• McKeesport man arrested in Brooklyn house blaze was allegedly targeting rabbi


    NEW YORK - A local man is behind bars in Brooklyn, New York after he allegedly set a fire that tore through three homes and sent 12 people, including a baby, to the hospital.

    Police say Menachem Karelefsky, 41, from McKeesport, Pennsylvania, was arrested Saturday. He had not yet been arraigned.

    The fire started at one home on a street in the Midwood section of Brooklyn early Thursday and spread to nearby homes.

    Officials had been looking for a person seen on video fleeing as a car outside the home caught on fire.

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    The fire turned into a four-alarm blaze before it was brought under control.

    Authorities say none of the injuries are considered life-threatening.


    According to police, Karelefsky had a tattoo on his arm that read "Never let go of the hatred. Kill Rabbi Max," an apparent reference to a rabbi who lives in one of the homes that were on fire, according to our affiliate WNBC in New York.

    WNBC spoke with that rabbi's son who said Karelefsky wrote a manifesto. 

    "Apparently, he wrote a manifesto and said, 'If I can’t get him this way, I’ll get him that way. If I can’t get him this way, I’ll get them that way,'" Ezra Max said.

    Max told WNBC that Karelefsky "went through a lot as a child and he broke."

    Karlefsky worked in Brooklyn until 2007 and has lived in the Pittsburgh area since at least 2013, according to public records.

    The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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