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Reserve deputy who arrested arson suspect 'a true hero'

January 2, 2012 | 10:21 pm

As hundreds of law enforcement officers looked for the suspect in a string of arson fires Monday, the lawman who spotted him was a reserve deputy who works as a real estate attorney in Beverly Hills by day and occasionally helps patrol West Hollywood at night.

"He is a true hero," says Sheriff Lee Baca of Shervin Lalezary. "He works for $1 a year."

Baca said the reserve deputy, who qualified in December to ride a car solo, was beyond his eight-hour shift when made the "arrest of his career."

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Lalezary spotted Harry Burkhart's Dodge Caravan on Sunset Boulevard shortly before 3 a.m. and quickly realized he was the suspect at center of a massive arson taskforce manhunt. Officials had been looking for the minivan for several hours.

"It was a great relief to know people can sleep -- be they officers, firefighters, the residents of West Hollywood as well as me" said Lalezary. He said he could not discuss specifics but said that he had Los Angeles Police Department officers covering him when he approached the minivan.

At a press conference Monday, Lalezary received much applause. His family was looking on.


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