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Would-Be Robber Beaten With Helmet

April 27, 2002|MILTON CARRERO GALARZA and TINA BORGATTA | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

A would-be robber ran from a Newport Beach apartment bloodied early Friday after one of his intended victims beat him over the head with a Miami Dolphins football helmet, police said.

The man, whom the apartment's residents knew as Randy, was among several guests invited the night before to watch a basketball game on television, investigators said. He left the apartment at 7311 Seashore Drive about 2 a.m. and returned shortly before 4:30 a.m., according to police and victims.

Resident Darren Smetzer, 34, said he was in the living room watching television and didn't hear the man's knock on the door. Instead, his roommate, Wayne "Denny" Corder, 34, got out of bed to answer it. When Corder let him in, the residents said, the man pulled a gun and ordered the pair to kneel on the floor.

A third roommate, Parry O'Keefe, 42, said he walked into the fray. He was ordered onto the floor as well, and the gunman began demanding money from the trio, O'Keefe said. The gunman pulled a roll of duct tape from his pocket and told Corder to bind his roommates' hands. As the gunman headed for a hallway, Corder tackled the man, and Smetzer grabbed the helmet and began beating him, he and police said.

After a short struggle, the suspect dropped the gun, ran out and sped off in a red convertible Mazda RX7, leaving a trail of blood. Police were still investigating Friday. The roommates, meanwhile, tried to make sense of what had happened.

"We opened our home to him, and then he comes back with a gun," O'Keefe said. "I thought I was going to die."

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