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

993 days ago


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

993 days ago


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.

993 days ago

Eldridge Cleaver    

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

993 days ago


Whoever did this is a POS!

993 days ago


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

993 days ago

Spencer B in MD    

The Germans are only good at making fires and ovens.

993 days ago


The BRIGHT side for the alleged suspect:

HE won't have to worry about deportation -

993 days ago

the real diva    

looks like comic book guy from the simpsons.

993 days ago

ralphie the one-eyed    

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

993 days ago

bob denver    

that person must be a raving loonatic,totally

993 days ago


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

993 days ago

Joe Schmoe    

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

993 days ago


People are crazy like Elvin

993 days ago


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?

993 days ago
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