LOS ANGELES (JTA) – A burglar stole electronics, three sets of tefillin and other valuables from the Chabad house at the University of Southern California.
The burglar, whose image was caught on a security camera, entered the Rohr Chabad Jewish Student Center near the central Los Angeles campus shortly after midnight on July 13, according to police. He took two computers and a video projector along with the phylacteries.
The value of the stolen items is estimated at $8,000 to $10,000. USC students, their parents and alumni have contributed more than $3,000 to replace them.
Though it normally houses seven students, the Chabad center was undergoing extensive construction and was empty, so the robber worked undisturbed and methodically.
According to the security video, he stayed initially for about two hours, opening every door and closet, said Rabbi Dov Wagner, director of the Chabad center. The burglar then left and returned three hours later, spent the next 30 minutes transferring the stolen items into the trunk of his car and drove off at approximately 5:30 a.m.
Construction workers arrived two hours later, noticed their tools had been stolen and called Wagner, who notified the police.
Authorities have not identified the burglar, but Wagner said he did not think the Chabad was targeted specifically as a Jewish institution.
Wagner posted on his Facebook page a day after the robbery: “It was a tough day, dealing with the feeling of violation, police reports, and beginning to contemplate the headaches that theft of our computer is going to cause. But it was also a special day, because of how many of you reached out with words of support, love, and contributions.”