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Masked Gunmen Beat, Rob Writer-Producer in Beverly Hills Home

Times Staff Writer

Four masked gunmen invaded a Beverly Hills mansion, held the butler and his wife captive and beat and robbed the home’s owner of $500,000 in cash and jewelry, police said Tuesday.

Frank Michael Alesia, 45, a television writer-producer, was treated and released early Tuesday morning from Beverly Hills Medical Center where it took 37 stitches to close head wounds inflicted during the Monday night attack, according to Lt. Robert Curtis of the Beverly Hills Police Department.

The assault on Alesia culminated a five-hour ordeal in which his butler was forced at gunpoint into the producer’s home in the 800 block of North Elm Drive. The robbers held the butler and his wife captive while waiting for Alesia. The police did not identify the butler or his wife.

Took Dog for Walk

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The butler had taken Alesia’s dog for a walk about 6 p.m., Curtis said.

“When he returned about 6:30 p.m.,” Curtis said, “the dog started acting strangely and barking.

“From a position of concealment somewhere, the suspect appeared, put a gun to the butler’s head and forced him inside the house,” Curtis said. He was not sure where the robber had been hiding.

Three other gunmen, all masked, armed and wearing gloves, also entered the house and demanded to know where the valuables were kept.

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“When they found out the owner wasn’t home . . . , they bound and gagged the butler and his wife and waited for the owner to get home.”

Alesia, an independent writer-producer whose television credits include “Laverne and Shirley” and “Captain Kangaroo,” arrived home about 10 p.m., Curtis said.

When he was confronted at the door by one of the masked robbers, Alesia tried to run away but was caught by a gunman and forced to the floor, Curtis said.

Banged Head on Floor

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“To find out where the valuables were,” Curtis said, “they apparently banged his head several times on (a hardwood) floor,” forcing him to tell them where he kept his jewels and cash.

The robbers then bound and gagged Alesia, escaping from the house with about $500,000 in valuables, including jewels, cash and Alesia’s 1983 Toyota Tercel, Curtis said.

Police received a call on an emergency line from a woman yelling that there had been a robbery, Curtis said. The call came in at about 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, Curtis said, apparently because it had taken some time for the gagged and bound victims to free themselves.

All was quiet Tuesday afternoon at the tree-shaded Tudor-style mansion where the assault and robbery occurred.

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A woman, identifying herself only as a household employee and speaking through an intercom attached to a wrought-iron fence surrounding the house, said Alesia, his butler and their wives were in seclusion and unavailable for comment.

Alesia’s wife was out of town at the time of the assault, said Ralph Goldman, Alesia’s business manager. She returned Tuesday, he added.

Curtis said he did not know why Alesia kept such a large amount of cash and jewels inside the house. The biggest loss, he added, was the jewelry.


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