O.J. Simpson Named Suspect in Casino Break-In

The former football star says he ran a "sting" to get his property back.

February 12, 2009, 10:05 AM

Sept. 14, 2007 — -- Las Vegas police have questioned former football star O.J. Simpson and named him a suspect in an armed robbery at a casino hotel room.

Simpson said he went to the room to recover sports memorabilia that belonged to him but denied breaking in, according to The Associated Press.

The armed robbery was reported Thursday night at the Palace Station Casino, Las Vegas Metro Police Capt. James Dillon said at a press conference Friday afternoon. He said that the robbery victim said that Simpson was involved but emphasized that no weapons had been recovered and that the investigation was in its infancy.

Dillon said Simpson, who was questioned and released, had been cooperating with the investigation.

David Cook, a lawyer for the family of Ron Goldman, who was murdered with Nicole Brown Simpson, told ABC News that a sports memorabilia dealer contacted him Friday to say that he had been robbed by Simpson and several other people.

Alfred Beardsley, the memorabilia dealer, said that guns were drawn during the incident at the Palace Station hotel room and said Simpson took his property, possibly including the suit Simpson wore when he was acquitted of killing ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman, according to Cook.

Beardsley didn't return a phone message seeking comment. He gave a similar description of the incident to the Web site TMZ.com.

Simpson, who is not in police custody, told The Associated Press he went to the hotel room to try to recover his property but denied breaking into the room. Las Vegas police spokesman Jose Montoya told ABC News that Simpson told detectives that he believed some of the sports paraphernalia in the hotel room belonged to him

Simpson told The Associated Press that he was conducting a "sting operation" to collect his belongings at the Palace Station casino.

An auction house owner called Simpson several weeks ago to say some collectors "have a lot of your stuff and they don't want anyone to know they are selling it," according to The Associated Press account.

The owner set up a meeting with collectors, saying he had a private buyer interested in purchasing Simpson's items. "It's stolen stuff that's mine. Nobody was roughed up," Simpson told the AP.

Simpson told The Associated Press he was accompanied by several men he met at a wedding cocktail party, and they took the collectibles, including his Hall of Fame certificate and a picture of the running back with J. Edgar Hoover. Simpson said he wasn't sure where the items were taken.

A spokeswoman for the Las Vegas district attorney said the office had not yet reviewed the police reports or made a decision on whether Simpson would be arrested or charged.

Simpson's attorney did not return a phone message seeking comment.

Simpson has had to auction off his sports collectibles, including his Heisman Trophy, to pay some of the $33.5 million judgment awarded to Goldman's family in 1997 in their wrongful death civil suit.

Cook, the Goldmans' lawyer, said he would seek a court order Tuesday forcing Simpson to turn over any of the items he may have recovered to the authorities to be sold. "Either it belongs to Beardsley or the stuff belongs to the sheriff, and either way, O.J. Simpson is going to walk out empty-handed," he said.

Simpson had been scheduled to give a deposition in Miami today in a bankruptcy case involving his oldest daughter. It was rescheduled because Simpson had told attorneys that he would be out of town.