Suspect arrested, charged with hate crime for vandalism of Los Angeles synagogue
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Suspect arrested, charged with hate crime for vandalism of Los Angeles synagogue

Police said to be investigating possible link to a string of anti-Semitic graffiti attacks in city that targeted vehicles and Jewish schools; suspect detained in Hawaii

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)

The Beverly Hills Police Department on Wednesday arrested a suspect in a case of vandalism at a Beverly Hills synagogue over the weekend.

Nathaniel Anton Redding, 24, of Millersville, Pennsylvania, was charged with vandalism of a religious property and commercial burglary, CBS Los Angeles reported.

The charges against Redding also include a penalty enhancement for carrying out a hate crime.

On Saturday, a suspect described as a white male entered the Nessah Synagogue, a Persian Jewish congregation in Beverly Hills, and vandalized the sanctuary, tearing prayer books and strewing Torah scrolls on the floor.

“The criminal who we believe desecrated a holy place on Shabbat is now in custody thanks to the superb work of the Beverly Hills Police Department,” Beverly Hills Mayor John Mirisch said in a statement. “I said we would catch this guy, and we did.”

Redding was arrested in Hawaii in a joint operation between Beverly Hills police and Hawaii Police.

He is being held without bail as he waits for a hearing on inter-state extradition so that he can be sent back to California.

Detectives are reportedly looking into a possible connection between the Nessah Synagogue vandalism and a series of recent graffiti attacks in Los Angeles that have also targeted Jewish property.

On Monday evening three Jewish schools were tagged with anti-Semitic graffiti and later that night and early Tuesday morning some two dozen vehicles were spray-painted in Calabasas.

A swastika and hateful messages including the phrase “time to pay” were found spray-painted at the American Jewish University in Bel Air, the Westwood Charter School and Milken Community High School on Tuesday, according to a report on the LAist website.

Also Monday night, vehicles were vandalized near the Brentwood and Westwood communities of Los Angeles “in a similar manner” the LAPD said, according to the CBSLA report.

In September, “Free Palestine” was spray-painted on the front of the Baba Sale Congregation in the Fairfax district of the city and “Six million $ was not enough” was drawn in marker on the welcome sign affixed to the gate of the city’s Temple Ahavat Shalom.

LAist cited the Anti-Defamation League as stating that there have been 36 such incidents in Los Angeles in 2019.

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