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A 21-year-old suspect, who police described as a transient, was arrested on April 18 for allegedly starting a fire inside the Temple Israel in Hollywood last Thursday.
The suspect, Dmitriy Sheyko, is also facing three counts of burglary for allegedly breaking into Temple Israel, as well as a Fresh & Easy Market in Hollywood and an undisclosed location in West Los Angeles.
No motive has been established for the incident at Temple Israel, and the incident is being investigated by the multi-agency House of Worship Task Force, which includes the LAPD, the Los Angeles Fire Department’s Arson Unit, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Authorities would not disclose information about Sheyko’s criminal history, but they believe he has a history of committing burglaries and starting fires.
“Nothing I have seen indicates that this is a hate crime,” said Lt. Michael Oreb, with the LAPD’s Hollywood Division. “We think he’s a pyro. Based on what we have seen, he may have a background in doing things like this.”
Officers were summoned to the temple around 8:45 a.m. on April 14 after employees found a small fire burning in one of the classrooms. The fire had been extinguished by the time authorities arrived, and there were no injuries. The damage was described as minimal by LAFD spokesperson Erik Scott.
Oreb said Sheyko entered the synagogue through an open door or window, and officials have not been able to determine whether anything was stolen. Sheyko had fled by the time police arrived. Oreb said the suspect frequents the Hollywood area but has no permanent address. Sheyko was caught on surveillance footage inside the temple, so police had a good description early in the investigation.
Oreb said because of the seriousness of the incident, police sent out bulletins with the suspect’s photograph to all of the surrounding police agencies, and increased patrols in the area around the temple at 7300 Hollywood Blvd.
“Anyone who is trying to burn down a building is something that causes a lot of concern,” Oreb said. “We put several resources forth to find the suspect.”
Sheyko was arrested by officers from the LAPD’s West Los Angeles Division after he allegedly committed a burglary in that area on Monday. Oreb said he was booked for burglary and remains in custody. Officials from all of the investigating agencies are currently putting together a case against Sheyko, and he will likely be charged with arson and multiple counts of burglary.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the LAFD Arson Unit at (213)485-6095.
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