Sacto 9-1-1
January 1, 2010
Authorities call vandalism of Jewish temple on Morse Avenue a hate crime

From Diana Lambert:

Worshipers at the Kenesset Israel Torah Center on Morse Avenue were greeted this morning with swastikas, demonic symbols and racist messages scrawled on the temple and a nearby electrical box.

Four cars a mile away also were vandalized with the number 666 - often considered a demonic symbol - encircled by a Star of David.

Police officials said the two sets of incidents could be related.

"We're looking at it as hate crime," said R.L. Davis, a spokesman for the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department.

He said department officials have notified the FBI.

Kenesset Israel members this morning were joined in the temple's parking lot by members of the Interfaith Service Bureau and other local clergy.

"It's very sad to see it's still happening and people are still so uneducated to do something like this," said Simone Clay, president of Kenesset Israel Torah Center.

Nonetheless, Clay said she believes it is an isolated incident.

"Maybe it was people who got a bit drunk last night and thought they had a message to intimidate other people," she said.

Clay said people in the Sacramento area generally tolerate and support all faiths.

"It's very rare that we see people behave like this," she said.

Davis said community involvement will be a key to finding the people responsible for the vandalism.

"What it comes down to is us getting tips," he said.

To report information, people can call the sheriff's department at (916) 874-5115 or the Crime Alert tip line at (800) 222-7463 or (916) 443-4357. Tips also can be sent via text message, texting 274637 then entering SACTIP, followed by the tip information.

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