A man arrested on suspicion of torching a motor home in North Hollywood today was suspected in setting 20 or more recent arson fires in the area, and authorities identified him as a former Marine who was jailed for five years in Japan for setting restaurants on fire there.
Kurt Billie, 34, of North Hollywood, was arrested in the wake of a 4 a.m. fire in the 7500 block of Troost Avenue, Los Angeles police spokesman Richard French said. The Air Force Times newspaper identified him a former Marine who spent five years in prison for setting fire to several restaurants in Okinawa.
Investigators were following Billie and arrested him near Lankershim Boulevard and Valerio Street.
A series of vehicle and structure fires broke out early July 21 through 24, starting around 3 a.m. each day. The fires broke between Lankershim and Laurel Canyon boulevards and Vanowen Street and Laurel Canyon Boulevard.
Billie was jailed at the Van Nuys Station in lieu of $250,000 bail.