Suspect in Ras Baraka campaign bus arson identified as Michael Benkowski
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Ras Baraka Campaign Bus Arson
Essex County Prosecutor's Office Major Crimes Task Force : 1 (877) 847-7432
NEWARK - Police say they've identified the man responsible for setting fire to mayoral candidate Ras Baraka's campaign bus in February, but are still searching for him.
Michael Benkowski is facing charges of arson, criminal mischief and burglary in connection to the crime.
Baraka says it's important to find the man responsible since the bus was not only burned, but gas was thrown on board and sugar was put in the gas tank.
If the bus would have exploded, Baraka says it would have endangered residents and nearby businesses.
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Baraka says another man who worked for the campaign of his competitor Shevar Jefferies is also involved in the crime, although police have not yet charged that other man.
"Let me by crystal clear: I do not condone any activities that violate the spirit or letter of the law and neither does my campaign," Shevar Jefferies said in a statement released Tuesday. "I am angry and this is unacceptable behavior for any supporter regardless of which candidate they back."
Anyone with information about Benkowski's whereabouts is asked to call police.