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Jersey Man Arrested for Setting Synagogue, Yeshiva on Fire

A Union City man has been charged with setting fire to a synagogue and a yeshiva earlier this month, Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez said.

Oswaldo Domingo Xil-Argueta, 29, was arrested by the Union City Police Department and the Hudson County Regional Arson Task Force and he was charged with first-degree aggravated arson, criminal mischief and burglary, the prosecutor said.

Because the arson occurred at a place of public worship, the aggravated arson charge has been elevated to a first-degree offense. At this point, there is no evidence that this was a bias incident, Suarez said.

Xil-Argueta was arrested July 5, two days after the fire at the synagogue and the Mesivta Sanz Yeshiva at 318 34th Street in Union City.

On July 3, just before 3 a.m., members of the Union City Police Department and the North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue responded to 318 34th Street on reports of a working fire. There were no occupants in the building at the time and no injuries, however, the fire did escalate to two alarms.

Suarez credited the Union City Police Department and the Hudson County Regional Arson Task Force for the investigation and arrest.

During a hearing before the Hudson County Superior Court Judge Paul DePascale, the state’s motion for pretrial detention was approved after the state argued Xil-Argueta posed a danger to the community, meaning that Xil-Argueta will be incarcerated through his trial.