New Jersey police have arrested a man suspected of accosting Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel in the elevator of a San Francisco hotel earlier this month.
A spokesman for police in Montgomery Township in central New Jersey said officers arrested Eric Hunt, 22, without incident at the Carrier Clinic, a substance abuse treatment center, where Hunt was a patient.
Hunt was being sought on charges of attempted kidnapping, false imprisonment, elder abuse, stalking, battery and the commission of a hate crime against Wiesel, according to the warrant issued by San Francisco police on Friday.
Somerset County Prosecutor Wayne Forrest said in a statement Hunt had been charged as a fugitive from justice and was being held in the county's jail, where he awaits extradition to California. San Francisco police have set bail at $500,000.
Police said the suspect was a resident of Sussex, New Jersey, which is near the northern border with New York State.
Suspect wanted to confront Wiesel on 'fictitious memoir'
Wiesel, 78, was attending the World Forum, an interfaith conference on nonviolent conflict resolution, when he was accosted on February 1 at the Argent Hotel, according to police.
The suspect got into an elevator with Wiesel and insisted he accompany him to his room for an interview. At the sixth floor, the suspect forced the author into the corridor and ran away when Wiesel began to yell, the authorities said.
In a February 6 posting on an anti-Semitic web site, a man who denies the Holocaust occurred and who gave his name as "Eric Hunt" explained why he confronted the famous author.
"I had planned to bring Wiesel to my hotel room where he would truthfully answer my questions regarding the fact that his nonfiction Holocaust memoir, 'Night,' is almost entirely fictitious," the writer said.
Wiesel was 15 years old when his Jewish family was deported by the Nazis to Auschwitz concentration camp. He lost his parents and younger sister in the Holocaust.