VAN NUYS : Judge Refuses to Release Officer

A Los Angeles police officer accused of setting fire to his vehicle to collect the insurance money remains in County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bail after a Van Nuys court commissioner refused Wednesday to release him on his own recognizance.

Prosecutors said Stuart Howard Guy, 28, is a flight risk because he has financial dealings with someone in Panama and has said in previous court appearances that he might move to Miami.

Municipal Court Commissioner Nori Ann Walla delayed Guy's arraignment until Aug. 18 and scheduled another hearing for Wednesday, when defense attorney Michael P. Stone will again argue for a bail reduction.

Guy, a 4 1/2-year Police Department veteran stationed at the Harbor Division, was arrested Monday on charges of arson and insurance fraud stemming from a Sept. 2 fire in the 6100 block of Sepulveda Boulevard in Van Nuys. If convicted on both charges, Guy would face a maximum term of eight years in state prison.

In late August, Guy reported to police that his vehicle had been stolen from his girlfriend's Glendale apartment, according to authorities. Several days later, at midnight Sept. 2, Guy's vehicle was set on fire.

Hours after his vehicle was set ablaze, Guy attended a Police Department training session, where fellow officers noted that he had burns on his face and hands, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Robert L. Cohen, who filed the charges.

"Part of the evidence was the burn that he may have experienced as a result of the fire," Fire Department Battalion Chief Dean Cathey said.

Guy told other officers that he was injured while repairing his girlfriend's stove, Cohen said, but an examination of both his stove and his girlfriend's stove showed them to be in perfect working order.

Prosecutors initially asked that $1-million bail be set because Guy allegedly told at least one person that he intended to quit the Police Department and move to Panama, Cohen said.

Cathey said a claim that Guy made to his insurance company led to the fraud charge.

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