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Los Angeles prosecutors charged Harry Burkhart with 37 counts of arson Wednesday.
“After reviewing the available evidence, we filed 28 counts of arson of property and nine counts of arson of an inhabited structure,” District attorney Steve Cooley said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times. “The complaint also alleges that the arson was caused by use of a device designed to accelerate the fire. If found true, the allegation could mean additional custody time for the defendant.”
Officials did not specify which of the more than 50 fires Burkhart is suspected of starting were included in the charges, but they did say the counts involved 13 different fires.
Burkhart, who is reportedly not cooperating with police in any way, was also placed on suicide watch Wednesday according to the Times.
Earlier in the day Wednesday, it was announced that Burkhart was also being investigated by German authorities on the suspicion of setting fire to a home owned by his family on Oct. 14, six days before he arrived in the USA (via Las Vegas).
The Burkhart family later filed an insurance claim for the property, which was located in Schwalm-Eder-Kreis, near Frankfurt, and had been left vacant.
The suspect’s mother, Dorothee Burkhart appeared in L.A. Federal Court Tuesday, facing possible extradition to Germany on charges of fraud. She appeared unaware that her son had been arrested the previous day.
Federal immigration officials said Burkhart is believed to have been in the U.S. on a visa that will expire in two weeks. They did not have a visa on file for his mother.
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