Call it a mulligan.
A never mind. A cover-your-eyes, that-never-happened, forgetaboutit.
Saying he was cold and disoriented, Omaha attorney Randy Paragas broke into the Eagle Run Golf Course pro shop at 4:30 a.m. Jan. 7.
After security alarms sounded, two Omaha police officers arrived and found Paragas in the pro shop, tearing open a box of women's golf shoes.
Police initially reported the case as a burglary, a felony.
But this week, Police Chief Alex Hayes said they would not arrest or ticket Paragas for burglary, misdemeanor trespassing or anything else.
The reason: Hayes said the golf course owner didn't want charges filed, noting that Paragas didn't do any damage and saying he didn't think Paragas had any malice. Eagle Run owner Bob Horgan confirmed that he wasn't interested.
Paragas, meanwhile, has a new twist on what took place.
He said the case was neither burglary nor trespassing.
It was assault, he said.
Paragas, 49, said he and his friends have reason to believe he was jumped as he left Cigarros, a bar that is across a private drive from Eagle Run, near 132nd Street and West Maple Road.
“It doesn't excuse my behavior,” Paragas said. “But it might explain it.”
Paragas said he has yet to report his findings to police. However, he said, his friends have developed information that four tough guys — Paragas believes they were mixed martial arts fighters — were hanging out in the bar that night.
Paragas said one of his friends overheard bar patrons talking the following night about how Paragas got jumped.
That has led Paragas and his friends to speculate that somebody pummeled him in the parking lot.
Before the break-in, Paragas said, he ate dinner at a nearby restaurant and then went to Cigarros for drinks.
After 2 a.m. closing, he said, he was the last of his friends to leave — and none of his friends witnessed anyone hovering near him.
Paragas said he has no recall of any confrontation between 2 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. All he said he remembers is not knowing where he was and deciding to yank on the doors of the pro shop in order to trip the alarm and summon police.
Paragas said he doesn't remember anything about any assailants either. But the gash on his head took 10 stitches to close. And he cracked two ribs, slightly perforating a lung.
That has led Paragas to guess that a blow to the head caused him to face-plant on the cement. He further guesses that he was kicked in the side, causing the rib and lung injuries.
Paragas said he doesn't believe he was robbed. But he thinks he ended up on a snowbank — causing him to become disoriented and “near hypothermia.”
When officers initially found Paragas in the pro shop, authorities say, he was “tearing open” a box of Footjoy women's golf shoes. Disoriented, he told officers he lived in an apartment above the pro shop. (The pro shop has no upper level.)
Paragas told The World-Herald last week that he believed he hurt his head and ribs after a fall in the pro shop. He also said he suspected someone slipped something into his drink. Now, he said, a beating makes more sense.
A breath test measured his blood-alcohol content at 0.15 — a level that, Paragas said, wouldn't lead him to be “that far gone.”
Paragas, who spent part of last weekend in the hospital, said he will work to make sure he doesn't put himself in that position again. “I will address things on a very private basis.”
Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine declined to file felony burglary charges against Paragas — saying he couldn't prove that Paragas broke in to steal anything.
Kleine said he did recommend that police issue Paragas a citation for misdemeanor trespassing, a case that would have been handled by the City Prosecutor's Office.
Hayes said police investigators declined to do so, deferring to the business's wishes. In trespassing cases, Hayes said, officers routinely work with property owners.
“It's not any different than if you're a homeowner and two teenagers walk through your yard,” Hayes said. “Technically, they're trespassing. But we don't make arrests if the property owner isn't interested.”
Hayes announced his decision before Paragas suggested he was assaulted. The chief said the decision had nothing to do with Paragas' status as an attorney.
Horgan, Eagle Run's owner, said he doesn't know Paragas. While Paragas offered, the golf course doesn't want any restitution, Horgan said.
The pro shop's doors were faulty and needed to be replaced — something the golf course did last week. Paragas also knocked over a display of women's golf shoes but caused no damage.
“We feel that Mr. Paragas was in trouble and looking for help and did not intend to break in or to steal property,” Horgan said.
“Therefore, Eagle Run will not be pressing (for) charges against Mr. Paragas. Hopefully, he has learned a lesson and will make changes in his life to avoid these kinds of incidents in the future.”
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