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Five Men Named as Suspects in Malibu Fire

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The LA Times is reporting that the authorities have named 5 men as suspects in the arson case of the brush fires that tore through Malibu and burned over 50 homes beginning on November 24.

The suspects were identified by sheriff's officials as Brian Allen Anderson, 22, William Thomas Coppock, 23, and Brian David Franks, 27, all of Los Angeles, and Eric Matthew Ullman, 18, and Dean Allen Lavorante, 19, both of Culver City, authorities said. Anderson, Coppock and Franks had been booked and were in custody as of late Thursday, according to the sheriff's inmate information website.

Apparently the five men, whose ages range from 18-27 "were having an illegal late-night campfire near a cave in Corral Canyon when the blaze broke out. Detectives found alcohol containers, food wrappers and bundled fire logs, and were able to trace the items to the suspects during the last month."

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The chain of evidence led investigators to the local Ralphs, where it was determined the suspects made purchases of the material taken into evidence, and then to the debit card used at the store by one of the men in question.

Each person has been charged with two felony counts--recklessly causing a fire resulting in great bodily injury and recklessly causing a fire to an inhabited structure--and could face up to ten years imprisonment. Prosecutors must also take into consideration when determing sentence lengths to seek the fact that the fire began during a period declared as a State of Emergency for the area.Photo by Dan Steinberg/Associated Press