Police: Three teens admit to anti-Semitic graffiti at Boca Raton synagogue, charged with vandalism

| February 20, 2010

BOCA RATON — Boca Raton police on Friday announced the arrest of three juveniles who authorities said admitted vandalizing the Temple Beth El synagogue, where property was damaged and anti-Semitic and racist messages were carved into doors.

The three suspects were juveniles — all about 15 to 16-years-old, according to police — who were stopped near the 800 block of South Federal Highway on Tuesday after the late Monday vandalism at the synagogue in the 300 block of Southwest Fourth Avenue.

The suspects admitted involvement in the vandalism and were charged with criminal mischief, police said. One of them is also being charged with falsely pulling a fire alarm. Police did not identify the three juveniles.

Police spokeswoman Sandra Boonenberg did not know when the teenagers were charged following their interview with police within a day of the crime.

In addition to broken chairs and vases at the mausoleum, police found several messages scratched into the temple's bathroom doors: a swastika, "KKK," "Hail Hitler" and the "N"-word.

"The investigation is still ongoing, so there may be further charges or other people charged," Boonenberg said. "The vandalism itself would rise to the hate crime if they're the ones that did it."

Boonenberg also did not know what the suspects specifically admitted to doing. But the more serious hate crime charges may be pending, police said.

Police also found that the Boca Raton Cemetery's chapel was broken into Tuesday and items were tossed about. Also Tuesday, police found vandals had pushed over a portable restroom and spilled glue on the floor inside a building under construction at the St. Joan of Arc Church property between 4 p.m. Monday and 6:45 a.m. Tuesday.

Boonenberg said police are also investigating whether the juveniles charged in Temple Beth El's vandalism were also involved in these other criminal mischief cases.



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Category: Synagogue/Jewish Security

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