Convicted sex offender sentenced to prison for setting small fires

A 71-year-old convicted sex offender was sentenced Tuesday to 16 months in state prison for setting small fires outside two downtown storefronts because he reportedly wanted to “make Glendale more beautiful,” officials said.

Gerald Harris pleaded no contest in January to one felony count of recklessly causing a fire to a structure, officials said.

Harris, who has been convicted of arson twice, also has multiple convictions for trespassing, battery, vandalism, theft, public drunkenness and indecent exposure, according to Los Angeles County Superior court records.

Harris was on parole for arson before being discharged on Dec. 7, according to police. Soon after, he was arrested on suspicion of committing the same offense.

Harris was initially arrested in December for reportedly lighting a stack of napkins on fire and throwing them in the air outside of the In-N-Out Burger in the 100 block of South Brand Boulevard. He reportedly told police he was “trying to have a good time” and “wanted to put on a show.”

Three weeks later, Harris was taken into custody again for allegedly setting fire to a white plastic cup in front of the Sprint store in the 300 block of North Brand Boulevard. The small blaze, which was within inches away from the store, caused burn marks to the building wall.

Again, Harris reportedly told police he thought the cup was beautiful, so he decided to set it on fire to “make Glendale more beautiful.”

In February, he was also convicted of failing to register as a sex offender, according to Los Angeles County Court records.

--Veronica Rocha, Times Communtit News

Follow Veronica Rocha on Google+ and on Twitter: @VeronicaRochaLA.



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