4 More Arrested, Charged, in Crown Heights School Bus Blaze

FDNY extinguishing the blaze. (Crown Heights Shomrim)
FDNY seen extinguishing the blaze of a school bus set afire, Sunday. (Crown Heights Shomrim)

Four more boys have been arrested and were charged in connection with the burning of a school bus in Crown Heights Sunday, reported NBC News.

The boys — an 11-year-old, 12-year-old and two 14-year-olds — were arrested Thursday, less than a week after they allegedly set the bus on fire.

The empty bus — owned by BDS Trans. Corp., a Jewish-owned bus company — which was parked outside the Bais Rivka Chomesh Campus on the corner of Lefferts and Brooklyn Avenues. in Crown Heights, was set ablaze on Sunday afternoon.

A witness saw four young African American boys fleeing the scene, and alerted Crown Heights Shomrim, Shomrim sources told Hamodia.

All four boys were charged Thursday as juveniles with arson as a hate crime and criminal mischief as a hate crime.

A fifth boy, who is 11-years-old, was arrested earlier in the week in connection with the fire. He received the same charges and was also charged as a juvenile. Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said after the 11-year-old boy’s arrest that police were looking for more suspects in the burning of the bus.

Boyce said a group of six youths took flat cardboard boxes on the unlocked bus and set them on fire on the seats.

“It was purposefully done with prior planning,” Boyce said. “Clearly this was a religious-school bus. Anyone in the community knows that.”

It was the third incident being investigated by police as a possible hate crime during the past week in the neighborhood. On Friday, a bus driver for a different Jewish school said his side mirror was pelted with a brick and smashed by someone.

The day before, a man dressed in religious Jewish clothing said he was harassed by a 13-year-old boy who shot rubber bands at him, police said. The man said he ran after and caught the boy, who punched him in the face. Police said the man held the boy until they arrived. The boy was arrested on an assault charge and was being treated as a juvenile.

In the bus fire and in the assault, the suspects are black. The bus driver whose window was smashed said he didn’t see the attacker.

Boyce said the incidents in Crown Heights are “troubling.”

“We’re hoping to get out in front of it and make these arrests and close these things out,” he said.