Video of Person of Interest in L.A. Arson Spree Released
HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (KTLA) -- Police have released surveillance video of a person of interest believed to be connected to the recent rash of car fires in and around the Hollywood area.
LAPD officials said Sunday that they would like to question a suspect described as an older white male with a receding hairline and shoulder-length ponytail.
He was caught on tape, wearing a full black outfit, leaving the scene of a car fire Saturday night inside the parking structure at the Hollywood and Highland complex.
They say he's been caught on surveillance at several scenes where fires have been lit since Friday.
At least one fire connected to the spree has been set Sunday night at a church in Hollywood on the 1700 block of Grammercy Place, bringing the number of fires believed to be linked to the arson spree has risen to at least 40 across the Los Angeles area.
A total of 33 fires have been set in Los Angeles, and seven have been set in neighboring West Hollywood since the suspected spree began Friday in what is being called the worst arson spree in the city's recent history.
Officials said they would increase patrols, hoping to catch the person -- or persons -- responsible for setting the fires.
The arson wave is the worst the city has seen since the 1992 riots, officials said.
Police arrested a man early Sunday morning who allegedly tried to set a fire at an apartment complex in Northridge, but the incident was not believed to be linked to the string of Los Angeles arson cases.
Officers responded about 3:40 a.m. to a report of an attempted arson in the 17900 block of Roscoe Boulevard, where witnesses saw the man using a "combustible liquid."
Officials have not released the suspect's name, saying only that he does not appear to be connected to the arson spree.
The arrest came after at least six fires were intentionally set Saturday night in Hollywood.
A car fire was reported Saturday just before 6 p.m. in the 1300 block of Mansfied Avenue in the heart of Hollywood. Firefighters found an incendiary device near the vehicle.
After that, five other car fires were deliberately set, including one on the 3000 block of Citrus Ave. and another at Hollywood and Orange.
A third fire was reported in the 7000 block of Hawthorne Blvd., a fourth in the 1000 block of Sweetzer Ave. and a fifth in the parking structure at the Hollywood and Highland complex, which provided surveillance video of a possible suspect.
Police also believe that at least 16 fires in the pre-dawn hours Saturday in Burbank, North Hollywood, Sun Valley and the Fairfax District may be connected to the spree.
Eight of the broke out in North Hollywood, three in the foothill area of the San Fernando Valley, three in the Wilshire Division of the Los Angeles Police Department, one on the Westside and one in a carport in Lennox. Investigators do not believe the fire in Lennox is related.
Los Angeles County officials announced a $60,000 reward Friday after an early morning arson spree wreaked havoc across West Hollywood and Hollywood.
"We are dead serious about apprehending the individual or individuals responsible for this," said County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky. "We want to get these SOBs before they hurt somebody."
"There have been multiple pieces of information of suspect description and vehicle descriptions at the different crime scene investigations and we're culling all of that information together," LAPD Deputy Chief Jorge Villegas said during a news conference Saturday morning.
"We've detained a number of people, none that we can say that were legitimately connected to this investigation at this point."
The arson spree began Friday morning, with at least 21 intentionally-set fires, including one that damaged the former residence of Jim Morrison.
"If you light 19 fires in 5 hours, you're trying to say something," West Hollywood Mayor John Duran said. "This is not the way to say it."
Law enforcement sources told the Times that it would be difficult -- but not impossible -- for one person to set all those fires. The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said it's possible there is more than one arsonist or that some fires are the work of copycats.
Whoever is setting the fires seem to be targeting cars, as most of the new fires burned vehicles either parked in carports or on the street.
No one has been reported injured.
Authorities arrested 22-year-old Samuel Arrignton, of Sunland, and one other person Thursday in connection with three arsons that occurred in a five-block stretch of Sunset Blvd.
They have not said if the fires on Thursday are related to the subsequent fires.
To report any fire you believe to be arson or of suspicious origin, you can call the 24-hour L.A. County Arson Hotline: 1-800-633-2836 or the City of Los Angeles Arson Hotline: 213-893-9800.