Suspect In Fox News Christmas Tree Arson Has Long Rap Sheet, Police Say

[Screenshot/YouTube/Fox News]

Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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The outgoing New York Police Commissioner said Wednesday that the Fox News Christmas Tree arson suspect was previously arrested for drug-related crimes and low-level incidents.

Craig Tamanaha, 49, is charged with a number of misdemeanor charges that include arson, criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and criminal trespass for allegedly setting the annual 50-foot Christmas tree ablaze outside of Fox’s New York offices.

“He was issued earlier this year-some appearance tickets and didn’t come back to court, which unfortunately is something we see all too often,” commissioner Dermot Shea said. “He also has some low-level arrests out of state—I believe it’s Texas.”

Tamanaha had reportedly been arrested a total of three times, including twice in February and March of this year on drug possession charges, according to Newsweek. The third arrest was in connection to alleged public intoxication charges.

Police do not believe that the incident was politically motivated, according to the outlet.

Tamanaha’s father, Richard, said his son is homeless, abuses drugs, and has a history of being destructive, the New York Post reported.

“Oh, he’s a nut,” he told the outlet. “Mentally, he’s not all there.” (RELATED: ‘Attack On Christianity’: Tucker Carlson Says Burning Of Fox News Christmas Tree Is A ‘Hate Crime’)

The suspect was seen climbing the tree near West 48 street and Sixth Avenue just after midnight while allegedly holding a lighter in his hand. The cause of the fire is currently unknown and is being held under investigation.

Judge Marisol Martinez Alonso granted prosecutors’ requests for Tamanaha’s release without bail. Criminal defense lawyer Mark Bederow told Fox News that the state allows for a judge to set bail only when a suspect is charged with at least third-degree felony arson.

Under New York state law, arson is only a felony if an individual tries to deliberately harm or commit a hate crime against another person or group, the outlet reported.

Tamanaha has been scheduled to reappear in court on Jan. 4, according to the outlet.

The suspect denied causing the burning and yelled obscene words at reporters from the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post outside of Manhattan criminal court, the outlet reported.

“I didn’t do it!” Tamanaha told reporters. “The moms that want to rape their f*cking daughters—they set it on fire.”

He allegedly exposed himself to a group of reporters outside of Manhattan federal court where the Ghislaine Maxwell trial is currently being held, the New York Post reported. Footage captured him apparently pulling his pants down on the first day of the sex-trafficking trial.

Meanwhile, New York City has experienced drastic surges in crime rates since its bail reform and slash of funding for police departments. In November, citywide shooting incidents rose by 2.6% compared to the same period in the previous year, according to NYPD data. Felony assault rose by 11.2% and grand larceny by a staggering 40.6%.