LOS ANGELES — Police are investigating anti-Semitic graffiti spray-painted on a Southern California synagogue as a hate crime, just days after a gunman killed 11 at a synagogue in Pittsburgh — the deadliest attack against the Jewish community in U.S. history.
The Irvine Police Department was notified about the vandalism on an exterior wall of Beth Jacob Synagogue on Wednesday morning. Allen Berezovsky, president of the board at Beth Jacob synagogue in Irvine, south of Los Angeles, said staff discovered the vandalism in early morning.
Berezovsky said security footage showed an individual wearing a hoodie, sunglasses and a surgical facemask jumping over the fence of the synagogue around 1:18 am and then leaving on a bicycle stolen at the premises.
The Irvine Police Department and our own security have done a full sweep of the entire facility and nothing was found other than the graffiti,” he said in a statement to his congregation.
“We are continuing to do everything we can to make our campus more secure, and we will continue to promote the message that we are stronger than hate.”
Police spokeswoman Kim Mohr said the suspect has not been identified and patrols had been increased at all Jewish facilities throughout the city, located in Orange County.
According to a report released in September by OC Human Relations, a nonprofit, hate crimes have continued to climb in Orange County, the third-largest of California’s 58 counties, for the third straight year.
It said 56 hate crimes and 94 hate incidents were reported countywide in 2017.
The majority of the attacks — 13 percent — targeted Muslims, followed by Jews at nine percent.