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Man accused of smashing LAPD windows near Darth Vader charged

Los Angeles Police Department

A man accused of smashing the windows of a Los Angeles police cruiser and stealing a laptop inside was charged Thursday, prosecutors said.

Leyston Rice, 27, is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday on one count each of vandalism, grand theft and burglary from a vehicle, the Los Angeles County district attorney's office said. If convicted on all counts, Rice faces up to three years in jail.

Authorities allege it was Rice who broke five windows of the unoccupied patrol car as it sat near Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue on Tuesday afternoon. A KTLA crew working in the area caught the incident on tape.

The video shows a man using two metal rods to shatter the windows of the patrol car. He then reaches into the passenger side and pulls out the laptop, which he takes to a kiosk and then opens as if to use.

The tape then shows the man detained just feet from the damaged car.

The video drew attention largely because a person dressed as Darth Vader -- one of the many costumed characters who frequent that stretch of Hollywood Boulevard -- watched as the man broke the patrol car's windows and took the laptop.

Prosecutors said the damage to the patrol car was more than $2,600.

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Twitter: @katemather | Google+
kate.mather@latimes.com

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