Va. man charged in Norfolk synagogue vandalism

| August 11, 2009

Police on Monday announced the arrest of a man charged with vandalizing several synagogues in April with anti-Semitic, anti-gay and racist messages.

John Edward Grogan, 29, of the 200 block of Elizabeth Ave. in Waynesboro, was arrested there July 9, said police spokeswoman Karen Parker-Chesson. She said investigators at first did not want to compromise the investigation by releasing Grogan’s name when others involved remained at large. Investigators now hope to generate new information and leads, she said. The synagogues affected were notified of the arrest, Parker-Chesson said.

Grogan was charged with two counts of injuries to church with the intent to instill fear or intimidation because of religion and/or ethnic origin, and two charges of conspiring to commit a felony.

Worshippers at Temple Israel on Granby Street arrived to find anti-Semitic stickers on windowpanes and the side of the building on April 18. Police said at least five locations in Ghent and on Granby Street were vandalized but declined to name them. The suspects were caught on videotape, which was released to the media.

Grogan is affiliated with Volksfront, an organization Parker-Chesson described as white supremacist. A tattoo on Grogan’s neck, visible in his mug shot, resembles a symbol found on one of the stickers used in the vandalism. Parker-Chesson said his arrest came as a result of Crime Line tips and police investigation.

Authorities think the slurs might have been done to mark the birth of Adolf Hitler, who was born April 20, 1889, Parker-Chesson said.

Grogan is in jail, said Commonwealth’s Attorney’s spokeswoman Amanda Howie. He is scheduled to appear in court in September.

Police continue to seek other suspects. Anyone with additional information regarding the remaining suspects is asked to call Crime Line at

1-888-LOCK-U-UP (562-5887).

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Category: Synagogue/Jewish Security

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