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As Los Angeles County braces for the fourth consecutive night of suspicious car fires, detectives have released details on what could be the solid lead in the case.
Los Angeles police distributed surveillance footage in a joint news conference with fire officials on Sunday afternoon. The video was caught at the Hollywood and Highland entertainment complex, home of Oscar venue the Kodak Theatre, where a car caught fire on New Year’s Eve.
The AP reports the suspect in the video is a white male, between 20 and 30 years old, with a receding hairline and a ponytail. Witnesses place the man at several other locations where fires broke out on Saturday night.
More than a half dozen vehicles were set on fire in Los Angeles on Saturday. Authorities now investigating a total of 43 suspicious fires in the neighborhoods of Hollywood, West Hollywood, North Hollywood and the Fairfax district since Thursday, including one at a former residence of Jim Morrison. Extra patrols by the LAPD have been sent to the affected areas on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
“They are working on hundreds of clues, interviewing dozens of witnesses, picking up countless pieces of evidence,” police commander Andrew Smith said of the detectives working on the investigation.
There were few other details given aside from the release of the tape and assurances that the joint task force of city and county fire departments, the LA county sheriff, the LAPD and representatives flown in from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were working around the clock. Authorities haven’t commented on how the fires are starting, what’s been collected from the crime scenes or whether the attacks are believed to be the work of one arsonist, a group or copycats.
The attacks have received national press, with The New York Times calling the latest incident just another example of how Los Angeles often seems “on the cusp of apocalypse.”
No injuries have occurred yet in any of the fires, but to curb the potential for further attacks, police have advised residents throughout the county to leave porch and garage lights on at night and to lock their cars.
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