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New charges added in Hollywood arson case

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Los Angeles County prosecutors today added 63 additional counts of arson against the 24-year-old man suspected of setting nearly 50 fires that terrorized Los Angeles residents over the New Year’s weekend.

Harry Burkhart is scheduled to appear for arraignment this afternoon in case No. BA392381 at the Foltz Criminal Justice Center, Department 30, 210 W. Temple St., Los Angeles. Prosecutors will ask that his $2.8 million bail be raised to reflect the additional charges.

Deputy District Attorney Sean Carney of the Target Crimes Division said prosecutors amended the complaint to bring the total number of arson charges to 100 after reviewing new evidence from an ongoing investigation. The complaint alleges an accelerant was used.

Burkhart is now charged with 75 counts of arson of property, 19 counts arson of an inhabited structure, two counts of arson of an uninhabited structure, two counts of attempt to burn and two counts of possession of flammable material. The charges involve 49 arson fires in Hollywood, West Hollywood, Sherman Oaks and Los Angeles between Dec. 30 and Jan. 2.

No deaths or serious injuries were reported. But property damage to homes and automobiles was in the millions of dollars. Most of the fires were started in automobiles. In many cases, flames spread to structures.

Burkhart, who travels on a German passport but purportedly was born in Chechnya, was staying with his mother in Hollywood. She currently is in federal custody on fraud-related crimes. Her immigration/extradition cases are pending in federal court.

If convicted, he faces more than 80 years in state prison.

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