An 11-year-old boy was charged with a hate crime after he was caught on security cameras setting fire to a Jewish school bus in Brooklyn, police said on Monday.
Police say the adolescent and four other boys, ranging in age from 10 to 15, set the Yeshiva bus ablaze on Brooklyn Ave. near Lefferts Ave. in Crown Heights shortly before 6 p.m. Sunday, authorities said.
Security video, obtained by the website CrownHeights.Info, shows the five children running into the bus with pieces of cardboard. Flames appear towards the front of the bus within seconds as the kids pile out.
Within minutes, thick black smoke engulfs the yellow bus, which was parked outside Beth Rivkah, a private girls school, the video shows.
Neighborhood residents said they were saddened to hear that a hate crime may have been perpetrated by such young boys.
“It’s terrible,” said Chani Klein, a parent at the school. “I’d like to see these kids get some help.”
“I don’t know why they would do that. Maybe they were just bored, or maybe it really was about hate. Either way they blew up a bus. They need help,” she said.
The 11-year-old was charged with criminal mischief as a hate crime and arson as a hate crime. Cops are searching for the other four boys.
Chaim Rosenstein, 26, who lives in the area, said the bias allegation has residents concerned.
“It’s very sad that there was just enough mischief and possibly bias and hate pent up up inside an 11-year-old,”
“People are very shocked,” he added. “They’re concerned.”
The bus, which is not clearly marked as a Yeshiva vehicle, is owned an operated by BSD Trans Corp. The company could not be reached for comment.
Scorched prayer books a cell phone and a camera laid amongst the broken glass, seat cushion stuffing and charred detritus outside the the bus.
No one was injured in the fire.