Nicholas Malindreto of New Jersey arrested after throwing a Molotov cocktail into the synagogue
Authorities have snapped a 26-year-old man who they say threw a Molotov cocktail at the front door of a synagogue in New Jersey hours after the Sabbath in what was said to be an “attempted arson attack”.
Nicholas Malindretos, of Clifton, was arrested on Wednesday after police found clothing in his car matching those worn in the on-camera attack on Temple Ner Tamid Jewish community in Bloomfield, federal prosecutors said.
“No one should find that their life is in danger by practicing their faith,” US Attorney Philip Sellinger said in a statement. “The defendant is said to have entered a synagogue in the middle of the night and maliciously attempted to damage and destroy it with an incendiary bomb.”
Footage showed Malindretos – wearing a black ski mask, a dark hooded sweatshirt with a skull emblem and white gloves – sauntering to the synagogue around 3:20 a.m. Sunday and lighting the Molotov cocktail before fleeing on foot, they claim Officer.
The bottle exploded but did no damage to the temple. No one was inside at the time, and the remains of the bomb were not discovered until 9:30 a.m
Police, who described the attack as a “biased incident,” immediately searched neighborhood surveillance footage and noticed a black Volkswagen sedan passing a nearby intersection 15 minutes before the masked attacker threw the bottle. Ten minutes after the attack, the same car reappeared in the opposite direction, according to the criminal complaint.
Police officers found the car in Clifton on Tuesday and were able to see clothing similar to that of the masked attacker through the windows.
Their suspicions were confirmed the next day when they executed a search warrant and found the mask, sweatshirt and gloves in Malindretos’ car.
Malindretos was charged with attempting to use fire to damage and destroy a building used in interstate commerce. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years and a $250,000 fine.
Despite New Jersey Police’s belief that the bombing was a biased attack, it’s not yet clear if federal prosecutors will pursue hate crime charges.
Rabbi Marc Katz of Temple Ner Tamid had said the synagogue was able to withstand the hateful attack thanks to recent security upgrades funded by the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness.
“We were able to avert the worst because the device that the person threw didn’t make it through the front glass doors,” Katz said.
https://nypost.com/2023/02/02/new-jersey-man-nicholas-malindreto-arrested-after-tossing-molotov-cocktail-at-synagogue/ Nicholas Malindreto of New Jersey arrested after throwing a Molotov cocktail into the synagogue