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After explosion next to synagogue, police increase patrols; suspect sought

April 11, 2011 |  8:22 am

Santa Monica explosion

Ron Hirsch Authorities continued their search Monday for a homeless man sought on suspicion of setting off a homemade explosive device next to a Santa Monica synagogue.

Ron Hirsch, 60, has been seen around Chabad House and other Jewish temples and should be considered "extremely dangerous," authorities said.

Santa Monica and Los Angeles police have stepped up patrols at local temples and Jewish organizations over the weekend as they search for Hirsch.

Janti Rashti, 59, whose home was damaged when the concrete mass fell on her rooftop, said she recognized Hirsch as a man who sometimes slept by the side of the synagogue. "I just don't believe it was him," Rashti said Saturday. "The synagogue was never mean to him. I certainly never did anything to him."

John Fasce, 60, a homeless man in the area, said he had seen Hirsch before. "If I see him," Fasce said, "I'm calling 911."

Thursday's blast sent a 300-pound metal pipe encased in concrete crashing through the roof of Rashti's home, next door to Chabad House on 17th Street, near Broadway.

Law-enforcement sources told the Los Angeles Times that the explosive contained gunpowder and that some of the materials had been linked to Hirsch.


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Photos: (top) Santa Monica firefighters remove a 300-pound metal pipe encased in concrete from the roof of a home after it was catapulted into the air from a plastic bin on April 7. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

(bootm) Ron Hirsch. Credit: Santa Monica Police Department