Thursday, December 08, 2011

Mezuzah Mystery! Thief Steals Religious Artifacts From Brighton Residents In Alleged Hate Crime 

Police are on the hunt for a suspected anti-Semitic vandal after several Jewish artifacts were ripped off doorways in a Brighton Beach apartment building over the weekend, in the latest Southern Brooklyn bias crime.

Jewish residents of seven units inside 3000 Ocean Parkway woke up the morning after this weekend's Shabbat to find that a vandal had gone through the hallways, ripping down mezuzot. A mezuzah is a small parchment inscribed with Hebrew Torah verses and affixed to doorways in accordance to Jewish law, usually inside a case.

The artifact signifies the watchful eye of God protecting over the home, and, apparently, only the deity has a clue of the perp's identity. The precinct has referred the case to the Hate Crimes Unit, which is currently investigating – but the building has no surveillance cameras monitoring its hallways.

It's unclear of when the incident occurred. The security guard at the building told Sheepshead Bites that the first tenant to report the missing mezuzah said it was there when she went to bed on Saturday, at approximately 10:30 p.m. When she woke in the morning, it was gone. The 60th Precinct said the incident went unreported until Sunday afternoon, and they found several more of the artifacts had gone missing during a walkthrough of the building's 23 floors.

The building's property manager, Jack Smith, said the building security is doing what they can to help the investigation and to protect residents, including an increase in the number of overnight security staff roaming the hallways.

It's not the first time such theft has occurred in the Trump Village grounds, which the building is a part of, Smith said. "Several years back" thieves had done the exact same thing in another one of the buildings.

"[Police] have come back a number of times to try and catch this clown, to no avail, unfortunately," Smith said.

In the past month, police have investigated several major suspected hate crimes against Jewish residents of Southern Brooklyn, including the torching of three vehicles in Midwood, vandalism at the Avenue J subway station, and anti-Semitic graffiti on cars in Marine Park.


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