More smelly, dirty diapers were dumped early today along MacArthur Boulevard near Harbor View Drive — and police in both Laguna Beach and Newport Beach continue to search for the culprit.
“We took a report and photographed the diapers in the road on MacArthur,” said Kathy Lowe, a spokeswoman for the Newport Beach Police Department, in an email. “General Services was notified and will respond ASAP to clean them up.”
At least four bags containing the dirty diapers littered the bushes and roadway until about 8 a.m. when city crews removed them.
The diapers began appearing in Corona del Mar in the summer of 2011. By December, two incidents occurred, all along the stretch of East Coast Highway between Cameo Highlands Drive and Morning Canyon Road. Another batch was dumped in May and again early Tuesday morning.
In May this year, the diapers also appeared in Laguna Beach, a police official confirmed — creating a nearly six-mile stretch of roadway that has seen the diapers.
“The suspect always dumps the diapers in the Southbound lanes of Coast Highway in between the Irvine Cove and Emerald Bay entrances,” said Lt. Jason Kravetz in an email. “The adult diapers are hit by passing cars and explode across the traffic lanes. Sometimes the suspect drops just a couple of diapers and other times there have been upwards of 5-7 diapers. We try to get Public Works out there to clean it up quickly, but once they are hit, they tend to shred and blow across the highway.”
A Corona del Mar Today reader said that she has seen cyclists swerve to avoid the dirty diapers. This morning, cars ran over one diaper that disintegrated, blowing debris along the street.
Lowe said it appears to be the same culprit in Laguna Beach as well as in Corona del Mar, but there is no specific evidence to support that theory. Newport Beach police and code enforcement officers have investigated, asking nearby assisted living facilities for information but coming up with no information on who is responsible.
In Laguna Beach, the culprit dumps the diapers two to three times a week, sometimes skipping a week. The diapers are located between midnight and 2 a.m. usually, Kravetz said.
“We have various theories on who might be doing this, and yes, I have been actively having officers investigate the incidents,” he said. “I don’t want to get into some of the things we have been doing, but the area has been monitored on a number of occasions.”
Newport Beach’s municipal code prohibits throwing garbage on streets and in public places, and fines start at $100.
Lowe said finding an eyewitness is key to tracking down who is responsible. Anyone with information should call Sgt. Shontel Sherwood at (949) 644-3775. If you notice diapers that need to be removed, you can call general services at (949) 644-3055.
Read our earlier stories here, here and here.