Map of targets found in Bloomfield, NJ synagogue firebomber’s home, officials say
🔥 Federal prosecutors said investigators found gasoline and a map of targets in the home of Nicholas Malindretros
✡ He is charged with throwing a firebomb at a Bloomfield synagogue
👮 Officials said they're committed to investigating hate crimes targeting religion
CLIFTON — Investigators found flammable items and a concerning map when they searched the home of a man charged with throwing a Molotov cocktail at a Bloomfield synagogue early Sunday morning, according to federal prosecutors.
Nicholas Malindretos, 26, appeared in Newark federal court on one count of attempted use of fire to damage and destroy a building used in interstate commerce on Thursday. A judge ordered him to remain in custody after prosecutors warned that he would "present a danger to the community."
The Clifton man is accused of walking up the driveway of Temple Ner Tamid around 3 a.m. Sunday, lighting a homemade firebomb and throwing it at the Jewish temple. Instead of setting the building on fire, the glass bottle broke against the front door leaving a small puddle of gasoline.
Authorities said a search of Malindretos's home turned up gasoline, wicks, and lighters. Investigators also found a map noting a "ten-mile radius of targets" including police and military targets.
🛑 'Hate crimes have got to stop'
While Malindretos was not charged with a bias crime as of Thursday, law enforcement officials gathered outside the federal court building in Newark as a show of unity against hate.
Philip Sellinger, US attorney for the District of New Jersey, said the charge against Malindretos carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
"No one should fear for their lives because of the exercise of their religion," Sellinger said.
State Attorney General Matthew Platkin added that the investigation was a collaborative effort between law enforcement.
"We will not stop working tirelessly to protect you and make sure that you can live, worship, and enjoy your life freely and safely no matter who you are or how you pray," Platkin said.
"Hate crimes have got to stop," Jim Dennehy, special agent in charge at the Newark FBI office, said. "But until they do, the FBI and all of our partners will make it one of our top priorities to investigate them and bring them to resolve."
READ MORE: Arrest made in firebombing of Bloomfield, NJ synagogue
Malindretos was arrested on Wednesday. Federal prosecutors said a license plate reader in the area captured a vehicle arriving at and leaving around the time of the incident. Authorities said the vehicle belongs to Malindretros and video cameras recorded a man matching his description exiting the vehicle.
Temple Ner Tamid is hosting an interfaith rally against hate Thursday evening. Rabbi Marc Katz said the rally will feature readings from pastors, rabbis, and imams as well as appearances from elected officials.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Rick Rickman is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at email@example.com
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