LA Arrests Man Suspected of Torching $1 Million-Worth of Cars

By | August 4, 2011

A man believed to be responsible for some of the 20 arson fires that have scorched vehicles in the San Fernando Valley was arrested Tuesday after a motorhome was set on fire and someone tried to ignite a truck.

The 34-year-old suspect, whose identity was being withheld, has a criminal history and is not believed to live in Los Angeles, said David Liske, a senior arson investigator with the Fire Department.

No information about the criminal history was released.

The man had been a person of interest in the series of fires even before the two latest fire were set, Liske said.

The blazes targeting motorhomes, trucks and cars have caused more than $1 million in damage in North Hollywood since July 17, said Battalion Chief Michael Greenup, head of the Arson Counterterrorism Section.

Some structures have been damaged when fires spread from vehicles. Greenup said there have been no injuries.

Investigators talked to the suspect about a week ago but at that time there was nothing to tie him to any fire activity, Liske said.

Police and arson investigators have been keeping an eye on the 1.5-square-mile area where the overnight fires have occurred.

Early Tuesday, police saw a suspicious man next to a big-rig cab, but he fled when the officers approached. Liske said the officers spotted a minor scorch mark on the truck.

A couple of blocks away, a motorhome burst into flames in the driveway of a home. The suspect wasn’t seen at that location but was arrested while walking nearby, according to Liske.

Liske said investigators would seek a charge of arson on inhabited dwelling because the motorhome fire spread to the eaves of the house.

Topics Louisiana

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