Rabbi in costume helps bust shul house rocker

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Cops nabbed a man for repeatedly breaking into a Brooklyn Heights synagogue, finally delivering the congregation from torment by the burglar — and it couldn’t have happened on a more auspicious day.

Rabbi Aaron Raskin, who heads congregation B’nai Avraham, was preparing for Purim, a holiday that celebrates another long-ago deliverance, on March 10, when police told him that they had cornered the suspect on Henry Street, near Pierrepont Street.

Already in costume for his shul’s annual holiday festivities, Raskin hopped into the squad car and positively ID’d the suspect.

“I was the ‘Man in the Yellow Hat’ from the Curious George books,” said Raskin, who had met the suspect years ago when he came to the synagogue for charity.

Since then, the man has been breaking into the synagogue every few weeks and stealing charity donation boxes. The most-recent crime was on March 4, cops said.

Not long after the arrest, Raskin received another call from the cops. “They said that [the suspect] wanted to talk to me, and that he was telling them he was my friend,” said Raskin. “With friends like that, who needs enemies?”

Updated 5:21 pm, March 12, 2009
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