Arsonist arrested for setting fire to Yeshiva U. dorm with Hanukkah matches
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Arsonist arrested for setting fire to Yeshiva U. dorm with Hanukkah matches

None injured in attempted arson as students slept at Midtown Manhattan’s Schottenstein Residence Hall

Video footage showing a man breaking into Yeshiva University's Schottenstein Residence Hall on December 20, 2019. (Screen capture: FDNY)
Video footage showing a man breaking into Yeshiva University's Schottenstein Residence Hall on December 20, 2019. (Screen capture: FDNY)

A man was arrested and accused of setting fire to a Yeshiva University dormitory on Friday using matches set out for Hanukkah, authorities in New York said.

Peter Weyand, 33, is suspected of setting three fires in the Schottenstein Residence Hall dormitory in Midtown Manhattan as students slept, New York’s Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said in a statement.

Firefighters responded within five minutes and there were no injuries in the fires, he said.

Surveillance video released by the fire department shows the suspect kicking in a glass door to break into the building at about 3:50 a.m. Friday. The department said Weyand used matches that had been set out for lighting Hanukkah candles.

“Attacking any religious institution is a serious crime and we have zero tolerance for acts of arson in this city. Thanks to the thorough investigative work of our Fire Marshals, a dangerous individual has been quickly apprehended,” Nigro said.

Weyand is being charged with arson, burglary with criminal intent, reckless endangerment of property, criminal mischief, criminal trespass and aggravated harassment, the fire commissioner said.

Authorities did not indicate if there was any hate crime motive in the incident.

The Schottenstein Residence primarily houses female students of Yeshiva’s Stern College for Women.

Hanukkah begins on Sunday evening.

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