‘Hate’ firebombings in Midwood an insurance scam, cops say
Police have told community leaders that car firebombings that rattled a Jewish neighborhood in
Brooklyn were probably an insurance scam, and not a hate crime, the Daily News has learned.
Vandals on Nov. 11 torched three cars in Midwood, tried to set a fourth afire and scrawled messages of hate — swastikas, KKK and “f--- the Jews” — on a nearby van and benches.
The pre-dawn incident led to denunciations from Mayor Bloomberg and other elected officials.
To date, there have been no arrests and police have not definitively ruled out any motive.
But police sources said investigators now believe the graffiti was probably scrawled in a ruse to make the firebombings look like an act of hate.
“We’re investigating the possibility that some of the evidence was manufactured to make this look like a bias crime,’’ one source said.
Another source said investigators are “pretty certain” the cars were torched so someone could collect insurance money.
“We don’t think it’s about hating Jews,’’ the second source said.
The owner of one of the torched cars did not live in the neighborhood, a community source briefed on the investigation said.
“That’s what tipped off the detectives,” the source said.
A fourth source said beer bottles found at the scene appear to have been wiped clean of fingerprints, suggesting the work of someone meticulous, not someone lashing out in hate.
Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne, the NYPD’s top spokesman, said that the police are still investigating the incidents.
“It was investigated as a possible bias, but we have not foreclosed on other motives,” Browne said.