A 27-year-old Missouri man pleaded no contest on Dec. 3 to setting a fire inside the Westfield Century City Mall last year, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.
Nicholas Kyle Oates entered the plea to one count each of arson and assault with a firearm, and admitted an allegation of personally using a firearm. Deputy District Attorney Joy Roberts of the Arson and Explosives Unit said Oates was immediately sentenced to seven years and four months in state prison.
On March 15, 2019, the defendant entered a bookstore at the mall, walked to the children’s section and set books on fire. An employee confronted Oates, who pulled out a handgun and confronted the employee.
Oates then lit additional items in the store on fire and fled the scene, the prosecutor said. He was found and arrested a day later in Venice.
The case was investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department’s Major Crimes Division, Criminal Conspiracy Section and the Los Angeles Fire Department Arson Unit.