Symbols of devil worship were found in homes of some victims of the "Night Stalker," believed responsible for 16 slayings, and prime suspect Richard Ramirez was obsessed with a heavy-metal song about a "Night Prowler," according to news reports yesterday.

Ramirez, 25, was arrested Saturday after being chased and beaten by residents of east Los Angeles when he allegedly punched a woman and tried to steal a car. He was being held without bail after being booked for investigation of one unspecified count of murder and for attempted auto theft and assault. Arraignment is scheduled for Tuesday.

Police identified him as the prime suspect in the Night Stalker series of 16 slayings and at least 21 assaults since Feb. 8. Victims were shot, bludgeoned, stabbed or had throats slashed by an assailant who sneaked into darkened homes through unlocked doors or windows.

Ramirez has had problems with drugs since his childhood in El Paso, Tex., suffered epilepsy and was working as a street sweeper for the city of Los Angeles, relatives told newspapers.

Pentagrams, five-pointed stars associated with witchcraft and devil worship, were painted on walls in the homes of some victims, according to unidentified sources quoted by the Los Angeles Times and two television stations.

Ray Garcia, 27, a former classmate of Ramirez, told the San Francisco Examiner that Ramirez was obsessed with satanic themes in the rock band AC-DC's 1979 album, "Highway to Hell." He said Ramirez's favorite song was "Night Prowler."