Woodland Hills temple vandalism is being investigated as a hate crime, LAPD says

 In blog, Crime News: Los Angeles Daily News

Woodland Hills temple vandalism is being investigated as a hate crime, LAPD says

by Pierce Singgih

White paint splattered on a large section of the Hebrew Discovery Center in Woodland Hills is being investigated as a hate crime as they continue looking for a suspect, Los Angeles police said Wednesday.

As shown in surveillance camera footage provided by the synagogue’s rabbi, a man walked up to the temple on July 14, threw a can of paint at the building and ran away. The splattered white paint still covers the front of the building, from parts of the roof down to the ground, according to Rabbi Netanel Louie, who called the act a hate crime from the very beginning.

According to Louie, the LAPD found a fingerprint on the can of white paint the man threw at the building. Because this is an active hate crime investigation, the LAPD could not confirm this. However, police confirmed they are circulating an internal flyer with a photo of the man captured in surveillance video, to help generate potential names. The flyer has not been released to the public.

Following the act, Louie described community support as “feverous.” People have come from far away to show their support for the synagogue, Louie said. It has also brought members of his congregation together.

“The more they hate, the more we’re united,” Louie said.

Right now, Louie is raising funds to repair the damages done to the Hebrew Community Center, but has not begun cleaning the paint. He said he wants to keep the paint on the building for now as a reminder that anti-semitism is still alive.

Last week, numerous politicians and advocacy groups condemned the vandalism of the synagogue and shared their support for those affected.

Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Sherman Oaks, said, “I am urging local law enforcement to increase their efforts to combat the targeting of places of worship, schools and the community of the San Fernando Valley.”

Hussam Ayloush, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Los Angeles, said, “We continue to stand in solidarity with the Jewish and interfaith communities and all who are targeted by these incidents and the individuals who violate our nation’s long-standing principles of religious tolerance and inclusion.”

Rabbi Louie plans to increase security at the synagogue by adding more security cameras and an armed guard on busy days. This was the third attack on the temple in three years, Louie said, adding that the previous incident involved a man who walked in to a busy service saying he would “kill the Jews.”

Given the recent attacks and overall high levels of anti-semitic incidents across the country in 2018, he also hoped to help educate his community about the problem.

The Hebrew Discovery Center is raising funds to repair its damages. Donate here and learn more about the synagogue here.

All credit goes to Pierce Singgih Originally published on https://www.dailynews.com

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