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REDONDO BEACH : Canadian Is Charged in Condo Rental Scam

October 20, 1994|JAMES BENNING

A Canadian man has been charged with grand theft in connection with a scam in which prospective condominium renters were bilked of nearly $10,000 by a man posing as a building manager, authorities said.

Robert Charles Reid, 36, also was charged with carjacking and assault with a deadly weapon after he stole a car to escape police and tried to run down an officer, said Detective Mark Sturgeon. The officer fired a shot at Reid and missed, police said.

Reid, also known as Paul Clarkson, is suspected of taking at least 10 deposits for three luxury condominiums in Redondo Beach, Sturgeon said. Police had been investigating Reid since August.

Police said Reid identified condominiums for sale, then advertised them for rent in a local newspaper. When prospective tenants arrived, Reid took rental deposits, then disappeared.

When he noticed officers near his Rancho Palos Verdes apartment Oct. 12, he fled on foot and then told a woman in an idling Mercury that he needed to use her car, Sturgeon said. She screamed and jumped out of the car, and he sped away, police said.

Officers followed Reid but lost sight of him in the area's winding residential streets. After a four-hour search, a police canine sniffed out Reid hiding in thick brush in an undeveloped canyon.

Police said Reid is suspected of committing similar crimes in San Diego and Canada. He is being held in Los Angeles County Jail on $300,000 bail.

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