Police nab man suspected of anti-Semitic arson
Police have a man in custody for setting eight fires throughout Williamsburg, including in front of an Orthodox Jewish seminary.
On Friday, a series of fires were set in the south section of Williamsburg, including in front of Yeshiva Beth Hillel of Williamsburg.
Seven other locations, allegedly in front of other yeshivas and synagogues within the predominantly Hasidic community, had fires set in front of and inside trash cans. The damage was minor, police said.
The fires occurred in a week that brought the anti-Semitic defacing of a Brooklyn Heights block and Union Temple in Prospect Heights. Less than a week before was the worst attack on Jewish people in U.S. history, where 11 people were massacred at a Pittsburgh synagogue.
“Tragically, it would seem these types of attacks are becoming all too common,” said Councilmember Steven Levin and state Sen. Martin Dilan in a joint statement. “We need to do everything in our power to deny hate safe harbor, whether in Pittsburgh, Charleston or here in Williamsburg.”
Councilmember Chaim Deutsch posted a tweet with a summary of hate-related cases in the city, including anti-Semitic license plate revoked in Queens, Jewish man verbally threatened in Crown Heights, Nazi paraphernalia sold on Amazon.com and more.
Police said the case is still under investigation by the Arson and Explosive Squad. The identity of the man in custody has not be released, and as of Friday evening he has not been charged.
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