AP NEWS

Arrest made in vandalizing of Beverly Hills synagogue

December 19, 2019 GMT

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — A man arrested in Hawaii has been charged with vandalizing a synagogue in Beverly Hills and faces prosecution for a hate crime, police announced Wednesday.

Anton Nathaniel Redding, 24, of Millersville, Pennsylvania, was being held after he was tracked down in Kona this week, Beverly Hills police said in a statement.

Redding is believed to have vandalized the Nessah Synagogue last Saturday before dawn. An employee arrived later to discover an open door, overturned furniture and damage to several relics, Beverly Hills police have said.

Surveillance video from outside the synagogue showed a man carrying a backpack and pulling a rolling suitcase. At the time, investigators said they believed the man committed some minor acts of vandalism in the same area before entering the synagogue.

A place of worship for the Persian Jewish community in Southern California, the synagogue was founded by David Shofet, who immigrated to the United States in 1980 from Tehran in the aftermath of the Iranian Revolution.

“I said we would catch this guy and we did,” Mayor John Mirisch said in a statement. “The Beverly Hills community is strong and will not be intimidated by despicable acts.”

The attack came at a time of heightened sensitivity about anti-Semitic violence and only days after two shooters attacked a cemetery and a Jewish grocery store in Jersey City, New Jersey, leaving six dead including the killers.

Redding was being held without bail and is expected to be extradited to California to face charges of vandalism of a religious property and commercial burglary with a penalty enhancement for a hate crime, police said.

It was not immediately clear whether he had an attorney.

Beverly Hills police worked with various agencies during the investigation, including Hawaii police and the U.S. Secret Service.