Hammering Nails

Your cuspidors are safe. Ex-Phillies and Mets star Lenny Dykstra was back in jail Monday on auto theft and drug-possession charges after being accused of using phony info to lease cars.

The scrappy former centerfielder, who stole 285 bases over his career, was slapped with 25 counts of grand theft auto, identity theft, and other crimes, and faces up to 12 years behind bars. Bail was $500,000.

His accountant and a friend were also charged in the alleged scam.

Prosecutors say they tried to lease a Mercedes Benz S-550 and Cadillacs 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 a Lincoln, a Mustang, and a Ford Flex, prosecutors said.

When detectives served a search warrant at Dykstra's San Fernando Valley home in the car case they allegedly found cocaine, Ecstasy, and synthetic human growth hormone.

"Of course I'm not guilty," Dykstra told the New York Daily News. "The car got stolen all right - stolen by them. I don't have it anymore. It's gone like my computer, my phone, my clothes. . . . My company is real."

The Dude filed for bankruptcy two years ago, claiming he owed more than $31 million and had only $50,000 in assets.

He was previously busted by the FBI in a case involving $400,000 in bankruptcy fraud. He's out on bail on those charges.

And authorities say he stripped the $18.5 million mansion he bought from hockey great Wayne Gretzky of chandeliers, artwork, high-end furniture, and granite without permission of a bankruptcy trustee.

Dykstra spent 12 years in the bigs and won a World Series with the Mets in 1986. He was a three-time all-star in the 1990s with the Phillies and helped lead them to the 1993 World Series.

Contact staff writer Steve Elliott at elliott@phillynews.com.
This article contains information from Inquirer wire services.