A 29-year-old West Los Angeles resident has been charged with eight felonies for allegedly lighting a Molotov cocktail in front of a house in the 100 block of N. Vista Street on Feb. 6.
Dane Reynaldo was arrested on Feb. 11 after investigators tracked him to a boat in the Marina Del Rey harbor where he was reportedly staying. Reynaldo allegedly targeted the house on Vista Street over a drug debt owed by a family member of a resident of the house. Police would not disclose any information about the specific target of the threat, or whether the family member who owed the suspect money lived at the residence. The Molotov cocktail, as it was called by police, was not thrown at the residence, but was ignited in front of the house by Reynaldo, who then fled. No property was damaged and no one was injured. Lt. Bryan Wong, of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Wilshire Division, said police are not investigating anyone at the house for any crimes. He did not know what type of flammable liquid was used. The Molotov cocktail was extinguished by the time fire department personnel arrived.
Detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department’s Wilshire Division worked with Los Angeles Fire Department’s Arson Unit on the investigation, and learned that Reynaldo had made previous threats regarding the drug debt. The suspect had allegedly threatened to harm the unidentified victim if the debt wasn’t paid by Feb. 11, and then lit the Molotov cocktail to intimidate the suspect’s family.
“My understanding is that he had threatened the person who owed the debt, and when that didn’t work, he tried the Molotov cocktail,” Wong added. “It is something that doesn’t happen very often, it is a rarity, but it is something we took very seriously.”
Investigators located Reynaldo on the boat, and also served a search warrant at his residence in West Los Angeles. Wong said investigators recovered a large amount of illegal drugs on both the boat and at the suspect’s residence. Wong said he did not know the quantity of drugs, but said they included marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine, methamphetamine, and illegal prescription drugs. Police also seized a handgun.
According to Shiara Davila-Morales, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, Reynaldo was previously convicted of felonies in 2007 and 2008 that included one count of grand theft and three counts of possession of a controlled substance. Davila-Morales added that Reynaldo is currently charged with two counts of use of a destructive device with the intent to injure or destroy, one count of making criminal threats, three counts of possession for sale of a controlled substance, one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and one count of possession of a controlled substance with a firearm. Reynaldo was arraigned on Feb. 15 and pleaded not guilty to all charges. He is being held in custody on $1.35 million bail, and is scheduled to appear in Los Angeles Superior Court for a preliminary hearing on Feb. 28.
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