Indiana man sentenced to 3 years in prison for vandalizing synagogue

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — An Indiana man sympathetic to Nazism and white supremacy was sentenced to three years in prison for spray-painting anti-Semitic graffiti on the property of a suburban Indianapolis synagogue.

Nolan Brewer, 21, of Eminence, was sentenced Monday for conspiring to violate the civil rights of Congregation Shaarey Tefilla. He pleaded guilty to a federal hate crime, the Indianapolis Star reported.

In July he spray-painted a black swastika surrounded by a red background and the German and Nazi Military Iron Cross on a wall of a brick shed outside the synagogue. He also attempted to set the property on fire. Brewer also was ordered to repay the synagogue $700 for the damage.

His wife, who is a minor, helped to paint the graffiti, according to the newspaper. Both were arrested days after the attack, having been caught on surveillance video purchasing red and black spray-paint and bandanas from a Wal-Mart the day before the vandalism.

Brewer told investigators that they targeted the synagogue because it was “full of ethnic Jews,” according to the Star. Federal officials said the couple planned to set the synagogue building alight with homemade explosive devices, the newspaper reported, but were scared off by the synagogue’s lights and surveillance cameras.

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