Boy, 14, Accused of Torching Historic NYC Synagogue - NBC4 Washington
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Boy, 14, Accused of Torching Historic NYC Synagogue

The blaze destroyed the historic Beth Hamedrash Hagadol building



    Young Teen Arrested for Arson in Synagogue Fire

    A 14-year-old boy faces arson charges. He's accused of setting fire to a more-than-150-year-old synagogue in Manhattan. Marc Santia reports.

    (Published Wednesday, May 17, 2017)

    A 14-year-old boy has been charged with igniting the inferno that destroyed a historic synagogue on Manhattan's Lower East Side over the weekend, law enforcement sources familiar with the case said Wednesday. 

    The boy was arrested late Tuesday on a charge of third-degree arson in connection with the fire that eviscerated the 19th century Congregation Beth Hamedrash Hagadol on Norfolk Street Sunday night. He is being charged as a minor and being held at a juvenile detention facility; the boy's name will not be released.

    The sources say the boy was arrested at his home, not far from the synagogue. They say investigators don't consider the arson to be a hate crime. 

    The arrest came hours after NYPD officials said video evidence had been recovered as part of the investigation. It's not clear exactly what the video showed, but authorities had said three young people were seen fleeing the site of the blaze.

    According to the Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy, the congregation is the oldest for orthodox Russian Jews in the United States, and occupied the 1850s-era building since 1885. The synagogue closed in 2007.