Police: Man who set rabbi's house ablaze threatened him in the past

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MIDWOOD -

The man accused of setting a rabbi's house on fire was arrested for threatening that same rabbi in the past.

Matthew Karelefsky is accused of starting the fire last Thursday in Midwood. He was arraigned on attempted murder and arson charges Monday.

Records show Pittsburgh police arrested Karelefsky back in 2017. That investigation started after authorities received reports of the suspect making threats against the rabbi on social media, including posting a picture of his tattoo that reads "Never let go of hatred, kill Rabbi Max."

News 12 is told Karelefsky was a student under Max. The rabbi had told police in a statement back in 2017 that Karelefsky was having marital problems. Max advised the couple to separate, and they ended up divorcing, which sparked the vendetta.

Karelefsky was a Pittsburgh resident, but lived in New York at the time, which is what ultimately led to the charges in Pennsylvania being dropped.

The suspected attempt on Max's life left three homes destroyed and more than a dozen people injured.

Karelefsky is being held without bail. There is no word yet on his court appearance.

RELATED:
Authorities continue search for suspect in Midwood fire believed to be arson
Authorities seek suspect, motive in Midwood fire believed to be arson
Police: Pennsylvania man charged for setting rabbi's home ablaze 

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