A man who threw Molotov cocktails at a New Jersey synagogue was arrested on Wednesday for his part in the attack, federal prosecutors announced.
Nicholas Malindretos, 26, was arrested after police tracked the car's license plate used in the Sunday morning attack. Police found the clothing used in the attack in the car, thus linking him to the incident.
“The defendant is alleged to have gone to a synagogue in the middle of the night and maliciously attempted to damage and destroy it using a firebomb," US Attorney Sellinger said in the indictment.
“An alleged attempted firebombing on a house of worship is an attack against the entire community,” acting Special Agent in Charge Bryan Miller of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives said. “We are honored to work side by side with our local, state, and federal partners to bring today’s charge.”
Synagogue firebombing after Shabbat
The incident took place on Sunday morning at around 3:00 AM local time. The suspect, believed to be Malindretos, wearing a ski mask at the time of the incident, threw the explosive at the front door of Temple Ner Tamid in Bloomfield, NJ before driving off.
"At approximately 3:00 AM this morning, an unknown individual wearing a ski mask ignited and threw a hand-thrown incendiary weapon 'Molotov cocktail' at the front door of a Greater MetroWest New Jersey community synagogue," Jewish Federation Greater MetroWest NJ CEO Dov Ben-Shimon wrote.
"Thankfully, the device did not work as intended and as such, the damage was limited,” Ben-Shimon added. “Police are on-scene and investigating.”
Malindretos faces a minimum of five years in prison, a maximum of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
“I commend and thank the entire New Jersey law enforcement community for their seamless collaboration and tireless efforts to identify and apprehend the suspect in Sunday’s attack on Temple Ner Tamid,” New Jersey Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin said in the indictment. “In New Jersey, we stand united against hate and bias, and we speak with one voice to show that our state will remain a place where all can live and worship freely and safely.”
“No one should find that their lives are at risk by exercising their faith,” added US Attorney Sellinger. "Protecting communities of faith and houses of worship is core to this office’s mission.”
“We will continue to devote whatever resources are necessary to keep our Jewish community and all New Jersey residents safe,” Sellinger declared.