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Suspect in Santa Monica synagogue blast arrested in Ohio

Ron Hirsch, the man police say is responsible for an explosion outside a Santa Monica synagogue last week, may be headed to the East Coast, said police.

April 11, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The man police say is responsible for an explosion outside a Santa Monica synagogue last week was arrested in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, according to the FBI.

Authorities said 60-year-old Ron Hirsch, considered to be extremely dangerous, was arrested Monday evening.

"The individual in custody was arrested following a call to law enforcement by a concerned citizen who had come into contact with man believed to be Hirsch. This is a continuing investigation and additional details will be provided as they are developed," the FBI said in a statement.

Authorities said Hirsch was believed to have boarded a Greyhound bus on Thursday, the day of the incident. Hirsch is known to use the aliases "Israel Fisher" and "J. Fisher."

Investigators confirmed that a man going by the name J. Fisher bought a bus ticket to New York that was originally scheduled to arrive Sunday, April 10.

There are at least 10 destinations between Los Angeles and New York. After looking through surveillance recordings, investigators spotted Hirsch getting off the bus in Denver. He may have gone anywhere from there, but police say Hirsch may have family in New York.

Video surveillance captured him getting off the bus, going to the ticket counter and then boarding another eastbound bus, FBI spokesman Dave Joly in Denver said.

The blast went off Thursday outside the Chabad House Lubavitch of Santa Monica on 17th Street. Though police first thought it was an industrial accident, they later determined the blast was the result of a pipe bomb.

Investigators found evidence linking Hirsch, a transient who sometimes went to the synagogue seeking charity, to the blast.

Authorities said the bomb was constructed by filling a pipe with an explosive and setting it in concrete inside a trash can.

The 300-pound projectile went shooting into the sky, bounced off the wall of the Jewish center, tore a hole into the roof of Janti Rashti's home and narrowly missed her11-year-old daughter inside. No injuries were reported in the incident.

Rashti is still dealing with the damage to her home. She said she's relieved to hear about the arrest.

"I just don't know why people would do something like this," said Rashti.

Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to call Santa Monica Police at (310) 458-8427.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.