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L.A. Arsonist

Person of Interest Detained

1/2/2012 9:20 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

0102_arson_video_big_ex_tmzLASD officers swarmed and handcuffed what they described as a "person of interest" in the Los Angeles arsonist spree that has left thousands of residents scared out of their wits for days.

Fire officials say "it is too early to speculate" if this is the person responsible for the fires.

Police have already released surveillance video showing the alleged suspect -- a ponytailed Steven Seagal lookalike (below). As you can see in our video ... the man in custody sports a ponytail

Cops previously said 39 fires could be linked to the recent rash of arsons ... and another 11 were reportedly set last night.

It's not 100% clear from the footage -- but several witnesses confirm what appears to be a creepy smile on the man's face as he sat in the back of the squad car (below).

6:19 PM PT: The man has been identified as 24-year-old Harry Burkhart, a Hollywood resident. During a news conference moments ago, Mayor Villaraigosa said Burkhart is currently being held without bail.

According to Villaraigosa, the arson fires that ravaged Hollywood the last 4 days -- over 50 in total -- have caused over $3 million in damage.

L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca said, "The serial arsonist, I believe, has been caught" -- but LAPD Chief Charlie Beck pointed out ... it's still unclear if the arson fires were a one-man operation.

12:10 PM PT
: Police say the man has been arrested and is currently being booked.

9:32 AM PT: Riding in an equestrian unit this morning at the Rose Parade, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said, "We are we are very confident we found our man."

8:13 AM PT: Police say fire-starting materials were found in the man's van, which displayed Canadian license plates. According to reports, the materials include charcoal.

8:00 AM PT: There are reports the man may be a German national, who is angry that his mother is being deported from the US. An immigration agent helped identify him.


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"Police had released a video showing the alleged suspect, who had a ponytail. As you can see in our photos ... the man arrested sports a ponytail". Who wrote this crap? Come on, you can do better than this, can't you TMZ?

921 days ago


Guys like this is why we need 'eye for an eye' justice. Give him a trial and once he's found guilty let's have a public burning where he is the featured guest. Bring your own popcorn. You can roast it there.

921 days ago


It looks like Penn.

921 days ago

She's baaaack    

Gee, a ponytail? Not many of those types eh?

921 days ago

Ozzie X    

Your camera man needs to lose some weight. You hear is heavy breathing, borderline snoring.

921 days ago

Cheryl A.    

Thank God they caught this piece of crap. Yeah, yeah, they are calling him "a person of interest" which always means "suspect" Now watch, all the fires will stop.

921 days ago

Rogue Warrior    

Hopefully he lit a fire under a few Lilo H8rs as*es before he was caught??????

921 days ago



921 days ago


Probably an eco-terrorist, setting fire to cars.

921 days ago


Why is this on TMZ?

921 days ago


He won't get in trouble or go to jail. Oh yea he is not a celebrity so he will be put in jail for a long time! Isn't that how it works there?

921 days ago


putting 2 and 2 together their should be more than 1 person doing these acts...
morrisons house was damaged by these idiots so i hope they all fry

921 days ago


Man. Times must have gotten tough for Steven Seagal.

921 days ago

Sonya in Tx    

Looks like Jesse James...

921 days ago


dude has a pony tail. if he isn't guilty of being the suspected arsonist then i'm sure he's guilty of at least a half dozen other crimes......use of illegal theft.....the list goes on and on.

921 days ago
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