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Los Angeles lauds DS agent.

After enduring a series of arson-related car fires over the New Year's weekend, Los Angeles city officials expressed their gratitude to Bureau of Diplomatic Security Special Agent Jonathan Lamb for his help in identifying and arresting the alleged arsonist in January.

"The city couldn't be more grateful for your work in helping to identify the suspected arsonist and putting an end to fires that were, frankly, creating a terror in our community," said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Lamb and Deputy U.S. Marshal Luis Flores, who had worked with Lamb on a related fugitive case, recognized the suspect and provided L.A. authorities with the information to identify and locate him just five hours later. The suspect, 24-year-old Harry Burkhart, was arraigned on 37 counts of arson and later charged with more than 100 arson-related counts for allegedly setting numerous other fires in surrounding areas.

Burkhart is charged with setting more than 50 fires in and around Los Angeles, primarily in West Hollywood and Hollywood, beginning Dec. 30 and continuing through Jan. 2. Most of the incidents involved cars parked near enough to homes that a spreading fire could have caused acute danger. Damage estimates place the toll of the fires at $3 million.

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"We are proud that we were one of those cooperating federal authorities in this case," said State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland.

Police set up an interagency arson task force that put out a video showing a person of interest in the case, and DS agents in the L.A. field office contacted the task force and provided their information, which arose from a separate ongoing investigation.

L.A. Mayor Villaraigosa issued a proclamation to Special Agent Lamb that recognized his "exemplary contributions in helping to identify the suspected arsonist and putting an end to the tragic fires that affected the city and its neighbors."

"It is because of your actions that we were able to avert further damage and the potential loss of life," said Villaraigosa. "We give thanks for your exemplary work and service to the community."
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Publication:State Magazine
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Mar 1, 2012
Words:345
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