A warrant was issued for Yarijanian's arrest April 15, and Los
Angeles police arrested him Friday at Los Angeles International
Airport as he was returning to the country, Porras said. Police would
not say from where Yarijanian was returning.
On Feb. 15, 2004, Yarijanian allegedly started a fire at Safari
Tan, the tanning salon he owned in a Pennsylvania Avenue strip mall.
The blaze ultimately torched five other businesses, Porras said. The
fire caused upwards of $2 million in damage.
Yarijanian was seeking to claim a $250,000 loss, Porras said.
Porras would not say how the fire was set or if there were others
involved because he did not want to compromise the investigation. He
did say other charges might be filed.
"He caused a very significant financial impact to everyone who
conducts their business in the strip mall," Porras said. "Basically,
the entire strip mall with the exception of a market had to shut
Yarijanian's suffered burns -- including third-degree burns -- on
80% of his body.
He was hospitalized for three months at the Grossman Burn Center
in Sherman Oaks, said Michael Richardson, the Glendale Fire
Department's arson investigator.
"Compared to what he looked like, he's a walking miracle, as far
as I'm concerned," Richardson said.
Firefighter Robert Bishop, who was part of a three-alarm response
to the fire, was injured when a building facade fell on him while
battling the blaze. Bishop's injuries were minor, and he was released
from Glendale Adventist Medical Center later that day.
The Glendale Police Department presented the charges to the
district attorney's major crimes division in May, but they were not
filed then because the prosecutors in the arson unit were "very
busy," Porras said.
"Basically, it was a waiting game for us and all the people who
were secondary victims to this act," he said. "It became a
frustrating thing for us as well as the business owners whose places
Jean Daly, the deputy district attorney handling the case, was
unavailable for comment late Monday.
Yarijanian is scheduled to be arraigned June 6 at Glendale
Superior Court. He is free on $155,000 bail.
Anyone with more information is asked to call the Glendale Police
Department Arson Unit at (818) 548-4805. Anonymous tips can be made
by calling the Crime Stoppers hotline at (818) 507-7867.
* JACKSON BELL covers public safety and courts. He may be reached
at (818) 637-3232 or by e-mail at jackson.belllatimes.com.