Nolan Brewer, 20, and his accomplice, a 17-year-old female, were charged on Thursday with conspiracy to violate civil rights, for their July 27 painting of Nazi swastikas and iron crosses on the walls of a garbage shed belonging to Congregation Shaarey Tefilla in Carmel, Indiana, IndyStar reported. The girl was also charged with criminal mischief and arson, the latter being a felony punishable by up to two and half years in prison when committed by an adult.
Brewer praised Adolf Hitler when he confessed to investigators, explaining that he and his girlfriend had painted the swastikas on a synagogue wall because the place was “full of ethnic Jews,” according to Thursday’s criminal complaint.
According to the indictment, Brewer wanted to intimidate local Jews, whom he told investigators were too influential, and wanted them to “back down.” But Shaarey Tefilla clergy Benjamin Sendrow told IndyStar: “They utterly failed. They tried to evoke hatred and fear, and what they produced was an outpouring of love and support and solidarity.”
Indeed, the hateful graffiti drew widespread support from many in the community, Jews and gentiles alike, and on the Monday following the vandalism more than 1,000 community residents, including Christian clegy, assembled in solidarity with the congregation.
Later, 12 electronic billboards across the state sent a message of “LOVE” in response to Nazi vandalism at Carmel synagogue. The billboards’ owners, Lamar Advertising, Outfront Media and Fairway Outdoor Advertising, said they wanted to share a message of support for the Jewish Congregation.