Harry Burkhart, a 24-year-old German national, was the man arrested by police earlier this week in connection with the deadly arson spree in Los Angeles.
A string of arson fires put Los Angeles residents on edge over the holidays and caused millions in damage, and officials believe Burkhart is the perpetrator.
They also believe he did it because he felt his mom was being mistreated.
Burkhart was arrested early Monday morning driving a minivan in W. Hollywood. Inside were fire starter sticks. Once he was in custody, the fires ceased.
Sheriff Lee Baca called the suspect the “most dangerous arsonist in Los Angeles County that I can recall,” after battling 50 blazes in the preceding days.
While authorities don’t yet have a definite motive, they say it appears Harry Burkhart was outraged about his mother’s pending deportation to Germany.
Dorothee Burkhart was arrested December 28 on a provisional warrant from Germany, and the arson spree began just after she was taken into custody.
“My first question is, where is my son?” she shouted, telling a federal judge in broken English that her son “is mental ill.” That would be an understatement.
During a recent immigration hearing about Dorothee’s case, her son ranted against the U.S. and its policies, according to the Los Angeles Times.
An officer working on Dorothee’s case saw footage of the suspected arsonist, recognized Burkhart, and contacted authorities, the AP reports.
Police stress that the investigation is not complete. “We are confident in our investigation, but we have a long way to go,” L.A. Police Chief Charlie Becks said.