They weren’t the most consequential stories of 2018, but they certainly made us—and the public—do a double take.
From a DUI arrest on a white Arabian horse to a real theft of a fake TV car, these were the most outrageous stories we covered this year, in ascending order:
5. Man steals fake cop car from set of ‘Lethal Weapon’ TV shoot
A man stole a fake police car from the filming set of “Lethal Weapon” in Downtown Long Beach in August and led police on a short pursuit before crashing into another car.
The Crown Victoria, equipped to look like a police vehicle, had been stolen from a location on Broadway near the Promenade where crews were shooting scenes for the “Lethal Weapon” TV series.
The suspect, identified as 32-year-old Nicholas Cannon of Long Beach, was taken into custody … his arrest being very, very real.
The real theft of a fake car wasn’t the only problem to plague the TV shoot that week.
A car crashed into a zip-line, causing a chain-reaction that yanked down a light pole. No one was injured, though that isn’t to say everything was A-OK with Lethal Weapon. The buddy cop, comedy-drama has been plagued by cast conflicts and low ratings.
Hmmmm, perhaps it would help to have an episode built around a cop car stolen by some dopey dude; that would be hilarious. Far-fetched, but hilarious.
4. NextDoor rescues Phil Alvins’ guitar
Blasters vocalist and guitarist Phil Alvin had his 1950s-era Kay guitar stolen in September from bassist John Bazz’s van shortly before the band headlined Saturday’s Buskerfest in Long Beach.
Within hours, it was back home—thanks in large part to the social media site NextDoor.
A friend posted a reward for the guitar, and someone reached out saying they had it. The two agreed to meet at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church on Junipero Avenue at Carroll Park; the friend was accompanied by a musical gang of ruffians and an aluminum baseball bat.
They found the guitar leaning against the church door with a suspicious-looking man standing, X Files-like, around the corner smoking a cigarette. One of the members of the group grabbed the guitar.
“I’m just amazed we got it back,” said a friend of the band. “That just never happens.”
3. The Dine-and-Dash Dater
A 45-year-old man named Paul Guadalupe Gonzalez was convicted of petty theft and defrauding an innkeeper after taking women out on dates, then disappearing and leaving them with the check.
Known as the “Dine-and-Dash Dater,” the alliterative Gonzalez was ultimately sentenced to three months in county jail and three years probation—which came after a judge determined the crimes did not amount to a felony.
Several women testified against him, including Wendy Luttrell, who told the judge that she met Gonzales through a dating site and agreed to meet him in February at Parkway Grill in Pasadena. She realized she had been left behind with the check just over a half-hour after he said he needed to wire money to his daughters in college in Arizona.
“I don’t have a choice. He left so I had to pay the bill,” she said, noting that it wasn’t the restaurant’s fault “that he’s a jerk.”
2. Methamphetamine ice cream truck
In late August, Long Beach police arrested two men on suspicion of selling methamphetamine and marijuana out of an ice cream truck.
The truck was located on Artesia Boulevard near Obispo Avenue when police approached it and found drugs with a street value between $2,000 and $4,000, police said, giving new meaning to the term “sugar high.”
The two men arrested were George Williams, 57, and Monti Ware, 41, both of Long Beach.
1. A DUI—on a horse
In February, a man was arrested on suspicion of DUI while riding a white Arabian horse eastbound on the 91 Freeway.
Alcohol screening tests reportedly showed that Luis Alfredo Perez of Placentia had a blood-alcohol content of .21 percent, more than double the legal limit, according to a CHP report. Perez also was not wearing a seatbelt.
The horse, named “Güera,” was unharmed and released to the Perez’ mother, who was on the scene quickly.