Skip To Content

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Breaking News

Elite Arson Squad Probes Fires Targeting Bukharian Jews In Queens

The New York Police Department has sent several elite units to a Queens neighborhood where several Jewish homes have been set on fire and has published surveillance video (embedded below) of the suspected arsonist.

The police announced Monday they are dispatching a Strategic Response Unit to Forest Hills to address the seven arson attacks there since October, The Daily News reported.

Seven fires, the most recent set Sunday, have targeted new homes under construction for Bukharian Jewish owners. According to radio station WINS, a rabbi owns the home torched most recently.

An estimated 50,000 Bukharians, Jewish immigrants from central Asia, live in New York, the vast majority of them in Forest Hills and adjacent neighborhoods. In Forest Hills, the construction by Bukharians of large, expensive homes, mostly on plots that once housed more modest residences, has sparked tensions with longtime residents in recent years.

“Right now we have members of the Arson and Explosion Squad, Major Case Unit from the NYPD, Fire Marshals, and Queens detectives all concentrated on this area to find out who this person is,” NYPD Chief of Detectives Bob Boyce said, according to the Daily News.

Police, who said they do not believe the arsons are motivated by anti-Semitism, also plan to patrol the area at night.

“We’re not looking at this as a terrorist-related incident,” Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said, according to the Daily News. “We’re not looking at it as a hate crime incident either.”

While the police last week believed they had a suspect, based on information in a note left at the site, the suspect had an alibi and appeared to be innocent.

The Bukharian Jewish Center is offering a $50,000 reward for information on the suspect. The NYPD is also offering a $2,500 reward.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477).


  • Events

    Haart to Haart


    Dec 7, 2022

    7 pm ET · 

    A conversation with Julia Haart and her son Shlomo, stars of Netflix's 'My Unorthodox Life,' about the new season and much more.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.