Police released surveillance footage of children vandalizing a Williamsburg synagogue during the Jewish New Year on Sept. 30, a misdemeanor violation that “disgusted and enraged” Governor Andrew Cuomo, who tasked the state’s Hate Crime Task Force with tracking down the youngsters.
The video shows two kids throwing a plastic milk crate and another object at the Throop Avenue house of worship near Bartlett Street on the second day of Rosh Hashanah at 5:29 pm, before scurrying off with a group of other children.
After fleeing, the kids returned to throw some more stuff at the synagogue, before hightailing it for the second and final time, footage shows.
A window was shattered during the incident, causing about $250 worth of damage, according to Police Department spokesman Sgt. Brendan Ryan.
Ryan could not say whether investigators have pinned an age to the suspects, but said they stand at about five-feet tall and weigh between 90 to 100 pounds.
Cuomo condemned the youngsters as anti-Semites in a strongly worded statement released on Oct. 2, in which he announced the role state police would play in tracking down the pint-sized culprits.
“I am disgusted and enraged by yet another anti-Semitic act of vandalism, the desecration of a synagogue in Williamsburg over Rosh Hashanah, one of the holiest days in the Jewish calendar,” said Cuomo. “It is simply unconscionable.”
Crimes driven by anti-Semitic motives are up 63-percent this year, and Cuomo directed state police to patrol areas around synagogues throughout the Jewish New Year celebrations in an effort to ward of attacks.
“We will not allow the cowards who contributed to the recent rash of hateful acts against the Jewish community and other groups to intimidate or divide us,” Cuomo said.
Local law enforcement is investigating the vandalism as a possible hate crime, and is pursuing misdemeanor criminal mischief charges against the children, Ryan said.