2 suspects in custody over Indiana synagogue vandalism

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — Police arrested two suspects in connection with the painting of a swastika on a synagogue in Indiana.

U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler, the FBI and the Police Department of the Indianapolis suburb of Carmel announced on Thursday charges against 20-year-old Nolan Brewer and a co-conspirator who is in custody but was not named.

The two are suspected of painting a black swastika surrounded by a red background and the German and Nazi Military Iron Cross last month on a wall at Shaarey Tefilla, a Conservative synagogue near Indianapolis with 200-member families.

Brewer is facing a criminal complaint with conspiracy to violate civil rights, the WTHR television station reported Thursday. A conviction on that charge can carry up to a 10 year sentence.


“When a criminal act deprives our citizens of a constitutional right, law enforcement must respond,” said Minkler. The report did not say how Brewer and the alleged accomplice pleaded.

Police say the two were caught on surveillance video purchasing red and black spray paint and bandanas from a Wal-Mart the day before the vandalism.

The U.S. Attorney says evidence found indicates Brewer may have intended to do more damage than he did. There is no evidence that Brewer was part of a larger group planning attacks.

The Anti-Defamation League offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those vandals.

The incident prompted a strong response from local leaders as well as Vice President Mike Pence saying, “These vile acts of anti-Semitism must end.”

At the end of the legislative session in January, Indiana remained one of just five states without a hate crime law.

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