Man Wanted for Questioning in Rutherford Synagogue Firebomb

The man was seen on surveillance video.

Friday, Jan 20, 2012  |  Updated 5:16 PM EDT
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Police Probe Temple Fire as Attempted Murder

Someone's targeting synagogues and other places of worship in the area. Four separate communities have seen some form of hate crime in recent weeks, the latest Wednesday morning at a rabbi's home in Rutherford. Pat Battle reports.
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Authorities have released photos of a person wanted for questioning in relation to a firebombing at a northern New Jersey synagogue, a building where a rabbi and his family were sleeping.     

No one was injured when someone threw several objects, including a rigged aerosol can and a Molotov cocktail, into the synagogue in Rutherford on Jan. 11, but the county prosecutor said authorities are investigating the incident as an attempted murder case.

The synagogue is one component of the building, which also houses Congregation Beth El, a school and Rabbi Nosson Schuman and his family.

The suspect is described by Bergen County prosecutors as having brown to black hair and a beard, standing 5 feet 10 inches tall to 6 feet 1 inch tall, and is said to be between 18 and 30 years old with a thin to medium build.

He was seen on surveillance video wearing a red and black track suit, black sneakers and a red wool skullcap. He was carrying a camouflage backpack.

One of the firebomb devices crashed through Schuman's second-floor bedroom window at about 4:30 a.m., burning him on the hand. His wife, five children and mother- and father-in-law escaped unscathed.

While prosecutors are considering religious hatred a possible motive, Schuman says the modest congregation in the quiet residential Rutherford neighborhood has never before been threatened.

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