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Police: Man attacked people with a shovel

Richard Dennis Woehler was arrested for attacking passersby on 17th St. and Newport Blvd.

July 27, 2009|By Joseph Serna

A Costa Mesa transient is scheduled to appear in court today on charges he was wildly attacking people with a shovel at 17th Street and Newport Boulevard.

Richard Dennis Woehler, 47, was arrested without incident Saturday evening in a gas station parking lot, only a short walk away from where police said just minutes earlier he had been attacking anyone near him.

According to police, about 6:30 p.m. Woehler was armed with a 5-foot shovel and was trying to hit people with it as they drove, walked or rode by.

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Police said Woehler swung the weapon at two cars turning left onto 17th Street from Newport Boulevard and then charged at a man buying food in the Taco Bell drive-through on the corner. That man warned Woehler that if he got any closer, he’d call the cops, Lt. Tom Curtis said.

Woehler also swung the shovel at two people riding on bicycles but missed, Curtis said. He then approached a woman walking nearby, who ran inside a Starbucks to get away.

Police found Woehler, shovel in hand, in a Chevron gas station parking lot at 17th Street and Orange Avenue, officials said.

Woehler is being held in Orange County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail.


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