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November 5, 2022

Alex Blodgett, a 39-year-old Brooklyn resident, was accused of torching restaurants, smashing windows, and attempting to set fire to LGBTQI spaces across New York’s west side in August last year. Hate crimes have also been added to his list of charges after prosecutors found anti-gay material on his Facebook account.

Manhattan’s District Attorney D A Bragg announced that the hate crime charges had been added against Blodgett. “Hate has no place here in Manhattan and New Yorkers of all backgrounds deserve to feel safe. As alleged, this individual left a wake of physical destruction but also made an entire community unsafe because he targeted LGBTQIA+ establishments,” said Bragg.

“We will continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute these types of unacceptable bias incidents.”

Social Media Posts Reveal Homophobia

Blodgett’s anti-gay Facebook posts were not disclosed to the public, but the search warrant revealed a multitude of homophobic posts, specifically targeting gay men and gay venues.

Blodgett is accused of setting 14 fires in one night on August 16, 2021. Blodgett’s hate campaign began at the LGBT Community Center in Greenwich village at 1 am, attempting to set the place on fire. He approached the front door of the Center, tied a rag to the front door handles and set the rag on fire using a lighter. He also set fire to a large potted plant and a trash can belonging to and located in front of the Center.

He then went on to Hell’s Kitchen and threw rocks at the windows of a gay bar Atlas Social Club, before setting an outdoor seating area on fire. Blodgett then tried to set fire to two other venues , a Thai restaurant on 9th Avenue and a French restaurant in Chelsea. 

Arsonist Faces 25 Years In Prison

Following numerous 911 calls in relation to the fires, Blodgett was apprehended by NYPD officers after a brief foot pursuit. At the time of his arrest, officers found a lighter in his hands.

Blodgett was initially charged with just arson, but after the recent Facebook posts surfaced, he could now face up to 25 years in prison for both the alleged hate crimes and arson.

Blodgett will be tried in the New York Supreme Court.

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