US man arrested after menacing Orthodox Jews for ignoring virus restrictions
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US man arrested after menacing Orthodox Jews for ignoring virus restrictions

New Jersey suspect, 43, charged with making terroristic threats during state of emergency; wrote to governor on Facebook to threaten Lakewood community with baseball bat assault

An Orthodox woman pushes a stroller in Lakewood, N.J. in 2013. The population in the largely haredi Orthodox town has boomed in the past couple of decades, and haredi families are looking to move to neighboring towns. (Dennis Fraevich/Flickr via JTA)
Illustrative: An Orthodox woman pushes a stroller in Lakewood, N.J. in 2013. The population in the largely haredi Orthodox town has boomed in the past couple of decades, and haredi families are looking to move to neighboring towns. (Dennis Fraevich/Flickr via JTA)

JTA — A New Jersey man sent Facebook messages to Gov. Phil Murphy and others threatening to harm Orthodox Jews for violating state coronavirus restrictions.

Anthony Lodespoto, 43, of Howell, was charged Friday with making terroristic threats during a state of emergency, law enforcement officials said in a statement.

Lodespoto allegedly used Facebook’s direct messaging feature to threaten the Jewish community of Lakewood, a New Jersey township with a large Orthodox population that has reported a higher number of coronavirus cases than surrounding areas.

“The threats largely consisted of Lodespoto threatening to travel to Lakewood with the purpose of assaulting members of the Jewish community with a baseball bat,” the statement said.

As of Thursday, Lakewood had 198 confirmed COVID-19 cases, by far the most in Ocean County, according to the county Health Department, the Asbury Park Press news site reported.

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