LA arson suspect charged; also wanted in Germany.

Harry Burkhart, arrested on suspicion of arson in Los Angeles, California, 2 January 2012
Image caption Harry Burkhart was escorted out of court after an outburst at his mother's hearing

A German man held over a series of arson attacks in Los Angeles is wanted in his home country in connection with a house fire, prosecutors have said.

Harry Burkhart, 24, is suspected of causing up to $3m (£1.9m) of damage over new year after his mother appeared in a US court charged with fraud.

He appeared dazed as he was charged with 37 counts of arson in a Los Angeles court on Wednesday afternoon.

Sheriff's deputies at one point had to support his limp body at the hearing.

Los Angeles police arrested Mr Burkhart on Monday after spotting him on security footage as they investigated more than 50 suspicious fires, the city's worst arson outbreak since the 1992 riots.

Extradition request

Prosecutors in Germany allege that Mr Burkhart could be linked to a fire in a house in Marburg, north of Frankfurt, on 14 October 2011.

Although he did not live in the area, Mr Burkhart became a suspect in the case when he filed an insurance claim immediately after the incident, a spokeswoman told the Associated Press news agency.

Image caption A sketch of Dorothee Burkhart in a federal court on fraud charges

"When one files an insurance claim on a house the same day it burns down, it raises eyebrows," she said.

However, he has not been questioned as part of the investigation and a warrant has not been issued for his arrest, she added.

Twelve days after the Marburg fire, Mr Burkhart and his mother arrived in the US.

Separately, the suspect's mother, Dorothee Burkhart, was arrested in the US on 28 December on a provisional arrest warrant - a procedure normally used when an individual faces criminal charges overseas.

She has been charged on 19 counts of fraud in Germany, according to US court documents unsealed on Tuesday, including failure to pay for a breast augmentation surgery and the taking of security deposits from tenants.

Guenther Meilinger, a court spokesman in Frankfurt, told the Associated Press news agency that a request for Ms Burkhart's extradition had been issued so she could face trial in Germany.

"We expect and hope that the US authorities will look into the request for extradition... so that the proceedings against her can continue," he said.

Shortly before the arson attacks began, Ms Burkhart appeared in court in Los Angeles for a hearing at which her son was present.

He was detained and escorted out of the court after he shouted obscenities against the United States.

His mother appeared in court again on Tuesday, reports said, but she did not seem to be aware that her son had since been detained by the police, and repeatedly asked officials to bring him to the courtroom.

She said her son suffered from mental health problems and asked whether Nazis knew where she and her son lived.

Both Mr Burkhart and his mother are being held in police custody without bail and Mr Burkhart has been placed on suicide watch.

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