Florida man to be charged with vandalism of 2 Reform synagogues
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Florida man to be charged with vandalism of 2 Reform synagogues

County sheriff’s office names Victor Martinez as painter of swastikas and hate messages on Sarasota Jewish houses of worship

Vincent Martinez caught spray-painting swastikas and other anti-Semitic graffiti at a synagogue in Sarasota, Florida, in July 2020. (Sarasota county sheriff's office)
Vincent Martinez caught spray-painting swastikas and other anti-Semitic graffiti at a synagogue in Sarasota, Florida, in July 2020. (Sarasota county sheriff's office)

JTA — A Florida man is being charged in connection with the vandalism of two Reform synagogues in Sarasota.

Victor Martinez, 21, was named by the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office as the previously unidentified man who spray-painted swastikas and hate messages on Temple Sinai and Temple Emanu-El this month. He also has been implicated in a vandalism attack on Temple Emanu-El in April, the Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

All of the incidents were captured on security footage and by security cameras at a nearby ATM.

Warrants for Martinez’s arrest were issued Wednesday, according to the statement.

Martinez, who was placed at the scenes of the incidents using cellphone records, faces three counts of criminal mischief by defacing and damaging a synagogue, all classified as felony hate crimes. He is at a secure medical facility pending his arrest, according to the statement.

The Temple Sinai campus was extensively vandalized in the July 15 attack, including many walls made of porous Jerusalem stone, making the removal of the messages difficult. In April, swastikas were spray-painted on the doors of Temple Emanu El, which was again vandalized on July 15.

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