NoHo Arson Suspect is Ex-Marine With Record of Setting Fires in Japan
The man thought to be behind a series of fires in North Hollywood is Kurt K. Bille, a 34-year-old ex-Marine who was convicted for setting a rash of high-profile fires in Japan a decade ago, reports L.A. Now.
Billie was arrested when he was spotted setting a mobile home parked on the 7300 block of Farmdale Avenue in North Hollywood. In the past few weeks, a section of North Hollywood was the burn zone for a series of deliberately-set blazes, involving cars, mobile homes, and apartments, some set one after the other in the overnight hours.
When the arsonist's tally grew to about 18, The Los Angeles Fire Department’s Arson/Counter-Terrorism Section teamed up with the Los Angeles Police Department to further their investigation.
Billie's past includes serving a stint behind bars in Japan for setting "seven restaurants and bars on Okinawa in two separate arson attacks in January 2001 when he was a 24-year-old Marine lance corporal stationed at Camp Hansen." He pleaded guilty to the charges, and was sentenced to five years. The impact of the arson fires posed significant enough strain on U.S. relations with Japan to prompt the military to explore possibly relocating the base.