Costa Mesa killed its police-helicopter program last month to save bucks, but that doesn't mean whirlybirds can't be called in for assistance when a heinous act has occurred.
Like the theft of a bottle of tequila from Rite Aid.
A young man shopping at the chain drug store at 3029 Harbor Blvd. near the 405 freeway in Costa Mesa was seen by a Rite Aid guard hiding a tequila bottle in his clothes around 6:50 p.m. Sunday.
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The security man followed the hoochnapper out the store and into the parking lot before confronting him. The thief then pulled a knife, prompting the guard to back down.
Before the knifeman got in a car and drove off, he released the tequila bottle, which the guard recovered. That's not all the store employee got; he jotted down the thief's license-plate number.
Officers matched the plate to a vehicle with a Costa Mesa address. A police helicopter flew over and confirmed the car was there. Cops in patrol cars then arrived at the residence.
Angel Sandoval, 19, was arrested at his home on suspicion of robbery.