Arson Investigator to Be Freed on Tracking Device

Over objections from prosecutors, a Los Angeles federal court official on Tuesday ordered the release of Glendale arson investigator John L. Orr, a suspected serial fire-starter, on $50,000 bail--if Orr wears an electronic device that will keep him under virtual house arrest.

Because the arrangements will take several days to complete, Orr is not expected to be freed until later this week. U.S. Magistrate Elgin Edwards ruled that Orr will only be allowed to leave his Eagle Rock home with his attorneys, to help them prepare his defense.

Assistant U.S. Atty. Stefan Stein objected to the house-arrest plan, saying that Orr is "an extreme danger to the community" who should continue to be held without bail.

Orr, 42, was charged last week with setting fires at three Los Angeles-area retail stores in 1990 and 1991. He is suspected, but not charged, in more than a dozen other suspicious fires. Investigators say he wrote about his exploits in an unpublished novel called "Points of Origin."

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