Teen charged with harassing Jewish residents in Highland Park

| September 30, 2009

Middlesex County law officials announced the investigation into separate bias incidents and the arrest of a teenager who was charged with harassing Jewish residents.

A 17-year-old male, whose name is being withheld because of his age, was arrested Tuesday and charged with juvenile delinquency in the harassment of three Highland Park residents on Sunday night.

An investigation by Detective Nicole Young of the Highland Park Police Department determined that the teenager, a resident of Somerset County, leaned out of a sports utility vehicle at 8:45 p.m., gave a Nazi salute and yelled, "Hail Hitler.”
The vehicle stopped for a red light on Raritan Avenue at the Fourth Street intersection when the teenager called out to the residents, who were walking home from their synagogue at the time.

Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan credited the quick work of Highland Park police with making an arrest.

"We will not tolerate this kind of behavior,” Kaplan said. "This office and the police departments in this county will vigorously pursue these kinds of incidents and will arrest those responsible, regardless of their age.”

In a separate incident, Edison Police and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office are actively searching for one or more individuals who spray-painted three swastikas on the front of Beth-El Congregation, a synagogue, Hebrew school and Jewish community center located on Jefferson Boulevard in the township.

An employee arriving at the synagogue at 7:45 a.m. Tuesday called police after noticing the swastikas. Each, painted in blue, measured approximately three by three feet.

The swastikas were applied to the building sometime between 7:30 p.m. on Monday, and Tuesday morning when the employee arrived and called police.

Kaplan also noted that both events were reported as bias incidents to the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General in accordance with guidelines governing the reporting of such incidents.

Additionally, the Anti-Defamation League is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the spray-painting incident.

Anyone with information on that incident is asked to call Edison Police at (732) 248-7540, or Sgt. John Rodriguez at (732) 745-4386.

Those with information on the incident in Highland Park are asked to call Highland Park Police at (732) 572-3800.



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Category: Synagogue/Jewish Security

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