Could not authenticate you.followers
An arraignment for the suspect charged in the arson spree in Hollywood, West Hollywood and others parts of the city over the New Year’s weekend has been postponed until Jan. 24 at the request of his attorney.
The Los Angeles City Council also approved a motion last week to assist building owners and residents in repairing property damaged in the arson spree. The motion, authored by Councilmember Tom LaBonge, 4th District, and seconded by Councilmember Paul Koretz, 5th District, calls on the Department of Building and Safety to expedite the permitting process for repairs.
“There was tremendous cooperation among city of Los Angeles and L.A. County law enforcement and fire departments to track down the arson suspect,” LaBonge said. “The Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety and other city and county departments can also be a part of that effective team to help people recover from a major incident like this.”
Harry Burkhart, a 24-year-old German national who had been living with his mother at an apartment at 7274 Sunset Blvd., is accused of setting 52 fires under vehicles and in apartment building carports between Dec. 29 and Jan. 2.
Investigators have not released an official motive for the arson spree, but they surmise Burkhart was upset over deportation proceedings involving his mother. Dorothee Burkhart, 53, is in federal custody pending an extradition hearing that could send her back to Germany to face fraud charges. Harry Burkhart allegedly went into an anti-American tirade during a court hearing for his mother the day before the arson spree began, and was removed from the courtroom. A state department official who investigated Dorothee Burkhart recognized the man from a description of a person of interest being sought in the arson spree. Authorities put out a bulletin for Harry Burkhart’s arrest, and he was taken into custody around 3 a.m. on Jan. 2 near the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue by a reserve deputy from the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station. Authorities have not release information on how the fires were started, but said Burkhart had materials for setting fires in his vehicle when he was arrested, and more materials were found during a search of the apartment.
Jane Robison, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, confirmed that Burkhart is facing 37 felony charges, including 28 counts of arson of property, and nine counts of arson of an inhabited dwelling. Of the 52 fires Burkhart is alleged to have ignited, 26 occurred in Hollywood and nine were set in West Hollywood. The remainder occurred in North Hollywood, Sunland, Burbank and other portions of Los Angeles. Bail for Burkhart has been set at nearly $3 million.
Investigators in Germany and British Columbia are also trying to determine if Burkhart is a suspect in arson fires near Frankfurt and Vancouver. A suspicious fire was started last year in a home in Marburg, Germany near Frankfurt, that was reportedly owned by the Burkharts’ family. At least nine arsons that occurred in 2011 in the Vancouver area remain unsolved. Burkhart and his mother reportedly lived there prior to moving to Los Angeles.
Authorities are unclear about exactly when the Burkharts moved to Los Angeles. Customs officials have verified that Burkhart was in Germany as recently as last fall, and flew to Las Vegas in October, and then presumably travelled to Los Angeles. Dorothee Burkhart had been sought by German authorities since she escaped custody in 2007 while being held on 19 counts of fraud, including one charge that she defrauded a doctor who performed breast augmentation surgery on her of more than $10,000. The other alleged crimes are rental frauds where she refused to return security deposits taken for properties in Germany she rented out. Dorothee Burkhart was arrested the week before the arson fires began and is still being held pending extradition hearings Thom Mrozek, a spokesperson for the United States Attorney’s Office, said Dorothee Burkhart was in court Tuesday, and a new hearing was scheduled for Jan. 25 to consider the extradition request.
No one was killed in the arson spree, but one civilian suffered minor injuries and a firefighter was hurt when he fell from a ladder during one of the blazes. The fires caused an estimated $3 million in damage.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Leave a Reply