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Actor Fred Willard arrested during routine check of adult theater

July 19, 2012 |  9:23 am

Uniformed vice officers who arrested 72-year-old actor Fred Willard at an adult theater in Hollywood were performing a routine inspection, Los Angeles police said.

Willard was arrested on suspicion of engaging in a lewd act Wednesday evening at the Tiki Theater in the 5400 block of Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles police Sgt. Chuck Slater said.

LAPD officials said vice officers routinely monitor adult theaters. In some cases, they respond to complaints, but they also inspect whether illicit acts might be going on in a commercial business or in conspicuous areas, police said.

If a complaint is made, authorities often return to a theater numerous times until the offending behavior stops or arrests deter criminal activity, police said.

Authorities said they try to be aggressive about patrolling the theaters because word can spread quickly about a location if lewd acts are allowed to continue unchecked.

There are at least three adult theaters in Hollywood, police said.

Slater said officers observed Willard "engaged in a lewd act" but did not elaborate. The officers were part of a prostitution enforcement detail.

Willard was booked and released on his own recognizance, Slater said.

Willard's publicist said he had no comment.

Willard's credits include "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy," "This is Spinal Tap" and "Wall-E."

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-- Kate Mather and Andrew Blankstein

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