Three juveniles have been arrested for allegedly breaking into and vandalizing the Chabad Jewish Center on West Main Street Wednesday, the police said.
Barnstable police Patrolman Wayne Ellis found two suspects behind an apartment building by the Chabad center shortly after Betty Gladstein, a member of the congregation, discovered the ransacked religious center and called the police.
Ellis was one of 10 officers who responded to Gladstein’s call at 11:50 a.m. Wednesday, Barnstable police Lt. Sean Balcom stated in a press release yesterday.
Gladstein went to the center and found doors kicked in, objects missing and religious items thrown on the floor. She saw two young men running from the property.
A preliminary investigation indicates images of Adolf Hitler and anti-Semitic symbols found on the rabbi’s computer were downloaded during the break-in, Balcom stated.
Police recovered some of the stolen items from the building where the suspects were located. A third juvenile was later arrested at Barnstable High School, across the street from the Jewish center.
The three suspects face arraignment in Barnstable Juvenile Court on charges of breaking and entering, larceny of a building, willful injury to a church, and committing property damage for the purpose of intimidation based on religion.
“I think our initial response of course was sadness,” said the Rev. Steve Carty Cordry, chairman of the leadership group for the Cape Cod Interfaith Coalition.
He urged the community to avoid anger over the incident. “I understand that emotion in response to such a thing, and yet the last thing that I would want to do is to add any fuel to this fire,” he said.
The interfaith coalition, made up of a representatives from several local religious groups, is discussing the possibility of a public gathering to take a stand against anti-Semitism, Carty Cordry said.
“We send love and support and sympathy to our friends at Chabad center,” he said.
The Cape Cod Council of Churches joined the interfaith coalition in sending out a call to action yesterday.
“We encourage all our congregations to send messages of support and solidarity to … Chabad … and to offer whatever assistance they might need in restoring their place of worship to its original condition,” read a joint statement from the organization.