New York City Police Arrest Suspect in String of Firebomb Attacks

Police arrested a suspect Tuesday in connection with the firebombing of an Islamic cultural center and four other New York City area sites.

Police say Ray Lazier Lengend was arrested Tuesday on charges including one count of arson as a hate crime, four counts of arson and five counts of criminal possession of a weapon.

He is being held by police and can't be reached for comment. There's no information on whether he has a lawyer.

Lengend, 40, of Guyanese descent, confessed to five incidents in total, including the attack on the Imam Al-Khoei Foundation, an Islamic center, and a Hindu temple, both located in the borough of Queens, a spokesman for the New York Police Department told

Lengend allegedly was motivated by personal grievances with people at each of the five locations, hurling Molotov cocktails fashioned from Starbucks Frappaccino bottles filled with fuel that he obtained at a gas station.

Lengend was tracked through a car with Virginia license plates that was thought to be at the scene of at least two of the attacks Sunday evening, which also targeted a convenience store and two homes, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said, according to local Fox station WNYW.

The car was stolen from a Hertz rental car facility at New York's Kennedy airport.

Lengend was caught on camera at a Brooklyn gas station filling up a Frappaccino bottle with gas from the pump.

Detectives used surveillance footage from the fourth attack -- the one at the Hindu worship site -- as well as witness descriptions of Lengend and vehicle to locate the car with Virginia plates and stake it out, noticing the man who fit a police description of the suspect trying to get into it Tuesday morning.

Lengend confessed to being kicked out of the convenience store on Dec. 22 for trying to steal a glass Starbucks bottle and milk, and four of the five crude Molotov cocktails thrown at the various locations were made from glass Starbucks bottles, Kelly said.

Witnesses reported he made threats as he was escorted out.

"When they were pushing him out of the store, he said words to the effect that 'We're going to get even. We're going to get back at you,'" Kelly said.

Lengend allegedly told investigators that he was angry about being kicked out and returned to hurl the firebomb.

Ten minutes later, a possible firebomb smashed through the glass at a nearby home, setting it on fire and badly damaging it. Three children were inside.

Lengend claims that he threw the bomb at the wrong house, meaning to throw it at another home of someone he had a dispute with over drugs, law-enforcement sources told

About a half hour later, the Imam Al-Khoei Foundation, an Islamic center, was hit with two bombs, one at the entrance where about 80 worshippers were dining and one near a sign for the center's grade school. Lengend claims that it was in retaliation for officials in the center denying his request to use the bathroom.

And shortly after 10 p.m., two bottles were thrown at a house that police said was used for Hindu worship services, causing minimal fire damage. Lengend also had an ongoing dispute with someone living at the home.

The firebug also is said to have confessed to bombing the home of a relative Sunday night in Elmont, Nassau County, just east of the city borough of Queens. A homeowner reported hearing glass shattering and smelling gasoline and found a broken glass bottle on his porch, county police said. It was not clear his in-law’s home was bombed.

No one was injured in any of the attacks. The attacks wrought little or no damage at most of the locations.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.