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The following article was posted on July 4th, 2013, in the New Times - Volume 27, Issue 49 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from New Times [newtimesslo.com] - Volume 27, Issue 49

'Crazy week' placed strain on law enforcement

BY MATT FOUNTAIN

It was eight days of emergencies, exacerbated by tragedy, odd criminal behavior, a few close calls, and a record-breaking heat wave. It all amounted to what Sheriff’s Department Spokesperson Tony Cipolla described as “a crazy week”—not just for his department, but for law enforcement agencies across the county.

It started on June 20, when sheriff’s deputies received a call for assistance from State Parks officials following a report of a missing Cal Poly student at Montaña de Oro State Park. They dispatched their dive team and searched all afternoon, but undercurrents were too dangerous and they had to initially discontinue the search.

A body was discovered a week later by civilians walking the beach; as of press time, officials haven’t released the identity, nor officially linked the two cases.

On June 21, deputies responded to a report of a fight in progress in Oceano and discovered a deceased male lying in a driveway. An intensive investigation took place over the next 24 hours, when detectives determined the identity of a person of interest who led them on a high-speed chase that ended with his capture in Guadalupe.

Joseph Munoz, 35, hasn’t been charged with the suspected homicide, but is currently being held on a probation violation. Cipolla said the department has determined that the incident did involve gang members, but wasn’t necessarily gang-related. He said the victim wasn’t a known gang member.

Then on Sunday, June 23, the Central Coast was hit with a massive power outage, leaving thousands of residents in the dark. Dispatchers’ switchboards, however, lit up with calls from residents wanting to inform officers of the outage.

“It was not the best use of the emergency line,” Cipolla said.

However, according to the watch commander on duty that night, despite the mass confusion, residents “appeared to behave themselves” until power was restored, Cipolla said, and there were no known incidents of violence or looting.

The freak week continued through Monday, when a twin-engine plane crashed in a business lot near the SLO County Airport. The SLOPD took over the scene, assisted by a number of other agencies, including the Federal Aviation Administration. The pilot was pronounced dead at the scene, and the sheriff’s coroner’s unit took over the investigation to identify the pilot. No other injuries were reported.

On Wednesday, June 26, County District 4 Supervisor Paul Teixeira was taken to Marian Medical Center following a heart attack, where he was pronounced dead. His body was brought back to the coroner’s facility in SLO, where an autopsy was performed, and the cause of death was determined to be natural causes.

Thursday night saw the bizarre suspected attempted kidnapping of a 17-year-old See Canyon resident, by 26-year-old Minneapolis man Brett Edgell, who allegedly rammed his SUV—reported stolen in Nevada—into the teen girl’s car and demanded she get inside his vehicle. She refused and ran into her home, where her parents called officers.

Edgell was arrested after a brief struggle and is being held on suspicion of a host of crimes. The girl didn’t suffer any injuries. There doesn’t appear to be any relationship between the two, Cipolla said.

Finally, on Friday, detectives spent the day investigating the robbery of Coast Hills Federal Credit Union in Nipomo the day before by an unidentified female who allegedly mentioned she had a gun and fled with an undisclosed amount of money. As of press time, a $1,000 reward remained on the table for information leading to the suspect’s arrest and conviction.

“You never really know what your week is going to be like, but nobody imagined it would be a week like that,” Cipolla said. “It took all our resources.”

He added that, following the oddity, Sheriff Ian Parkinson sent an internal memo to his entire staff applauding them for a job well done.

“It really shows all the hard work and the good work the people at the sheriff’s office do, day in and day out,” Cipolla added. “It can be very taxing on an organization with everything going on, but that’s their job to ensure