Trend for 2012 #3: Arson
LOS ANGELES – Authorities arrested a man Monday in connection with dozens of suspected arson fires that destroyed parked cars, scorched buildings and rattled much of the nation's second-largest city over the New Year's weekend.
The suspect resembled a "person of interest" captured on surveillance video near a carport. The man, believed to be 20 to 30 years old, had a receding hairline and a shoulder-length ponytail and was seen emerging from an underground parking garage on Hollywood Boulevard where a car fire was reported.
He was stopped early Monday in a van that matched a description given by witnesses.
Police declined to identify the suspect, but said he was to be booked later on arson charges arising from more than 50 blazes that have flared since Friday in Hollywood, neighboring West Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley. Firefighters have not responded to any other suspicious fires since the man was detained, Capt. Jamie Moore said. The blazes caused an estimated $2 million in damage and forced many apartment dwellers from their homes. But there were no serious civilian injuries. One firefighter was hurt, and another person suffered smoke inhalation, Moore said.
One of Saturday's fires occurred at the Hollywood and Highland entertainment complex, a popular tourist destination bordered by the Walk of Fame in a neighborhood that includes Grauman's Chinese Theatre. Damaged buildings included a former home of Doors singer Jim Morrison in Laurel Canyon.
See also: Cars Set on Fire, and Los Angeles Set on Edge
Four attacks in Queens (NY) with homemade firebombs:
“It was a good night for the F.D.N.Y. and the people of south Jamaica,” said the official, Lt. Chris Corbin, as he stood outside the scene of one of the attacks, a private home at 146-62 107th Avenue. No one was hurt in the four attacks, in which homemade firebombs were apparently used. In three of the four attacks, the police said, Molotov cocktails were made with Starbucks bottles.
Milwaukee police are looking for a possible serial arsonist who may be responsible for multiple fires at Harmony Foods on the city's south side.
The white or Hispanic man used a lighter to intentionally set fire to the contents of a Dumpster outside the store at 2108 S. 25th St. shortly before midnight Dec. 22, police said.
"He is also wanted for questioning in three fires prior to this incident and one afterward," police said in a news release Tuesday.
They say the man wore a dark jacket with horizontal lines at the top and bottom and a baseball cap turned backward. He had longer dark hair and jeans.