Man arrested for allegedly setting second small fire in downtown Glendale

A convicted arsonist who was arrested three weeks ago for allegedly starting a small fire in front of an In-N-Out in downtown Glendale was arrested again this week for allegedly doing it again, this time near a Sprint store, officials said.

Gerald Harris, 71, was taken into custody about 1:14 p.m. Monday on suspicion of arson after he allegedly set a white plastic cup on fire, causing burn marks on the wall of the Sprint store in the 300 block of North Brand Boulevard, according to Glendale police.

He allegedly told officers he was trying to make art.

Three weeks ago, Harris was arrested for allegedly lighting a stack of napkins on fire and throwing them in the air outside of the In-N-Out in the 100 block Brand Boulevard because he reportedly told officers that he was “trying to have a good time” and “wanted to put on a show.”

The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office on Wednesday had not yet filed charges against Harris after requesting more investigation, according to spokeswoman Jane Robison.

Harris has been convicted of arson twice in the past 10 years, according to Los Angeles County Superior Court records.

Police in Monday’s incident extinguished the flames, which were about 12-inches high and 1 to 2 inches away from the store.

Harris allegedly told officers that he found the cup inside a trash can and thought it was so beautiful that he wanted to light it on fire to “make Glendale more beautiful,” according to police.

He also told officers that he allegedly intentionally placed the cup next to the store and used a lighter to set it on fire, according to police.

Harris, who is also a convicted sex offender, was serving parole for arson before being discharged on Dec. 7, according to police officials.

He told officers he was homeless and slept at the temporary winter shelter inside the National Guard Armory on Colorado Street, according to police.

Natalie Profant Komuro, executive director of Ascencia, which operates the shelter, couldn’t say whether Harris was staying at the armory because she didn’t know if he had given permission to release his information.

Ascencia doesn’t perform background checks on the shelter’s clients because it is an open program, she said.

Profant Komuro said that, overall, Ascencia takes the steps necessary to maintain the safety of their clients, staff and the community, which she added was a priority.

Harris has multiple convictions for trespassing, battery, vandalism, theft, public drunkenness and for indecent exposure, according to court records.

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