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LOS ANGELES (AP) — A key witness in a burglary case who vanished for three days — leaving behind his dog and a bloody leash — tells Los Angeles police he was hiding after an attack by strangers.

Darwin Vela was bruised and scraped when he was found Friday afternoon two blocks from a police station.

Lt. Julian Melendez said Saturday that Vela claims he was walking his dog on Tuesday when he was confronted by three men, got into a fight and managed to run off after one pulled a gun.

Vela said he’d been hiding since then.

Vela missed a Thursday court appearance for a man charged with burglarizing the home of Nicolas Cage’s former girlfriend.

Melendez says police aren’t sure if the attack was related but they’re investigating.

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(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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