2nd man charged in Bergen County synagogue firebombings

HACKENSACK - Police in Bergen County have made a second arrest in a string of hate crimes that targeted Jewish people.

The rash of graffiti and firebombings terrorized congregations in December and January. Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli says the two suspects who are now in custody were friends in Bergen County as far back in middle school. Today, Molinelli announced the arrest of Aakash Dalal, 19, who is a self-described agnostic.

Dalal grew up in Lodi and is a former student at Rutgers University's New Brunswick campus. The arrest comes about five weeks after the arrest of another suspect, Anthony Graziano, who is Dalal's childhood friend.

Dalal faces nine counts, including one connected to the firebombing of Congregation Beth-El in Rutherford, where Molotov cocktails were thrown into Rabbi Nasson Schuman's second floor bedroom. The rabbi says he considers himself lucky to be alive.

No one came to the door at the Lodi home where Dalal spent his teenage years. Next-door neighbor Thomas Callari says he's known Dalal since he was a kid, and says he's shocked to hear of the charges.

Officials say Graziano was in the process of filling out paperwork to obtain a firearm.

Both suspects could face up to 80 years in jail each if convicted.

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