Updated at the bottom with allegations that the mom committed fraud as a member of a gang. Really. First posted at 2:08 p.m.
The mother of L.A. serial arson suspect Harry Burkhart has been linked to a massage services website and to online advertisements for “body rub” services.
A woman with the same phone number as Dorothee Burkhart states in one massage ad that:
You can lead me to the places you will like to be massaged the most. You can trust me to be respectful of your body and your Secret.
The elder Burkhart, who is apparently from Germany, was facing extradition to that country at a federal proceeding downtown today, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the alleged arsonist might have been angered over his mother's proposed deportation.
Neighbors told KCAL9/CBS2's Serene Branson that the 24-year-old, who is suspected of sparking about 53 vehicle-in-carport fires over three days, lived with his mother in an apartment at 7274 Sunset Boulevard, which is the address listed under the “Whois” registration for the Hollywood Tantra Massage website.
The name Dorothee Burkhart is listed as the site's registrant. The phone number listed under “Whois” is also listed as a contact number on the massage site and can be found on other classified ads listing adult massage services.
The Hollywood Tantra Massage site offers …
… Loving – erotic touch in combination with deep Tissue, incl. G-spot and Hotspots massage. Professional, very sensual, relaxing, erotic-romantic and Happy making. Very DIFFERENT!!! Traditional TANTRA massage techniques, based on DOCTOR's knowledges about the body, spirit, psychology and sexuality of MAN!!!!!
It also states:
I meet my clients not in sexy outfit, but dressed from head to toes, even with sunglasses. I'm in the reality the person from my WEB, who is delivering honest and high quality work. My sexy outfits, my sexy appearance and exclusive body work is only for serious, honest gentlements. You can not come to “SEE” me. Please take to your attention – my service is not my body, my service is very talented, high skilled, wonderful erotic-romantic body and soul treatment.
Some of the classified ads linked to Dorothee Burkhart's phone number feature photos of the torso and lips of what we would describe as an older woman. Some of those were posted on Backpage.com, which is (full disclosure) owned by Village Voice Media, parent company of the Weekly.
[Added at 1:55 p.m. and again at 2:38 p.m.]: We also found a two-week-old ad for services linked to the elder Burkhart's phone number in Craigslist's “beauty services” section. The ad offers a “$100 promotion” for “earth shattering erottic touch==>body to body sliding massage” until midnight.
That post linked to another website, doctorannabelle.com that mirrors Hollywood Tantra Massage and offers services from “MASTER Annabelle.” A “2008” copyright notice on the site is listed.
Another site that appears to mirror Hollywood Tantra Massage is called lasvegasmassage.yolasite.com. A different 323 phone number on that site links to several other adult classified ads with similar photos and wording.
Another CL ad posted six days ago and listing the elder Burkhart's number offers a “doctor's help” for such things as erectile dysfunction and ejaculation disorders.
One site lists wedding planning services by “Eladia” and publishes the same phone number.
We also found a third massage site linked the the digits and mirroring the others, here.
In one classified posting, the location of massage services linked to the phone number is said to be “La Brea at Sunset Blvd.”
The younger Burkhart was detained in a traffic stop shortly after 3 a.m. yesterday as fires nearby raged. A description of him and his van was broadcast to police after a government official said he/she recognized him from surveillance video of a Saturday fire that was broadcast via news outlets.
The suspect had allegedly created commotion during an immigration proceeding.
[Update at 2:08 p.m.]: In the extradition proceeding today Dorothee Burkhart is reported to have said her son is “mentally ill.” She asked the judge:
My first question is, where is my son? Since yesterday he's not available. What did you do to my son? … Where is he? Dead? Maybe the German Nazi know our address.
The judge reportedly said it wasn't the time or place to talk about the younger Burkhart.
The Associated Press reports that …
… Dorothee Burkhart was charged in Frankfurt in case in which she is accused of not paying for a 2004 breast-augmentation surgery.
And thus the extradition proceeding, at the behest of Germany, apparently. The Times reported that her arrest occurred just before the arson spree started.
Frank Stoltze of KPCC (89.3 FM) tweeted that the fires began the the same day (Friday?) the arson suspect was escorted out of a proceeding for his mom in which he yelled expletives.
We don't make this stuff up.
[Added at 2:33 p.m.]: City News Service says the elder Burkhart was actually wanted in Germany …
… on 19 counts of fraud, most stemming from allegations that she bilked apartment renters out of security deposits …
… and that an arrest warrant was issued for her in 2007. Note here that we found a 2008 copyright notice on one of the sites linked to her phone number.
Still, we wouldn't rule out allegations of “augmentation” fraud, either.
[Added at 2:42 p.m.]: Our old pal Christine Pelisek reports at the Daily Beast that …
Dorothee Burkhart, a native of Germany, has been held in federal custody since last week.
[Update at 4:38 p.m.]: The actual language of the recently unsealed complaint covering Germany's extradition request, sent to us by U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Thom Mrozek, reads, in part:
… Burkhart is charged in Germany with 19 counts of fraud, committed on a commercial basis and as a member of a gang …
A warrant for her arrest was issued by German authorities on Sept., 24, 2007.
The allegations cover embezzlement but also mention a June 24, 2004 accusation that Burkhart told a Frankfurt clinic that her breast augmentation job had been paid for by her “husband” in advance in the amount of 7,680 euros (slightly more than $10,000) — payment that was never allegedly received.
The complaint also contains allegations that the elder Burkhart, while in Frankfurt, leased out apartments but failed to return security deposits and rented a few units for herself but failed to pay up.
The allegations state that Burkhart was believed to have been living in Hollywood “with her adult son” and that she had flown from Frankfurt to Las Vegas in October “and went with her son to the German consulate in Los Angeles, California on October 26, 2011 to renew her son's passport.”