A man in Western Massachusetts was indicted on Tuesday on federal charges for attempted arson outside a Jewish assisted-living facility in Longmeadow.

John Michael Rathbun, 36, of East Longmeadow was charged with “attempting to transport or receive explosive devices in interstate or foreign commerce with the knowledge or intent that the device will be used to kill, injure, or intimidate any individual or unlawfully to damage or destroy any building, vehicle; and attempting to maliciously damage or destroy, by means of fire or an explosive, any building, vehicle, or other real or personal property used in interstate or foreign commerce,” reported MassLive.

In April, Rathbun was arrested and charged with two counts of attempted arson after local police found a plastic gas container, with burned paper in its nozzle, on April 2 outside Ruth’s House, an assisted-living home for seniors of all faiths.

The paper inside the failed explosive was a Christian religious pamphlet. Part of it “was charred and appeared to have been lit on fire in an attempt to ignite the gas,” according to the complaint, written by Special Agent Ryan McGonigle and assigned to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.

In addition to the paper, blood discovered on the side of the gas canister was run through the FBI database and matched Rathbun’s DNA, which was stored in a federal database because of his past 2011 arrests.

Rathbun initially denied the allegations, reported NBC News.

Support Jewish Journalism
with 2020 Vision

One of the most intriguing stories of the sudden Coronavirus crisis is the role of the internet. With individuals forced into home quarantine, most are turning further online for information, education and social interaction.

JNS's influence and readership are growing exponentially, and our positioning sets us apart. Most Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas. JNS is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

During this crisis, JNS continues working overtime. We are being relied upon to tell the story of this crisis as it affects Israel and the global Jewish community, and explain the extraordinary political developments taking place in parallel.

Our ability to thrive in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters. Monthly donations in particular go a long way in helping us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make during these challenging times. We thank you for your ongoing support and wish you blessings for good health and peace of mind.