Homemade Bomb Found at California Synagogue

Police searching for 60-year-old suspect
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 9, 2011 3:15 PM CDT
Homemade Bomb Found at California Synagogue
This booking photo shows Ron Hirsh, 60, who is wanted by the Santa Monica Police Department in connection with an explosion outside the Chabad House synagogue, in Santa Monica.   (AP Photo/Santa Monica Police Department)

When an explosion rocked a Santa Monica synagogue on Thursday, officials thought it was just an accidental gas blast. But yesterday they found what appears to be a makeshift explosive device—and now they say they’ve linked it to an “extremely dangerous” suspect, the LA Times reports. The blast was so powerful that it sent a 300-pound metal pipe encased in concrete hurtling through the air and into the roof of a nearby home.

Investigators searching through chunks of cement found gunpowder and other evidence of an intentionally constructed explosive. They said they’d linked that evidence to 60-year-old Ron Hirsch, a homeless man who often visited area synagogues asking for charity, though they didn't explain the link. Hirsch is currently at large, and police warned that he “should be considered extremely dangerous.” The Anti-Defamation League issued a security alert to other LA-area synagogues, though it said it had no information on any specific threat. (More synagogue stories.)

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