New York Police Department’s Hate Crimes Task Force announced the arrest of Jordan Burnette, 29, on Saturday in connection with multiple vandalism attacks on synagogues in the Bronx.
On April 22 and 23, the Riverdale Jewish Center (RJC) and Chabad of Riverdale’s windows and doors were smashed by thrown rocks. On April 24 both were targeted again, as well as Young Israel of Riverdale and Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale (CSAIR).
Chabad of Riverdale and Riverdale Jewish Center had already been attacked on March 23rd and again the next night, along with Synagogue Adath Israel and Young Israel in the same area.
Deputy Inspector Jessica Corey, head of the task force, said the suspect was spotted at around 3am on Saturday morning riding a bicycle against the flow of traffic. When confronted, he was uncooperative and brought to the 50th precinct.
Police found a van with a broken windshield near where he was arrested, and surveillance video revealed Burnette as the culprit.
Police then found Jewish prayer books on the ground in the parking lot of a nearby synagogue, where Burnette had been seen. Burnette now faces “numerous charges,” Corey said, including burglary as a hate crime.
The NYPD Office of Public Information told The Algemeiner that there were 13 separate arrest numbers for the incidents, as each involved “multiple charges.”
NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Public Information John Miller said, “I think this will bring a great sense of relief” to the Jewish community. “Hopefully, life will resume back to normal and people will be able to worship without fear.”
Joshua Gleis — president of Gleis Security Consulting, a security firm that specializes in protecting synagogues and works with houses of worship around the country, including the Riverdale Jewish Center — told The Algemeiner, “These incidents should serve as a reminder that the community must continue to remain vigilant and proactive in securing their institutions.”
“It is also important to remember that all suspicious activity should be reported to law enforcement as well as communal security organizations, as these reports can often prevent more serious escalations before they occur,” he added.