(UPDATED) Mezuzahs burned at another Williamsburg building
UPDATE: According to eyewitnesses and law enforcement, mezuzahs were found burned at another Williamsburg building located at 130 Clymer Street.
Early reports indicate burned mezuzahs found at 128 Clymer but police were unable to confirm those reports.
Police were unable to provide a count of how many mezuzahs were burned at 130 Clymer.
According to cops, the building is also managed by the New York City Housing Authority. The first building affected, 85 Taylor, was as well.
Rachel Hoffman, a mother of seven who lives at 130 Clymer, expressed dismay at the desecration of the mezuzahs.
“It shows a disregard for our beliefs, to come in and destroy something sacred to us,” Hoffman said. “It’s a very low thing to do. I just don’t understand.”
“My children will be getting home soon,” she added. “I’m very concerned.”
Additional reporting by Emily Johnson.
Metro’s original story is below.
Cops may have caught a possible suspect on surveillance camera in the investigation into the burning of 11 mezuzahs in Williamsburg on Monday, according to a law enforcement source.
Mezuzahs are religious objects placed on the doorways of Jewish homes, which is why the incident is being investigated as a possible hate crime.
“The mezuzah is a symbol of protection,” explained community member Gary Schlesinger. “It’s not only a religious symbol, it’s something we feel is protecting our safety.”
Schlesinger also noted that the burning occurred on Holocaust Remembrance Day, and said there are quite a few Holocaust survivors in the building.
“It’s really an insult to those people,” he added.
Police reported that on Monday afternoon around 4 p.m., a resident at 85 Taylor Street, one of the NYCHA Taylor-Wythe Houses and a building predominantly inhabited by Satmar Hasidic Jews, noticed a mezuzah on fire outside an apartment on the 8th floor.
The resident reported his observation to a member of the Shomrim, the Jewish safety force in Williamsburg, who notified local NYPD.
The Hate Crimes Tast Force was dispatched to the building, where they were informed at 11 mezuzahs on seven different floors were burned.
The Arson/Explosion Unit and NYFD fire marshals reportedly determined that no accelerant was used in setting the fires.
On the fourth floor, police found a charred piece of cardboard, and on the sixth floor they discovered a burnt wooden match.
There are 14 cameras inside the building, and surveillance video showed one suspicious individual, according to a law enforcement source.
Police described the individual as a dark-skinned male, approximately 30 years old. He reportedly got in the elevator in the lobby around 3:30 p.m. carrying a Razor scooter.
Cops said he appeared to light a match while in the elevator, and got off the elevator two minutes later. He left the building twenty minutes later using a stairwell.
Police canvassed five other buildings of the development but found no other burned mezuzahs. The investigation is still underway.
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