Arson at the Iliad Book Store – Fahrenheit 451 in NOHO

Book Store Arson Trail – From NOHO to Hollywood

 Who is Living Under Your House?

Drug Dealing Crusty Punks, The Rogue Cop, Stolen Lands, Mormon Zombies and the Arson Chronicles.

Part 2 of NOHO Fahrenheit 451 – Arson at Iliad Book Shop by Paul Hunt

NOHO – Arson at Iliad Book Store (AI Picture)

It Started Years Ago.

Back in 2015 I was working at Cosmopolitan Book Shop part time. There was a lot of crime happening in the neighborhood, and some flyers were dropped off at the shop inviting merchants to a community meeting to discuss the crime and the effects that a food distribution to homeless folks were having on the area’s problems. The Hollywood Food Coalition was distributing food every week night at the corner of Sycamore and Romaine, an industrial area that bordered the residential and apartments north of Melrose and East of La Brea. No tables could legally be set up, it was just a large truck, with volunteers who would hand a hot meal off the back of the truck to about 200 homeless.

The Food Coalition were great folks. They were doing what the City or County should have been doing. Since it was on the street, with no tables or chairs allowed, no bathrooms, no wash-up, just sit on the sidewalk and eat a dinner off of paper plates, it was demeaning. I know, I was on hard times and I was occasionally there. A lot of the homeless were seniors. We waited in a long line until the truck came, and then shuffled forward to get fed, a good hot meal and a drink.

There was never much trouble, most of folks were friendly and nice, considering what they were going through, but there were a few outlaws. Some of us called them “Crusty Punks.” They were pretty ragged, smoking pot, meth or crack, and filled with bitterness. When you can’t shower every day, you get “crusty”. Living the drug life, stealing to get dope, sleeping in tents in the doorways of surrounding buildings, it was the sub-culture of the damned.

I went to the community meeting to hear what the neighbors had to say. It was held in an apartment living room on a tree-lined side street. About 20 people showed up, local residents, a couple merchants, and two cops from LAPD. During the meeting several of the residents complained about the Food Coalition bringing in a bad bunch from “elsewhere” who were causing trouble, trespassing, defecating on private property.

“The Law was sinking into it’s big sleep in 2015.”

And that’s when I first heard about it: the dopers, the “Crusty Punks”, were creeping into the yards of the residents at night and crawling under their houses and apartment buildings. The next morning there would be needles laying around, food wrapper trash, pills, and filthy blankets left under the houses where they were sleeping and doing drugs. For those moms with young children, it was horrifying. Actually, hearing those accounts were scary for everyone. Who the hell wants some hopped up stranger creeping under your house? The cops didn’t say much and LAPD wouldn’t really do much about it. The Law was sinking into it’s big sleep in 2015, and was being hammered with defunding, BLM riots and even more avoidance of property defense in the future.

Things, of course, got much worse during the pandemic and the “lockdowns”.

The Bookstore Fire “NOHO: Fahrenheit 451”

Book Shop is open but still blowing out the smoke. (2022)

When the arsonists tried to burn down Iliad Book Shop on a Thursday night, November 3, 2022, there weren’t a lot of clues. The perps piled up some boxes of freebie books against the back door and torched them. Several copies of a strange 8 1/2 X 11 inch flyer were taped around the building. Not much to go on.

Dan Weinstein, owner of Iliad, holds copy of flyer left at the fire

I took a photo of the flyer, read the copy that Dan had retrieved, and made some notes. As soon as I read the posted flyer, I started to get a picture of the arsonist. To the average person, it’s almost gibberish, but to Mr. Conspiracy Theorist, it’s gold. The mind of the arsonist, the hatred that pours off the page, it’s there. I’ll share a few points: (these are my opinions derived from my own research into cults and conspiracy. It’s Ok to try this at home).

Rogue Cop Christopher Dorner

1. Several events and persons are referenced on the flyer. One is Christopher Dorner, an ex-LAPD cop. He was fired off the force after he filed a complaint that his partner had kicked a handcuffed suspect in the face and body. There was evidence to support the claim, but Dorner, a husky African-American, was fired over this. He was a sensitive person, a U.S. Navy reservist, a guy who would not put up with any kind of racism. He decided to clear his name by killing some fellow officers “to prove he was telling the truth.” He went on a rampage, eventually killing 4 people and wounding several others. He was an excellent shot. He was finally trapped in a cabin up in Big Bear and surrounded by a million cops. A fierce battle raged. The walls of the cabin were smashed, tear gas did nothing, so the cops blasted in a form of tear gas pyrotechnic called “burner” which set the cabin ablaze and ended Dorner’s life. The headline on the flyer says “We’re gonna go ahead with the plans with the burner.”

Many admired Dorner, he has become an underdog hero. He also sided with Nancy Pelosi, the Democrats and was pushing to legalize gay marriage. Note the Rainbow gay rights symbol on the bottom right of the page. Although many of his supporters agree with him that assault weapons should be banned, it is hard to reconcile his pronouncements on his manifesto with his violent actions using an assault rifle to kill 4 people and wound several others.

1601 N. Vista, Hollywood

2. The Hollywood address on the flyer, 1601 N. Vista Street, 90046. This would turn out to be the best clue on the flyer. Why would this address, a property in Hollywood, and pictures of fire be so prominent? This will soon be revealed.

3. The “Major Land Theft Alert” and “Your Land Stolen” issue on the flyer could mean the author of it is pro-Native American rights. It could also refer to someone who previously lived on the property at 1601 N. Vista and was pushed out after a sale.

Book on the Mormon Zombies

4. The mention of Alex Cox and a letter he wrote in 2014. He wrote a lot of letters. A stand up comedian, he was brother to Lori Vallow Daybell, a woman who was married to Chad Daybell, the leader of a “Mormon” cult (obviously not in any way sanctioned by the legitimate Mormon Church). Mr. Daybell has written several novels and one of his theories is that entities are taking over the souls of men, women, and children and they become Zombies. They must be killed in order free them of this curse.

Lori Daybell

Lori Daybell was convicted in 2023 of killing two of her children. The bodies were buried in Chad’s back yard. Her brother Alex Cox, now deceased, was named as involved in several murders, including possibly both of Lori’s ex-husbands and wounding the ex- husband of Lori’s niece. There’s more, like the mysterious death of Chad’s wife a few weeks before Chad and Lori were married, and other serious crimes relating to this cult. Chad goes on trial this year for murder. Lori is in jail for the rest of her life without possibility for parole. This case has been going on for years in Idaho, Utah, and as far away as Hawaii. Scores of amateurs and podcasters have investigated the Zombie murders for years. Was someone from 1601 N. Vista involved? Or just interested?

Now let’s turn the clock back from November 3rd, 2022, not a long way back, just 1 day to November 2nd and observe the horrifying and shocking events that took place at 1601 North Vista Street. The address is actually 2 houses, a front house and a rear house, both evidently being used as Airbnb. On November 2nd, social media influencer Justa Minx moved into the front house for a short stay. Minx, a pretty Irish girl who now refers to her sexuality as “pansexual”, has a huge youtube following of over 692,000. She also is on Twitch, has other youtube channels, and is in films.

Justa Minx doing her podcast

“Unknown Men Were Living Under My House”

Justa Minx had spent the Wednesday with her parents and friends, and returned to the rented Airbnb around 4 am. She went right to sleep but when she woke up she saw that a window was broken and her laptop stolen. This had probably happened while she was with her parents. The most distressing thing to her was that her 2 cats were missing. She called her friend Johnny. They found the first cat Cornelius, and brought him in. Then they looked around for the second cat, Sylum. Noticing the panel was off on the side of house that led to the crawl space under the house, they looked in but it was dark. They called the LAPD, who eventually came out and filled out a report. Justa asked them to look under the house, they refused, but loaned her a flashlight. Justa and her friend Johnny crawled under the house.

Flyers, drugs, sleeping bags, and other items under the house

They spotted her other cat, but could not get her. The house was old fashioned, on raised concrete pillars, not on a foundation, so there was a lot of room under there. They found piles of bags, sleeping bags, drugs, bags filled with credit cards and transaction slips and lots of miscellaneous items. Bags of weed are clearly visible in her video. The cops found the material interesting, but departed, not willing to stake out the house to catch the creeps when they came back. Johnny and Justa looked back under the house but could not find her cat. Frantic, Justa decided to camp out under house that night hoping her cat Sylum would appear. Personally, I would definitely not have done that.

Video camera during break in. Note blue gloved hand upper left corner.

Justa’s saga goes on until November 8th, when she finally found her last cat and moved out. However, until then, on the 4th, 2 of the burglars came back and knocked on her door and filmed her when she answered. They threatened her. They demanded their bags of drugs, which possibly, the police had gotten. They left, but other strangers showed up, the next day a journalist, then the owners trying to placate her. They were Russians or Armenians and owned several Airbnb places in the area. They had fixed up the houses and were just as upset about the events, calling the “Crusty Punks” who were living under the house “low level street guys.” They had actually hired a security guy to watch the houses and keep any uninvited druggies away. I don’t believe they had anything to do with the “Crusties”. Justa crawled under the house again to look for the cat. She cut open her arm on some wire and had to go to a med emergency and have stitches. The owners of the Airbnb found her cat next door and Justa finally moved out. She had escaped a very dangerous situation.

Blue gloved suspect leaving 1601 N. Vista on Nov. 3, 2022

After the two Crusty Punks broke into Justa’s Airbnb and stole her laptop on November 3, they might have been the arsonists who went to NOHO and around 11 pm tried to burn down the Iliad Bookstore. They are prime suspects. But why did they put their address on the flyers? My theory is that they were somehow booted out of N. Vista, their underground hideout discovered, possibly before Justa moved in, and wanted to get revenge on the owners by committing arson and blaming it on the owners of the N. Vista house. Another issue is that there’s at times drug dealing going on constantly at night in the neighborhood. Street dealing at night in Hollywood is rampant, even at Vista and Hawthorn.

The Arson Firestorms in Hollywood and NOHO

The sad fact of rampant homeless and crusty punks is that they not only occupy empty buildings or break into vacant houses or apartment buildings, but for the last several years they have been crawling underneath houses, moving in, doing drugs, burning things down. For those who feel all the land was stolen from others and that they therefore have a mandate to occupy it or burn it down, it becomes dangerous for everyone else. This could spell doom for those living above or next door.

Here’s a short slice of life in the Hollywood-NOHO axis, the area where this story took place.

The spectacular kick off was the October 26, 2022 Lamplighter Restaurant fire. This arson fire, along with at least 8 other smaller blazes, took place close to and just before the Book Store fire on November 3rd. It took 100 firefighters to put out the fire at the vacant restaurant building in Valley Plaza at Laurel Canyon and Sylvan. Two suspects were said to be detained, what happened to them is a mystery. Were they released?

439 N. Sierra Bonita

On November 24, 2022 a vacant 4 plex at 439 N. Sierra Bonita started to burn. Vagrants were seen in the building before the fire. The fire department got the fire under control quickly, and according to reports, only an upstairs bedroom was damaged. This was the Thanksgiving following the incidents on North Vista. Any connection is unknown at this time.

1601 N. Vista as it is today, totally gone.

Sometime in 2023, date undetermined, the front house at 1601 N. Vista St., burned to the ground. The only thing left is a plaque on the property facing the sidewalk on Vista. A report in a local online news source said that the fire was on the same date at the fire next door at 1607, but that is not mentioned in the fire report of 1607 N. Vista. At any rate, the beautifully re-modeled house was torn down. A substantial loss to the owners. The rear house, faces South, and its address is 7461 Hawthorn This structure, also nicely redone by a professional company, is still intact and occupied. I think it is most likely that the front house was torched by the man wearing the blue gloves in the security video. He is a suspect in other fires in the neighborhood, was secretly living underneath the house and was mad about being discovered, pissed about losing his drug stash, and evidently posted the flyers at the arson fire at the Iliad Bookstore.

The plaque with the address is all that remains of 1601.

Since the cops refused to crawl under the house and obtain the plentiful evidence, like fingerprints and DNA, among all the receipts from stolen credit cards and all the rest of the bags and sleeping bags, etc., did LAPD ever get any fingerprints or DNA? An early arrest might have saved other structures from being torched. Millions of dollars of property have been destroyed, both in Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley.

1607 N. Vista, front view.

1607 N. Vista, View of side of house from Hawthorn Ave.

July 1, 2023. An arson fire at 1607 N. Vista St. at 5:30am. This house was vacant, just next door from the Airbnb where Justa Minx stayed in 2022. 30 units responded to put out the fire. The building still looks vacant today (see photos), nearly a year later.

645 N. Gardner St. View of debris from alley.

August 10, 2023. An arson fire at 645 N. Gardner St., an older unit built in 1928. Buldozed down in September 2023, the piles of debris still remain behind a chain link fence.

1547 N. Sierra Bonita Ave, totally destroyed

October 18, 2023 arson fire at 1547 N. Sierra Bonita Ave., just a couple of blocks from the N. Vista house. 6 units put out the fire on this house that was vacant and although a historical craftsman house, was slated for demolition. Movie starlet Stephanie Powers grew up next door at the house on the corner of Hawthorn Ave. A block West on Curson Ave. is a stately house that was “creepy crawled” by the Manson Family, according to the tenant who resided there in the late 1960s.

1030 N. Sierra Bonita, now a vacant lot.

November 23, 2023. Fire at 1030 N. Sierra Bonita. The house sold for 1.3 million in 2016, but had recently become vacant. Vagrants moved in, the dopers moved in. The neighbors called it The Hell House because of all the criminal activity there. Complaints piled up. Finally torched by unknown vagrants. It was demolished in January 4, 2024 by order of the City. The fire damaged some of the units in the apartment building next door, forcing innocent tenants out of their apartments.

Around the same time period that the Bookstore was set on fire, other fires were set on Lankersheim Blvd., and surrounding areas. Millions of dollars of property has been damaged or lost. Lives destroyed. Is it time for the City to get a grip on reality? Is it time to realize that druggies and crusty punks living in temporarily vacant property are a danger to society? It’s not just trespassing, ignored by the D.A. It’s possibly death and destruction to those living nearby. Yet none call it murder.

Thanks for reading this. And please, find out if somebody is hiding under YOUR house tonight. Your life could depend on it.