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German Man Convicted in Series of Fires Across L.A. Over 2011 Holiday Season

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Firefighters at the scene of an arson that was later connected to Harry Burkhart. (Credit: Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times)

A German man was convicted Thursday in connection with a series of fires over several days during the holiday season in 2011 and 2012, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Harry Burkhart, 29, was found guilty of 25 counts of arson of property, 18 counts of arson of an inhabited dwelling and two counts each of possession of an incendiary device, attempted arson and arson of a structure.

Burkhart set more than a dozen fires under vehicles or near homes on Dec. 30, 2011 apparently in retaliation for the arrest of this mother in connection with crimes in Germany, officials said.

Burkhart continued to light more blazes over the next few days and more than 40 fires were attributed to him in Hollywood, West Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley.

Authorities believe the fires caused at least $3 million in damages to vehicles and structures, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Burkhart was arrested on Jan. 2, 2012 when a reserve sheriff’s deputy spotted his minivan in West Hollywood and officials found fire starter sticks, according to the newspaper.

He will return to court on Sept. 6 to begin the sanity phase of his trial.

The defendant faces 88 years in prison.