Broward - South

Hollywood strip-center arson cases reenacted by police



Hollywood police are searching for new clues into a series of fires at a Hollywood shopping center.

The Emerald Center, 5650 Stirling Rd. in an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood, has been the target of several cases of arson over the past few months.

On Monday morning, investigators with the Hollywood Police Department and Broward Crime Stoppers teamed up to reenact the crimes in hopes it would jog someone’s memory and help them get new information on who is setting the fires.

The targets of all of the fires have been Jewish businesses.

In the latest two instances, two men broke the front windows and threw in homemade explosives that torched the business. The men ran off in different directions.

Surveillance video from a different night shows the same suspects targeting another business. They broke in and then dumped gas inside.

“One of the arsonists walked in and set the kitchen on fire and then they run out of the business. On the last arson we had, which was recently, they actually broke in through the front window, they threw in a Molotov cocktail and both businesses are set on fire,” said Hollywood Police Lt. Osvaldo Perez.

Police do not know if they were targeted because they are Jewish owned but nothing was taken from inside the businesses. They were only set on fire. Michael Katz owns the Holyland Judaica store. It was hit in December 2011. He does not believe his store, or any of the restaurants were targeted because they are Jewish owned. ”I dont think it’s anti-Semitism because there was not signs left behind and anti-Semites like to leave a calling card behind, they like to make sure we know it’s anti-Semitism,” Katz said. ”They didn’t leave any indication of that.”

If you know anything about these crimes, call Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Callers remain anonymous and could be eligible for a reward up to $3,000.

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