LA Arson Suspect: I Hate America

State Department tip led cops to angry Harry Burkhart
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 3, 2012 4:23 AM CST
Updated Jan 3, 2012 6:50 AM CST

(Newser) – The 24-year-old German man arrested on suspicion of setting more than 50 houses and building on fire in Los Angeles said "I hate America" after cops pulled him out of his car, LA Weekly reports. Harry Burkhart was apparently furious over his mother's pending deportation, say police, who were tipped off by a State Department official involved in the case who witnessed Burkhart ranting against America at a recent hearing.

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Police say they found fire starter sticks in Burkhart's van, and his arrest appears to have brought the outbreak of arson—LA's worst since the 1992 riots—to an end. Burkhart was pulled over by Shervin Lalezary, an Iranian-born lawyer who moonlights as a reserve sheriff's deputy for a salary of just $1 a year, CNN reports. "I'll give him a raise of another dollar a year," quipped Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca after the bust. (Read more Harry Burkhart stories.)

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