Editor’s note: This report is part of Crime Watch, a weekly series culled from reports provided by the Santa Monica Police Department. These are arrests only. All parties are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Crime Watch appears every Friday in the print edition of the Daily Press.

Friday, Jan. 4, at 3:49 p.m.,
Santa Monica police officers responded to the alley to the rear of 2110 Ocean Park Blvd. regarding a report of an arson. When officers arrived they spoke with fire fighters who had just put out a blaze that started when someone set fire to a discarded Christmas tree. The fire spread to a Southern California Edison telephone pole, police said. Officers canvassed the area and found some witnesses who had surveillance video of the crime. In the video police could see a man ride up on a bike, stop by the tree and then light it on fire before riding away. Using the video and other evidence, detectives identified the suspect and on Jan. 11 set up outside his home on the 1700 block of Oak Street and waited for the suspect to exit. He left the home on his bike and allegedly failed to stop for a stop sign. Officers pulled him over for the violation. During their conversation with him, police learned he did not have any identification and placed him under arrest. Officers obtained a search warrant and found additional evidence at the suspect’s home. Police are still trying to determine if he is responsible for other Christmas tree fires in the area. The suspect was booked for arson and a probation violation. He was identified as Emrek Hanusek, 55, of Santa Monica. His bail was set at $50,000.

kevinh@smdp.com

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