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A Fallbrook handyman denied that he went into a 68-year-old woman’s apartment with theft in mind.

Paul Singh, 40, pleaded not-guilty to one felony charge of first-degree burglary in San Diego’s North County Superior Courthouse yesterday.

A neighbor named Nancy testified that she went to her friend’s apartment the morning of August 18, as she normally does, and found two men already standing inside. Nancy said the men had their backs to her, and she heard them discussing the location of her friend’s purse, which was inside the coffee table near them, before they realized she was there.

The elderly woman’s three Chihuahuas were barking loudly at the men, and the bravest one tugged at the socks and shorts of one man, while the elderly woman was heard yelling, “Nancy! I’m in the shower!”

One man drew a knife before the two men hurried past the “shocked” woman and out of the apartment on North Pico Avenue, according to the witness Nancy’s testimony on September 10.

The elderly woman came out of her bathroom with a towel wrapped around her, after the men were gone, and asked why the dogs were barking, friend Nancy told the court.

Witness Nancy said she recognized one man, “He’s fairly well known around the neighborhood.” Paul Singh, 40, used to live across the street, according to Sheriff’s detective Tom Vrabel. “He’s considered a local handyman, doing odd jobs around the neighborhood,” the detective said.

Detective Tom Vrabel said deputies spoke with Paul Singh later that same day, about 4 p.m. Paul Singh admitted he went to the woman’s apartment that day, but he denied that he went into the apartment or that he was with another man, according to deputies.

But in court yesterday, Paul Singh denied being near the apartment at all the morning of August 18. Public defender Rick Crawford called as a witness the defendant’s longtime girlfriend, who said she and Singh were home together all that morning.

Superior Court Judge Daniel Goldstein ordered Paul Singh to face one felony burglary charge and to appear next in court October 9.

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