(December 19, 2019 / Jewish Journal) Authorities have arrested a 24-year-old Pennsylvania man in connection with the vandalization of the Nessah Synagogue in Beverly Hills this past Shabbat.
In a Dec. 18 media release, the Beverly Hills Police Department (BHPD) said it had arrested Anton Nathaniel Redding, 24, of Millersville, Pennsylvania, in the state of Hawaii, and charged him with vandalism of a religious property and commercial burglary. The charges include a hate crime penalty enhancement.
On Dec. 17, authorities identified Redding as the suspect as a “result of a thorough investigation, review of surveillance footage and the processing of forensic evidence,” according to BHPD. “Once Redding was identified, a warrant was obtained for his arrest, and investigators along with the crime impact team shifted their focus to locating Redding.”
Police quickly determined Redding’s location and reached out to local Hawaii authorities.
“Working collectively with the local Hawaiian authorities, Redding was located in Kona [a district on the Big Island of Hawaii] and taken into custody,” the BHPD statement said.
According to the BHPD, Redding is being “held in custody, without bail, where he will remain until an extradition hearing is held to authorize his transfer to the state of California. Once the extradition is approved, Redding will be transferred from Hawaii to California and will ultimately appear at the Airport Courthouse in Los Angeles.”
BHPD worked “in cooperation with federal and local law-enforcement agencies, have been working tirelessly on this investigation and vetted through many leads before ultimately identifying Redding as the suspect,” the police statement said.
The BHPD had detained another suspect on the evening of Dec. 14, “however, that subject was excluded as a suspect based on forensic evidence and was ultimately released from detention,” according to police.
Beverly Hills Mayor John Mirisch said in a statement that “I said we would catch this guy, and we did.”
The mayor praised the BHPD for its “superb work,” and said the Beverly Hills community is strong and will not be intimidated.
“The criminal who we believe desecrated a holy place on Shabbat is now in custody thanks to the superb work of the Beverly Hills Police Department. The Beverly Hills community is strong and will not be intimidated by despicable acts. Our thoughts remain with the Nessah community as they work to move forward from this terrible crime.”
The incident occurred around 2 a.m. on Dec. 14. The suspect desecrated Torah scrolls, overturned furniture and ransacked several areas of the Beverly Hills sanctuary, which serves the Iranian-Jewish community. An employee at Nessah discovered the burglary hours later around 7 a.m., on Shabbat. Nothing was stolen and nobody was injured.
This article first appeared in the Jewish Journal.
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