Police investigating hate crime after Los Angeles synagogue ransacked
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Police investigating hate crime after Los Angeles synagogue ransacked

Suspect destroys relics at Beverly Hills Nessah Synagogue, which serves the area’s large Persian community; police say attack shows no signs of overt anti-Semitism

Image of a man caught on camera ransacking the Beverly Hills Nessah Synagogue, December 14, 2019. (Beverly Hills Police Department)
Image of a man caught on camera ransacking the Beverly Hills Nessah Synagogue, December 14, 2019. (Beverly Hills Police Department)

Police are investigating vandalism at a large Los Angeles-area synagogue as a possible hate crime, authorities said late Saturday.

Prayer books were torn, scrolls were crumpled, furniture was overturned and relics were smashed inside the Beverly Hills Nessah Synagogue, which serves the area’s large Persian community.

“This cowardly attack hits at the heart of who we are as a community,” Beverly Hills Mayor John Mirisch said.

Police said they are searching for one man seen on video breaking into the synagogue and ransacking it at around 2 a.m. Saturday morning.

“The suspect damaged several Jewish relics, but fortunately the Synagogue’s main scrolls survived unscathed,” police said in a statement.

“Although police are investigating the crime as a hate crime, the
suspect left no markings or other overt signs of anti-Semitism,” police said.

Photos posted on social media showed smashed glass and other damage to the synagogue.

Eric Garcetti, the Jewish mayor of Los Angeles, said he was “shocked and outraged” by the incident.

The Israeli-American Civic Action Network called for action against anti-Semitism, linking the vandalism to a recent deadly shooting at a Jersey City kosher market that left four dead including two members of the Jewish community.

“Enough is enough, from the East Coast to the West Coast, Jewish
communities are under attack,” said Vered Nisim, ICAN California chairwoman, according to a local NBC affiliate. “Just a few days ago Jews were killed in Jersey City, and now today this vandalism. How many Jews have to die and how many synagogues have to be destroyed before serious action is taken?”

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