Arsonist mystery, destruction comes to a halt

Take a drive around Central Queens and you'll likely see a lot of construction.

Some are building their dream homes; others are simply re-building what was destroyed.

November was a month of terror in and around Forest Hills as an unknown arsonist scorched at least five construction sites.

The sites were in the process of becoming new luxury homes that are now a staple in this New York City community, where a large Bukharian Jewish population has come to call home.

Now, roughly a month later, the destruction has appeared to come to a halt, but few facts have been uncovered.

"There's $62,000 reward for someone to give some information, but it seems no one wants to give up anything," said local Real Estate professional Michael Yakubov.

"It was our desire to build big houses for a big community and, unfortunately, that opinion was not accepted from the neighbors," he said.  "In my opinion, the suspect will be an older person in this community."

The criticism associated with new construction is nothing new. The mini mansions often press the limit of local zoning regulations as they tower over adjacent properties, possibly angering those who live in them.

Glenn Corbett at John Jay College says a number of motives could be at play, specifically self-gratification.

Arson is one of the more challenging crimes to solve, according to Corbett, who says it could very well take a year or more to solve the mystery. 

Meanwhile, police have urged anyone with information to contact Crime Stoppers.

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