January 2, 2012 in Nation/World

Video shows suspect in L.A. arsons

Police seek public help locating man
Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

A Los Angeles Fire Department firefighter extinguishes multiple cars on fire in a carport in the Sun Valley neighborhood of Los Angeles on Saturday.
(Full-size photo)

LOS ANGELES – Police in Los Angeles distributed DVDs on Sunday featuring surveillance video of a man wanted for questioning in connection with a rash of suspicious car fires in the city.

The person of interest is a white male between 20 and 30 years old with a receding hairline and a shoulder-length ponytail, according to Officer Sara Faden. The man was seen on video Saturday after emerging on foot from inside an underground parking structure on Hollywood Boulevard that was the scene of a car fire.

Detectives estimated the man, who was wearing a bulky jacket, is between 5’6” and 6’1” tall.

Faden said investigators are asking for the public’s help in identifying the man in the video.

The outbreak of arson fires has left a trail of smoldering debris in Hollywood, West Hollywood, North Hollywood and the Fairfax district of Los Angeles since Thursday.

Authorities said they were investigating a total of 43 suspicious fires. Most of those fires were set in parked cars. In several cases, flames have jumped to carports and apartment units.

“They are working on hundreds of clues, interviewing dozens of witnesses, picking up countless pieces of evidence,” police Cmdr. Andrew Smith said of detectives.

Authorities haven’t said how the car fires were sparked or what was collected at the crime scenes. They were unsure if the rash of fires were the work of one arsonist or multiple people or copycats.

There have been no injuries.

Extra patrols were out in force on New Year’s Eve. One of Saturday’s attacks occurred at the Hollywood and Highland entertainment complex, a popular tourist destination and hotspot for holiday revelers. Firefighters responded to a report of a small car fire in a parking structure that was out by the time they arrived.

© Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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