(January 27, 2021 / JNS) The Federal Bureau of Investigation is offering a $15,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a man on surveillance video last year vandalizing a synagogue and Chabad House in Huntsville, Ala.
Swastikas and anti-Semitic graffiti were spray-painted on Etz Chayim Conservative Synagogue in the wee hours of the morning on April 9 as Jews around the world were observing the start of Passover. The next night, similar graffiti was painted on Chabad of Huntsville.
According to a joint release by the FBI and the Huntsville police, “Surveillance camera footage indicated the vandalisms were perpetrated by the same individual. The individual walked with a pronounced, distinct limp and appeared to have a prosthetic left leg,” authorities said in their statement, noting that the individual may be driving an “early model Toyota Prius, light in color.”
The Anti-Defamation League Southern Division is offering its own reward of $2,000, saying “we are grateful to the Huntsville Police and FBI Birmingham for showing such service to and solidarity with the Jewish community. We hope this additional reward money will inspire others to speak out and help correct this wrongful, hate-filled attack.”
In addition to the FBI award and ADL rewards, the Huntsville Area Crime Stoppers is also offering a reward of $1,000.
Elsewhere in Alabama, which is home to about 9,500 Jews statewide, authorities in the city of Mobile are decrying vandals who painted swastikas and wrote the words “Heil Hitler,” along with other images on school buses in nearby Semmes.
In a statement posted on Facebook, local Jewish community leaders expressed their outrage at the vandalism.
“Mobile Area Jewish Federation is horrified at the appalling act of anti-Semitic vandalism that took place at Semmes Middle School. There is no place for hate and bigotry in our community and our country. We believe that education is the only way to fight bigotry, and we urge our community leaders to be proactive about teaching our students about anti-Semitism,” they wrote online. “We have every confidence that the authorities will do what is necessary to keep our educational, religious institutions and community-at-large safe during this challenging time.”
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