Here is the latest Southern California news from The Associated Press

HAWTHORNE, Calif. (AP) — A huge fire in a Los Angeles-area strip mall tore through several stores and caused at least one roof to collapse, but there were no reports of injuries. And LA County Fire inspector says the blaze was reported at about 8:45 last night and quickly surged to a third-alarm fire, bringing out more than 100 firefighters. It was mostly knocked down after about two hours.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A man suspected of stealing nearly $370,000 from the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles has been charged with money laundering. The U.S. attorney's office says 51-year-old Channing Smack of Marina del Rey was arrested Tuesday. A call to Smack's lawyer wasn't immediately returned.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A California appeals court has issued a stay allowing a Los Angeles police policy that makes it easier for unlicensed drivers to keep their cars instead of having them impounded. In August a lower court struck down the policy saying it conflicted with the state's vehicle code. But in October the appeals court issued a temporary stay, and yesterday extended that stay until a city appeal is resolved.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department reportedly gave preferential hiring treatment to friends and relatives of its employees — even though some had criminal histories. The Los Angeles Times says they were hired under a special program that's now being eliminated. The revelations come a day after the department said it would reform other practices that permitted the hiring of 80 deputies with histories of misconduct.