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Police lower the boom on Pasadena man accused of setting off over 150 explosions in two years

Booking photo of Art Leon Berian.
Booking photo of Art Leon Berian, who was charged by the Los Angeles County District Attorney with three counts of using an explosive device to destroy property.
(Pasadena Police Dept.)
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A Pasadena man has been arrested and accused of setting off at least two explosions last week, and police say he may have been involved in more than 150 total explosions in a small area over the last two years.

Art Leon Berian, 63, was charged by the Los Angeles County District Attorney with three counts of using an explosive device to destroy property. He was arraigned Monday, and his bail was set at $1.5 million.

On Thursday, police were investigating one of the explosions and looking for video of the incident when they heard another detonation and saw a white cloud, authorities said. Police saw Berian’s 2013 BMW pulling up to where the explosion occurred. He was taken into custody, and police said they took evidence from his car that was related to the explosion.

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While most of the explosions over the last two years were not reported to police, the incidents were identified through ShotSpotter technology or by neighbors, police said. There were 14 explosions in a small area near Allen Avenue and Washington Boulevard over the last two weeks.

The suspect, identified by police as Ricardo Guade Andrade of San Fernando, crashed into the frontyard of a nearby home as he fled from police in Pasadena.

April 14, 2024

The manager of Universal Stop smoke shop on Washington Boulevard said the explosions seemed like firecrackers to him. He said he’d heard a few of them over a couple months, and they shocked the clientele of the shop. He thought the explosions were set of by teens driving by.

“I hadn’t seen the guy. I just heard them,” said the manager, who identified himself as Sam B. “Everyone thought it was a gunshot, but I saw it and it looked like a firework.”

Authorities identified two cars involved in the explosions. Both were registered to Berian, police said.

“Miraculously. there have been no reported injuries associated with these explosions,” the Pasadena Police Department said in a news release.

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