Suspect in Century City mall scare was disgruntled former Amazon employee, police say

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A Missouri man who is accused of triggering an evacuation at the Westfield Century City mall after setting books on fire and brandishing a gun has pleaded not guilty in the incident.

Nicholas K. Oates, 25, is facing charges of arson, burglary and assault with a firearm in connection with the March 15 incident.

Police say Oates took some books off the shelves of an Amazon bookstore and lit them on fire. When a store employee tried to stop him, Oates allegedly pulled out a gun and pointed it at the employee.

On Tuesday, police disclosed that Oates is a disgruntled former employee of Amazon. It wasn't immediately clear if he worked at that Century City store.

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An arson and assault with a deadly weapon suspect is being sought by police in connection with a major scare at a Century City mall that led to a large evacuation on Friday.

The store and eventually the entire shopping mall were evacuated.

In the chaos, there were also concerns about a suspicious package found at the scene, but it was determined to be harmless.

He was identified as the suspect after investigators found his vehicle at the mall. They arrested him at Venice Beach Saturday night.

If convicted on all counts, he faces a possible maximum sentence of 21 years in state prison.

Anyone with information is asked to call LAPD Major Crimes Division at (213)486-7260 or 1-877-ASK-LAPD. Anonymous tips can be provided to Crime Stoppers at (800)222-TIPS.

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Police say Nicholas K. Oates of Missouri is responsible for an assault and fire that led to the evacuation of the Westfield Century City mall.

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