relations Officer (CRO) Larry Hesselgesser and San Diego Fire & Rescue Marine Safety Lt. Rich Stropky were on hand to update the board on safety issues pertaining to the area.

Hesselgesser was asked to address the spike in car break-ins and car thefts in La Jolla Shores. (See police blotter next page.)

“Since July 1, in just La Jolla Shores, we’ve had 10 auto thefts and 26 car burglaries (someone breaking into a car and stealing something from it), and that’s just what has been reported. There’s probably a good percentage that does not get reported,” he said. “As long as I’ve been here (since 1994), this whole stretch of La Jolla Shores has been easy pickings and a big target area. A lot of college students and surfers come here and hide their car keys somewhere, but people are watching and seeing where those keys are hidden.”

Among his list of safety tips:

- Don’t leave valuables out in the open.

- Lock car doors.

- Try to park in busy and well-traveled areas.

- Set any alarm or anti-theft devices.

- Don’t leave any “sign” there may be valuables in the car (such as connector cables).

- Report suspicious activity (such as people walking up and down the street checking for unlocked doors).

Speaking to the broader state of affairs at the police department, he noted it is so chronically short staffed, CROs have been asked to join fellow officers out on patrol. Therefore, Hesselgesser may be less present at community meetings.

Further, Stropky talked about a fortunate coincidence that led to two rescues near Black’s Beach: “We got a 911 call … for a cliff rescue and it got our lifeguards to move up the beach to the bottom of the trail,” he explained. “The cliff call ended up not being a major rescue, but the blessing in disguise was, as guards went up the stairs to respond to the cliff call, a paraglider landed in the ocean about 300 yards offshore.

“(The male paraglider) hit the water and couldn’t get out of his harness. So he was fighting to keep his head up above the surface and not get tangled in his equipment ... it really came down to a couple of minutes … it was really a close call. It was so serendipitous that someone was up there and someone else went ‘hey look!’ A lot of things came together.”

19 apprehended in immigration attempt at WindanSea

Around 2 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 15, the U.S. Coast Guard intercepted a panga boat off the La Jolla coast with 19 people aboard who were all suspected of trying to enter the United States illegally.

The panga was stopped about 8 miles west of WindanSea beach, and all 19 people aboard were taken into custody and believed to be unauthorized immigrants from Mexico.

Two were arrested on suspicion of human smuggling, officials said.

Former Country Day teacher arrested for sexual misconduct Former Country Day School teacher arrested on sexual misconduct charges

Jonathan Sammartino, a teacher who taught in the La Jolla Country Day School upper school from 2012 to 2016, has been arrested in the San Jose area for three felony accounts of sexual misconduct with a minor (later confirmed to be a La Jolla Country Day School student).

According to an arrest warrant filed by San Diego Police Department, Sammartino had an unlawful relationship with a 17-year-old girl between April 2016 and September 2016, while he was her teacher. He and the girl met on multiple occasions, including in Sammartino’s car and at his home, to engage in sexual activity. Occasionally, the girl would sneak out of her home to meet with Sammartino, according to the warrant.

She told police that Sammartino “used no force or fear” to get her to engage in the sex acts.

In a letter to alumni, La Jolla Country Day School head of school Gary Krahn wrote: “As a community rooted in trust and dignity, I am profoundly sorry that this incident has occurred with a person in a position of trust. Please know that the safety and well-being of all of our students, past and present, is our paramount concern. We are urging community members who have information related to this matter to reach out immediately.”

Krahn can be reached at (858) 453-3440, ext. 240 or

Sergeant Ron Bailiff, the detective assigned to the case, can be reached at (619) 531-2781 or

As of press deadline, no further developments had been announced.

Motorcyclist hit by car on Pearl Street

An accident involving a motorcycle and a car left the cyclist with only minor injuries, around 12:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 14 on the 600 block of Pearl Street. According to witnesses, the cyclist was hit by a car turning left out of the alley just east of 623 Pearl St.

Resident Doug Moranville, who stored the bike in his T-shirt store behind the alley, said the motorcyclist appeared to have suffered only wrist and ankle injuries. “But it’s only a matter of time before someone gets killed because … you can’t see the street from the alley because of the line of people always waiting along the sidewalks at (nearby restaurants),” he said.

Police Blotter

Sept. 4

Vehicle theft, 7200 block Monte Vista Ave., 7:34 p.m.

Vehicle break-in/theft, 300 block Nautilus St., 11:20 p.m.

Vehicle break-in/theft, 1400 block Park Row, 11:30 p.m.

Sept. 5

Vehicle break-in/theft, 7700 block Hidden Valley Court, 10 p.m.

Sept. 6

Grand theft, money/labor/property over $950, 2500 block Torrey Pines Road, 7:10 a.m.

Vehicle break-in/theft, 8300 block Camino del Oro, 8:50 a.m.

Vehicle break-in/theft, 2600 block Torrey Pines Road, 9 p.m.

Sept. 7

Under influence of controlled substance, 7900 block La Jolla Shores Drive, 1:09 a.m.

DUI: Alcohol, 8800 block Nottingham Place, 3:38 a.m.

Residential burglary, 1300 block Torrey Pines Road, 9 a.m.

Vehicle break-in/theft, 8800 block Villa La Jolla Drive, 10 a.m.

Vehicle break-in/theft, 8300 block Camino del Oro, 1 p.m.

Vehicle break-in/theft, 8300 block Camino del Oro, 2 p.m.

Commercial robbery, 3200 block La Jolla Village Drive, 3:30 p.m.

Vehicle break-in/theft, 8400 block La Jolla Shores Drive, 4:30 p.m.

Vandalism (less than $400), 8500 block La Jolla Shores Drive, 6:15 p.m.

Assault with a deadly weapon (other than firearm), 800 block Coast Blvd. 10:15 p.m.

Vehicle break-in/theft, 1300 block Virginia Way, 10:26 p.m.

Vehicle break-in/theft, 800 block Archer St., 11:30 p.m.

Sept. 8

Petty theft, 2500 block Azure Coast Drive, 4:20 a.m.

Residential burglary, 300 block Kolmar St., 4:54 a.m.

Assault with a deadly weapon, 8600 block Villa La Jolla Drive, 8:13 a.m.

Open cannabis container, 5100 block Chelsea St., 4:10 p.m.

Vehicle break-in/theft, 5700 block La Jolla Blvd. 6:50 p.m.

Sept. 9

Vandalism ($400 or more), 8800 block Cliffridge Ave., 2 a.m.

Vehicle break-in/theft, 8300 block Camino del Oro, 8:30 a.m.

Grand theft, 7700 block Herschel Ave., 2 p.m.

Petty theft, 1400 block Opal St., 3 p.m.

Open container in park, 6200 block Camino de la Costa, 3:45 p.m.

Open container in park, 200 block Playa del Norte, 4:15 p.m.

Vehicle break-in/theft, 8800 block Villa La Jolla Drive, 6:50 p.m.

Under influence of controlled substance, 8500 block La Jolla Shores Drive, 11:57 p.m.

Sept. 10

Fraud, 8300 block Camino del Oro, 1 p.m.

Battery with serious injury, 2800 block Torrey Pines Scenic Drive, 1:40 p.m.

Vehicle break-in/theft, 8300 block Camino del Oro, 3:15 p.m.

Fraud, 3200 block Caminito Eastbluff, 4 p.m.

Grand theft, 7600 block Fay Ave., 8:45 p.m.

Sept. 11

Residential burglary, 5700 block Chelsea Ave., 6 a.m.

Vehicle break-in/theft, 8300 block Camino del Oro, 6:10 a.m.

Petty theft, 800 block Nautilus St., 8:48 a.m.

Fraud, 8200 block Camino del Oro, 10:30 a.m.

Sept. 12

Vehicle break-in/theft, 300 block Coast Blvd., 5 p.m.

Residential burglary, 5000 block La Jolla Blvd., 8 p.m.

Grand theft, 900 block Agate St., 11:50 p.m.Sept. 13

Vehicle break-in/theft, 1300 block Vue de Ville Court, 1 a.m.

Sept. 14

Misdemeanor vandalism, 2000 block Via Done Benito, 5 a.m.

Misdemeanor vandalism, 6800 block La Jolla Blvd., 8 a.m.

Grand theft, 5700 block La Jolla Hermosa Ave., 11 p.m.

Sept. 16

Fraud, 5200 block Cardeno Drive, 4:17 p.m.

Vehicle theft, 5400 block Castle Hills Drive, 7 p.m.

Sept. 17

Fraud, 1200 block Prospect St., 9:57 a.m.

Compiled by Ashley Mackin-Solomon