Florida man will be charged with vandalism of 2 Reform synagogues in Sarasota


(JTA) — A Florida man is being charged in connection with the vandalism of two Reform synagogues in Sarasota.

Victor Martinez, 21, was named by the Sarasota Country Sheriff’s Office as the previously unidentified man who spray-painted swastikas and hate messages on Temple Sinai and Temple Emanu-El earlier this month. He also has been implicated in a vandalism attack on Temple Emanu-El in April, the Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

All of the incidents were captured on security footage and by security cameras at a nearby ATM.

Warrants for Martinez’s arrest were issued Wednesday, according to the statement.

Martinez, who was placed at the scenes of the incidents using cellphone records, faces three counts of criminal mischief by defacing and damaging a synagogue, all classified as felony hate crimes. He is at a secure medical facility pending his arrest, according to the statement.

The Temple Sinai campus was extensively vandalized in the July 15 attack, including many walls made of porous Jerusalem stone, making the removal of the messages difficult. In April, swastikas were spray-painted on the doors of Temple Emanu El, which was again vandalized on July 15.

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