The FBI announced on Wednesday that a 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, NBC New York reports.
An FBI spokesperson identified the suspect in the Sunday morning attack on Temple Ner Tamid in Bloomfield as Nicholas Malindretos, 25, from Clifton. He is expected to face federal arson-related charges, which will be announced later by the US 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.
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."
No one was hurt in the attempted firebombing, which occurred 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.
Last month, a swastika was found carved into the top of a desk at a middle school in Glen Rock, New Jersey.
Earlier that month, a playground in Montclair, New Jersey was vandalized with antisemitic graffiti which included multiple swastikas, antisemitic phrases and hate speech.
In November, the FBI in Newark said it had received “credible information of a broad threat to synagogues” in the state.
The FBI later said that the threat had been “mitigated” but an increased police presence at synagogues and Jewish schools continued across the state.
A new survey released by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in mid-January found widespread belief in antisemitic conspiracy theories and tropes, with twenty percent of respondents admitting to holding such views, nearly double the number in a previous survey conducted by ADL in 2019. A significant number of those surveyed also expressed anti-Israel sentiments.