After extensive questioning, police have charged Ruben Ubiles, 34, of Bedford-Stuyvesant with burglary, arson and criminal mischief as felony hate crimes, as well as reckless damage and reckless endangerment, reports said Friday.
The New York Times said Ubiles had a prior arrest record for robbery, assault and drug possession.
Ubiles was apprehended by police based on surveillance footage at a Williamsburg housing project where a mezuzah was burned on Tuesday. According to some reports Ubiles posted on Facebook that he was annoyed about Jews setting fires on streetcorners, apparently referring to chasidim burning chametz before Passover.
On Thursday Ubiles was charged with an unrelated crime, criminal contempt in connection with a violation of a court order of protection obtained by his girlfriend, Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne told The Jewish Week.
Ubilies was apparently identified using facial recognition software and a database of mug shots after he was recorded lighting a match at 130 Clymer Street, reports said. One mezuzah was burnt in that building.
Eleven more were set afire at 85 Taylor Street in the Taylor-Wythe Houses.
The first vandalism occurred as Israel and many local institututions observed Holocaust Remembrance Day Monday.
In a statement, Etzion Neuer, acting New York regional director of the Anti-Defamation League said the vandalism “is a blatant act of anti-Semitism with a clear attempt to instill fear and intimidate the victims in their homes. It is particularly disturbing that this horrific act of hate occurred on Holocaust Remembrance Day, a time in which we remember the heinous acts committed against the Jewish people.”
Councilman David Greenfield, a democrat who represents Borough Park and part of Flatbush, on Tuesday announced a $1,000 reward for information leading to arrests in the case.
“I was saddened to hear about yet another anti-Semitic incident here in New York City, where we expect tolerance of others and freedom to worship in peace," Greenfield said in a statement. "I urge anyone with any information to immediately come forward and help bring this sick and hateful individual to justice.”
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