Suspect Questioned in Queens Frappuccino Firebombings [Updated]

By
Photo: null/This photograph is protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of the copyright owner. Licensing requests should be sent to photosales@nytimes.com.

Four firebomb attacks in Queens, plus one in nearby Nassau County, are believed to have been carried out by the same man, who police are questioning this afternoon, and who might have been attempting to avenge a Starbucks-related shoplifting offense. On Sunday night, someone launched Molotov cocktails at targets including a bodega, an Islamic temple, and a Hindu temple, mostly using Starbucks Frappuncino bottles as his makeshift weapons. Days earlier, the bodega owner had kicked out a man attempting to steal a Frappuccino and some milk. As the would-be crook left the store, according to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, the man "said words to the effect of, 'We're going to get even. We're going to get back at you.'"

Police have released the above sketch of the suspect, as well as the video clip below of the attack on the Hindu temple. Investigators believe the man might have been motivated by the bodega incident and are looking into the bombings as possible bias crimes. "Attacks on houses of worship are particularly egregious," said Kelly. "They endanger lives, but they also assail our religious freedoms."

Update: The suspect, who has not yet been named, reportedly confessed to police.