Update April 24: Cape Coral police have announced the arrest of 51 year old Maron Mark Raymond; more here.
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The Rabbi of the Chabad Jewish Center of Cape Coral says an “angry man” used bricks to try and break in the front door just after their Saturday services ended.
While many of the worshipers had already left, several were still inside, according to Rabbi Yossi Labkowski.
“Then we hear this loud noise,” he said. “I was approaching the door and I see somebody picking up a brick and just yanking it, throwing it at the door.” The man threw the brick at the front door of the Jewish center several times. Before he did that, he was seen knocking over a decorative painting of a menorah in the parking lot.
He couldn’t break through the impact-resistant glass, so he turned his attention to the Rabbi’s car sitting in the parking lot. Again, using bricks to smash the front windshield and passenger side door.
Thankfully no one was hurt, but the thought of ‘What could have happened?’ flashed through their minds. Antisemitic attacks at Jewish places of worship are, unfortunately, something worshipers at the Chabad Jewish Center of Cape Coral are aware of but hope never happens.
Both the Rabbi and Ben-Haim think the Jewish community and their Jewish center were targeted. They both call this a hate crime. “In my opinion, it’s a hate crime,” Ben-Haim said.
“Absolutely,” added the Rabbi. “The fact that he knocked down the menorah first and then he came to this door. He could’ve gone to any other business, he came to this door. We don’t live in fear. We are here and we will continue our work and if we have to protect ourselves, we will protect ourselves.”
The Cape Coral Police Department is investigating, according to Rabbi Yossi. Officers collected evidence, including the bricks used by the man to try and beak in.
NGO StopAntisemitism shared a description of the attacker to their followers on Twitter. The organization condemns the hateful actions of the individual and stands in solidarity with the Jewish community of Florida.
The suspect is described as a white man, approximately 40-50 years old, bald, and drove away in a gold-colored Ford SUV.