City Councilman Calls Hollywood Temple Fire A Hate Crime

HOLLYWOOD (CBS) — City Councilman Tom LaBonge is calling the burglary and small fire that happened at a synagogue in Hollywood a hate crime.

“Any time an institution is attacked it’s a hate crime,” LaBonge said.  “Any time — whether a church, a temple, a mosque.”

According to police, the damage was discovered by workers arriving about 9 a.m. at Temple Israel at 7300 Hollywood Blvd., two blocks west of La Brea Avenue.

Police believe the burglary took place overnight when the building was empty.  When staff first arrived on the scene, the saw a man exciting the building.  The suspect broke into a second-story classroom through a window, burglarized the area and set a small fire.

“Yeah I’m a little scared,” said student Jacob Shneiderman.  “We were thinking that we might die or that the school might burn down if the fire set all around the school.”

Police evacuated the school and searched for the suspect, possibly a transient, who may have been wearing a ski mask.

Personnel from the Los Angeles Fire Department, FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are investigating the incident.

(©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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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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