Boy, 14, cuffed for sparking fierce Manhattan synagogue blaze


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Cops have arrested a 14-year-old boy in the arson that destroyed a landmarked Lower East Side synagogue, cops said Wednesday.

The teen is accused of setting a wall covering on fire with a lighter, police sources said. They said detectives interviewed four of his classmates who incriminated him.

The boy, who lives in the neighborhood, was being held at a juvenile detention facility, police said.

“Right now we have a 14-year-old in custody,” Police Commissioner James O’Neill said. “There were some other children with the 14-year-old. They’re considered witnesses right now. Doesn’t appear to be bias-related at this time.”


The 167-year-old Beth Hamedrash Hagodol on Norfolk St. near Broome St. caught fire about 7 p.m. Sunday.

Video surveillance showed three teens going inside the shuttered synagogue and leaving just before the fire took off, NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said Tuesday.

Witnesses saw two teens taking pictures moments before flames ripped through the building’s roof.

Firefighters put out the three-alarm fire on Sunday.


Cops did not release the teen’s name because of his age. He has no prior arrests.

“The matter is under investigation by our Family Court Division,” A Law Department spokesman said.

A source with knowledge of the matter said the boy is in his mother’s care.

If the city decides to charge him in Family Court, he will appear before a judge, possibly as soon as May 31.

He has already been before the Department of Probation and the city child welfare agency in connection with his arrest.

It is unclear how long the investigation will take. A police source said no other arrests are expected.