|Page (1) of 1 - 01/03/12||email article||print page|
Law official: Man was denied use of NY Islamic center bathroom before he hurled firebomb
NEW YORK (AP) ' A man hurled crude firebombs at an Islamic cultural center in part because he wasn't allowed to use its bathrooms and targeted four other New York-area sites on New Year's Day because of personal grievances, a law enforcement official said Tuesday.
The 40-year-old man, of Guyanese descent, was taken into custody Tuesday after he was tracked through a stolen car with Virginia license plates believed to be at the scene of at least two of the attacks Sunday evening on a convenience store, three homes and the cultural center, police said.
The man, whose name hadn't been disclosed, made statements implicating himself in the attacks and had personal problems with each location, New York Police Department chief spokesman Paul Browne said.
Two of the targets were homes in Queens, and one was a relative's home in neighboring Nassau County.
The man was facing arson-related charges, and it was unclear Tuesday whether the attacks were considered hate crimes, which could bring extra penalties. He has prior arrests for drugs, passing bad checks and weapons possession.
The law enforcement official, speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the case was still being investigated, said the man made broad anti-Muslim statements and could be charged with a hate crime in the Islamic center attack.
Authorities believe the man was kicked out of the convenience store on Dec. 27 for trying to steal a glass Starbucks Frappuccino bottle and milk. Four of the five crude firebombs thrown at the various locations were made from glass Starbucks bottles, police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said earlier Tuesday. The fifth likely was made from a beer bottle.
Witnesses reported the man made threats as he was escorted out, Kelly said.
"When they were pushing him out of the store, he said words to the effect that, 'We're going to get even. We're going to get back at you,'" Kelly said.
No one was injured in any of the attacks, which wrought little or no damage at most of the sites.