Los Angeles (CNN) -- A German national's "rage against Americans," triggered by his mother's arrest last week, motivated his "campaign of terror" with dozens of fires in Hollywood and nearby communities, according to Los Angeles prosecutors.
Harry Burkhart, dressed in an anti-suicide jail gown, appeared before a Los Angeles judge Wednesday afternoon to face 37 counts of arson. The 24-year-old kept his eyes closed and remained limp during most of his hearing, requiring sheriff's deputies to hold him up.
The district attorney called his courtroom behavior "very bizarre."
"This defendant has engaged in a protracted campaign in which he has set, the people believe, upwards of 52 arson fires in what essentially amounts to a campaign of terror against this community," Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Sean Carney said. "The people believe he has engaged in this conduct because he has a hatred for Americans."
Carney told the court Burkhart would flee the country if he was allowed out of jail on bond, but Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Upinder Kalra said he had no choice but to set bail. To go free while awaiting trial, Burkhart must post a $2.85 million bond and surrender his German passport.
It was revealed that Burkhart is also under investigation for arson and fraud in relation to a fire in Neukirchen, near Frankfurt, Germany.
The worst arson sprees in the city's history began last Friday morning with a car fire in Hollywood that spread to apartments above a garage, but no new fires have happened since Burkhart was arrested Monday, Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley said.
No one was hurt in the fires, but property damage costs are likely to reach $3 million, authorities said.
Cooley called it "almost attempted murder," because people were sleeping in apartments above where Burkhart allegedly set cars on fire with incendiary devices placed under their engines.
The criminal complaint filed Wednesday also alleged that the fires were "caused by use of a device designed to accelerate the fire," Cooley said. "If found true, the allegation could mean additional custody time for the defendant."
The initial 37 counts are related to just 12 of 52 fires under investigation, so the number of arson charges is likely to at least double, Cooley said.
"In numerous instances, the cars were parked in carports, resulting in the fires spreading to the adjacent occupied apartment buildings," a sworn affidavit from a Los Angeles arson investigator said. "The vast majority of these fires occurred late at night when the occupants of the apartment buildings were asleep."
Investigator Edward Nordskog's affidavit detailed Burkhart's behavior a day before the fires began, when he was in a federal courtroom during extradition proceedings for his mother.
"While in the audience, the defendant (Burkhart) began yelling in an angry manner, 'F--k all Americans.' The defendant also attempted to communicate with his mother who was in custody. Shortly thereafter, the defendant was ejected from the courtroom by Deputy U.S. Marshals," Nordskog wrote.
Dorothee Burkhart was arrested a day before on an international arrest warrant issued by a district court in Frankfurt, Germany, said federal court spokesman Gunther Meilinger. The 53-year-old German woman is wanted on 16 counts of fraud and three counts of embezzlement, he said.
The charges include an allegation that she failed to pay for a breast enhancement operation performed on her in 2004, Meilinger said. Most of the German charges, however, stem from phony real estate deals that Dorothee Burkhart allegedly conducted between 2000 and 2006.
"It is my opinion that the defendant's criminal spree was motivated by his rage against Americans and that by setting these fires the defendant intended to harm and terrorize as many residents of the city and county of Los Angeles as possible," Nordskog wrote.
A search of Burkhart's Hollywood apartment found newspaper clippings about the Los Angeles fires and articles from Germany reporting similar car fires in Frankfurt, Germany in September, 2011, the investigator said.
"It is my opinion based on my experience that it is highly likely the defendant has a history of setting arson fires in Germany before he came to the United States," Nordskog wrote.
Burkhart's mother is scheduled for another extradition hearing Friday, while he is due back in court for arraignment on January 24. Meanwhile, both Burkharts are housed in a Los Angeles jail.