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L.A. Arsonist: "Person of interest" Detained by Cops, 55 Fires "of concern" Set Over Last 4 Days
The Los Angeles Police Department say they have detained a "person of interest" in conjunction with the rash of dangerous arson fires set ablaze in Hollywood, West Hollywood, and North Hollywood in the past four days.
"The man was taken into custody at Sunset Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue, said Los Angeles Fire Capt. Jaime Moore, while police and sheriff's deputies manned another perimeter near the Beverly Center in West Hollywood. Witnesses said the suspect was driving a minivan with British Columbia license plates," according to City News Service.
During the man's arrest, "a small group of witnesses gave him 'the finger'-- and he returned the gesture with a smile, one witness said," reports L.A. Now. Additionally, a source told the Times "detectives confiscated 'evidence and materials' that suggest the individual had the ability to ignite some or all of the blazes." Little information has been made available about the detainee.
There have been a total of 55 fires set between December 30, 2011 and early this morning. The Los Angeles Fire Department sum up the total as being 45 fires in the Los Angeles area, nine in West Hollywood, and one in Burbank.
Early Monday morning, more fires were set in multiple locations, including the 1700 block of Laurel Canyon Boulevard, Hollywood; 8500 block Eastwood Road, Hollywood Hills; 4300 block of North Greenbush Avenue and 15000 block of Moorpark Street, Sherman Oaks; and 500 block of Alfred Street, West Hollywood.
Map of fires set 1/2/12:
Sunday, the LAPD released images from surveillance video showing a potential suspect in the spree of fires set mostly in vehicles in carports. Authorities the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles Fire Department, Los Angeles County Fire Department, and members of the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives formed a Joint Task Force to investigate the arson fires, and created Facebook and Twitter accounts to help keep the public informed.
Despite the arrest of a "person of interest," the fires continued into the overnight hours, prompting authorities to believe there are at least two people involved in the arson fires.