A man arrested on suspicion of igniting several fires in North Hollywood Wednesday morning had just been released from state prison after serving part of a five-year sentence for arson, according to court records and law enforcement sources.
David A. Rivas, 35, was detained by police near the scenes of fires and was charged Friday with seven counts of arson for the North Hollywood area fires, according to the LA County District Attorney's Office.
Rivas made a brief court appearance Friday afternoon, entered not guilty pleas, and was being held with no bail, according to booking records.
LA Superior Court records show Rivas was charged with 16 counts of arson in early 2021 and pleaded guilty to some of those charges. He was sentenced in April, 2021 to five years in state prison and was released on October 7, 2022, according to multiple law enforcement sources.
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The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation declined to provide public record information on Rivas' last prison term or the reason for his release after approximately 18 months in custody.
"Based on the wishes of the investigating agency, we cannot release any information at this time," a CDCR spokesperson emailed. "We will follow up with you when we are provided that clearance."
LA City Fire Department arson investigators and LAPD detectives said at least 8 fires were deliberately set within a few hours early Wednesday.