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Transient Accused In Blast Near Jewish Center Still At Large

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SANTA MONICA (CBS) — Santa Monica police want the public to be on the lookout for a transient suspected in an explosion outside a Santa Monica synagogue last week.

No one was hurt in Thursday’s early morning explosion near Chabad House Lubavich, but police said they want to talk to 60-year-old Ron Hirsch.

ron hirsch Transient Accused In Blast Near Jewish Center Still At Large

(credit: Santa Monica Police Department)

Police say Hirsch is homeless and sometimes goes by the name Israel Fisher. He’s about 5 feet 7 inches and 205 pounds, with thinning hair and a full beard. He is known for panhandling outside synagogues, including Congregation Bais Yehuda on North La Brea Avenue, according to police.

Authorities won’t specify exactly what materials led them to Hirsch. Initially neighbors were told it was an industrial accident.

“We looked at some of the stuff that was involved in the industrial accident and as a result we found some materials that we believed caused the explosion. As a result, we’re looking for this individual,” Sgt. Jay Trisler of the Santa Monica Police Department said.

Authorities say they do not believe this was a hate crime, yet LAPD has confirmed they have stepped up security at area synagogues and Jewish centers.

“We put out an alert for the purpose of primarily protecting the security of the Jewish institutions and secondarily as in a partnership with law enforcement to gather information or evidence about this individual that they’re looking for,” Amanda Susskind of the Anti-Defamation League said.

Hirsch is wanted on possession of a destruction device. Police say he is considered dangerous. Anyone who has seen Hirsch is urged to call police at (310) 458-8427.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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