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Suspect Seen on Camera Throwing Molotov Cocktail at NJ Temple Arrested: FBI



The man allegedly seen on video in a ski mask lighting a Molotov cocktail and throwing it at the front door of a New Jersey synagogue has been arrested, the FBI said Wednesday.

An FBI spokesperson identified the suspect in the Sunday morning attack in Bloomfield as Nicholas Malindretos. The 25-year-old, from Clifton, is expected to face federal arson-related charges, which will be announced later by the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Malindretos was tracked in part through video of his Volkswagen going to and from the synagogue, as well as license plate reader matching, according to officials familiar with the investigation. When his vehicle was found, clothing similar to those seen in the video were seen inside.

Malindretos is believed to have a history of emotional issues, officials told NBC New York.

Authorities are looking for one suspect in the early Sunday attack on Temple Ner Tamid in Bloomfield. Ida Siegal reports.

Temple Ner Tamid released a statement following the arrest, saying police “will be investigating the suspect’s ties — if any — to individuals or groups with hateful, violent, traitorous, or insurrectionist goals.”


Rabbi Marc Katz said the synagogue will “evaluate further options to improve our safety in the long term, [and] we plan to continue an elevated security presence at the building for several more days.”

No one was hurt in the attempted firebombing at the temple during the early overnight hours. Surveillance footage showed someone in a ski mask light a Molotov cocktail and throw it at the front door of the synagogue, which is part of the vast five-county network of Jewish Federation Greater MetroWest NJ.

The flaming bottle did not damage the temple after it broke on the shatter-resistant doors — one of many security upgrades made there over the years. The fire went out on impact.

Rabbi Katz also noted recent security enhancement thanks to a state Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness grant.

“We have and will continue to do everything in our power to keep our community safe,” Katz said Sunday. “Everything worked as it should. Our cameras recorded the incident and our shatter-resistant doors held. But what I cannot do, is convince our community not to grow despondent. There is hate everywhere, and hate wins when we let it penetrate.”

Anyone with information regarding the incicent is asked to call Bloomfield police. The Essex County prosecutor’s office, FBI and ATF have also been notified and a joint investigation is ongoing, officials said. The superintendent of schools in nearby Montclair said the district would increase security Monday as well.

The Essex County Sheriff’s Office said it was offering a $10,000 reward for information regarding the suspect that would lead to an arrest.


In 2022, there an all-time high in antisemitic incidents and assaults reported in both New Jersey and New York — and a man was just arrested in early November for allegedly threatening temples across the state.

This latest case underscores the ongoing nature of the problem, according to David Saginaw, who heads the Jewish Federation Greater MetroWest NJ.

“This incident comes amidst a climate of intimidation and intolerance, and a rising tide of anti-Jewish hate crimes and hate speech against Jews,” he said. “Our Jewish Federation will continue to work with all partners in the community to stand up to hate, build our resilience, and promote safety and security.”

News 4’s Gilma Avalos reports.

Source: NBC New York


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