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'Air Horn Guy' Who's Been Waking Up El Segundo Residents Has Been Arrested

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John W. Nuggent's booking photo, and an image of the car he was driving. (Photos courtesy of the El Segundo Police Department)
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For the past several weeks, some individual had been blowing an air horn during the wee hours in El Segundo, disturbing residents and waking them up.

On Monday, the El Segundo Police Department announced on Facebook that the person had been detained, prompting residents to exclaim, "I'm glad you got him. I'm sick of hearing that horn blaring in front of my house." and "Wow! Thought I was imagining the horn."

According to the ESPD, officers heard an "extremely loud air-horn being actuated" at around 4 a.m. on Sunday. This prompted them to pull over a blue Chevrolet Aveo, in which officers found "air-horn equipment." The driver was later identified as John W. Nuggent.

The thing is, because officers can't be victims of "disturbing the peace," the only thing they could have cited Nuggent with was an obscure law that prohibited vehicles from having a horn that emits "an unreasonably loud or harsh sound." This citation wouldn't have fit with Nuggent's alleged misdeed (namely, that he was disturbing residents and waking them up on occasion). So, instead of the officers citing Nuggent, what happened was that locals responding to the scene enacted a citizen's arrest and claimed that they were victims of "disturbing the peace." Per the ESPD, the offense can be charged by prosecutors as a misdemeanor, and may carry with it a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a fine of $400.

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As noted by the L.A. Times, the rules surrounding citizens arrests vary by state. In California, Penal Code Section 837 says that, "a private person may arrest another" for "a public offense committed or attempted in his presence." This means that, for misdemeanors, you can "arrest" the perpetrator only if the alleged crime has been committed in your presence. For felonies, however, you can enact an arrest even if the crime wasn't committed in your presence.

According to residents, the loud sounds had been going on for "weeks," reports NBC 4. Officers in the vicinity had, on different occasions, heard the air horn but weren't able to track down the perpetrator. A couple residents said on the ESPD's Facebook page that they'd seen the "air horn guy" driving dangerously. "I'd seen him a couple times but not close enough to get his plates, and he NEVER stopped, including on Halloween with all the kids out on the streets," one resident wrote.