Vancouver police probing L.A. arson suspect over unsolved fires
This post has been corrected. See note at the bottom for details.
The investigation of L.A.-area arson suspect Harry Burkhart widened Thursday to include a probe by Canadian authorities into whether he was involved in a series of suspicious fires in Vancouver, Canada.
Burkhart, who has been charged with 37 felony counts related to the New Year’s weekend arson rampage, lived in Vancouver with his mother before moving to the Los Angeles area.
Vancouver Police Department spokeswoman Lindsey Houghton said officials “have begun to liaise with the LAPD” but stressed detectives have not connected Burkhart to any specific fires in that city.
Several Canadian news outlets reported that police were looking into possible connections between Burkhart and at least 12 suspicious property arsons last year in city that remain unsolved. It is unclear, however, whether Burkhart was in Vancouver at the time those fires occurred.
News of the probe comes a day after German prosecutors confirmed that Burkhart, 24, was also under investigation for suspected arson and insurance fraud in the Oct. 14, 2011, fire that caused major damage to a half-timbered duplex in the mountainous region near Marburg in central Germany. U.S. immigration officials have confirmed that Burkhart flew from Frankfurt to Las Vegas six days after the fire.
L.A. arson investigators are trying to piece together the movements of Burkhart and his mother over the last few years. Authorities say Burkhart was “motivated by his rage against Americans” when he allegedly set the fires in Los Angeles. The fires began after Burkhart’s mother was detained by authorities on a German criminal warrant.
[For the Record, 8:17 p.m. Jan. 5: An earlier version of this post incorrectly said that Vancouver was the capital of British Columbia. Victoria is the capital of British Columbia.]
--Kim Murphy in Vancouver, Canada
Photo: Harry Burkhart after his arrest early Monday. Credit: Reuters