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Arrest made in Bergen County synagogue firebombing cases

A prior article here recently detailed the beginnings of an investigation into a number of firebombings at Jewish synagogues in Bergen County, New Jersey.

Authorities have now placed a recent local high school graduate under arrest in connection with two of the incidents. Criminal charges lodged against the youth include attempted murder, stemming for a firebombing in which a fire was ignited in a rabbi's bedroom in his residence connected to a synagogue.

In that incident, the rabbi's wife, five children and parents were also present in the home, leading to multiple charges of attempted murder.

Authorities accused the defendant of being a fanatical anti-Semite who did not let his lack of access to a vehicle deter him from riding by the synagogues to throw incendiary devices. Prosecutors said the resident of Lodi used his bicycle while allegedly flinging the bombs. They also contend that he conducted searches on the Internet for the location of Jewish houses of worship to target for attacks.

The 19-year-old arrestee was reportedly unemployed and is being held in custody in lieu of $5 million in bail. He is being accused of involvement in both a Jan. 3 firebombing of a synagogue in Paramus and of a second similar incident at a Rutherford synagogue on Jan. 11.

Authorities currently believe that the arrestee acted without assistance from anyone else in making Molotov cocktails and other incendiary devices and throwing them at the synagogues. Prior to the firebombings, police received reports of anti-Semitic graffiti being scrawled on synagogue buildings in the area.

If convicted of attempted murder, the defendant could receive a sentence of 30 years of imprisonment. He is also charged with arson, punishable by a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

Source: Fox News: "Teenager charged with firebombing 2 NJ synagogues," Jan. 24, 2012