lt was a feat Raymond Foard had performed before when he had forgotten the keys to his seventh floor apartment in Suitland's Oakcrest Towers, a friend said. He had simply scaled the brick wall adjacent to balconies in the back of the building to get into his apartment by way of his own balcony.

At about midnight Monday Foard, 28, tried the trick again, but it didn't work.

According to police, Foard got as far as the fifth floor when he was spotted by a resident who was seated on her balcony. The woman screamed, possibly startling Foard, who then plunged approximately 70 feet to his death on a grassy area next to a street.

"I mean, I had no idea what he was going to do," said Vicki Gilreath, 23, who was sitting on her fifth-floor balcony when she heard havy breathing and then saw a man's head looming beyond her balcony railing. "I guess lie just lost his balance . . . I don't think he ever saw me," she said.

Police said they do not believe that Foard had been drinking. They said they were awaiting the final results of high autopsy, however, before making any determination.

Foard had returned to his apartment with a woman, police said, when he found he had forgotten his keys. He told the friend to wait for him by the buildings entrance while he climbed a brick wall to his own balcony seven floors above, police said.

Police noted that the brick wall of the apartment building has grooves between the bricks large enough for a man to use and foot and handholds.

Foard was found by police lying on his back. Gilreath remembered seeing him appear to stand up on the ground after the fall, then keel over.

Few residents in Raymond Foard's apartment building knew him. But he had become known to some in the wake of his arrest Monday afternoon by Prince George's County Police for tampering with two cars in the complex parking lot.

According to the resident who reported Foard to the police, he had tried to enter one car, failed and then got inside another car. Police found Foard just sitting in a 1974 Mark IV - which belonged to another tenant - when they arrived to arrest him.

Foard had lived at 2021 Brooks Dr. for just over a month, according to the property manager for Oakcrest Towers. Yesterday, employees in the complex's rental office were at a loss to explain why Foard had not called the special emergency number at the complex, a number that exists for use by tenants who have forgotten or lost their building keys after the rental office is closed.