Justin Bieber accused of attempted robbery … of a cell phone

Story highlights

LAPD robbery detectives are investigating an incident involving Bieber, police say

Source close to Bieber says incident "wasn't a big deal"

People were "taking pictures, some more aggressive than others," source says

The pop star has been in a whirlwind of controversy this year

Los Angeles CNN  — 

In this week’s episode of Justin Bieber’s brush with the law, the pop singer has been accused of attempted robbery, police said.

It sounds worse than it may be: The alleged incident is apparently over a cell phone.

Los Angeles Police Department robbery detectives were investigating a report of an alleged robbery Monday night “between an individual and Mr. Bieber near the batting cages” on Los Angeles’ west side, a police statement said Wednesday.

“The case remains under investigation with detectives conducting numerous interviews,” police said.

A source close who’s close to Bieber and is familiar with the situation played down the incident.

“Justin was just enjoying hanging out with friends at the batting cage and playing mini-golf,” the source told CNN. “This just wasn’t a big deal.”

“The woman didn’t stand out,” the source said. “There were plenty of people taking pictures, some more aggressive than others … which is total normal. … This is another example of someone making an issue where there isn’t one.”

Police spokeswoman Rosario Herrera said the department didn’t receive a complaint until Tuesday, and officers interviewed the person Tuesday night.

Herrera wouldn’t say any more. Matthew Hiltzik, Bieber’s representative, told CNN “no comment now.”

CNN affiliate KTLA was able to tease a little bit more out of police.

Officers were called because Bieber had allegedly tried to take a girl’s phone, Sgt. Paul McLaughlin told the affiliate.

No photos

The gossip website TMZ said it spoke with a woman who identified herself as the one who filed the complaint.

The woman said Bieber and his crew “got into an altercation with some guys” at a batting cage in Sherman Oaks on Monday night, according to the website.

Bieber saw her reaching for her cell phone, and he demanded that she hand it over so he could delete any photos she may have snapped, TMZ said.

When she refused, he reached into her purse and grabbed it, the woman told the site.

CNN was trying to get in touch with the managers of the batting cage where the incident reportedly occurred.

As for Bieber, he was in Oklahoma City on Tuesday, taking in a game between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Oklahoma City Thunder.

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Whirlwind of controversy

The accusation is just the latest incident in what has been a whirlwind year of controversy for the pop star.

There was the DUI arrest in Miami, the assault charge in Toronto, the felony vandalism probe in Los Angeles.

The Federal Aviation Administration also is investigating allegations that Bieber and other passengers aboard a charter flight from Canada to New Jersey’s Teterboro Airport interfered with the flight crew, the agency said.

None of the criminal charges that Bieber faces, including the expected vandalism count, appear to threaten his freedom. Probation sentences, fines, community service and counseling are routinely given in such cases.

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CNN’s Jane Caffrey and Dave Alsup contributed to this report.