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Former Compton deputy fire chief out on bail after accused of arson

Marcel Melanson, 37, is seen in this photo from 2009. he was arrested Thursday, May 16, 2013, on suspicion of arson and grand theft.

May 25, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
A former Compton Fire Department deputy chief accused of stealing the department's radios to sell online and setting a fire to destroy evidence, is now free on bail.

Marcel Melanson, 37, had his bail reduced from $350,000 to $250,000. He's been locked up since his arrest May 15.

He is due back in court July 8. That's when a date will be set for a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to require Melanson to stand trial.

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.

Investigators say he set a fire at the headquarters of the Compton Fire Department in December of 2011 to destroy evidence of the theft.