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Police sort through alibis in Brooklyn mezuzah arsons


Police in Brooklyn have the man they were searching for in custody in connection with a Williamsburg hate crime investigation, but they say a number of alibis provided by the suspect is delaying any charges in the case.

Authorities released surveillance video and a mug shot of Rubin Ubiles, initially believed to be behind the burning of 12 Jewish mezuzahs, which are holy parchments that are symbols of protection. Eleven mezuzahs hanging on residents' doors in an apartment building were scorched Monday, and an additional incident occurred Tuesday.

Ubiles spent the night at the police precinct, while detectives try and sort though the web of alibis he spun as he tries to beat this fiery rap. The 35-year-old Brooklyn man was picked up Wednesday after he appeared on surveillance video at both buildings where the fires were set.

The incidents have struck fear in the Hasidic community, but Ubiles' girlfriend told Eyewitness News reporter Jim Dolan that he was in the library during the time some of the fires were set.

"I couldn't believe that they would actually think that he would do that," she said. "But because he's had trouble with the law in the past, it works against him. You know, I think it's your guilty until proven innocent."

In a rambling diatribe before he was taken into custody, Ubiles took to Facebook to proclaim his innocence. He posted that he believes arson would be a waste of time and that he is friends with Jews.

"I don't like fires," he wrote. "Been threw too many of those to attempt to threaten a community that has not violated me."

Ubiles has an extensive criminal history with more than 50 arrests, most dealing with assault or drug-related offenses. None of the incidents involve hate crimes.



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