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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).

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update_bar
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.

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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.

57 COMMENTS

No Avatar
16.

#itcouldbeworse    

Fat guys with ponytails setting fires is not a good look.

975 days ago
17.

Joe    

Harvey, you thought the roits in Vancouver were stupid after a hockey game, lets hear your opinion on this if you have the backbone to make a statement!!!! I'll take Vancouver over LA everyday of the week

975 days ago
18.

Derek    

Canadian license plate says to me he entered us illegally through canada. This is why total border control is needed. This shows its a national security issue, not a race issue.

975 days ago
19.

Eldridge Cleaver    

Fahk illegal immigrants, fahk this guy and his illegal alien mommy, too

975 days ago
20.

TMZISAPIECEOFSHIT    

Whoever did this is a POS!

975 days ago
21.

ManiacalZebra    

If it's him and he's convicted, guess who else will end up being deported?

975 days ago
22.

Spencer B in MD    

The Germans are only good at making fires and ovens.

975 days ago
23.

nof    

The BRIGHT side for the alleged suspect:


HE won't have to worry about deportation -

975 days ago
24.

the real diva    

looks like comic book guy from the simpsons.

975 days ago
25.

ralphie the one-eyed    

The Germans? They’ve never caused any trouble. What’s going on?

975 days ago
26.

bob denver    

that person must be a raving loonatic,totally

975 days ago
27.

Canuck    

LAPD??? this black and white is a Sheriff's vehicle.

975 days ago
28.

Joe Schmoe    

Umm..TMZ that is West Hollywood Sheriff, not LAPD. Clearly seen in the video you guys shot.

975 days ago
29.

mogulmarathon    

People are crazy like Elvin http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xnvoe1m04bs

975 days ago
30.

growup    

He's probably one of those anti-consumer anarchists from that "ad" group based in Canada that wants to destroy American capitalism so they go around introducing computer viruses and vandalism in the hopes that--what--we all become welfare recipients living off the government?

975 days ago
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