Cops arrest two in Indiana synagogue vandalism

Nolan Brewer and an unnamed co-conspirator suspected of painting a swastika on a wall at Shaarey Tefilla, outside Indianapolis

Congregation Shaarey Tefilla, Carmel, Indiana (Google Streetview)
Congregation Shaarey Tefilla, Carmel, Indiana (Google Streetview)

Police have arrested two suspects in connection with the painting of a swastika on a synagogue in Indiana.

Nolan Brewer, 20, and a co-conspirator who is in custody but was not named. are suspected of painting a black swastika surrounded by a red background and the German and Nazi Iron Cross last month on a wall at Shaarey Tefilla, a Conservative synagogue near Indianapolis with 200-member families.

US Attorney Josh Minkler, the FBI and the Police Department of the Indianapolis suburb of Carmel announced the charges Thursday.

Brewer is facing a criminal complaint with conspiracy to violate civil rights, WTHR television reported Thursday. A conviction could carry a 10-year sentence.

“When a criminal act deprives our citizens of a constitutional right, law enforcement must respond,” said Minkler. The report did not say how Brewer and the alleged accomplice pleaded.

Police say the two were caught on surveillance video purchasing red and black spray paint and bandanas from a Wal-Mart the day before the vandalism.

The US Attorney says Brewer may have intended to do more damage than he did. There is no evidence that Brewer was part of a larger group planning attacks.

The Anti-Defamation League had offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the vandals.

The incident prompted a strong response from local leaders as well as Vice President Mike Pence, who said, “These vile acts of anti-Semitism must end.”

At the end of the legislative session in January, Indiana remained one of just five states without a hate crime law.

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