Friday, March 09, 2012
Hasidic community targeted and seriously burned in a May arson attack —
was intentionally set ablaze Thursday night.
Hillcrest firefighters responded to Jefferson Avenue about 10:40 p.m. to find the rear of Rottenberg's 2003 Mazda in flames, Ramapo Police Sgt. Blaine
By the time police arrived moments later, the fire had been extinguished. No injuries were reported.
The arson fire started with someone lighting either paper or cardboard
under the trunk near the gas tank, Ramapo Capt. Brad Weidel said this
morning. He said the criminal charge is third-degree arson if someone
said Rottenberg told detectives that he doesn't believe the arson was
related to the previous problems with New Square religious leaders or
the attacks on him and his property at his Truman Avenue house. He was
staying with relatives on Jefferson Avenue last night when the fire
Rottenberg feels that this is not connected to the previous incidents
between him and New Square," Weidel said. "It's natural you would think
there's some connection. He's adamant. He doesn't believe that's the
Weidel said detectives are looking to interview witnesses and any suspects who started the fire.
The Ramapo Police Department and the Rockland County sheriff's arson unit are investigating the incident.
The attack follows what many believed was the conclusion of difficult ordeal for the Rottenberg family.
On May 22, the Rottenberg home in New Square was attacked because Aron
Rottenberg refused to pray in Grand Rabbi David Twersky's Truman Avenue
Rottenberg suffered third-degree burns to over 50 percent of his body as a result
of the attack, burns that left him hospitalized for weeks.
Shaul Spitzer, who has admitted to throwing an incendiary device at
Rottenberg, setting him on fire, pleaded guilty to first-degree assault, a felony, on Feb. 7.
Spitzer's plea came as part of an agreement that ended Rottenberg's civil
lawsuit. It is believed that another element of the agreement includes
Rottenberg receiving about $2 million in compensation from supporters of Spitzer and Grand Rabbi David Twersky.
Spitzer, 18 at the time of the attack, lived with Twersky, working as a type of butler.
Spitzer, still being held, is to be sentenced by state Supreme Court Justice
William A. Kelly on April 17. He faces a maximum of 10 years in state
prison. Kelly has already indicated that Spitzer will likely receive a
sentence of at least five years in prison.