Authorities said Wednesday that a local man had been detained in connection with the attempted firebombing of a New Jersey synagogue over the weekend.
About the incident at Temple Ner Tamid in Bloomfield, Nicholas Malindretos, 26, was charged with attempting to use fire to damage and destroy a building utilized in interstate commerce, the U.S. Attorney’s Office reported. Malindretos resides in the neighboring town of Clifton in the suburbs of New York City.
The incident, which happened at around three in the morning, mostly left the synagogue unharmed.
On a Sunday when nobody was present inside. The fact that the improvised bomb failed to detonate and shatterproof doors held up is due, according to Ner Tamid’s rabbi Marc Katz, to security investments made after a string of incidents.
On a Sunday afternoon, Katz told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that “everything worked as it was meant to” on a Sunday afternoon.
Sadly, we had been planning for this day for some time, and we were prepared.
The Department of Justice stated in a news release that since the incident was first reported on Sunday morning, several hours after Malindretos is alleged to have approached the synagogue’s front doors, lighted and thrown a Molotov cocktail, and escaped.
According to the criminal complaint, a hoodie, gloves, and bottles of liquid were among the items that surfaced in the security film from the synagogue, which also demonstrates how authorities could identify Malindretos’ automobile by looking at footage from surrounding security cameras.
The charging papers don’t reveal any motive. According to reports, Malindretos, who will appear in court on Thursday, might spend up to 20 years behind bars.
The arrest comes after a New Jersey kid was detained and charged with a crime a few months before he reportedly threatened synagogues in the state on social media; prosecutors claimed Omar Alkattoul had written and published a manifesto demonstrating extreme Islamist views. Numerous synagogues suspended operations after the FBI warned of a “credible threat” against them, including Temple Ner Tamid.