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Crime

Harry Burkhart Now Faces 100 Counts in Alleged L.A. Arson Spree

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Tue, Jan 24, 2012 at 3:33 PM

click to enlarge Burkhart. - CBS / ONSCENE TV
  • CBS / OnScene TV
  • Burkhart.
Update: How did he plead? No big surprise here. Deets at the bottom. First posted at 12:19 p.m.

Harry Burkhart was charged today with 63 more counts in connection with the New Year's weekend arson fires that terrorized Los Angeles, the District Attorney's office confirms.

That brings the number of counts faced by the 24-year-old German national with Chechen roots to 100.

Burkhart was originally suspected in 53 blazes, but ...

... the Los Angeles Times indicates that number has been whittled down to 51.

The 100 counts attempt to connect Burkhart to 49 of those blazes, mostly vehicles-in-carport fires that erupted from Dec. 30 through Jan. 2 in Hollywood, West Hollywood and parts of the San Fernando Valley.

As part of the District Attorney's original 37 counts, Burkhart is alleged to have used an accelerant, a legal "enhancement" that could bring extra time if he's convicted.

We reported that sources believe the suspect used Duraflame-type fireplace logs, placing them atop cars' front tires, to spark the blazes and have enough time to get away.

The fires appeared to confound authorities as the suspect went from apartment complex to apartment complex, with a half-dozen fires in a night sometimes spanning the Valley to Hollywood, without detection.

Authorities believe Burkhart went on a rampage after U.S. authorities started extradition proceedings against his mom, Dorothee, who was wanted in Germany on fraud allegations.

His mother appeared to run an erotic massage business out of the address, a Sunset Boulevard apartment building, she shared with the younger Burkhart.

He was expected in Superior Court downtown today at 1:30 p.m. to face arraignment.

[Update at 3:33 p.m.]: Burkhart pleaded NOT guilty to all 100 counts, according to City News Service: His bail was set at $7.5 million.

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

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