LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A West Hills man was arrested Wednesday on federal charges for allegedly starting a fire that significantly damaged a sake restaurant in Santa Monica.
Micah Tillmon, 19, was charged with one count of arson for allegedly setting Sake House by Hikari, located at the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and 4th Street, ablaze on May 31.
According to an affidavit, security video from the restaurant shows Tillmon removing “a red tube-shaped object from his jacket, which he placed behind the reception desk area of the restaurant before walking away. Within seconds of that action, smoke and fire appeared from the area….”
Santa Monica Fire Department investigators later determined the fire was caused by the red object that Tillmon allegedly placed in the restaurant.
Tillmon was identified by Santa Monica Police Department detectives through numerous security videos and social media posts.
He was also linked to the fire by video that showed his white Ford Explorer parked next to the Sake House four minutes before the fire started and then reversing across the street soon after the fire started, according to the affidavit.
That same video allegedly shows the Explorer parking about 500 feet away from the Sake House, Tillmon exiting the vehicle, and looting a nearby business.
Tillmon is expected to make his initial court appearance Wednesday afternoon in United States District Court in downtown Los Angeles.
If convicted Tillmon could face up to 20 years in federal prison.