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The Los Angeles Police Department booked a 24-year-old Hollywood man on suspicion of arson on Monday afternoon. The arrest is in connection with the more than 50 arson attacks that have plagued Los Angeles over the past several days.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Monday during a press conference that Harry Burkhart was arrested and booked for investigation of arson of an inhabited dwelling. He is being held without bail at the Inmate Reception Center in downtown L.A. He is currently charged with one count of arson, but more charges are expected to be added.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck revealed very few details about Burkhart, citing the ongoing investigation. “An arrest is not a prosecution,” Beck said during the news conference. “A prosecution is not a conviction. We are very confident in this arrest but we have a long way to go and I think it’s important the media and the public recognize that.”
The fires, which mainly targeted cars and then spread to some homes, have caused an estimated $3 million worth of damage but no serious injuries. The first fires were reported in West Hollywood early Friday morning.
The man was arrested while driving a mini-van with Canadian license plates. He is reportedly a native of Germany who appeared to be fighting the U.S. government over a relative’s immigration status. Materials that could be used to set fires were found inside the van.
No new fires had been reported since the suspect was taken into custody, but the LAPD emphasized that the investigation was ongoing.
UPDATE: Burkhart is expected to make his first appearance in court Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times reports.
But, Beck said the investigation is still ongoing and it is yet unclear when the case will be presented to prosecutors.
“I feel very good that we’ve got the right guy,” he told the TImes. “He had the right stuff in his van and I am confident in the arrest.”
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