(JTA) — A New Jersey man sent Facebook messages to Gov. Phil Murphy and others threatening harm Orthodox Jews for violating state coronavirus restrictions.
Anthony Lodespoto, 43, of Howell, was charged Friday with making terroristic threats during a state of emergency, law enforcement officials said in a statement.
Lodespoto allegedly used Facebook’s direct messaging feature to threaten the Jewish community of Lakewood, a New Jersey township with a large Orthodox population that has reported a higher number of coronavirus cases than surrounding areas.
“The threats largely consisted of Lodespoto threatening to travel to Lakewood with the purpose of assaulting members of the Jewish community with a baseball bat,” the statement said.
As of Thursday, Lakewood had 198 confirmed COVID-19 cases, by far the most in Ocean County, according to the county Health Department, the Asbury Park Press news site reported.