Chabad Explosion Suspect Brought Back to California

Ron Hirsch, the 60-year-old suspect in an explosion earlier this month outside of a Chabad in Santa Monica, was returned to California on Friday. He appeared in a Riverside federal court to face a charge of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, which carries a maximum five-year prison sentence and a fine of up to $250,000.

Hirsch fled Los Angeles on the day of the April 7 blast, and was arrested on April 12 in Cleveland, Ohio, after he was recognized by a rabbi.

U.S. “Marshals Service delivered him to our district yesterday, and he made his first court appearance late yesterday in federal court in Riverside,” Thom Mrozek, a public affairs officer with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, said in an e-mail. “He was ordered detained (held without bond). An arraignment was set for May 23, which will be in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.”

The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office has charged Hirsch with four felony counts, including explosion with intent to murder and use of a destructive device and explosive to injure/destroy. If convicted of the four charges, Hirsch could face life in prison without the possibility of parole.

An FBI affidavit said Hirsch was linked to the explosion by a mailing label on a box of demolition agent, Associated Press reported.

The day after his arrest, Hirsch, a transient who was known to seek charity from synagogues, waived his rights to preliminary, identity and detention hearings during a court appearance in Cleveland, reserving his right to have the hearings in California.

No deaths or injuries caused by the 250-pound pipe bomb on April 7, but the explosion resulted in minor damage to the synagogue and sent the pipe and concrete flying into the roof of an adjacent house.