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Harold Smith -- History of Preying on Women

12/8/2010 8:00 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Ronni Chasen wasn't Harold Smith's first target of random violence -- TMZ has learned Smith served serious time in state prison for violent robberies of women in 1998.

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According to court records, Smith pulled off two separate robberies on the night of January 20, 1998 -- one in Beverly Hills and one in West Hollywood.

In both cases, Smith did not know the victims and attacked them from behind. One woman testified Smith "got me in a bear hug" ... before snatching her Walkman, headphones, and a cassette tape.

About an hour later, Smith attacked another woman ... who told police she saw something black in his hand -- insinuating he might have had a gun. This time Smith made off with the woman's purse.

Smith -- who had several prior convictions for burglary -- plead guilty to both counts of robbery ... and was locked up in a state pen for 11 years.



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