Police are looking for five boys caught on surveillance video lighting a bus on fire in front of a Jewish elementary school in Crown Heights this week.
The NYPD released a video on Tuesday of the group of boys starting the blaze inside the yellow school bus parked at the corner of Brooklyn and East New York avenues near the Beth Rivkah elementary school around 6:00 p.m. Sunday.
One 11-year-old boy has already been arrested. He is being charged as a juvenile on counts of criminal mischief as a hate crime and arson as a hate crime, police said.
NYPD Chief of Detectives Bob Boyce said it appeared the young men “purposely” set the fire with “prior planning.”
The boys brought what appeared to be cardboard boxes on the bus and then set the boxes on each set in the vehicle before lighting them on fire with what looked like a “petroleum-based substance,” Boyce added.
The 11-year-old boy who was arrested admitted to being on the bus, but denied lighting the fire, according to police.
Boyce said police were also investigating whether two previous incidents in the neighborhood may be connected.
Two days before the fire another school bus was attacked when a rear view mirror was smashed with a brick.
A Jewish man was also attacked while walking in the neighborhood.
“A day prior to [the rear view mirror being smashed] a 29-year-old male, completely in religious garb, was walking down the street when he was harassed, then punched in the face,” Boyce said.
Police arrested a 13-year-old boy in that incident.
No one was injured during the attack, officials said.
Boyce said the three attacks were “troubling incidents in Crown Heights.”
Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers hotline at (800) 577-TIPS (8477).