Have you seen him? AFD releases photos of arson suspect at Austin synagogue

Photo of arson suspect from surveillance video provided by AFD

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Wednesday morning, Austin firefighters released a photo of a man suspected of starting a fire at an Austin synagogue.

According to AFD, the suspect drove into the parking lot of Congregation Beth Israel located at 3901 Shoal Creek Blvd. on Halloween night. Surveillance video captured him approaching the front doors carrying a five-gallon olive green “jerry can” style container, which can be used to carry an accelerant, which firefighters say was used in the arson.

The suspect is described as a white male, with a thin build and brown hair. He wore olive green pants and a face covering, as well as a black, short-sleeve T-shirt with light-colored screen printing on it, a black watch and brown or olive green shoes.

Suspect vehicle description: Dark, later model SUV, courtesy of AFD

AFD also released a picture of the vehicle he drove. It’s described as a dark, later model SUV, possibly a 2017 Jeep Compass.

Leaders at Congregation Beth Israel sent an email to its members Wednesday morning detailing the damage. It said because of the amount of smoke that penetrated the sanctuary space, it will take longer than expected to safely reopen. It went on to say, all ceiling tiles in the sanctuary have to be removed and the wooden doors will need to be entirely replaced.

Austin Firefighters are asking anyone who may recognize the suspect or the vehicle to call its investigations office at 512-974-0240. That number is staffed around the clock.

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