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Hanukkah stabbings suspect was interviewed previously in connection with November 20 stabbing of a Jewish man

The suspect in the Hanukkah stabbings last week in Monsey, New York, had been interviewed by police in connection with the stabbing of a Jewish man five weeks e...
Hannukah Stabbings

The suspect in the Hanukkah stabbings last week in Monsey, New York, had been interviewed by police in connection with the stabbing of a Jewish man five weeks earlier in the same town.

Grafton Thomas, 37, was interviewed before the December 28 Hanukkah stabbings that left five people wounded north of Manhattan, Ramapo Police Chief Brad Weidel told CNN on Thursday.

On November 20, an Orthodox Jewish man walking to synagogue in Monsey was stabbed and slashed, police said.

Police questioned Thomas after seeing a car on surveillance video from November 20 that they believed might be the same Honda Pilot registered to Thomas’ mother. Weidel added that there was nothing to indicate the vehicle was used in the crime.

“At this moment in time I cannot stand here and say definitively that it was a Honda Pilot. And neither can the FBI,” Weidel said.

Thomas’ attorney Michael Sussman said Thursday that Thomas’ mother was also questioned at the time. Sussman did not represent Thomas or his mother at the time.

The FBI and detectives have gone through the vehicle but nothing has been taken out, Weidel said.

Forensics teams are checking whether there are any trace connections to the November 20 incident on Howard Drive, Weidel said.

Thomas brought the Honda Pilot to Finesse Auto Body in Greenwood Lake, New York, for repairs on December 27 and showed up later in the day to pick up a rental vehicle, shop owner and operator Gerry Galiger told CNN.

Thomas was driving a Nissan Sentra rental car when authorities arrested him in Harlem after crossing the George Washington Bridge following the Hanukkah stabbing incident.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation took possession of the Honda Pilot from the body shop, Galiger said.

Thomas has pleaded not guilty to five counts of attempted murder in connection with stabbings during the Hanukkah celebration. A judge set his bail at $5 million.

Federal prosecutors have charged Thomas with obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs involving an attempt to kill — a federal hate crime. A judge ordered him to be detained.