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Thursday, 5 July, 2001, 07:52 GMT 08:52 UK
Sopranos actor arrested
Robert Iler being escorted from the police station following his arrest
Robert Iler being escorted from the police station following his arrest
Teenage actor Robert Iler, who appears in the hit US series The Sopranos, has been arrested and charged with robbery and possession of drugs.

The 16-year-old was arrested on Wednesday with three other teenagers, Michael Cournede, 19, Alban Selimaj, 16, and a 15-year-old boy who remains unnamed.

They allegedly stole about $40 (£28) from two boys in Manhattan, New York.

Robert Iler leaves Manhattan Criminal Court
Robert Iler leaves Manhattan Criminal Court
The victims flagged down a police vehicle and drove around the area looking for four teenagers.

Iler and the three others, all of whom have no criminal record, were found by police in John Jay Park in the city. All four were charged with robbery while Iler was also charged with possession of marijuana and a pipe.

Iler and his friends are facing the prospect of 15 years in prison, if they are convicted on the most serious charge of robbery.

The four teenagers have attended a preliminary hearing in Manhattan Criminal Court where Iler pleaded not guilty, and was released on bail of $2,500 (£1,782).

He is due to appear in court again on 9 July.

Iler plays Anthony Soprano Jr on the show, which has been fêted by many American critics as one of the most original and creative shows on television.

Young star

He has been acting since he was six years old after he was spotted by an agent walking down a street in Manhattan with his father.

His first job was an appearance in an advert for Pizza Hut.

For the last two years he has won the Young Star award in the US for his performance in The Sopranos.

Robert Iler and co-star Jamie-Lynn Sigler
Robert Iler and co-star Jamie-Lynn Sigler
He lives in Manhattan where he attends public school. His biography on The Sopranos website says he is "in the gifted class".

The website reports that his favourite sport is football and he loves to "hang out with his friends especially Rex, who has been his best friend for 10 years".

The drama series recently fell foul of an Italian-American organisation, which is suing the makers of the programme, claiming the show wrongly portrays the community as mobsters.

The Chicago-based American Italian Defense Association wants a jury to declare the mob series offends the dignity of Italian-Americans.

See also:

06 Apr 01 | TV and Radio
Sopranos sued by Italian group
28 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Sopranos star digitally recreated
03 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Sopranos in campus row
24 Jul 00 | Entertainment
Crowds mob Sopranos auditions
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