18-Year-Old Confesses He Vandalized Synagogue

18-year-old from Gaithersburg, Maryland, says he vandalized a synagogue because he "disliked" its worshippers.

Ben Ariel ,

Swastika vandalism (illustrative)
Swastika vandalism (illustrative)

An 18-year-old resident of Gaithersburg, Maryland, has confessed to police that he spray-painted swastikas and wrote KKK at the Shaare Torah Synagogue in the city, WTOP-TV reported on Wednesday.

According to the television channel, 18-year-old Sebastian Espinoza-Carranza did what he did because he “disliked the Jewish people who attended the congregation”.

Law enforcement sources familiar with the case told the station that Espinoza-Carranza admitted to detectives that he had planned and carried out the vandalism, which occurred April 7.

He is charged under the state’s hate crime law with Property Damage to a Religious Institution, as well as Defacing a Religious Property, and Malicious Destruction of Property Over $1000.

Police recovered surveillance video of a group of males in their teens at the 7-Eleven located at 121 Kentland Boulevard, before and after the crime occurred — a quarter-mile from the synagogue.

Sources told WTOP that Espinoza-Carranza was one of the young people pictured on the video. Several of them were questioned by police.

Espinoza-Carranza told police they would find the black and white running shoes he wore during the crime at his home, and that the gray shirt and khaki pants were in a garbage bag at his home.

Maryland court records show Espinoza-Carranza has been released on $25,000 bond.

There have been a number of anti-Semitic incident in the United States recently. Earlier this week, shots were fired outside of a synagogue in Nashville, Tennessee. No one was hurt.

In late March, two Jewish teenagers were attacked with paintballs in Brooklyn as they were coming home from synagogue with their grandfather. Several weeks earlier, the car of a rabbi in the city of Dallas was vandalized with a swastika.