Deputies search Justin Bieber's house in egg-throwing probe
CNN/Stylemagazine.com Newswire | 1/15/2014, 9:13 a.m.
By Alan Duke
Justin Bieber got some unexpected visitors Tuesday morning: sheriff's deputies with a warrant to search his home.
Investigators with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department were looking for video from Bieber's security cameras that might show what happened Thursday night when eggs were thrown at a neighbor's home, according to a sheriff's statement.
A judge gave deputies a felony search warrant, which they carried out Tuesday morning, the sheriff's statement said.
Bieber and several house guests were asleep in the home when deputies arrived at 8 a.m., according to Los Angeles County Sheriff's Lt. David Thompson. He was cooperative with the dozen deputies, but he did not answer questions about the alleged vandalism, Thompson said.
Bieber hasn't spoken to investigators about last week's incident, and his representative had declined comment to CNN.
Bieber house guest arrested
One of Bieber's house guests, rapper Lil Za, was arrested when deputies allegedly found illegal drugs during their search, Thompson said. Although the drugs were initially reported to be cocaine, Thompson later said they are believed to be Ecstasy and Xanax, but lab tests will be needed to confirm it.
The suspect was identified as Xavier Smith, 20, who performs under the name Lil Za, Thompson said.
He was set to be released later Tuesday after posting a $20,000 bond, Thompson said. But while in the booking cell, he allegedly broke a telephone while trying to arrange that bond, and then he was charged with felony vandalism for the phone incident, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff Sgt. Chad Waters, the watch commander at the Lost Hills Sheriff's Station
Smith was kept in custody on the newest charge.
Video clues sought
"The purpose of the search warrant is to seek video surveillance or other possible evidence in the vandalism that occurred on January 9, 2014," the sheriff's statement said.
Deputies seized video from computer hard drives on the "extensive" security monitoring system on Bieber's estate, Thompson said.
Cameras capture just about any movement on the property, he said. Detectives will spend the next days scouring through the video for clues about who hurled eggs toward the neighboring mansion last week, Thompson said.
If investigators find enough evidence that Bieber, 19, threw the eggs that splattered against his next-door neighbor's home, they could refer the matter to the district attorney's office for possible prosecution, he said.
The vandalism damage to the house of Bieber's neighbor was about $20,000, Thompson said. The cost of repairing the damage to the house is a key factor in determining the severity of the charge. Any damage of more than $950 would qualify the charge as a felony.
Bieber lives in the Oaks, an exclusive gated community, in Calabasas. He moved into a $6.5 million mansion there two years ago. An impressive list of the rich and famous -- including Michael Jackson's mother and children -- live in the neighborhood, about 30 miles west of downtown Los Angeles.
His neighbors have complained about Bieber several times in the past year, including in May when two neighbors called the sheriff to report he was speeding down residential streets, a sheriff's spokesman said.
Deputies visited Bieber's home in response, but the singer refused to talk to them, Sheriff's Department spokesman Steve Whitmore said.
Retired NFL star Keyshawn Johnson went to Bieber's home then to counsel him about the dangers of going too fast on the residential streets, but Bieber wouldn't speak to him, Johnson's rep told CNN in May.
A neighbor accused Bieber of spitting on him and making threats during a heated confrontation outside his home last March, Whitmore said. It prompted a sheriff's probe, but no charges followed.
CNN's Topher Gauk-Roger contributed to this report.