Second suspect arrested in synagogue attacks
With the arrest of a second Lodi resident, the Bergen County Prosecutors Office has announced that they have resolved all the executed and planned attacks on area synagogues in December and January.
Nineteen-year-old Aakash Dalal is being charged as co-conspirator in the most dangerous attacks, in which firebombs were thrown into the rabbi’s residence at Congregation Beth El in Rutherford. According to Prosecutor John Molinelli, who announced the arrest at a Friday afternoon press conference, Dalal has been friends since middle school with Anthony Graziano, who was arrested in January and charged with nine counts of attempted murder for the Rutherford attack.
The prosecutor said Graziano was responsible for at all five anti-Semitic incidents, which began in December with anti-semitic graffiti spray-painted on synagogues in Maywood and Hackensack, and concluded with a planned but never executed attack on the Jewish Community Center of Paramus. Dalal, said the prosecutor, was with Graziano for the graffiti attacks, but only helped plan the firebombings.
Dalal was a “person of interest” in the investigation prior to Graziano’s arrest, according to Molinelli.
Molinelli said his office has obtained text messages between the two suspects communicating about the attacks.
Following Graziano’s arrest, a message fingering Dalal was anonymously posted in the comments of news reports about the arrest, including on The Jewish Standard’s web site:
“I have personally known anthony for a few years now. he is not mentally all there he needs help, he shouldn’t be serving his time in prison he should be placed in a psychiatric hospital. he has been influenced/taking under the wing by and individual named aakash dalal. this individual has put thoughts into his head that rich upper class people of the jewish community are going to take over the world. I believe that this individual made anthony commit these actions to aid in ‘the movement’ dalal is trying to create.”
The Jewish Standard forwarded this comment to the prosecutors office.
On the day of Graziano’s arrest, a letter to the editor signed by Aakash Dalal was published on the web site of the Ruters student newspaper, the Daily Targum, defending Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul and attacking the Federal Reserve.
It identified Dalal as a sophomore majoring in chemistry and biological sciences.
--Jewish Standard staff