Stephen M. Silverman
January 09, 2004 10:00 AM

Backstreet Boy A.J. McLean tore a page out of the Old West earlier this week in Nevada, where he helped chase down a jewel thief in the parking lot of the Hard Rock Hotel parking lot, reports the Las Vegas Sun.

The paper reports that just before 11 p.m. Monday, the crooner, whose 26th birthday is Friday, was trying on watches in the hotel’s jewelry store, when a man wearing a $40,000 diamond-encrusted ring, entered and asked to try on several bracelets and rings. Suddenly, the man turned to a friend to show off the ring — then reportedly made a quick run for the exit.

A friend of McLean’s, Vegas personality Marklen Kennedy, told the Sun: “The girl at the counter screamed that she could not leave the store, so A.J. just shot out of there like a rocket.”

It was McLean who nabbed the alleged thief before a Hard Rock security guard on a bike apprehended the suspect, said Kennedy.

McLean was reportedly in Vegas to make an appearance at this week’s Adult Entertainment Expo convention. A spokesman for the singer did not comment.

“In matters where security is concerned, we really can’t comment,” Heather Lloyd, assistant manager of the store, called Rocks the Jewelers, told the paper.

The Sun notes that the police did not file a report on the incident — which is not unusual, said Metro spokesman Jose Montoya, given that hotels in the tourist Mecca often try to keep quiet about certain incidents.

Not quiet, however, is McLean’s mother, Denise McLean. reports that she has co-written a new book about her son’s career and his highly publicized (and successful) struggle with alcoholism and depression, titled “Backstreet Mom: A Mother’s Tale of Backstreet Boy A.J. McLean’s Rise To Fame, Struggle With Addiction and Ultimate Triumph.”

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