Kurt K. Billie, Suspect in Arson Fires in North Hollywood, Said to be Convicted Arsonist in Japan

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Tue, Aug 2, 2011 at 5:03 PM

click to enlarge The NoHo fires. - ABC7
  • ABC7
  • The NoHo fires.
Updated at the bottom with the suspect being held in lieu of a quarter million bail. First posted at 4:11 p.m.

Those scary arson fires in North Hollywood -- at least 18 in all -- might be over. Authorities this morning arrested a man in North Hollywood who was in allegedly in the act of sparking up another blaze.

It appears that the area of the NoHo fires was being staked out, and at 4:30 a.m., as an RV was about to go up in smoke in the 7300 block of Farmdale Ave., a suspect was collared, the L.A. Fire Department announced today.

Who is this guy? Well, the Los Angeles Times this afternoon dropped this one on us:

[The arrested man] was tried and convicted in a Japanese court after being found guilty of burning seven restaurants and bars on Okinawa in two separate arson attacks in January 2001 when he was a 24-year-old Marine lance corporal stationed at Camp Hansen.

At the time, the case compounded the strain between the U.S. military and Okinawa residents over a series of crimes involving American service members. stationed on the island.

The paper ID'd the suspect as 34-year-old Kurt K. Billie. Oh Billie ...

Those fires in the Lankershim cooridor more than one week ago scared the shit out of locals. A car would go up in a carport under an apartment and then begin to torch the unit. RVs went up. And when firefighters would arrive they'd be told about another fire around the corner.

Read all about it here.

Update: The LAPD states this afternoon the suspect is being held in lieu of $250,000 bail.

The release, in part, says:

Around 4:00 a.m. this morning Kurt Billie of North Hollywood was observed setting fire to a vehicle in the 7500 block of Troost Avenue. Investigators detained Billie in the area of Valerio and Lankershim a short distance away and arrested him for setting the fire.

Billie is said to be 34.

Cops indicate they're looking at him for more than 20 arson fires in the area since July 17.

-With reporting from City News Service. Got news? Email us. Follow us on Twitter, too: @dennisjromero.

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