A suspect was arrested and charged overnight with two fires that occurred at a Las Vegas Synagogue late Monday night.
Las Vegas Fire & Rescue Arson Investigators have charged Afshin Bahrampour, 47 with one count of Arson in the First Degree, three counts of Arson in the Third Degree and one count of burglary. The suspect is currently being held in the Clark County Detention Center.
Las Vegas firefighters responded to a car fire in the parking lot of the Chabad of Southern Nevada – Desert Torah Academy at 1261 Arville St (Arville/Charleston) at 8:09 p.m. Monday.
When firefighters arrived, one car had heavy fire on the front end and engine compartment. Firefighters quickly extinguished the fire. The fire heavily damaged the car. Two other cars received minor damage; owners of both cars left the scene.
While firefighters were cleaning up after the car fire, people from inside the Chabad told them there was an earlier waste basket fire inside the building around 6:00 p.m. People inside the building put the small fire out themselves. They did not notify the fire department about the incident because there was no damage.
Because there were two fires in a short amount of time at a house of worship, firefighters called for arson investigators. Federal policy mandates that fires of a suspicious nature at a house of worship are to be investigated by the local fire department, police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives ( ATF).
At 9:00 p.m. investigators from all three agencies (LVFR Arson Investigators, Metro Police & ATF) responded to the incident and started a thorough investigation.
Surveillance video showed the suspect on the property both times. While conducting the investigation overnight, investigators checked the parking lot of the shopping center across the street and found the suspect. After interviewing the man, he was arrested and charged.
The incident has been referred to as a hate crime. Only a prosecutor can determine if crimes committed can also be classified as a hate crime. That has not been determined at this time.