Justin Bieber may be in the clear. The saga of the search for egging evidence that doesn't look like an outtake from The Blair Witch Project continues.
According to TMZ, Los Angeles County Sheriff's detectives found no evidence connecting Bieber to the egging of his neighbor's house on home security surveillance video and hard drives seized during a police raid of the singer's Calabasas, California house on January 14.
The raid was triggered by an accusation made by Bieber's neighbor Jeffrey Schwartz and his 13-year-old daughter, who said they saw the 19-year-old throw eggs at their front door, then at them on the second floor balcony location where they allegedly watched him.
The incident took place early evening January 9 and reportedly caused $20,000 damages. Under California state law, as it exceeded $400, the misdemeanor offence became a felony.
But, apparently there is no sign of Bieber on the video in the vicinity of the neighbor's house during the egging.
And if we've understood the website's slightly multi-meaning turn of phrase below correctly, he isn't captured near his neighbor's before or after the event either.
"Sources familiar with the surveillance video tell us you do NOT see Bieber egging the house. Furthermore we're told there is no video before or after the incident that shows Bieber at the immediate scene," TMZ writes.
In addition, it's reported investigators came up empty after scrolling through the "Boyfriend" star's text messages on his iPhone to find possible evidence of him "bragging," referring to, or "high-fiveing" about the egging incident.
Which is odd, mainly because the gossip site previously reported police couldn't get into the phone without the password the Canadian supposedly refused to give them. Don't you just hate it when stories conflict?
So here's the conundrum: Either Bieber is some sort of Houdini master criminal, able to get in and out of a full-scale ova attack with no-one but a neighbor who hates him and his minor daughter to witness it.
Or, the hard drives of his home surveillance system were tampered with just in time for a raid he had no idea was coming.
You may recall the raid.
A small, mostly intimate affair. Just the four helicopters, 12 detectives, nine patrol cars, a news conference, and a reportedly $15,000-$25,000 minimum cost to taxpayers for the felony search warrant authorized performance, according to CleartheCourt.com Attorney Leo Terrell.
During it, Bieber's live-in friend Xavier "Lil Za" Smith was arrested when drugs - MDMA, (a form of ecstasy) - were found in his bedroom "in plain view."
At the time, Police said the find "was not connected" to the pop singer.
What's surprising about TMZ's report is their straight-ahead conviction that no evidence whatsoever was found.
From a statement given by Lt. David Thompson to CNN on Friday, it sounded as if he had a little more than "Bupkis."
"We will have a dialogue with the district attorney and determine, based on what we have, when we should bring the case over. We will then take the case to the D.A. It will be up to them to file charges and what charges at that time."Still, as TMZ notes, there is the shaky, dark but very clear audio, amateur video.
The furious exchange between Schwartz and the voice of another younger male who sounds like Bieber, but could conceivably not be is almost incontrovertible. Almost.
Will the video and the alleged eyewitness accounts of a father and a daughter be enough to convince the District Attorney's Office to throw its weight behind the expense of a felony prosecution for egging. Also, realize if you live in Los Angeles you'll be paying for that circus just as you paid for a farcical raid that yielded nothing.
The Sheriffs department are reportedly handing over the case to the D.A. this week.
As it stands, the D.A. could charge Bieber with felony vandalism, rewind to misdemeanor vandalism, or drop the case.
If the superstar's alleged role in the egging cannot be legally proven beyond a reasonable doubt, she may not have a choice.