Man charged in Worcester synagogue theft

| March 1, 2012

WORCESTER — A city man pleaded not guilty yesterday to charges of stealing tens of thousands of dollars worth of religious artifacts from a local synagogue where he worked and pawning the items.

Donald E. Spencer, 29, of 42 Stebbins St., was indicted Friday on 10 counts of larceny over $250 and four counts of larceny under $250 and was arraigned on those charges yesterday morning in Worcester Superior Court.

Assistant District Attorney John A. O’Leary told Judge Janet Kenton-Walker that the charges against Mr. Spencer involved allegations that he stole religious artifacts last year from Temple Emanuel at 280 May St., where he was employed as maintenance man, and pawned them.

The items included Torah shields, crowns and pointers, a Havdalah spice container and tower and a Kiddush goblet, which were appraised at a total value of more than $30,000 in 2004, according to a police report.

Investigators were told many of the stolen artifacts were irreplaceable and some had been recovered from Nazi Germany. While some were recovered by police at a pawn shop on Grafton Street and returned to Temple Emanuel, others had been melted down for scrap, according to the report.

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Category: Synagogue/Jewish Security

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