Tue, Sep 18, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Police arrest O.J. Simpson over Las Vegas hotel `heist'

NO BAIL The infamous former football star was booked on counts of robbery with a deadly weapon, assault and burglary with a firearm

AP , LAS VEGAS

Police arrested O.J. Simpson, saying he was part of an armed group who burst into a Las Vegas hotel room and snatched memorabilia that documented his own sports career, long ago eclipsed by scandal.

The arrest on Sunday started a new legal odyssey for the fallen football star who more than a decade ago was acquitted of the slayings of his ex-wife and her friend, and opens the possibility he could spend decades behind bars.

Simpson was taken away from The Palms casino-hotel by plainclothes officers a day after the arrest of a golfing buddy who police say accompanied him with a gun in the Thursday night holdup. Handcuffed and wearing a golf shirt and jeans, Simpson was placed in an SUV. He was later ordered by a judge to be held without bail, police said.

"He was very cooperative, there were no issues," Captain James Dillon said.

Simpson was at the Clark County Detention Center on Sunday night for booking on two counts of robbery with a deadly weapon, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, conspiracy to commit a crime and burglary with a firearm, police said. The district attorney, meanwhile, said he expected Simpson to ultimately be charged with seven felonies and one gross misdemeanor.

If convicted of the booking charges, Simpson would face up to 30 years in state prison on each robbery count alone.

Simpson, 60, has said he and other people were retrieving items that belonged to him. Simpson has said there were no guns involved and that he went to the room at the casino only to get stolen mementos that included his Hall of Fame certificate and a picture of the running back with J. Edgar Hoover.

Simpson said on Saturday that he did not call the police to help reclaim the items because he has found the police unresponsive to him ever since his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman, were killed in 1994.

"The police, since my trouble, have not worked out for me," he said, noting that whenever he has called the police "It just becomes a story about O.J."

Police did not allege that Simpson personally carried a weapon in the incident.

"We don't have any information to lead us to believe he was armed even based on those charges," police Lieutenant Clint Nichols said.

Police said they seized two firearms involved in the robbery along with sports memorabilia, mostly signed by Simpson. They also said they recovered collectible baseballs and Joe Montana cleats at private residences early on Sunday on three search warrants. But "whether or not the property belonged to Mr. Simpson is a matter of debate," Nichols said.

Walter Alexander, 46, was arrested on Saturday night on two counts of robbery with a deadly weapon, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, conspiracy to commit robbery and burglary with a deadly weapon. Alexander, who was described as one of Simpson's golfing buddies, was released without bail on Saturday night.

Robert Dennis Rentzer, a Los Angeles lawyer representing Alexander, said that he was able to arrange his client's release from custody, but wasn't familiar with the allegations.

Police are also seeking four men: Clarence Stewart, 53; Michael McClinton, 49; Tom Scotto, whose age was not known; and another man who was not identified.

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