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Man armed with assault pistol and dressed in Lakers uniform tries to rob security guard

June 28, 2010 |  9:04 am

Weapons An armed man donning a full Los Angeles Lakers uniform got more than he bargained for when he tried to rob a security guard of his wallet at downtown Los Angeles' World Trade Center and was hit with a flashlight and lost his assault pistol.

The robber was not immediately identified, but Los Angeles police detectives said Monday that they have important clues from the crime scene that should lead them to a suspect, including blood that came from a cut to his head, prescription glasses and the assault weapon.

"We'll try to identify the suspect by prints off the gun and DNA from his blood," said LAPD spokesman Lt. Paul Vernon. "In the meantime, maybe someone remembers seeing a guy in a bloody Lakers uniform with a gash on his head."

The crime took place just after midnight June 24 when a man wearing a full Lakers uniform drove up to an unarmed security guard patrolling the World Trade Center and asked for directions, Vernon said.

The guard, who was in uniform, pointed in the direction the man should go. The suspect, a black man believed to be his 40s, then pulled out a Tech 9 semi-automatic assault weapon and ordered the guard to the ground.

The guard dropped to his knees and the suspect said, “Give me your wallet or I’ll kill you.”

The guard handed the suspect his wallet as a gun was held to his head.

The suspect told him: "This better have money in it."

The guard suddenly grabbed the gun with one hand and used his other hand to hit the robber in the head with his flashlight. The suspect fell down and let go of the gun. The guard held the gun and hit the suspect in the groin.

The suspect fled the scene in a 1990s model black van with a luggage rack.

“It’s rare to see this type of weapon on the street, and even rarer to have the victim disarm his assailant,” Vernon said. “While we don’t recommend such actions on the part of victims, every victim has to assess their situation, based on their fear, confidence and ability. This victim believed the robber was going to shoot him.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Det. Al Rasch of the central robbery unit at (213) 972-1245. Anonymous tips can be called into Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS (8477) or sent via text message to 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S). All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.”

Tips also may be given anonymously online at www.LAPDOnline.org; click on “anonymous webtips” and submit the information.

-- Andrew Blankstein

Photo: The assault weapon confiscated in the June 24 robbery attempt. Credit: LAPD