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Stealing Pizza Could Be Third Strike for Felon : Crime: Suspect tells police he didn’t even eat the slice he is accused of taking from children at Redondo Beach Pier. He faces robbery charges.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A convicted felon could be looking at life in prison under the “three strikes” law for stealing a slice of pepperoni pizza he says he didn’t even eat.

Jerry Dewayne Williams, 27, of Los Angeles is facing robbery charges for taking the pizza from four children, ages 7 to 14, while they were sitting at Adam’s Pizza on the Redondo Beach city pier Saturday evening. Because of his prior felony convictions, he could be sentenced to 25 years to life in prison under the “three strikes” law passed earlier this year.

A witness said Williams, who is 6 feet, 4 inches tall and weighs about 220 pounds, and an unidentified companion allegedly approached the outdoor table where the three boys and one girl were sitting and demanded a piece of their pizza.

"(Williams) said something to the kids, and they were in shock, they didn’t say anything,” said the manager of Adam’s Pizza, who did not want to be identified by name. “So he just reached down and took some of their pizza. Then his friend took some, and then another one (of Williams’ group) took some. They only left the kids about two slices of pizza.”

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Williams and the other members of his group walked away laughing, the manager said. Williams later was arrested at a nearby video games arcade after the pizza store manager called police. The others eluded police.

Williams has pleaded innocent to the robbery charges. His attorney was unavailable for comment.

Redondo Beach police Detective Mark Sturgeon said Williams told police that he and some family members had been playing a game of “Truth or Dare” and that his brother-in-law had dared him to take some pizza from the children. Sturgeon said Williams claimed he didn’t eat the pizza he allegedly stole.

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“It was a New York-style pepperoni pizza,” Sturgeon said. “But (Williams) told me he doesn’t eat pork, so he threw it in the ocean.”

Prosecutors say taking the pizza constituted a robbery, or at least felony petty theft. According to court records, Williams has accumulated four felony convictions--for robbery, attempted robbery, drug possession and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle--since 1987. Another felony conviction could send him to prison for 25 years to life under the “three strikes” law. The law requires the lengthy sentence for any felon who already has been convicted of two or more violent or serious felonies.

“It has been the district attorney’s position that this (“three strikes”) is the law and we’re going to enforce it,” said Deputy Dist. Atty. Ralph Shapiro, who filed the complaint charging Williams with two counts of second-degree robbery and one count of felony petty theft. The “three strikes” allegation also was filed against Williams.

But Shapiro added that senior administrators in the district attorney’s office could decide not to make it a “three strikes” case.

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