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Rocker, Police at Odds Over Intruder

May 02, 2003|Monte Morin | Times Staff Writer

A neighbor who tumbled onto David Lee Roth's Pasadena estate found himself staring into the barrel of the rocker's publicity machine Thursday, if not the muzzle of the musician's personal shotgun.

The former Van Halen front man and Pasadena police have given conflicting accounts of the Saturday morning incident in which police arrested a neighbor who was found splayed on his back on Roth's front lawn. A search of the man's pockets turned up methamphetamine, and he was booked on suspicion of drug possession, police said.

Days after the event, the performer's publicists released the following account of the incident:

"Roth was awakened by the sounds of breaking branches to discover a man had scaled his manor's 10-foot-high wall. Roth grabbed his shotgun and cornered the man, who claimed to have a knife, and held him until the Pasadena police arrived to take him away in handcuffs."

The 47-year-old Roth, the news release says, was preparing for a summer concert tour in support of his upcoming album, "Diamond Dave." He declined to talk about Saturday's incident, his publicist said.

According to the Police Department, the arrest of Charles Cooley, 47, stemmed from a 2:47 a.m. telephone call in which a neighbor said Cooley was tossing "boulders" through the window of his own home.

When officers arrived at Cooley's house, they heard a person yelling from the property to the rear for somebody to call police, said department spokeswoman Janet Pope. Officers went to Roth's yard to investigate.

"They heard two men yelling at each other," Pope said. "Mr. Cooley was lying on his back in the front lawn, and the resident, David Roth, was standing on the second-floor balcony pointing at Mr. Cooley."

Officers reported that Cooley said he had a knife but that they didn't find one on him or in the yard, Pope said. Officers said they did not see Roth holding a shotgun.

Pope expressed puzzlement Thursday at the publicist's release. "This is coming out of the blue," she said.

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