Ex-Compton deputy fire chief arrested, accused of arson

LOS ANGELES

Marcel Melanson, 37, was arrested at his home. Melanson, who was a member of the Compton Fire Department for over 15 years, is accused of setting a fire at the headquarters of the Compton Fire Department in December of 2011 to destroy evidence of a theft.

"As the investigation unfolded, we began to realize that they were connected, and we realized that the fire itself was a mask to try to cover up the fact that the radios were missing," said Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department spokesman Steve Whitmore.

Authorities say Melanson stole Motorola radios worth thousands of dollars and sold them on the Internet.

The radios were in storage, to be used for a communications upgrade in connection with a now abandoned plan to re-establish Compton's police department.

Melanson is being held on $250,000 bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned Friday in downtown Los Angeles.

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