Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Suspect in California synagogue bombing arrested in Ohio
LOS ANGELES -- A man wanted for questioning in connection with last week's explosion outside a Los Angeles-area synagogue was arrested in Ohio on Monday evening, federal officials said.
Laura Eimiller, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), said Hirsch was taken into custody in the city of Cleveland Heights in Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland.
"The individual in custody was arrested following a call to law enforcement by a concerned citizen who had come into contact with [a] man believed to be Hirsch," Eimiller said. "This is a continuing investigation and additional details will be provided as they are developed."
The incident happened on Thursday when an explosive device exploded outside the Chabad House synagogue in Santa Monica, a city in western Los Angeles County. There were no injuries but investigators have found evidence pointing towards Ron Hirsch.
Earlier on Monday, a joint statement from the FBI, the Santa Monica Police Department, and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said 60-year-old Ron Hirsch was believed to have boarded a New York-bound Greyhound bus.
According to the agencies, Hirsch used his known alias J. Fisher to purchase a Greyhound bus ticket to New York on Thursday, the day of the explosion. The bus, which arrived in New York on Sunday, had at least 10 destinations between Los Angeles and New York.
Additional investigation and video surveillance indicated that Hirsch disembarked the bus in Denver, Colorado and the agencies believed he had further deviated from his original route. Hirsch is believed to have family in New York, the statement said.
An investigation has been underway since the initial report of an explosion was received by the Santa Monica Police Department. A lengthy forensic post-blast investigation of the incident was conducted following the initial field assessment and resulted in evidence indicating that the device appeared to have been deliberately constructed. Investigation determined that items found in and around the crime scene are linked to Ron Hirsch, identified as a transient.
Hirsch, who is described as a Caucasian male with brown hair and green eyes, is known to frequent synagogues and Jewish community centers seeking charity from patrons. Hirsch was being sought on state charges of possession of a destructive device and unrelated local charges. Federal investigators are also interested in questioning Hirsch.
No known motive for the deliberate attack is known at this time, the agencies said in the statement, adding that the investigation is ongoing.
פחות משבוע לאחר הפיגוע בבית-חב"ד 'שמחה מוניקה' בלוס אנג'לס, עצרו בלשי ה-FBI את רון הירש, מי שנחשד בביצוע ובתכנון הפיגוע.
הירש, יהודי, הומלס בן 60, מסתובב באזור הסמוך לבית-חב"ד. בימים האחרונים ניהלו אחריו בלשי ה-FBI מרדף.
על-פי הדיווחים בכלי-התקשורת בארה"ב, הירש נעצר בקליבלנד-הייטס, לאחר שאזרח יצר קשר עם המשטרה והתלונן עליו. בקהילה היהודית מעריכים, כי מניעיו אינם אנטישמיים.
האישום נגד הירש - מעורבות בפיצוץ מטען צינור סמוך לבית-חב"ד. בפיגוע לא היו נפגעים, אך נזק נגרם למקום. מאה בני-אדם פונו מהאיזור על-ידי כוחות המשטרה, בחשד למטענים נוספים.
ב-FBI טוענים כי מדובר במטען יוצא-דופן בגודלו ובסוגו, שהכיל חומר נפץ תעשייתי.
בהודעה שהוציאה המשטרה בשבוע שעבר, הוגדר הירש "מסוכן מאוד".