Anaheim PD helps ‘citizens help themselves’ at National Safety Month event


Chris Halbrook already had one bicycle stolen from the backyard of his Anaheim home, with virtually no chance of ever seeing it again.

In the unfortunate instance of a second bicycle being stolen, Halbrook wanted to at least give himself a chance of getting it returned.

So, the husband and father had his daughter’s bicycle engraved with identification at a National Safety Month event held Saturday, June 24 at the Anaheim Walmart on Euclid Street.

Nine-year-old Adelynn Flesch of Anaheim gets a unicorn painted on her face from Anaheim PD Explorer Nancy Tecpoyotl during a National Safety Month community event on June 24.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

“She is starting to use (the bike) a lot more,” said Halbrook, who had his identification etched on the bike’s frame. “We had another bike and it just disappeared from our backyard and we didn’t have it engraved, so we have no way of getting it back.”

The City of Anaheim, Anaheim PD and Walmart hosted the event.

Anaheim PD Det. Merisa Leatherman engraves a serial number on the electric wheelchair of Sanjuane Cervantes of Santa Ana during Anaheim PD’s National Safety Month community event. The serial number was recorded in APD’s database in case it is ever stolen.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Detectives from the Anaheim PD’s burglary detail spent the day engraving personal items free of charge and then catalogued each item along with the contact information of the owner.

That way, if the item is stolen and later recovered, police will be able to easily return it to the owner.

Detectives etched IDs on bikes, drones and even a wheelchair.

Det. J.C. Carey of Anaheim PD’s burglary auto theft division shows a security lock APD installed inside a resident’s 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe to prevent the theft of the SUV’s removable seats.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

The APD also installed free locks on the third-row seats of sport utility vehicles, another hot item for thieves, said Sgt. Ted Lopez of the burglary detail.

“That is a big trend right now,” Lopez said. “It’s low risk, high reward. It’s very fast. They are in and out of a car in less than a minute. It’s easy to sell and easy to get rid of and you’re talking $800 to $1,500 quick.

“We try to fight crime on the front end with our officers out here and (through) investigations, but this is helping the citizens help themselves.”

Anaheim PD Explorer Angela Gonzalez hands out fliers to customers arriving at Walmart telling them about the National Safety Month community event taking place in the parking lot.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Gabriele Koehler of Anaheim learned about the event through a City of Anaheim app on her phone. Not wanting to be the next victim to notice her SUV suddenly had two rows of seats instead of three, Koehler had an investigator install a lock on her Chevy Tahoe.

“One of my co-workers, many years ago … told me there was a black market for (these seats),” Koehler said. “I saw this and was trying to share with my neighbors to come out.”

Detectives on hand to engrave and record items brought to them during Anaheim PD’s National Safety Month community event included, from left, Investigator Mari Aborqui, Det. Dan Heffner, Det. Dave Hermann, Det. Merisa Leatherman, Det. J.C. Rodriguez, Det. Sgt. Ted Lopez, Det. Sgt. Ben Starke and Det. J.C. Carey.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Anaheim Fire & Rescue and other city departments also turned out for the event, making the public aware of other city services.

Walmart also provided safety information and offered free eye exams.

Anaheim Fire & Rescue’s Natali Rudometkin, community engagement, left, and AF&R Explorer Kevin Smithmatungol talk to the Miranda family: Raquel, her husband Saul, and their kids Brianna, 12, and Julia, 7, about fire safety and the department’s explorer program during Anaheim’s National Safety Month community event.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Diego Rivera, 4, of Anaheim tries out a real police motorcycle with the help of Anaheim PD Officer Tony Karg.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC