A Lodi NJ man was convicted of terrorism in connection with several incidents of vandalism at Jewish temples in New Jersey. The suspect also reportedly firebombed a rabbi’s residence.
The violent criminal offenses were committed in late 2011 and early 2012. According to Bergen County officials, the suspect began his crime spree in December 2011 by vandalizing Temple Beth Israel in Maywood, New Jersey. The vandalism involved spray-painting of anti-Semitic messages on the exterior of the religious building.
The suspect also committed a similar act of vandalism at Temple Beth El in Hackensack, NJ.
The following month, in January 2012, the suspect and an accomplice allegedly went to Temple K’Hal Adath Jeshurun in Paramus and tried to set fire to the building.
Not long after that, the suspect visited the Jewish Community Center in Paramus and was on the verge of throwing a Molotov cocktail at the building when a patrol cop drove by, prompting the suspect to abandon his plan.
The suspect’s crime spree came to an end on January 11, 2012. That’s when the suspect firebombed the home of a rabbi who lived next to Congregation Beth El. At the time of the incident, the rabbi was inside the residence with his wife, five kids, father, and mother-in-law.
The suspect is a 24-year-old male from Lodi, New Jersey. After being apprehended by police, the suspect allegedly admitted to committing the acts of vandalism.
The suspect later went to trial in Bergen County Superior Court in Hackensack, NJ. During the trial, which lasted four weeks, the prosecution tried to prove that the suspect had terrorized several people with his frightening actions. Moreover, argued Bergen County prosecutors, the suspect intentionally carried out his acts for the express purpose of promoting terror.
At the conclusion of the trial, the jury convicted the suspect on 20 different criminal charges, including the most serious criminal charges of terrorism.
The jury also acquitted the suspect on a number of charges, including attempted murder and aggravated arson.
The suspect will need to make another appearance in Bergen County Superior Court on July 22 so that the judge can formally sentence him. The terrorism conviction means that the suspect faces a potential term of incarceration of 30 years in New Jersey State Prison.
For additional information about this case, view the NorthJersey.com article, “Firebomber Guilty of Terrorism.”