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Arsonist arrested after napkins are set on fire at In-N-Out Burger [Updated]

Gerald HarrisA 71-year-old convicted arsonist was arrested Wednesday after allegedly burning napkins outside of an In-N-Out on Brand Boulevard in Glendale because he was “trying to have a good time,” police said.

Gerald Harris of Glendale was taken into custody about 11:19 p.m. on suspicion of committing arson, police said. He has been convicted of the same crime twice before in the past 10 years, according to Los Angeles County Superior Court records.

Harris, a registered sex offender, was discharged on Dec. 7 from serving parole for the same offense, according to Glendale police officials.

Officers saw Harris allegedly lighting a stack of napkins on fire before throwing them in the air in the 100 block of South Brand Boulevard, according to police reports.

Fearing the napkins could set fire to nearby businesses due to windy conditions, police immediately detained him.

Harris allegedly told officers he was throwing the napkins because he “wanted to put on a show,” police said.

He was allegedly lighting the napkins with a lighter, according to police. Authorities later found a matchbox and candle on the ground near his belongings.

Harris has a lengthy criminal history, with several convictions for trespassing, battery, vandalism, theft, public drunkenness and three convictions for indecent exposure, according to court records. He has also been charged twice with failing to register as a sex offender.

Police reported that Harris has been complying with sex offender registration requirements.

[Updated 3:54 p.m.:  A previous version of this post lacked Harris' first name and stated incorrectly that he was a registered arsonist. ]

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-- Veronica Rocha, Times Community News

Photo: Gerald Harris in a Glendale Police Department mug shot. Credit: Glendale Police Department

 
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