The NYPD has been unable to identify the black man seen in a surveillance video who is the prime suspect in several acts of vandalism and criminal mischief against four synagogues as well as cars in Riverdale, the Bronx.
Additional photos of individual wanted for questioning for multiple acts of vandalism of synagogues in @NYPD50Pct in Riverdale.
— NYPD Hate Crimes (@NYPDHateCrimes) April 25, 2021
The rampage, under investigation by the police hate crime taskforce, took place in Riverdale and Fieldston starting last Thursday and continuing through Saturday in the NYPD 50th precinct.
The first incident took place outside Young Israel of Riverdale, at 4502 Hudson Parkway in Fieldston, where the suspect threw rocks at several windows and broke them, then ran away.
The second incident was outside Adath Israel of Riverdale, a Conservative Synagogue at 475 West 250th Street in Fieldston. The same man threw rocks at several windows and ran away after they had been broken.
The third incident took place outside Chabad of Riverdale and the Riverdale Jewish Youth Library, at 535 West 246th Street in Riverdale. The same man broke several windows and ran away.
The fourth incident took place outside the Riverdale Jewish Center, at 3700 Independence Avenue in Riverdale. Once again, the man threw rocks at several windows, they broke, he ran away.
Finally, the same man arrived at 541 West 239th Street in Riverdale and broke the windows of three parked vehicles, and ran away.
The NYPD issued a statement saying: “The investigations are active and ongoing by the 50th Precinct Detective Squad and the Hate Crime Task Force.”
State Assemblymember Jeffrey Dinowitz said the NYPD recommended that Jewish institutions make sure all doors are closed and secured, and remove loose bricks from the area around their buildings.
“You will see increased police presence, in particular NYPD foot patrols, around the temples and synagogues in the Riverdale area as well as other Jewish institutions,” Dinowitz said. “These police officers are from a mobile force authorized by NYPD to supplement local precinct officers who are also actively searching for the man who did these hateful acts.”
Dinowitz added, “If there are specific locations that you are concerned about which do not appear to have NYPD presence at them, please contact the Sector C (which covers Riverdale) Neighborhood Coordination Officers, PO Brandon Day (Brandon.Day@nypd.org) and PO Richard Planamenta (Richard.Planamenta@nypd.org), or call 50th Precinct Community Affairs at (718) 543-5978.”
There have been repeated acts of vandalism against many Jewish institutions in Riverdale this past week.
We will not stand for acts of hatred against the Jewish community, or any community.
Thank you to the @NYPD50Pct & NYPD for their hard work & swift response. More later.
— Jeffrey Dinowitz (@JeffreyDinowitz) April 25, 2021
Dinowitz joined local politicians, including Congressman Jamaal Bowman, State Senator Alessandra Biaggi, and Councilmember Eric Dinowitz, in a joint statement saying:
“Over the weekend we received the horrific news of a string of hate crimes and vandalism at four local synagogues and places of worship in Riverdale. Our teams have been in close communication with community leaders and the NYPD in order to work towards the physical and psychological safety of the community. We are proud to represent Riverdale — a neighborhood that is inclusive, accepting, and loving. The rise in hate crimes towards Jewish people is alarming and deeply painful to see. Hate has no place here.
We condemn in the strongest possible terms the hate crimes and vandalism that are occurring in Riverdale. No one should be attacked or living in fear because of their race, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. The threat towards synagogues and other Jewish institutions is real and we must treat these issues head-on. Jewish people have been the victims of hate crimes and persecution for centuries, and this week’s events are a somber reminder that we must all be vigilant in weeding out antisemitism. Our hearts go out to everyone in our district who has been impacted by these hate crimes.
Our offices are closely monitoring this situation. We thank Captain Emilio Melendez, all the NYPD investigators, the NYS Hate Crime Task Force, our colleagues in government, and all the rabbis and community leaders who are involved in ensuring that justice is served. This is a true demonstration of unity and is an example of the resilience of Riverdale. We urge that anyone with relevant information reach out to the 50th precinct. If you see a crime being committed, call 911 immediately. We will continue to unite as a community to make sure it is loud and clear that hate has no place here.”
Assemblywoman Nathalia Fernández, serving the 80th assembly district, who is running for Bronx borough president, issued a statement on Sunday, saying, “These acts are appalling, and coincide with a rise in hate crimes across the City.”
Fernández continued, “These destructive crimes are not reflective of the all-accepting community I know to exist in Riverdale. The Bronx has zero tolerance for any kind of hate. As a borough, we have always accepted every person, regardless of their race, creed, or sexual orientation, because that is what it means to be a community. We must work together to hold the individuals responsible accountable.”