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Berkeley Police Arrest Suspect for Series of Anti-Semitic Hate Crimes

BERKELEY (CBS SF) -- Police in Berkeley on Tuesday announced the recent arrest of a suspect in connection with multiple hate crimes involving graffiti, burglary and vandalism aimed at people of the Jewish faith, according to authorities.

In a release issued by the Berkeley Police Department, authorities said the suspect vandalized a private residence on the 2500 block of Warring Street with graffiti referencing those of Jewish faith and also destroyed a Jewish religious artifact early on the morning of April 29 between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m.

Early that evening between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m., the same suspect was seen vandalizing a Jewish synagogue on the 1300 block of Oxford Street with anti-Semitic writing. The suspect also destroyed religious artifacts and left a handmade reverse swastika.

Early the following morning on April 30 between 2:30 a.m. and 4:30 a.m., the same suspect was caught on surveillance video burglarizing a Jewish community center on the 2700 block of Bancroft Way. During that burglary, the suspect wrote several bizarre messages in English and Hebrew that referenced Judaism. The suspect also rearranged some items into shrines and took some items.

Berkeley police reviewed surveillance videos of the incidents and were able to develop a suspect in the case. After additional investigation, officers identified the suspect -- a 39-year-old man with no fixed address -- and began searching for him.

On May 3, officers spotted the suspect in Civic Center Park and arrested him on suspicion of burglary, vandalism and defacing or destroying property for the purpose of intimidating/interfering with the free exercise of any right/privilege secured to the person by the Constitution. The third charge is considered a hate crime.

Police said a hate crime is any crime against a person, group, or property motivated by the victim's real or perceived protected social group.

"The Berkeley Police Department recognizes and places a high priority on the rights of all individuals guaranteed under state and federal law," the release said. "The commission of a hate crime is a serious offense, which will not be tolerated in the City of Berkeley."

The suspect in the case has not been identified.

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