Insurance Scam Eyed Instead of Anti-Semitism in Car Fires

By Murray Weiss on January 11, 2012 2:42am 

A car insurance scam is being eyed in what was believed to be anti-Semitic firebombings in Brooklyn last November.
A car insurance scam is being eyed in what was believed to be anti-Semitic firebombings in Brooklyn last November.
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Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The sensational swastika-laced torching of parked cars in a heavily Jewish Brooklyn neighborhood — which sent shock waves throughout the city late last year — was apparently an elaborate smoke screen covering up a lucrative insurance scheme, perpetrated in part by Jewish wannabe gangsters, DNAInfo has learned.

Several Russian wiseguy wannabes looking to make a buck are being eyed in the November firebombing of parked cars in Midwood, Brooklyn, that sparked days of protests by politicians, civic leaders and the community against what appeared to be anti-Semitic hate mongers.

DNAinfo withheld the story at the request of law enforcement while they continued their investigation.

In an ironic twist, investigators believe that local Jewish toughs aligned with a loose-knit gang of Russian hoods are likely behind the burning of three luxury cars — a Jaguar sandwiched between a BMW and Lexus — that were set ablaze along Ocean Parkway between Avenue I and Avenue J.

The fire last Nov. 11 had all the earmarks of vicious anti-Jewish hate crime.

Swastikas and anti-Semitic slurs were sprayed on nearby benches and the letters “KKK” was scrawled on the side of a red van.  Twenty-seven empty beer bottles were also strewn around the crime scene.

Officials quickly theorized that the attack was timed virtually to the day of the 73rd anniversary of the “Kristallnacht,” the infamous day in Nazi Germany where anti-Semites destroyed businesses owned by Jewish citizens in a foreshadowing of the Holocaust.

Brooklyn District Attorney Charles and Assemblyman Dov Hikind, whose mother is a Holocaust survivor, suspected that the bigots behind the vicious anti-Semitic act had to be intelligent.

Despite the attempt at misdirection, investigators soon realized that the real motive behind the fiery crime was not hate, but something just as powerful: money.

Investigators couldn't find a single image on a surveillance camera on the street or at local businesses that showed any young men or women in the area at the time of the blaze.

And no shopkeepers recalled selling large quantities of beer to any people who could remotely be responsible for such a devilish crime.

Investigators then checked the histories of the cars and found one to be questionable, sources said.

The NYPD and Brooklyn DA’s office soon came up with the new theory: the swastikas masked an attempt to collect car insurance on one the vehicles, which was worth more as a burning shell than it was worth on the open market, sources told "On The Inside."

Some investigators were suspicious from the start because of the magnitude of the crime.

Ironically, the suspects, who thought the anti-Semitic overtones would send cops on a wild goose chase, had made a serious miscalculation.

The community's shock and outrage was joined by a bevy of local officials including Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who decried the attack and said the city would never tolerate such wanton hatred against any community or people.

So rather than the usual duo of detectives that would be assigned to a simple car fire case, the hateful appearance of the crime brought the entire weight of the NYPD detective bureau to the case, which saw through the elaborate ruse.

"They weren't really smart," said a source.

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