Harry Burkhart: Vancouver Fires in 2011 Examined For Possible Links to L.A. Arson Suspect | The Informer | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly
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Harry Burkhart: Vancouver Fires in 2011 Examined For Possible Links to L.A. Arson Suspect

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Thu, Jan 5, 2012 at 12:30 PM

click to enlarge GAURI MA
  • Gauri Ma
Last year Vancouver saw a series of as many as a dozen of unsolved arson fires, mostly involving garages, recycling bins, fences, rubbish, landscaping and at least one vacant home and one car.

It turns out that Harry Burkhart, the man suspected in a 53-fire spree in Los Angeles, lived in that West Coast city in recent years.

Did he do it?

Vancouver police are mum about the prospects, downplaying reports that the L.A. arrest and subsequent charging of Burkhart for some of last weekend's unprecedented, three-night breakout of carport fires triggered a reexamination of Vancouver's own suspicious arson spree.

The fires up north took place from June 3 to Nov. 1. Court records indicate that Burkhart flew to Las Vegas from Germany Oct. 20 and subsequently came to L.A., where he lived with his mom in a Hollywood apartment she apparently used as a base for an erotic massage business.

The outlet 24 Hours Vancouver says Burkhart was known to have lived in the city as recently as 2009. The site CityNews Toronto notes, however, that legal filings had Burkhart in Toronto as recently as 2010, when he and his mom reportedly filed refugee claims in Canada.

Vancouver police Constable Lindsey Houghton told the Weekly:

Certainly anytime anyone is arrested like that, investigators look at open cases.

But he cautioned that, "At this time he is not suspected in any Vancouver fires."

Lindsey noted that the unsolved 2011 spree in Vancouver did not feature any cars (we checked and one car was apparently victimized, according to VPD statements), which was a key element of the arson fires from Friday through Monday.

German authorities say Burkhart is a suspect in an Oct. 14 arson fire at a house his family owned in the town of Schwalm-Eder-Kreis. Family members are said to have filed an insurance claim for damage.

Authorities think Burkhart, angry about his mother's possible extradition to Germany on fraud charges, went on a rampage in L.A. and sparked the series of vehicle fires in cars parked under carports, sometimes leading to heavy damage and evacuations.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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