New York City police arrested two youth who vandalized two Lower East Side synagogues on Thursday with eggs, smoke bombs, and swastikas.
The teenagers, a 15-year old Asian and a 16-year old black, drew a large swastika on the United Hebrew Center on East Broadway. The two then set off a smoke bomb before heading to the Bialystoker synagogue on Willet Street, where they drew a second swastika and threw eggs at the building.
The attacks occurred only a few days after eight Jewish children were injured in Williamsburg, Brooklyn after a resident of a Latino block across the street threw a bottle with dangerous chemicals at them. That attack is not officially categorized as a bias crime, however.
Police plan on charging the Lower East Side vandals with the hate crimes of aggravated harassment, criminal mischief and reckless endangerment.
“This is a desecration of G-d, no matter what your religion,” said New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who attends the Bialystoker synagogue. “It is just a despicable act that really should tug at the heartstrings of all of us.”
State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced that the Civil Rights Bureau would open an investigation into the crime calling it “outrageous and deeply disturbing.”