Search underway off Long Island beach for stolen Torah scrolls and other sacred items

Crews scramble to search coastline with worry that suspect may have thrown the two Torah scrolls into the Atlantic Ocean.

Dan Verbin ,

Long Island
Long Island
iStock

Officials are sweeping the Long Island, New York coastline searching for sacred items stolen from a synagogue on Saturday by a man who was arrested the next day.

The damage to the Chabad House in Long Beach, New York included prayer shawls strewn on the floor, the ark broken from its hinges, two Torah scrolls found lying on the ground and two others missing along with other religious items.

The man who committed the vandalism is believed to be mentally ill and was hospitalized after his arrest.

ABC 7 reported that some of the stolen items are thought to have been thrown into the Atlantic Ocean by the suspect.

Search crews have scanned the coastline at least three times searching for two Torahs, a Torah crown, prayer shawls and several other items.

According to ABC 7, authorities said that several items have been recovered but the Torahs are still missing.

Rabbi Eli Goodman, who discovered the desecration, told the news outlet that the two missing Torahs date back to the previous congregation that occupied the building, Temple Beth-El.

Chabad of the Beaches only recently moved into the building.

"These Torahs have been used for many, many decades. We want to get them back in any shape or form,” said Goodman.

The suspect is reportedly refusing to tell police what he did with the items that are still missing, which is why it is suspected he might have thrown them into the ocean.



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