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More charges filed against Hollywood arson suspect

Harry Burkhart brought a fire-starting device to the German Consulate soon after the arson fires started around L.A.

January 24, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office filed more charges Tuesday against the suspect in a string of arson fires committed in L.A. over the New Year's Eve weekend.

After reviewing new evidence from the ongoing investigation, 63 counts of arson were added to Harry Burkhart's original 37, now totaling 100 arson charges, according to the L.A. County District Attorney's Office. The D.A.'s Office alleges an accelerant was used in the fires.

View an interactive map of the locations of the arson fires.

Burkhart is now charged with 75 counts of arson of property, 19 counts arson of an inhabited structure, two counts of arson of an uninhabited structure, two counts of attempt to burn and two counts of possession of flammable material, according to the D.A.'s Office. The charges involve 49 arson fires in Hollywood, West Hollywood, Sherman Oaks and Los Angeles between Dec. 30 and Jan. 2.

Burkhart appeared in court Tuesday afternoon and pleaded not guilty to all 100 counts. His bail, originally set at $2.8 million, was raised to $7.5 million.

Many of the fires were set underneath automobiles parked in carports of apartment buildings. Fire spread to property and buildings in several of the incidents.

No one was injured in the string of arsons, but the city estimates damages in the $3 million.

Burkhart was arrested in the early morning of January 2, when a reserve sheriff's deputy saw a minivan matching the suspect vehicle description in Hollywood. Burkhart, who was driving, was pulled over and suspicious materials were found in the vehicle.

Burkhart allegedly told police he hated America when he was arrested. Police suspect he may have been retaliating after his mother was arrested in Hollywood and held on an extradition warrant for outstanding crimes in Germany.

Harry Burkhart is also wanted in Frankfurt, Germany, on suspicion of setting fire to his house in an attempt to collect insurance money.

Burkhart's mother, Dorothee Burkhart, claims her son is mentally ill and not capable of setting the fires. She is currently held without bail and is scheduled to return to federal court Jan. 25. The two lived together in a one-bedroom apartment in Hollywood.

See photos of the fire damage in Hollywood and North Hollywood.