Daily Israel Report

Police Apprehend Judaica Thieves

Three residents of Tiberias arrested for stealing many Judaic objects from a synagogue in Tzfat. Tip-off from a merchant helped catch them.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 2/8/2011, 5:04 AM / Last Update: 2/8/2011, 5:10 AM

A tip-off by a merchant of Judaica products living in Ashdod has helped police capture a gang of Judaica thieves, who stole valuable items from a synagogue in Tzfat.

The merchant told police that he had bought from the gang a crown for a Torah scroll which is placed on scrolls during Shabbat and holy days. The merchant said that the crown he had bought was a rare and valuable item.

An investigation by police found that the stolen crown is 200 years old and its value is estimated at $50 thousand. Using the information they found, officers were able to arrest early Monday morning three residents of Tiberias, in their 30s, on suspicion of stealing the crown.

A search conducted by police in the homes of the suspects found a stash of Judaica products, ritual objects and Torah scrolls, all of which were stolen from a synagogue in Tzfat.

On Saturday night, four young men aged 21 to 24 were arrested on suspicion of involvement in a break-in last week into the main synagogue in Milan, Italy, and stealing over a million dollars in Judaica products which were smuggled to Israel.

The four are suspected of smuggling items into Israel and trying to sell them to customers. The items were seized by police.