A 14-year-old boy has been arrested for the fire that destroyed a synagogue in New York City. According to the NY Daily News, the teen is accused of setting a wall covering on fire with a lighter at the historic Beth Hamedrash Hagodol.
The fire took place at the 167-year-old building Sunday evening. Video surveillance shows three teens leaving the building before the fire, shared NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce. Witnesses saw two teens taking photo before the building was ablaze.
The arrested teen was identified when four classmates were interviewed by detectives. "The matter is under investigation by our Family Court Division," said a Law Department spokesman. They did not release the teen's name and a source shares that he's in the custody of his mother.
If charged in Family Court, he will appear before a judge as soon as May 31.
Earlier, the NY Daily News shared that the Lower East Side synagogue was shut down boarded in 2007. Following community input, the city decided not to tear the building down and the rabbi hopes that it can still be preserved. “We don’t know what the condition of the building is going to be. We still hope it can be preserved,” said Rabbi Mendel Greenbaum, who heads the congregation. “We took out a while ago all the holy scrolls and all the valuables, so thankfully nothing was harmed.”
NBC New York shares that the congregation occupied the building since 1885. At one point, it was home to the oldest congregation of orthodox Russian Jews in America.
See video from the blaze below:
[Photo: NBC New York]