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Boy, 14, Charged with Arson in Fire that Destroyed LES Synagogue

WPIX - May 18, 2017

by CHRIS BRITO

LOWER EAST SIDE, Manhattan – A 14-year-old boy was arrested in connection with the fire that destroyed a historic Lower East Side synagogue over the weekend, police said Wednesday.

The teenager was charged with arson, police said. Cops say they are still looking for other suspects.

Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said Tuesday police were reviewing surveillance video showing several teens fleeing the area at the time of the blaze around 7 p.m. Sunday.

No injuries were reported in the fire.

The Gothic structure was built in 1850 as a Baptist church. It was home to Beth Hamedrash Hagodol for over 120 years ago. The synagogue was closed in 2007.

For many, part of Lower East Side history at 60 Norfolk St. is now gone forever.

“It’s heartbreaking,” Frieda Fried, a lifelong Lower East Side resident said on Sunday. “But since it had been abandoned, there are no sacred scrolls inside burning.”

“It was an absolutely beautiful synagogue,” Fried said. “And now it will probably come down completely.”