Report: LES Synagogue Arsonist Identified, Released Without Charges
David Diaz is reportedly the Lower East Side teenager accused of torching the 167-year-old Beth Hamedrash Hagadol. The New York Post identified the accused, while reporting yesterday that the boy appeared in Manhattan Family Court for what was supposed to be his arraignment for the May 14 fire.
However, Diaz left the facility after a brief meeting with the New York City Law Department, the entity that handles juvenile cases. “We are continuing our investigation into this matter,” a spokesman told the tabloid. “If we file charges on a future date, a press statement will be issued at that time.”
The 14-year-old was arrested days after the massive fire and charged with third-degree arson. A day later, though, the minor was released into parental custody without any charges. His two pals who were with him during the burn job – he allegedly lit a curtain on fire – were considered “witnesses,” according to NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill.
Police also believe that Diaz is likewise behind a small fire at the same synagogue two weeks earlier (May 7).
Meanwhile, owner-leader Rabbi Mendel Greenbaum now seeks donations, and implores area Jews to keep the house of worship in the spotlight. How? By inviting bar mitzvah boys to wrap Tefilin or read Torah in front of the ruins, so as to attract media attention.