Home » Florida man sets fire to rabbi’s van outside Fort Lauderdale Jewish Center: police

Florida man sets fire to rabbi’s van outside Fort Lauderdale Jewish Center: police

by John Jefferson
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Police in South Florida arrested a man they say intentionally set fire to a rabbi’s car Saturday morning.

Fort Lauderdale police responded to the scene at the Las Olas Chabad Jewish Center around 7:21 a.m., the department told Fox News Digital. 

The center’s rabbi, Chaim Slavaticki, told WTVJ he got a knock on his door alerting him to what was happening.

“Screaming fire at the center, fire at the center and I rushed over,” Slavaticki told the TV station. “Everything is still fresh, a lot of emotions.”

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The Rabbi says security cameras showed the man lighting his van on fire and unsuccessfully attempting to light the building on fire, before the fire eventually spread from the vehicle to the building itself.

Along with losing the van, the Jewish center’s kitchen was damaged, and smoke and soot impacted the building. Sabbath services had to be held outside on Saturday as a result of the fire damage.  

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Police handcuffs

“We have to look at the positive, and it’s a time to reflect on unity and coming together and continuing to be a light to the community,” Slavaticki told WTVJ.

Police identified Scott Hannaford, 50, as the suspect, and arrested him on suspicion of two counts of arson, criminal mischief and possession of cocaine. 

“The suspect … appears to suffer mental illness and has been trespassed from this property before,” a police spokesperson told Fox News Digital. “Based on the information we have at this time, this incident is believed to be an isolated incident by a known individual and is NOT considered a hate crime.”

Las Olas Chabad Jewish Center

Hannaford, described by police as a transient resident of Fort Lauderdale, was booked into the Broward Sheriff’s Office Main Jail. Online arrest records show no bond has been set, and his charges are pending trial.  

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