Arson investigation at Temple Emanuel in Pueblo

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COLORADO SPRINGS — On Wednesday just after 2 P.M., the Pueblo Police Department and the Pueblo Fire Department responded to the Temple Emanuel in Pueblo for a structure fire.

Smoke was seen coming from the synagogue as fire crews rushed to put out the fire. Police say the damage was inside a secondary building and have determined the fire was arson.

“I estimate about $25,000 to $30,000 dollars in damage,” Michael Atlas-Acuña, the Temple president said.

Pueblo police stayed on scene to process the damage and investigate.

Pueblo police identified a suspect as 62-year-old Patricia DeCesaro, who was taken into custody.

“She threw bunch of papers and just lit them. Somethings not right with her,” Atlas-Acuña said.

Police say DeCesaro was transported to the Pueblo Police Department, and she will be booked into the Pueblo County Detention Center on the charges of First Degree Arson and Second Degree Burglary. 

Atlas-Acuña said they see homeless people on their street and often have to ask them to get off their property. But he said he’s never seen this woman before.

“We have footage she was in there rummaging. We got the security cameras put in after the threat to the synagogue. They pulled the footage and saw her rummaging around,” Atlas-Acuña said.

This is the same temple where Richard Holzer was arrested for plotting to bomb this historic Colorado synagogue.

“Then I was thinking we were still a target. We still could be but we have the security cameras to see whats going on,” Atlas-Acuña said.

“Based on the investigation, detectives do not believe that this incident has any connection with the extremist bomb plot at the same location that was thwarted in 2019,” said Pueblo police on Twitter.

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