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Illinois man arrested for toppling Chabad menorah

20-year-old reportedly wanted to take giant candelabrum from local university as gift for a Jewish friend

An image from security-camera footage released by the University of Illinois police, showing a man knocking over the campus menorah, August 21, 2015. (screen capture: YouTube)
An image from security-camera footage released by the University of Illinois police, showing a man knocking over the campus menorah, August 21, 2015. (screen capture: YouTube)

A 20-year-old man was arrested last week for knocking over a 9-foot menorah at the University of Illinois in Champaign.

Max Kristy of Champaign was arrested several days after the Aug. 21 incident on the front lawn of the Illini Chabad Jewish Center, the Daily Illini student newspaper reported.

Kristy, who does not attend the university, was caught on a surveillance camera pushing the menorah until it snapped at the base. The electrical wiring inside also was damaged.

The menorah also was knocked over in April; the police have not connected the two incidents.

Kristy reportedly told police he was drunk at the time of the incident and planned to take the menorah as a gift to a Jewish friend, the News-Gazette reported. The friend confirmed to police that the two had talked about what he had done, according to the News-Gazette.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwlvkMI-GWo

Police said Kristy will not be charged with a hate crime because the vandalism was not directed at a specific person.

Rabbi Dovid Tiechtel of the Illini Chabad center said after the second incident that he was raising money to replace the vandalized menorah with a larger and sturdier one.

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