Surveillance photo released of suspect in arson attempt at Lakeview synagogue

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CHICAGO — Chicago police have released a surveillance photo of the person who attempted to set a synagogue on fire.

Police say they're seeking to identify a person seen around 12:30 a.m. Sunday near Anshe Sholom B'nai Israel Congregation in the city's Lakeview neighborhood. The man was wearing a black hooded jacket, black pants, black shoes and carrying a black bag.

(Chicago police surveillance image)

Police believe he attempted to set the building on fire in two different spots. Authorities found three Molotov cocktails on the 500 block of West Melrose Street. No damage or injuries were reported.

Rabbi David Wolkenfeld says three broken bottles containing charred black towels were found outside the synagogue.

"Even though intellectually you know that bigotry exists and anti-Semitism exists, there’s still something shocking to see and manifest on a video camera," he said.

He said the synagogue has received hundreds of supportive messages since the incident became public.

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said on Twitter that detectives also are investigating the smashing of car windows outside synagogues in the Rogers Park area.  There were four reports of smashed out vehicle windows, all within three blocks of Touhy Avenue and California Avenue.

Guglielmi said different suspects are being sought in the attempted arson and the car vandalism.

Police are also stepping up patrols at synagogues as well as Jewish schools and businesses after Sunday's incident.

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