Law enforcement is on the hunt for a hate creep who threw a Molotov cocktail at the front door of a New Jersey synagogue early Sunday.
Video surveillance showed a man in a ski mask approaching the front of the Ner Tamid Temple around 3:20 am. with the molotov before lighting it and throwing it at the door, said the Bloomfield Department of Public Safety. The suspect then fled down the street.
The glass of the device was broken but did not cause any damage to the temple, police said. No one was inside at the time.
Authorities have described the arson attempt as a “biased incident.” A joint investigation was underway involving local detectives, the FBI, ATF and the Essex County District Attorney’s Office, Bloomfield officials said.
Police released two images of the suspect in a news release Sunday.
A temple employee found the broken bottle and gasoline around 9:30 a.m., Rabbi Marc Katz told the Bergen Record. Sunday activities at the synagogue were cancelled.
“People are on heightened alert because of this and rightly feel concerned about the state of anti-Semitism because of how prevalent it has been lately,” Katz told the paper, adding. “However, I don’t think anyone ever expects their church to be attacked.”
The temple had previously improved security measures, including adding watertight barriers over the glass windows and doors, Katz also said, stressing that “we were able to prevent the worst” because the Molotov cocktail did not go through the doors.
Police nearby said Livingstone they had “increased our patrols of our temples” until more information was revealed about the Ner Tamid Temple attack.
Rep. Mikie Sherrill, who represents the Garden State’s 11th House District, said she was “devastated” by the incident.
“While I am grateful that the damage was minimal and no one was injured, I am devastated and angry today,” she said in a statement. “Anti-Semitic hatred is on the rise in our state, our country and around the world, and we must all work together to stamp it out.”
New Jersey Attorney General Matt Platkin said his office was cooperating with law enforcement to locate the suspect.
He also said his office was also investigating another “potentially bias-motivated” attack on members of a church in Monmouth County that occurred Saturday, though he did not elaborate.
“We are cognizant of the fact that these attacks occurred while violence continues to erupt in Israel and while our own nation is reckoning with the violence at home,” Platkin said in a statement.
“I want to assure all New Jerseyans — especially our friends and neighbors of the black community and Jewish faith — that law enforcement continues to take appropriate steps to increase our presence around sensitive places, so that all in our state may worship, love and live without fear of violence or threat.”