DANA POINT What began as a search for a potentially missing person turned into a strange standoff Saturday evening, May 6 — with a man wanted for outstanding warrants hanging out in the surf in Dana Point and Orange County sheriff’s deputies waiting for him to come ashore to arrest him.
After spending about two hours waist deep in frigid waters, with waves crashing over his head — and sheriff’s deputies, a helicopter and a police dog watching him from the beach — the man came ashore around 8:30 p.m. and was handcuffed.
“He got cold and came in, I guess,” said Lt. Wayne Rehnelt of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. “The K-9 also probably scared him into come in.”
Earlier Saturday, the parents of the 31-year-old man, whose name has not been released, contacted California park rangers to help find him, Rehnelt said. The rangers eventually found him in Salt Creek Beach Park and called the sheriff’s when he refused to come out of the water. It is unknown if the man was initially at a part of the coast patrolled by state officials and then wandered to the county park or why else the rangers may have been involved.
Deputies ran his name and found that he had two outstanding misdemeanor warrants, Rehnelt said. Details of the warrants weren’t immediately known.
Deputies arrived at the beach shortly before 7 p.m. Rather than send someone to “swim out after him,” the deputies waited for him to come back to shore, Rehnelt said.
After deputies arrested the man, they took him to a local hospital because of possible mild hypothermia, Rehnelt said. He will then be taken to Orange County Jail and booked on the two warrants, as well as on suspicion of delaying a police officer in the discharging of his duties.
The deputies who arrested him, meanwhile, had to go back to their station to change their pants and socks.
“They got their feet wet when they arrested him,” Rehnelt said.