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Arson suspect David Lin – Courtesy photo
LASD Sergeants Hanson and Acevedo and Detective Velazquez from the Sheriff’s Arson/Explosives Detail (AED) began an investigation into a series of arson fires in the Walnut/Rowland Heights area. Two fires had been set in the restrooms of open business (“L & L Hawaiian BBQ” and “Office Depot”) in the aforementioned cities. On Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2015, a third bathroom fire occurred earlier that morning at a “McDonald’s” restaurant. Detectives immediately responded in order to gather evidence and interview witnesses.
On Feb. 2, AED detectives briefed Walnut station deputies and detectives and provided them with a suspect description and surveillance photos from the various arson fires. That afternoon, another arson fire was reported in the bathroom of a “Del Taco” located in the city of Walnut. AED detectives responded to the location and discovered, based on video surveillance and witness accounts, the same suspect was responsible for setting the fire. While investigating the “Del Taco” fire, detectives were notified of a third fire which had just been set at the “Tea House” in the city of Walnut. There detectives discovered the same suspect from the “McDonald’s” restaurant fire was responsible for setting the fire at the “Tea House”.
While canvassing the area, AED detectives and Walnut Station, Special Assignments deputies, developed a potential name for the suspect along with a corresponding vehicle license plate. AED detectives were able to quickly match the suspect’s photo to the suspect depicted in the surveillance photos and provided the information to patrol deputies who began saturating the area. Within one hour, patrol deputies located the vehicle and a short pursuit of the vehicle and its driver ensued. The suspect was cornered in a Rowland Heights parking lot where he was detained and transported to Walnut Station where he was interviewed. Suspect admitted to being present at the scene of all the fires; however, he denied setting any of the fires. AED Detectives Harris, Velazquez and Dorris responded to assist Sergeants Hanson and Acevedo with the collection of evidence and documentation of the fire scenes and subsequently recovered evidence in the suspect’s vehicle linking him to the fires.
This investigation and the resulting arrest of 42-year-old David Lin, a transient from West Covina, was a true team effort which resulted in suspect Lin’s identification by several witnesses as the person who set the various businesses on fire.
One felony case of arson was filed against David Lin at Pomona Courthouse, with additional cases to follow. He is being held in lieu of $250,000 bail. David Lin is scheduled to return to court for a preliminary hearing on Feb.19 at the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Pomona Branch in Department N.
For further information, please contact Arson and Explosives Detail Sergeant John Hanson.
Anyone with information about this crime is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Arson/Explosives Detail at (323) 881-7500. If you prefer to provide information anonymously, you may call “Crime Stoppers” by dialing (800) 222-TIPS (8477), or texting the letters TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES (274637), or by using the website http://lacrimestoppers.org.