By on January 2, 2012

This is the time of the year when we lift TTAC’s no flaming policy to chronicle a strange New Year’s custom: The burning of cars.

This year, the flames reached Hollywood. Over the three days before New Year’s Eve, 43 fires were set in Hollywood, most of them to parked cars.

The police is looking for a  white male between 20 and 30 years old with a receding hairline and a shoulder-length ponytail, AP reports (via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution). The man was caught on a security camera, but is otherwise still at large.

A neighborhood watch was organized in Hollywood, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Checking in at the usual hotspots around the world, we find relative calm elsewhere.

In France, where the torching of cars had turned into a New Year’s tradition, the Interior Minister said that the night passed “in a calm, uneventful manner.” 60,000 extra police in the streets calmed things down. As in the year before, the Interior Ministry does not release statistics of burning cars, “to avoid competition between cities,” as L’Express reports.

In Hamburg, Germany, where this year 270 cars were torched, none lit the last night of the year. It may have been the product of fire prevention: Police had tracked a suspect since summer. Last Tuesday, he was observed loading several filled jerry cans into his car. Three torched luxury cars later, the police had enough evidence and arrested him. He will be charged with 20 – 30 cases, says Die Welt.

No reports from Berlin, which used to compete with Hamburg in a torch relay., the site that chronicled and geo-tagged burning cars in Berlin, had given up in October 2010.

On the used car lot of a dealer in Ludwigsburg, Germany, three cars went up in  flames. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone used to New Year’s Eve revelries to get rid of some inventory …


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