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Receipt links synagogue bombing suspect to explosion, warrant says

April 12, 2011 | 12:34 pm

Ron HirschAuthorities linked a large explosive device that went off outside a Santa Monica synagogue to a Santa Monica man based on a receipt found at the scene, according to an federal arrest warrant.

The warrant said the receipt was for three 11-pound bags of a "demolition agent" purchased in Clovis, Calif., on April 1. The package was sent to suspect  Ron Hirsch, 60, at a Santa Monica address, officials said.

Officials also found at the scene plumbing tape, empty dry ice bags, five pieces of rebar, bags of cement and a steel pipe wrench, according to the warrant, which was reviewed by The Times on Tuesday.

Hirsch was arrested near a Chabad House in the Ohio city of Cleveland Heights. He is accused of setting off a large explosive device Thursday at the Santa Monica Chabad House.

On Monday afternoon, the FBI released images from a surveillance camera at a Greyhound station in Denver, which showed Hirsch walking through the building and standing at a counter.

Subject#2It was unclear whether he took a bus from Colorado to Ohio. Authorities stressed late Monday that the investigation was ongoing and that additional details would be released as they became available.

Hirsch is believed responsible for last week's blast that sent a 300-pound metal pipe encased in concrete crashing through the roof of a home next to the synagogue, on 17th Street near Broadway. No one was injured.

Authorities at first said the blast was accidental but later determined that explosives had been used.

Hirsch, also known as Israel Fisher, was described by authorities as a transient who frequented Jewish synagogues and community centers in search of charity. Among them was the Congregation Bais Yehuda on North La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles.

The FBI; the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; the Los Angeles Police Department; the L.A. County Sheriff's Department; and the Santa Monica police and fire departments were investigating the incident.

ABC News quoted a rabbi in Cleveland Heights as saying Hirsch was seen inside his synagogue.

"A fellow in our community spotted him in the shul on Taylor Road in Cleveland Heights," said Rabbi Sruly Wolf. "The rabbi who spotted him called the Cleveland Heights police, who immediately responded and called the FBI."


Santa Monica synagogue suspect flees Los Angeles on bus 

FBI releases photos of Santa Monica synagogue bombing suspect

-- Andrew Blankstein

Photos, from top: Bombing suspect Ron Hirsch (credit: Santa Monica Police Department); a man believed to be Hirsch at the Denver Greyhound station. Credit: FBI