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Reward for information in alleged attack on woman now up to $10,000

Reward for information in alleged attack on woman now up to $10,000

Lighter Fluid Attack

Althea Bernstein, who said she was attacked by men with lighter fluid, is shown on a previous fishing outing in Madison.

The reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a man alleged to have set a biracial African American woman on fire in Downtown Madison last week has increased to $10,000.

The Los Angeles-based StandWithUs Center for Combating Antisemitism on Tuesday announced it was offering a $5,000 reward for information on the incident that left Althea Bernstein, 18, of Madison, with facial burns. The reward comes on top of the $5,000 Crime Stoppers reward Madison police announced Monday.

Bernstein told police a white man sprayed her with lighter fluid and set her on fire with a lighter as she waited at a red light at State Street, possibly on Gorham Street, early Wednesday morning.

She said the man was with three other white men she described as looking like “frat boys” — two of whom were wearing “floral shirts” and blue jeans and two of whom were in all black and wearing masks. The man who allegedly sprayed her was wearing a “salmon-colored” floral shirt, she told police, and prior to the attack one of the men yelled a racial slur.

The incident has drawn national attention as a possible hate crime. The FBI is assisting Madison police in the investigation.

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