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Lenny Dykstra On Auto Theft Charges: ‘Of Course I’m Not Guilty’

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In this Jan. 4, 2008 file photo, former Major League Baseball player Lenny Dykstra poses for a portrait in New York. Dykstra has been charged with car theft and drug possession. The Los Angeles County district attorney's office says Dykstra and two other men were charged Monday, June 6, 2011,  with grand theft auto, identity theft and other crimes. He faces up to 12 years in prison if convicted. (credit: AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)

In this Jan. 4, 2008 file photo, former Major League Baseball player Lenny Dykstra poses for a portrait in New York. Dykstra has been charged with car theft and drug possession. The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office says Dykstra and two other men were charged Monday, June 6, 2011, with grand theft auto, identity theft and other crimes. He faces up to 12 years in prison if convicted. (credit: AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)

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NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — Former Mets star Lenny Dykstra, jailed on grand theft auto and drug possession charges, proclaimed his innocence on Monday to the New York Daily News.

Dykstra, 48, was charged with 25 misdemeanor and felony counts of grand theft auto, attempted grand theft auto, identity theft and other crimes, said Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. The ex-outfielder was nabbed after allegedly using phony information to lease a car from a Southern California dealership.

He faces up to 12 years in state prison if convicted.

“Of course I’m not guilty,” Dykstra told the paper. “The car got stolen alright — stolen by them. I don’t have it anymore. It’s gone like my computer, my phone, my clothes.”

Dykstra was taken into custody during a hearing in San Fernando Superior Court on the new charges. He was jailed on $500,000 bail with a bail-review hearing set for Friday.

His accountant and a friend were charged in connection with the alleged auto theft but not with drug crimes, Robison said.

“We leased cars. This isn’t some grand scheme to defraud anyone of Ford Flexes,” Dykstra said, according to the Daily News. “My company is real. … We’re trying to save people’s homes. For that they want to put me in jail?”

All three men are scheduled to be arraigned June 16.

Prosecutors contend that the three men tried to lease high-end cars from dealers this year by providing phony information and claiming credit through a phony business called Home Free Systems.

Two dealerships rejected the lease applications but a third allowed the men to drive off with three cars, according to a statement from the district attorney’s office.

Police who arrested Dykstra on April 14 found cocaine, Ecstasy and the synthetic human growth hormone Somatropin at his San Fernando Valley home, the statement said.

Dykstra, who bought a Ventura County mansion once owned by hockey star Wayne Gretzky, filed for bankruptcy two years ago, claiming he owed more than $31 million and had only $50,000 in assets.

In May, he was charged with more than a dozen federal counts, including bankruptcy fraud.

“Bottom line: When all of the evidence is brought forward, the jury will be told by the judge to make an example out of these corrupt people so this does not continue to happen to other Americans,” Dykstra wrote to the New York Post last month.

Federal prosecutors contend that he hid, sold or destroyed more than $400,000 worth of items from the $18.5 million mansion without permission of a bankruptcy trustee.

Dykstra spent 12 years in the big leagues and helped the Mets to the World Series championship in 1986.

What do you think of the Dykstra saga? Sound off in the comments below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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