HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Huntsville Police are investigating another case of vandalism at a synagogue.
The first case was at Etz Chayim synagogue on Bailey Cove Road. The vandal spray-painted anti-Semitic words and symbols overnight Wednesday night to be found on Thursday, the first day of Passover.
Friday morning, similar vandalism was found at Chabad of Huntsville on Parkhill Road.
Police Chief Mark McMurray spoke at the morning news conference. He says that just last year, state lawmakers updated the hate crime law. The new law means that these cases of vandalism, which would have been considered criminal mischief before, now constitute being charged as a hate crime.
Huntsville Police are working with other law enforcement agencies on this case right now as part of the multi-agency Crime Center, which also includes the Federal Bureau of Investigation. They have video and forensic specialists that are looking at the evidence in the case.
McMurray says they do have a bunch of evidence collected already and they continue to gather evidence from the scene.
Quick message to the person who did this: We’re asking you go to ahead and turn yourself in.
The public has contributed roughly $2000 in reward money. Anyone who knows who did this crime can call 53-CRIME to place an anonymous tip. If the tip leads to an arrest, you will
McMurray says that he wishes the person responsible would turn themselves in peacefully. Otherwise, police will continue to investigate this and they will find out who you are.
Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle was also at the news conference. He said he immediately went to the synagogue when he heard about this crime to pass along his deep, heartfelt sorrow to the rabbi.
Battle says “We do not condone this. We are not that community.”
There were a number of churches who showed up to the synagogue first thing this morning to help “wipe out the stain…. that is thoughtless, senseless, stupid and shouldn’t have happened.”
Chief McMurray and his team at Huntsville Police will do everything in their power to bring something to justice. “We will protect our own – the rabbi, his family and the synagogues throughout this community. Because that’s what this community is about,” closed Battle.
Huntsville Police hopes to release images of the vandal later today.