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Monday
Apr112011

Santa Monica Synagogue Blast Suspect Arrested in Cleveland

Federal Bureau of Investigation(CLEVELAND) -- The man suspected of using a never-before-seen launcher to fire a projectile at a Santa Monica, Calif., synagogue was arrested Monday night in Cleveland, Ohio by the FBI.

Ron Hirsch, who was the subject of a nationwide manhunt, boarded a bus the same day he hurled 300 pounds of pipe and concrete into the roof of a building adjacent to the Chabad House and less than a block from the Santa Monica synagogue, police said.

Investigators confirmed that a man known as J. Fisher, a known alias used by Hirsch, purchased the bus ticket. He was originally scheduled to arrive in New York on Sunday, but surveillance video shows him getting off the bus in Denver, Colo., investigators said.

Hirsch, who is believed to have family in New York, is a transient known in Los Angeles for towing a trailer full of possessions behind a bicycle, police sources said.

The projectile appears to have been fired from an alley, bounced off the center's wall and crashed through the roof. The bang shattered windows, punctured a hole in the synagogue and sent the 300-pound metal pipe into a neighbor's house where a young boy was sleeping. The incident took place shortly before prayer services at the Chabad House Thursday morning and triggered the evacuation of about 100 people from a four-block radius.

Hirsch is also known as Israel Fisher, according to information released by police. He constructed the projectile device using elements including concrete, explosive powder, dry ice and what appears to be an expansion joint sealant, or other expanding plastic or foam.

The oddly constructed mechanical launcher appears to have been highly effective at hurling its material, although it did not seriously damage the Chabad House, which appears to have been its target.

Law enforcement officials say Hirsch attempted to stay at a Jewish center in Cleveland, where a rabbi recognized him and notified authorities.

An investigation is underway.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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