4 stolen Torahs mysteriously returned to Brooklyn synagogue

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — Days after they were stolen from a Brooklyn synagogue, four Torah scrolls worth $240,000 were found mysteriously returned in garbage bags on the building’s doorstep.

The scrolls taken Tuesday by an unidentified individual from the Avenue O Synagogue were discovered by a member of the Sephardic shul late Thursday night as he was leaving after a study session, the Flatbush Jewish Community Coalition said in a statement Friday.

He “noticed large bags that were mysteriously placed by the shul’s door which contained the missing Torahs,” the statement said.

Surveillance video showed a young man wearing a kippah entering the synagogue in the Midwood section and leaving with the scrolls during the Simchat Torah holiday, according to local news reports. The scrolls were taken at about 1 a.m. Tuesday. It is not known whether the thief is Jewish.

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“The community is overjoyed at the return of the sifrei Torah,” Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind said. “The Torah scrolls represent the heart of the Jewish people, and as the Sabbath approaches, we breathe a sigh of relief knowing our Torah scrolls are safely back in our possession.”

New York City Councilman David Greenfield had offered a $1,000 reward to anyone providing information that leads to the arrest and conviction of “the despicable criminal who committed this crime,” he told WPIX-TV.