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Suspect Indicted for Setting Fire to LGBTQ+ Spaces in Manhattan

Atlas Social Club and suspect Alex Blodgett
Image via @atlassocialclub/Instagram

The man has been charged with several counts of arson. 

A man has been indicted over a series of anti-LGBTQ+ arsons across Manhattan in August 2021.

Alex Blodgett has been charged with several counts of felony arson, according to a news release by the Manhattan district attorney. Those charges have also been enhanced with hate crime charges.

"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 district attorney Alvin Bragg. "We will continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute these types of unacceptable bias incidents."

Blodgett allegedly tied a rag to the front door of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center in Greenwich Village and set it alight with a lighter shortly after 1:00 a.m. on August 26, 2021. He is also accused of setting fire to a large potted plant and a trash can in front of the nonprofit LGBTQ+ group.

The district attorney's office said that Blodgett then went to the Hell's Kitchen gay bar the Atlas Social Club and threw rocks in the front windows.

Blodgett then allegedly made his way to several restaurants in the area. He is accused of setting fire to plastic flowers outside of Thai restaurant V{IV}, which the district attorney's office said caused structural damage. Authorities said he also ignited outdoor seating at LouLou, a French restaurant.

Police apprehended Blodgett around 4:18 a.m. after the incident at LouLou. He had a lighter in one of his hands when police arrested him, according to the district attorney's office.

While executing a search warrant, authorities found evidence of antigay hate on Blodgett's Facebook account, "particularly towards gay men and establishments geared for the LGBTQIA+ community." That evidence led the district attorney to up the charges to hate crimes.

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