NEWPORT BEACH (CBSLA.com) — Residents in Newport Beach are peeved about a phony great white shark warning letter circulating in the area.
KCAL9’s Bobby Kaple reports that a release claiming to be from the U.S. Coast Guard told people visiting the Newport Pier to “…stay out of the water in these areas for the next 48-72 hours.”
The fliers detailed several great white shark sightings, including one where a shark bumped into two kayakers.
“They’re crazy. They’re crazy doing that to make the people get scared,” resident Myrna Larson said.
“I think it’s awful. It’s horrible for the city of Newport Beach, and it’s very selfish for him to do something like that,” Sonja Burns said.
Petty Officer 1st Class Adam Eggers of the U.S. Coast Guard said the person who posted the bogus letters likely did so to clear out the tourists on a holiday weekend.
“They wanted to keep the local beach clear so they go out and surf and boogie board over the holiday weekend when obviously we are expecting more people to come to the beaches and get in the ocean,” Eggers said.
Kathy Shaw, who runs McFadden’s Wharf Open Air Market, said she thought the letter may have also worked to her advantage.
“I thought there was the chance that people would not be able to come down here and swim and that might affect the traffic. But then there was also the fact that people might want to come down here and check out the great white shark,” she said.
The Coast Guard believes they know who posted the fliers. No arrests have been made.