Ladera Ranch family terrorized by former Saddleback student

Chanoski was booked into the Orange County Jail on suspicion of burglary and assault. (Orange County Sheriff’s Department)

Megan Crothers

An innocent family was forced to defend themselves against a burglar last Wednesday morning.

At about 1:30 a.m., the Garvin family of Ladera Ranch was awoken by the frantic barking of their Great Dane, Ace. Nicholas Garvin, 14, consequently went to check on the dog and make sure everything was alright.

“If you have dogs, there is a different type of bark,” said Jim Amormino, spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, “And there is a different type of growl when someone is in the house.”

Nicholas then found an intruder standing in the living room and rifling through his mother’s purse. The suspect was wearing a scarf around his head and socks on his hands.

The unwelcome houseguest turned out to be former Saddleback College student Zachary Chanoski, who just last April endured an unfortunate run-in with Saddleback’s Campus Police.

“I read the article in the paper and chuckled a bit,” said Harry Parmer, Chief of Police at Saddleback, who dealt with Chanoski’s arrest last April. “This was a very dangerous and potentially violent situation. I’m just happy the family came out of this unscathed.”

After the discovery, Nicholas yelled for his father, Michael Garvin, who, despite recent foot and leg surgery and a cast, came to his sons assistance and defended his family by using his crutches as deadly weapons. Michael broke his foot cast in the struggle and was in extreme pain.

As Chanoski tried to escape, Michael’s wife appeared with a Little League baseball bat and hit him with it.


Chanoski, who was already on probation for two previous arrests and is now facing a much graver future.

“He was already on probation, so there is no bail,” said Amormino, “and he is likely headed for prison.”

Michael was later hospitalized for surgery- related injuries sustained in the struggle, while his wife, son, and dog remained unharmed.

“Thank goodness most students don’t act like that,” said Parmer. “He obviously is a man with some troubles.”

This third strike with the law may be just the charm Chanoski needs to set his life straight.

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