More Charges Filed In Los Angeles Arsons Case


Salon Staff
January 25, 2012 2:18AM (UTC)

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.

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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.

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