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O.J. Simpson Arrested

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O.J. Simpson Arrested

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O.J. Simpson Arrested

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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

In Las Vegas, O.J. Simpson is being held without bail on charges related to an alleged armed robbery of sports memorabilia.

NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports from the Palms Hotel.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO: Las Vegas police handcuffed and arrested O.J. Simpson from his room at this hotel, saying he was part of an armed group that burst into another hotel room in town Thursday night to steal thousands of dollars worth of collectibles.

Lieutenant CLINT NICHOLS (Las Vegas Police): It was a lot of sports memorabilia, and most of it had been signed by Mr. Simpson himself, along with some other property that - I believe there were some Joe Montana cleats, and some signed baseballs, and some other stuff.

DEL BARCO: Las Vegas police Lieutenant Clint Nichols told reporters that Simpson was charged with robbery with a deadly weapon, assault with a deadly weapon, conspiracy to commit a crime, and burglary with a firearm. Nichols said Simpson's golfing buddy, Walter Alexander, was also arrested and charged over the weekend. And he said they were with four others during the robbery at the Palace Station Casino Hotel.

Lt. NICHOLS: We don't believe that anyone was roughed up, but there were firearms involved in the commission of the robbery.

Unidentified Man: Pointed at the people?

Lt. NICHOLS: That's correct.

DEL BARCO: Before his arrest, O.J. Simpson spoke to several reporters, including those at the Associated Press, explaining he was part of a, quote, "sting operation" to retrieve items that belonged to him.

The former NFL star and actor has been living in Miami since being acquitted of murder charges in the killings of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.

In a wrongful death lawsuit, Simpson was ordered to pay $33.5 million to the Goldman family, and he has since auctioned off many of his sports collectibles.

Collector Alfred Beardsley says Simpson has wanted those items back for a long time but that he's never been able to retrieve those items legally, so he came with his buddies to get them from him in Las Vegas.

Mr. ALFRED BEARDSLEY (Sports Memorabilia Dealer): Simpson, when he entered the room, he was pumped up. He was angry. He was ready for action.

DEL BARCO: Beardsley described the alleged robbery to the celebrity news service TMZ.com.

Mr. BEARDSLEY: It was a strong-arm robbery-type situation. And then we were directed - I was directed at gunpoint to pack the items up in the condition they were brought in. I did not do that. And Simpson's thugs packed the stuff up themselves.

DEL BARCO: O.J. Simpson is now being held without bail and faces a court date on Thursday. If the 60-year-old is eventually convicted of the charges, the Clark County district attorney says he could be facing up to 30 years of state prison time on each robbery count alone.

Mandalit del Barco, NPR News, Las Vegas.

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