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Prosecutors: Synagogue Firebomb Suspect Also Targeted Paramus J.C.C.

HACKENSACK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) - The Bergen County Prosecutor's office announced new charges against Anthony Graziano of Lodi, who is already charged with two separate firebombing attacks on synagogues in New Jersey.

LISTEN: 1010 WINS' Steve Sandberg reports


At an afternoon news conference, officials said that Graziano, 19, planned, but failed to carry out a firebombing at the Jewish Community Center in Paramus on Jan. 7.  The prosecutor said that Graziano was seen on surveillance video and may have been spooked by a passing patrol car, 1010 WINS' Steve Sandberg reported.

"Mr. Graziano abandoned his intent to cause damage to this synagogue and ran away. He actually did not even take his bike," Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said.

Paramus JCC Surveillance Video
Prosecutors says Anthony Graziano is seen in this surveillance video ahead of an attempted attack on the J.C.C. in Paramus. (credit: Bergen County Prosecutor)

He also allegedly left behind firebombing materials, including beer bottles, vodka bottles and plastic bottles filled with gasoline.

"His intent was to go back, grab two or three, run up to the building, light them, throw them. Run back, grab two or three come back to building, light them, throw them," said Molinelli.

WCBS 880's Levon Putney On The Story In New Jersey


Prosecutors said that Graziano may have been looking at buying weapons.

"Maybe down the road, it might have been his intent to acquire a weapon and putting a weapon in this man's hands could certainly have resulted in something much more substantial," Molinelli said.

Rabbi Arthur Weiner, of the Paramus J.C.C., said he is thankful that Graziano was unsuccessful in the alleged firebombing attempt on the center.

"Our synagogue was a target and I guess the potential for damage was great, but we're very grateful that no damage occurred," Weiner said.

Graziano is accused of firebombing Temple Beth-El in Rutherford on Jan. 11, allegedly hurling an explosive device through the window and onto the bed of Rabbi Nosson Schuman. Graziano has pleaded not guilty to nine counts of first-degree attempted murder, bias intimidation and aggravated arson.

Graziano is also accused of an attack on a synagogue in Paramus on Jan. 3.

Authorities have recently wrapped up a sweep of every Jewish facility within 10 miles of Graziano's home. They used dogs to sniff for flammables and accelerants. The 10-mile radius was swept because Graziano allegedly used a bike to carry out his attacks.

The chain of events has also put the Jewish Community on alert.

"This guy is living a very vacant life if his motivation for everything is hate," said Gale Bindelglass.

Bindelglass' parents are Holocaust survivors who married after being liberated. They lost most of their family.

"I have tried to keep my mom away from this. they've lived through enough for 10 lifetimes of horror," Bindelglass said.

Authorities also said Graziano has not been ruled out as a possible suspect in the swastika graffiti found spray painted on synagogues in Maywood and Hackensack in December.

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