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'Person of interest' detained in L.A. arson fires

January 2, 2012 |  4:23 am

Los Angeles Police Cmdr. Michael Moriarty points to an image of a man caught on video walking down Hollywood Boulevard after a car fire Saturday night inside the parking structure of the Hollywood & Highland complex.

Los Angeles police this morning detained and are questioning a "person of interest" in the spate of arson fires occurring around the city since Friday.

The individual, believed to be the man seen in a video police released Sunday in connection with the case, was detained near Sunset Boulevard this morning, according to an LAPD source familiar with the investigation.

However, in a statement, a Los Angeles fire official said that "it is too early to speculate if this person is responsible for the spree of arson fires."

PHOTOS: Arson fires

The detention follows an early-morning frenzy of arson fires across the Hollywood area on Monday. Eleven fires were reported in two hours, beginning at 1:30 a.m., most to cars and carports in apartment complexes, police and fire officials said.

It was unclear early Monday if the fires were connected to a string of arsons in the Hollywood area.

MAP: Arson fires

Officials said Sunday that they have linked at least 39 fires to those arsons, which began Friday morning.

They declined to say what evidence tied the cases together or to give more information about how the fires were set. Law enforcement sources told The Times that detectives were concerned that releasing more information could prompt the arsonist or arsonists to change tactics and could encourage copycats.

FULL COVERAGE: Arson fires

An image of a "person of interest" was caught on a video that showed a car fire Saturday night inside the parking structure of the Hollywood & Highland complex on Hollywood Boulevard.

The LAPD is asking residents to leave porch and carport lights on at night and make sure cars are locked. Authorities also are asking residents to immediately report anything suspicious by calling 911.

RELATED:

Suspect arrested in string of fires

Fire-starting materials found in van, police say

Person of interest had 'creepy' smile, witness says

-- Sam Quinones, Richard Winton and Andrew Blankstein

twitter.com/samquinones7

Photo: Los Angeles Police Cmdr. Michael Moriarty points to an image of a man caught on video walking down Hollywood Boulevard after a car fire Saturday night inside the parking structure of the Hollywood & Highland complex. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

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