The man wanted for throwing a Molotov cocktail in Midtown, Manhattan last Friday in front of two Israeli yeshiva students and a local shop owner was arrested Thursday night by the NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force, police said.
According to police, 53-year-old Thomas Miles is the man who threw the Molotov cocktail near the two Israeli yeshiva students, Yosef Rachimi and Yisroel Gadasi, and Saleh Hegazy — the shop owner of M&T Pretzel. Detectives were investigating the incident as a possible hate crime, but after reviewing surveillance videos they learned that Mr. Saleh Hegazy had a fight with Mr. Miles a short time before he threw the cocktail and ruled out “bias” as the motive for the crime.
Investigators say Mr. Miles threw the cocktail at Saleh Hegazy after Hegazy told him he couldn’t sit on the bench outside his shop. He then left and returned a short time later with the cocktail and attempted to hit Mr. Hegazy, but the cocktail landed on the nearby sidewalk without injuring anyone. This is when the Israeli yeshiva students walked by at 356 West 37 St., and thought they were the target of the attack.
On Thursday, detectives from the Hate Crimes Task Force apprehended Mr. Miles in front of his Queens home and took him into custody.
Detectives then interviewed Mr. Miles for several hours and ruled out that bias was a motive. Most of the incident was caught on surveillance videos, so there was a pretty good idea of what happened, a police official said.
Mr. Miles was charged with three counts of Attempted Murder, nine counts of Attempted Felony Assault, two counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon, and three counts of Reckless Endangerment.