More Charges Filed In Los Angeles Arsons Case

By Salon Staff

Published January 24, 2012 9:18PM (EST)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A German man was charged Tuesday with setting nearly 50 fires, mostly to parked cars, over the New Year's weekend that terrorized Los Angeles, authorities said.

A criminal complaint against Harry Burkhart, 24, was amended to include a total of 100 arson-related counts involving 49 fires in Hollywood, West Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley. If convicted, he faces more than 80 years in state prison.

Burkhart was expected to appear in court later Tuesday.

The rash of fires left residents on edge between Dec. 30 and Jan. 2 as parked cars were torched during the night. Some of the fires spread to carports and nearby buildings, including a former home of Doors singer Jim Morrison. Another one of the blazes was at the Hollywood and Highland entertainment complex, a popular tourist destination bordered by the Walk of Fame.

The complaint alleged the arson was caused by the use of a device designed to accelerate the fire. Court documents revealed an incendiary device was placed under the engine area of cars.

There were no serious injuries or deaths as a result of the fires, but damages were estimated to be more than $3 million.

Authorities believe Burkhart was angry over his mother's legal troubles. Dorothee Burkhart is wanted in Germany on 19 counts of fraud and awaiting extradition. She's scheduled to appear in a Los Angeles courtroom Wednesday.

Burkhart was charged with 37 counts earlier this month and held on $2.85 million bail — an amount prosecutors will ask a judge to raise because of the additional 63 counts filed Tuesday. Among the charges Burkhart faces are arson of property and possession of flammable material.

Salon Staff

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