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Suspect in Santa Monica synagogue blast held in Ohio

Ron Hirsch, suspected in a synagogue bombing and believed to have been fleeing across the country, was arrested in Cleveland Heights, authorities say.

April 12, 2011|By Robert J. Lopez, Los Angeles Times

A man suspected in the explosion last week at a Santa Monica synagogue has been arrested in Ohio, police said Monday night.?

Ron Hirsch, 60, who was wanted in connection with Thursday's explosion at Chabad House, was apprehended in Cleveland Heights, the Santa Monica Police Department said.

He was taken into custody by local law enforcement officers who had received a tip from someone who had come into contact with Hirsch, according to authorities.

The FBI said Hirsch fled Los Angeles on Thursday on a Greyhound bus after the explosion at Chabad House. He was believed headed to New York, where he has relatives. But authorities said Hirsch may have gotten off the bus elsewhere.

On Monday afternoon, the FBI released images from a surveillance camera at a Greyhound station in Denver, which showed Hirsch walking through the building and standing at a counter.

It was unclear whether he took a bus from Colorado to Ohio. Authorities stressed late Monday that the investigation was ongoing and that additional details would be released as they became available.

Hirsch is believed responsible for last week's blast that sent a 300-pound metal pipe encased in concrete crashing through the roof of a home next to the synagogue, on 17th Street near Broadway. No one was injured.

Authorities first said the blast was accidental but later determined that explosives had been used. ?

Law enforcement sources told The Times that the explosive contained gunpowder and other materials linked to Hirsch. But authorities said they had not determined a motive.

Hirsch, also known as Israel Fisher, was described by authorities as a transient who frequented Jewish synagogues and community centers in search of charity. Among them was the Congregation Bais Yehuda on North La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles.

The FBI; the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; the Los Angeles Police Department; the L.A. County Sheriff's Department; and the Santa Monica police and fire departments were investigating the incident.

robert.lopez@latimes.com

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