LOCAL : Private Eye Led Suspect to Actress

From Times staff and wire service reports

An "obsessive fan" charged in the slaying of actress Rebecca Schaeffer had hired a private detective to track down her address a month before allegedly shooting her to death outside her apartment, Los Angeles police said today.

The suspect, Robert John Bardo, 19, of Tucson, contacted the Anthony Agency, a private investigative company in his hometown, to say "he was writing to (Schaeffer) and wanted to send her a present," said William Johnson, an employee of the agency.

"He asked for a mailing address," Johnson said.

Bardo, who is being held in Tucson in lieu of $1-million bail, had indicated on a form he filled out at the agency that he and Schaeffer knew each other from another state and were friendly, Johnson said.

The agency was unable to obtain the information sought by Bardo in Arizona, so it hired a person in California, whom Johnson was unable to identify. Johnson said that individual obtained the information by running a check of Schaeffer's driver's license.

Although it was unclear exactly how the Anthony Agency obtained Schaeffer's address, Department of Motor Vehicles spokeswoman Janet Baker in Sacramento said the DMV will provide--for a fee ranging from $1 to $5--an address of any registered motorist as long as whoever is making the request has a license plate number.

The same information can also be obtained from the DMW by providing it with a name and driver's license number or with a name and date of birth. Baker said there is no way for celebrities to block access to the information on their driver's licenses. The only exception is made for law enforcement officials.

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