Harry Burkhart, a 24-year-old German national with immigration papers from the Russian republic of Chechnya, was charged with setting over 50 fires terrorizing the Los Angeles area this past weekend. He is alleged to have set more than 50 fires over a three-day period which caused an estimated $3 million in damage. Although many had to evacuate their homes, no deaths or serious injuries were reported.
Burkhart’s mother Dorothee, also a German citizen, is fighting extradition to Germany, where she faces charges, including multiple counts of fraud and embezzlement which includes nonpayment for her breast augmentation. Here in the US, Dorothee is under investigation for prostitution. She started a massage business called Hollywood Tantras Massage, with a website boasting a doctor sexologist and among other things, full body, hot oil body and body sliding massages.
The 53-year-old was arrested on Dec. 28, in Los Angeles on a provisional warrant issued by Germany authorities. At her initial court hearing, Harry Burkhart – apparently outraged at his mothers deportations, reportedly shouted “Fuck the United States.” Just after this it is believed that Harry went on the three-day arson spree.
In court on Tuesday January 3, apparently unaware that her son had been arrested in connection with the fires, Dorothee Burkhart asked the a judge if the German Nazis were responsible for Harry’s disappearance and said her son was mentally ill.
State prosecutors in Germany said that Harry Burkhart was also wanted for alleged arson there. “He is accused of serious arson and suspected fraud. In the early hours of October 14, a timbered house went on fire in the Schwalm-Eder district and this person came under suspicion,” said German state prosecutor Annemarie Wied. She went on to say that Harry Burkhart filed an insurance claim the very same day.
Update: Fixed explanation of Burkhart’s nationality.
Photo © ABC News