Kal Penn, an Indian-American actor and recent appointee to a White House position, was robbed at gunpoint near Dupont Circle in central Washington DC, but otherwise left unharmed, according to reports.

According to police reports an armed robber forced the victim – who was not named – to lie on the ground and give up their cell phone and other possessions. However Mr. Penn's former publicist Jennifer Goodwin confirmed a media report that Mr. Penn had been robbed. Mr. Penn has not commented on the case so far.

Mr. Penn, whose real name is Kalpen Suresh Modi, is the star of the TV dramas such as House and 24, and the Harold and Kumar series of films. In his role as Associate Director to the White House Office of Public Engagement, Mr. Penn is charged with liaison between the President the Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities.

Mugging and related crimes occur intermittently in Washington DC. In June 2008, the Supreme Court overturned a 1976 ban on handgun ownership in the area, finding the law incompatible with the Second Amendment, which guarantees Americans the right to own a gun for self-defence.

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