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Man arrested over arson rampage in L.A.

(Xinhua)

08:26, January 04, 2012

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 2 (Xinhua) -- A 24-year-old man was arrested Monday on suspicion of lighting more than 50 fires in a four-night rampage that rattled Los Angeles, the country's second most populous city.

Mayor Antonio Villaragoisa identified him at a news conference as Harry Burkhart, reportedly a German native who lived in a Hollywood apartment building with his mother near the scene of many of the fires.

A total of 52 fires have been set around the city since Friday, representing the worst wave of arson since riots in 1992. Damage from the weekend arson spree is estimated at about 3 million U.S. dollars.

Although there were no serious civilian injuries, a firefighter suffered an unspecified minor injury, Los Angeles Fire Capt. Jaime Moore said.

There were 11 new fires between midnight and the time the suspect was arrested, all fitting the pattern of the earlier fires, which mostly targeted unoccupied cars in carports, Moore said.

Burkhart was booked on a felony charge of arson of an inhabited dwelling and is being held without bail.

Police declined to reveal any motive for the fires. The Los Angeles Times reported the suspect appeared to have been battling the U.S. government over the immigration status of a relative.

According to ABC News, the suspect said "I hate America" as he was being arrested.

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