A Jewish man in New York City has been arrested for hate crimes after going on a crime spree vandalizing and burglarizing four synagogues.
A Jewish Brooklyn man faces hate crime charges for allegedly scrawling messages on four synagogues, and burglarizing one of them, during an hour-long crime spree.
Emil Benjamin, 39, was charged Thursday with burglary and criminal mischief as a hate crime in connection with the early Saturday spree.
Benjamin told the Daily News in 2011, after he was stabbed on a Brooklyn subway platform, that he’s a Kavkazi Jew. Five years later, he was accused of stealing four Torah scrolls worth more than $200,000 from another synagogue in Midwood.
The hour-long crime spree for which Benjamin is now charged began at 12:20 a.m. Saturday, when he allegedly hit the Young Israel of Midwood, the Kahal Darkei Noam, the Khal Toras Chaim D’Flatbush and the Knesses Bais Avigdor, cops said. All four houses of worship are within a few blocks of each other in Midwood.
He’s accused of writing “Pedophiles,” “Thieves” and “Anti-Acculturation” on the front and sides of the buildings.
At the break-in at Kahal Darkei Noam on Avenue J near E. 29th St., Benjamin allegedly scrawled graffiti inside, damaged two cabinets and stole $20, police said. Surveillance video from the Young Israel of Midwood on Ocean Ave. near Avenue L shows the suspect walking up to the front of the synagogue and scrawling a message on the wall with two markers, one red, one white, police said.
In the Nov. 21, 2011, incident, Benjamin was beaten and stabbed by two men on a southbound F train approaching a station at Fourth Ave. and Ninth St. in Park Slope, police said at the time. Then a loan broker living in Bensonhurst, Benjamin told the News his attackers yelled anti-Semitic slurs before the assault. “They said, ‘You’re nobody, you Jewish bastard,’ ” he said.
Then on Dec. 29, 2016, he was busted on charges that he burglarized the Ave. O Synagogue in Midwood, cops said. According to a criminal complaint, he took four Torah scrolls worth more than $200,000. The scrolls were returned to the synagogue a few days later, according to a PIX11 report. He pleaded guilty to petty larceny and got a conditional discharge in the case.
Benjamin was awaiting arraignment in Brooklyn criminal court on Thursday. (source)