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Prosecutor: New charges in NJ synagogue attacks

Prosecutor brings additional charges against NJ teen accused of firebombing 2 synagogues By The Associated Press

HACKENSACK, N.J. (AP) ' Prosecutors said Friday they have uncovered evidence that a New Jersey teenager charged with firebombing two synagogues had also targeted a third Jewish institution.

Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli announced additional charges against 19-year-old Anthony Graziano, but declined to provide more specifics until a news conference scheduled for Friday afternoon.

Graziano was arrested earlier this week and has pleaded not guilty to nine counts of attempted murder as well as bias intimidation and arson charges for a Jan. 11 attack on a Rutherford synagogue and the Jan. 3 firebombing of a Paramus synagogue.



The public defender who represented Graziano at his first court appearance earlier this week said he is seeking to have the teen's $5 million bail reduced, and to move the trial venue.

In the Rutherford attack, police said Molotov cocktails were thrown at Congregation Beth El early on Jan. 11, igniting a fire in the second-floor bedroom of Rabbi Nosson Schuman's residence. The rabbi, his wife, five children and his parents were sleeping at the time. Molinelli said Graziano knew people were in the residence when he threw the bombs.

The fire at Congregation K'Hal Adath Jeshuran in Paramus was discovered on the morning of Jan. 3, when members smelled gas in the building and contacted authorities. Fire and police officials determined an accelerant had been used in the rear of the building to start a fire. The fire had quickly burned itself out, and no injuries were reported.

Graziano was arrested after authorities traced the materials in some of the bombs to a Walmart store and captured surveillance images of a man buying the materials, later identified by tipsters as Graziano, who apparently had spoken to others about the attacks.

Prosecutors have not speculated on a possible motive as to why the unemployed recent high school graduate may have allegedly plotted the attacks, which kept Jewish residents of the ethnically and religiously diverse communities of Bergen County, part of the New York metropolitan area, on edge for weeks.

Molinelli described Graziano as a 2010 high school graduate and loner who didn't appear to have much of a social life, adding investigators hadn't found any indication that Graziano belonged to any extremist groups but had evidence that he shared his views with other people, though he didn't specify in what forum. He characterized Graziano as intelligent and aware of what was happening to him.

Also this week, authorities conducted sweeps of synagogues within a 10-mile radius of Graziano's Lodi home, looking for additional arson materials.

Bergen County Police Lt. James Giblin said the sweeps of about 70 synagogues were completed Thursday night and did not turn up anything.

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Follow Samantha Henry at http://www.twitter.com/SamanthaHenry


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Related Keywords:Synagogue Firebombings,Arson,Juvenile crime,Crime,Fires,Judaism,General news,Accidents and disasters,Religion,Social affairs

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