A 19-year-old Rutgers student taught a Lodi teen how to make the Molotov cocktails used in firebombings of two Bergen County synagogues and encouraged the attacks, authorities said Friday.
Aakash Dalal, formerly of Lodi, allegedly showed Anthony Graziano, the teen who , how to make the Molotov cocktails used in firebombings of in Paramus and Congregation Beth El in Rutherford, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said.
Dalal and Graziano also spray painted anti-Semitic graffiti on synagogues in Hackensack and Maywood, Molinelli said.
Dalal is charged with aggravated arson, conspiracy to commit aggravated arson and bias intimidation in connection with the firebombings. He and Graziano have also been charged with two counts each of criminal mischief in connection with the graffiti incidents.
Police arrested Dalal early Friday morning at an apartment in New Brunswick. Dalal is a student at Rutgers University, though Molinelli said he didn't appear to be taking any classes this semester.
Dalal and Graziano have known each other since middle school, Molinelli said.
While Dalal wasn't present for the two firebombing incidents and a third attempt at the Jewish Community Center in Paramus, Molinelli said Dalal played a direct role in showing Graziano how to carry out the attacks and in encouraging him to do so.
"Mr. Dalal was actually the instigator of these incidents," Molinelli said.
Investigators unearthed online conversations between Graziano and Dalal that seem to indicate that Graziano was trying to impress Dalal. In one conversation on Jan. 4, Graziano and Dalal were speaking about the attack on Congregation K'hal Adath Jeshurun, which did minimal damage.
"Basically no damage," Dalal allegedly wrote. "It did nothing. You haven't proven yourself."
"So how much damage would be acceptable?" Graziano allegedly asked.
"Serious damage," Dalal allegedly responded. "Or total burnage."
In a later conversation, Graziano allegedly reports that he has found all-wood synagogue, Beth El in Rutherford, Molinelli said.
"Make sure they break through the windows," Dalal allegedly advised.
The two apparently discussed the investigation into the attacks, as well. In another undated conversation after the Rutherford attack, Dalal allegedly wrote, "We are going to put these Jews in their ... place. ... Molinelli is going to lose his ... job."
"Obviously, I'm still here as the prosecutor," Molinelli said.
Investigators pored over hundreds of similar conversations recovered from Graziano's computers, Molinelli said.
Joy Kurland, director of the Jewish Community Relations Council for the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey, praised the police response to the firebombing incidents.
"The Jewish community are extremely gratified to hear this news," she said. "I can't commend law enforcement enough."
Graziano was arrested in January and charged with firebombing synagogues in and Rutherford. , and his attorney noted his client's mental health history.
In the Rutherford attack, authorities said Graziano lobbed Molotov cocktails through the bedroom window of Rabbi Nosson Schuman of Congregation Beth El.
He was later charged with in Paramus.
The attacks put area's Jewish community on edge, and prompted police to .
These are transcripts of online conversations alleged to have taken place between Anthony Graziano and Aakash A. Dalal.
Jan. 4, 2012 -(After attack on Congregation K'hal Adath Jeshurun in Paramus)
Graziano: I'm ready to be released.
D: It didn't burn well.
G: Well it made the news.
D: That was a joke. It was pathetic.
G: The fire burned but I'm guessing the cold weather took it out.
D: Basically no damage. It did nothing. You haven't proven yourself.
G: So how much damage would be acceptable?
D: Serious damage. Or total burnage.
Jan. 8, 2012
G: I finally found an all wood synagogue. Congregation beth el Rutherford.
D: Where is the all wood gog located?
G: 185 Montross avenue, Rutherford, nj. Now I know why you want me to do this. Ultimate dedication.
D: They're definitely watching.
G: All wood, it's in a suburb area. I could easily throw the molotovs from the side.
D: Make sure they break through the windows.
Undated (After the attack on Congregation Beth El in Rutherford)
D: Wow. Nice. I'm looking at the house now. Nice [expletive] throw.
G: I'll be making a comeback. "Ball of fire through the window."
G: Dude, that ADL jew [Etzion Neuer, director of Community Service and Policy for the Anti-Defamation League] is hilarious. He looks like he's about to roll over and cry.
D: "Stalked out for weeks."
D: This just shows how pathetic the government is. They likely have 40+ people working on the case. And they can't figure anything out.
G: They suck. I disposed of everything.