Rocco Parascandola – NY Daily News
This guy sure has chutzpah.
A career criminal befriended by rabbis at a Brooklyn Heights synagogue – who gave him food and money – returned the favor by busting into the house of worship and stealing whatever he could, police sources said.
Despite the thefts at Congregation B’Nai Avraham, its leaders are determined not to turn their back on the suspect, who has 29 arrests on his record and an apparent drug problem.
“I feel you have to separate the person from the act,” said Rabbi Aaron Raskin. “If he’s a thief, don’t let him in. But what, you don’t feed him? He should die? No.
“It’s a hard message and I have many congregants who disagree with me, but I do not think you should not help the person.”
Suspect Davis Duvallya, 43, most recently tried to break into the Remsen St. synagogue on Thursday at 3:30 a.m., but a cleaner scared him off, according to Raskin and police.
Duvallya was already wanted for failing to appear in court July 28, when he was to be sentenced for burglarizing the temple on March 3 and taking a stereo and a charity box containing about $50.
Duvallya was still being sought late yesterday, and the 84th Precinct has stationed an officer in a patrol car outside the brownstone that houses the synagogue.
He apparently gave a fake address to cops. When the Daily News tried to find him at the Carlton Ave. location yesterday, it did not exist.
In a previous break-in at the synagogue, a laptop computer and toaster were stolen. And last summer, police said, a thief twice broke a window and got inside.
Duvallya is a suspect in all the incidents, as well as one or two other break-in attempts going back two years or so, police sources said. The suspect has a record dating back to 1991, including two years in prison for burglary.
Raskin and another rabbi, Simcha Weinstein, said they befriended Duvallya several years ago, giving him a dollar or two whenever he asked. Raskin also said the suspect would occasionally stop by and ask for food, a request granted without hesitation.
Outside the temple yesterday, Fay Preddie, 51, a nanny whose young charge attends a preschool at the synagogue, said the suspect has told her how much he depends on its charity – and good food – to get by.
“But if they’re helping him and he’s breaking in I would not give him anything,” she said. “That is not right.”