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NY Man Sentenced to Prison for Possessing Stolen Torah Scroll

A New York court has sentenced a resident of Liberty to prison for possessing a Torah Scroll stolen from a synagogue in Monticello.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 8/21/2012, 4:14 AM

Torah
Torah
Israel radio photo

A New York court has sentenced a resident of Liberty to prison for possessing a Torah Scroll that was stolen last December from the Landfield Avenue Synagogue in Monticello.

The judge, Mike McGuire, sentenced 41-year-old Christopher Colvill to three to six years in prison and imposed a $5,000 fine on him.

A report in the Yeshiva World News website said that Colvill, who has a lengthy rap sheet dating to 1989, was suspected of stealing the Torah but never charged with the burglary. He pleaded guilty to felony criminal possession of stolen property in May.

The Torah Scroll was stolen from the Monticello synagogue in the dead of night. For weeks, members of the local Jewish community looked for the missing scroll, and the synagogue’s rabbi, Rabbi Benzion Chanowitz, even called on local merchants to get in touch with the synagogue with any information about the scroll.

Police were later able to locate the scroll by analyzing fingerprints left by the burglars on the ark.

The Torah scroll was kept by police until the investigation was completed, at which point Rabbi Chanowitz received a phone call from the chief of the local police, who informed him that the scroll can be returned to the synagogue.