LAUDERHILL, Fla. – Lauderhill police are investigating after a police vehicle was set on fire in the parking lot of a synagogue.
The incident occurred overnight in the parking lot of the Synagogue of Inverrary-Chabad at 6700 NW 44th St.
According to police, surveillance video shows a man with a container walking up to the vehicle and pouring some kind of liquid on it before it was set on fire.
“It’s unfortunate somebody chose to do this,” Rabbi Levi Chanowitz said.
Chanowitz said he got a call late in the night about what went down.
“Police and Fire (Rescue) were here and they were taking care of what needed to be done,” he said.
The rabbi’s wife said the incident is shocking.
“This is a place of worship, this is a place of peace,” Estie Chanowitz said.
The alleged arsonist was described as a slim male who was wearing a black hoodie.
After a vandalism incident earlier this month, the unoccupied police car was left in the parking lot of the synagogue as a decoy of sorts to scare away any would-be criminals.
“We did have an incident a couple of weeks ago where an individual ripped off some signage that we had in front of the synagogue,” Estie Chanowitz said.
“At this time, there’s no indication to suggest the two incidents are related,” Lt. Mike Santiago said.
Local 10 News was at the scene as someone who was found behind the synagogue was placed into handcuffs, however authorities said that man was not involved with the arson but had active warrants.
“Hopefully this person can be found and dealt with appropriately so this doesn’t happen anywhere else,” Levi Chanowitz said.
The rabbi and his wife say they will not allow darkness to dispel their mission of bringing light into people’s lives.
“My message to this individual is, ‘Find God. Find peace in your own life,” Estie Chanowitz said.
Anyone with further information is asked to call the Lauderhill Police Department or Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-8477.