Los Angeles police have arrested Harry Burkhart, 24, as the arsonist responsible for the 55 fires that have been set around Hollywood over the last four days. Our long, four-day nightmare is over, Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky told reporters.
Burkhart was detained and questioned after a sheriff's deputy recognized the description of Burkhart's van. After being interviewed, Burkhart was arrested. A search of his van revealed materials that matched those used in the fires, ABC News reported.
Though he stressed that this is only an arrest, and not a conviction, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said, I feel very good that we've got the right guy. [The suspect] had the right stuff in his van, and we are very confident we found our man.
Over the last four days, 45 fires were set in Los Angeles, nine in West Hollywood and one in Burbank., mostly in driveways and in cars, some of which spread to apartments or houses. Police released a security video Sunday morning, and by that night a tipster identified the man in the video.
ABC News reported that when Burkhart was arrested, he said I hate America, leading some to speculate that he could have been motivated by the pending deportation of his mother.
Police have not released details on how the fires were set or what exact materials were recovered from the van, but they are confident that Burkhart is the right person. The residents of Hollywood and the city of West Hollywood may now resume the peace and safety they deserve, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca said. A serial arsonist, I believe, has been caught.
In most cases, the fires were set overnight. In the last two days, we've seen that as daybreak comes, we start finding more clues and more evidence because there are fires that didn't quite take off as were intended by this individual or these individuals, San Fernando Valley. Capt. Moore said to ABC.
Beck said that though authorities are sure Burkhart is the man, the investigation continues, so information will still be withheld. Details about the suspect will not be released tonight other than the name and some very general things.
There were no injuries reported from the fires.