Wednesday, April 10, 2013

NYPD nabs man suspected of torching mezuzahs in Brooklyn 

Cops are grilling a Brooklyn man with a long criminal record in the Brooklyn mezuzah torchings, sources said Wednesday.

Rubin Ublies, 35, was apprehended by the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force, who tracked him down to a gal pal’s Bedford-Stuyvesant apartment about 8 a.m., sources said.

Ublies is suspected of burning 11 mezuzahs at 85 Taylor St. at the Taylor-Wythe Houses on Monday and igniting one at a nearby building on Tuesday. He was being questioned at the 81st Precinct stationhouse on Ralph Ave. Wednesday afternoon.

In Monday’s incident, Ublies — who sources said has a whopping 52 prior arrests that include drugs, robbery and assault — allegedly started on the 13th floor and worked his way down a stairwell, hitting at least one apartment on each floor, police said.

On Tuesday, the firebug hit an apartment on the 13th floor of 130 Clymer St. in the Independence Houses in South Williamsburg, polices sources said.

Leaders and elected officials condemned what appears to have been racial incident in which someone burnt the Jewish mezuzah's on the doors of apartments of four floors of 85 Taylor Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Ublies is described as 5-foot-9 and 130 to 160 pounds. His last known addresses include include 97 S. Eighth St., 637 Marcy Ave. and 700 New Lotts Ave., all in Brooklyn. Surveillance video from the Clymer St. building showed him wearing a gray shirt with white stripes, dark pants, a purple doo-rag and a black jacket with the New York Yankees emblem and other writing on the back.

“This was an attack at the heart of the community,” said City Councilman Stephen Levin (D-Brooklyn) at a press conference Tuesday before cops were called to the second incident.

“The mezuzah is a sacred object in the Jewish religion. It’s a blessing at the home and we can’t allow an act like this to be tolerated.”

A mezuzah is a small canister containing a tiny parchment paper inscribed with Hebrew verses from the Torah that Jewish households fasten to the front doorway to fulfill a commandment to display a sacred prayer at the entrance to one’s residence.

Police were investigating yet another attack on a mezuzah on a door at 128-130 Clymer Street, across from another building on Taylor Street that had four floors of apartments hit by the same crime. April 9, 2013.

A relative of Ublies insisted the career criminal is innocent.

“I know he didn’t do it,” said a cousin, who did not give her name. “You can look at his record ... He’s never done anything hateful.”

She said Ublies was wrongfully accused by the community, who she thinks looks down on him because of his criminal past.

“No one really likes him around here,” she said. “He’s hated around here ... They just got video of him leaving a building.”

NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Tuesday that the investigation is being handled as a possible hate crime.


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