We can always count on Hollywood for igniting interesting headlines that race across the country. And for the past few days, Tinsel Town has been in the spotlight once again.
No, it wasn’t a shocking divorce that took the limelight…well, unless you count Katy Perry and Russell Brand – but who was really surprised by that split? No, it wasn’t Katy and the comic’s split, and it wasn’t a new sex tape revealed, or a young up-and-comer busted for DUI or drugs.
Hollywood is in the news for something more sinister and dangerous. There is a person or persons running around the streets of Hollywood and West Hollywood lighting cars on fire; cars that are usually parked in carports underneath apartment buildings. Fortunately, as I write this blog no serious injuries have been sustained by the citizens or firefighters. But the potential for injury or death has certainly been there.
Let me back up a little bit. Last Thursday night, one person was arrested and charged with arson relating to three fires set in Hollywood. That was the lead story for the news on Friday morning. It was an interesting story and got major play on the local TV stations. The LAPD called a tactical alert, which means that officers on duty must stay after their regular shift-change, AND that the only radio calls that will be handled are high priority calls. So, if you’ve got a group of kids blasting music in a car in front of your house, the police won’t be responding.
Even with a suspect in custody, the police deployed extra officers to the Hollywood area. There was a joint effort between the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Office,(who cover West Hollywood), LAPD, and the LA County and LAFD.
But overnight on Friday, there were another twenty-one fires set. Some in the Hollywood area, but some were set in the San Fernando Valley. The MO was pretty similar for the fires…torch a car parked in a carport with the result being several cars destroyed along with damage to the building.
Saturday night netted more arson fires. The authorities are saying the total for the spree is now up to 39 fires intentionally set.
Not unexpectedly, the ‘brass’ of the police and fire agencies have been updating the public and offering advice. ‘Report any suspicious activity. Turn on your lights in the carport areas. Be alert.’ Our camera-hound mayor voiced his concern at a press conference as did a city councilman and county supervisor. The story made national news.
So the question has to be: Are these fires being set by one person? An ‘arson crew’? A bunch of copy-cat arsonists?
I’m wondering why, when the police had a suspect in custody, they felt compelled to deploy officers back to the same area the next night. We’re they anticipating there might be copy-cat or further fires…or did they have other information? (I’m guessing they figured with all the media attention they could have problems the next night too.)
Either way, there is still someone out there on the streets ‘playing with matches.’ They haven’t gotten caught yet, but I can tell you every cop that’s working the street really wants to be the one to nab the bad guy/s. And once the pyromaniac/s are caught, their 15 seconds of fame will fade…faster than Kim K’s wedding vows.
**UPDATE** When I got up this morning, I learned the police had detained ‘a person of interest.’ Reports are, that the police found an incendiary device in the man’s vehicle. But like one arson victim stated, “Who knows if this was the only guy?”
Until next time,