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Holywood, FL - Police Investigating 'Judaica' Store Fire As Possible Hate Crime

Published on: December 3, 2011 09:14 PM
By:  WSVN TV
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Hollyland Judaica in Hollywood was burnt down by arsonists last wednesday night.Hollyland Judaica in Hollywood was burnt down by arsonists last wednesday night.

Holywood, FL - Police are investigating a suspected case of arson at a South Florida bookstore.

The fire broke out inside the Holyland Judaica store near 56th Avenue and Stirling Road, early Thursday morning.

Hollywood Fire Rescue responded to the scene of the fire. Smoke seeped into neighboring businesses, but crews were able to extinguish the flames before they could spread to the adjacent businesses. “We’re lucky that the damage here is not so big,” said Micha Edrei, a chef at a business near the bookstore.

The bookstore sustained major interior damage, and many of the holy books and other items inside the store were destroyed in the fire. “I’m shocked when I see it. It’s really a disaster here,” said Moshe Shaltiel, a friend of the book store’s owner.

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According to officials, they are sure that the fire was intentionally set. Surveillance cameras in the area captured several people running from the rear of the store before the fire began, and it appeared as though someone kicked in the back door of the business. Neighboring business owner Yossi Gopin said, “They found that right before the fire started, two people ran out of the back doors.”

“They broke in from here,” Shaltiel said. “They probably put the fire there and ran away.”

Authorities are investigating whether or not the bookstore arson was a hate crime. “It goes to show you that you don’t know what’s going to happen from one day to the next,” said Gopin. “You just wake up one morning, and your entire life that you’ve been working on for 20 years is shattered.”

Investigators hope to process the surveillance video within the next few days.

If you have any information on this arson, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward.



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Read Comments (3)  —  Post Yours »

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 Dec 04, 2011 at 01:21 AM Anonymous Says:

The owner of Holyland Judaica is a finer frum Jew who is moser nefesh to keep his seforim store open. It is stocked with the most popular seforim and if there is anything you need, the owner will have it in a few days. Holyland is the ONLY seforim store in Broward County - one of the largest Jewish population centers in the country. Coming right before Chanukah, one of this busy seasons - this is a tragedy for him. Insurance will cover the inventory - it won't cover the lost revenue this month.

9

 Dec 04, 2011 at 11:31 AM Heather Says:

Yes, he is truly a wonderful man who does business with much integrity. Such a pity....

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