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Trespassing leads to standoff

Neighbor reports burglary after seeing man try to enter his former residence, police say.

August 17, 2010|By Tom Ragan, tom.ragan@latimes.com

NEWPORT BEACH — A report of a residential burglary Monday night on Balboa Island turned into a major affair with a helicopter circling overhead, police surrounding the property and officers' voices blaring through a megaphone for the suspect to emerge from the house with his "hands up."

And the Balboa Island Ferry was shut down for a few hours as police worked to apprehend the suspect.

But in the end, the incident ended up merely being a former tenant trying to get into his apartment and a neighbor thinking it was a burglary, said Newport Beach Police Lt. Rob Morton.

"The call came in really hot, but as it unfolded and unfolded and unfolded, it really turned out to being a criminal trespass," said Morton, adding that the location was roughly at the intersection of South Bay and Pearl streets on the west-end of the island.

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Some residents who live on Balboa Island and the Peninsula were upset at having the quiet of their night disrupted with the noise from the police helicopter, and one resident who called the Daily Pilot early Tuesday morning said she watched the dramatic standoff through her binoculars and saw the man eventually come up of the house with his hands raised.

Newport Beach police spokesman Steve Burdette said it's not uncommon for a helicopter to be dispatched during the course of a residential burglary and for police officers to set up a perimeter.

"Until we get all the facts and details we treat it like a burglary," Burdette said. "We don't know what's going on, so we try to lock everything down so nobody gets away."

The incident was reported at 8:47 p.m. in the 400 block of South Bay Front and lasted until 11 p.m.

So far, no charges or arrests have been made in the case, but a report has been taken, Morton said.

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