LOS ANGELES, California — A synagogue in California was defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti, police said on Wednesday, in an attack that took place just days after 11 people were gunned down at a Pittsburgh synagogue.
Allen Berezovsky, president of the board at Beth Jacob synagogue in Irvine, south of Los Angeles, said staff discovered the vandalism in early morning.
He told AFP the words “fuck Jews” and “Jews” were spray-painted on the white facade of the building.
Berezovsky said security footage showed an individual wearing a hoodie, sunglasses and a surgical facemask jumping over the fence of the synagogue around 1:18 am and then leaving on a bicycle stolen at the premises.
Based upon the preliminary investigation, it appears the vandalism at Beth Jacob Synagogue occurred during the early morning hours of October 31. Anyone with information on this case is asked to contact Irvine PD Detective Dave Tran at 949-724-7098. https://t.co/HSRHYWeIpQ pic.twitter.com/wjuVhVN6zR
— IPD (@IrvinePolice) October 31, 2018
“The Irvine Police Department and our own security have done a full sweep of the entire facility and nothing was found other than the graffiti,” he said in a statement to his congregation.
“We are continuing to do everything we can to make our campus more secure, and we will continue to promote the message that we are stronger than hate.”
Police spokeswoman Kim Mohr said the suspect has not been identified and patrols had been increased at all Jewish facilities throughout the city, located in Orange County.
“This is an unusual attack,” she told AFP. “It is not a normal thing to have this type of crime in Irvine.”
According to a report released in September by OC Human Relations, a nonprofit, hate crimes have continued to climb in Orange County, the third-largest of California’s 58 counties, for the third straight year.
It said 56 hate crimes and 94 hate incidents were reported countywide in 2017.
The majority of the attacks — 13 percent — targeted Muslims, followed by Jews at nine percent.