LOS ANGELES (AP) - A homeless man was charged Thursday with
setting fire to more than a dozen patrol cars and motorcycles in a
Police Department garage, a blaze that forced a jail evacuation and
injured three police officers.
The three officers suffered smoke inhalation, said Deputy
District Attorney William Ryder. Fifty-one inmates housed in a jail
about the garage at the Van Nuys police station had to be evacuated
when the fire broke out Wednesday afternoon.
Police said Richard Cross, 43, used road flares to set the fire
in the garage of the San Fernando Valley police station.
Authorities said it burned seven patrol cars, six motorcycles and
other police equipment, causing more than $1 million in damage.
Cross, who was jailed on $1.27 million bail, was expected to be
arraigned Friday.
Authorities said Cross arrived at the police station seeking
treatment for a cut on his hand that he was believed to have
suffered smashing a window at a nearby courthouse. After refusing
treatment for the injury, he went into the garage and started the
fire, police said.
Cross faces three felony charges of arson, including arson of an
inhabited structure and another's property and setting fire
recklessly to an inhabited structure.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)