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Receipt links man to blast outside temple

Warrant says 3 bags of a 'demolition agent' bought near Fresno were sent to suspect.

April 13, 2011|Andrew Blankstein

Authorities linked a large explosive device that went off outside a Santa Monica synagogue to a suspect based on a receipt found at the scene, according to a federal arrest warrant.

The warrant says the receipt was for three 11-pound bags of a "demolition agent" purchased April 1 in Clovis, northeast of Fresno. The package was sent to suspect Ron Hirsch, 60, at a Santa Monica address, officials said.

Officials also found at the scene plumbing tape, empty dry ice bags, five pieces of rebar, bags of cement and a steel pipe wrench, according to the warrant.

Hirsch was arrested Monday night near a Chabad House in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. He is accused of setting off a large explosive device Thursday outside the Santa Monica Chabad House.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Friday, April 22, 2011 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 News Desk 2 inches; 78 words Type of Material: Correction
Synagogue explosion: An article in the April 13 LATExtra section reported on authorities' linking of an explosive device that went off outside a Santa Monica synagogue to a suspect, Ron Hirsch, who was arrested in Ohio. The article said ABC News quoted Rabbi Sruly Wolf as saying, "A fellow in our community spotted him in the shul [school] on Taylor Road in Cleveland Heights." "School" was incorrectly added in the editing process; the meaning of "shul" is "synagogue."

He was charged in federal court Tuesday with fleeing to avoid prosecution. Los Angeles County prosecutors said charges in the actual bombing are still pending.

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 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, which sent a 300-pound metal pipe encased in concrete crashing through the roof of a home next to the temple on 17th Street near Broadway. No one was hurt. Authorities at first said the blast was accidental, but later determined that explosives had been used.

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 Congregation Bais Yehuda on North La Brea Avenue in L.A.

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

ABC News quoted a rabbi in Cleveland Heights as saying Hirsch was seen inside his synagogue. "A fellow in our community spotted him in the shul [school] on Taylor Road in Cleveland Heights," said Rabbi Sruly Wolf. "The rabbi who spotted him called the Cleveland Heights police, who immediately responded and called the FBI."

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andrew.blankstein@latimes.com

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