Suspected mezuza thief apprehended in New York

Facial recognition software allegedly identifies suspect as a man caught on tape at the scene of the crime.

By MICHAEL WILNER JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
April 12, 2013 04:10
1 minute read.
Mezuza

Wooden mezuza 370. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

 
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NEW YORK – New York authorities have apprehended a man suspected of snatching and burning 11 mezuzot in Brooklyn on Holocaust Remembrance Day, which fell on Monday.

NYPD officials told The Jerusalem Post that no arrest has been affected, but sources at the New York Post said that Rubin Ubiles, 35, was being held as a suspect after facial recognition software allegedly identified him as a man caught on tape at the scene of the crime.

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New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn – a front-runner in the race to succeed Michael Bloomberg as mayor – held a press conference on Tuesday at Independence Towers in Williamsburg, where the crime was committed, with locals affected by what was widely perceived to be a hate crime.

“Acts of hatred against the Jewish community have no place in our city,” said Quinn.

“I applaud the NYPD for their swift response to these hate crimes and for apprehending the suspect. We stand united against hate in Williamsburg, across Brooklyn and throughout New York City,” she continued.

“The city will not tolerate anyone who thinks they can strike fear in the Jewish community.”

At 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Ubiles published a lengthy post on Facebook proclaiming his innocence.



He has friends that are Jewish, he wrote, and added that arson is not his style.

A long parade of public officials issued statements praising the NYPD’s efficiency in its investigation.

It took the force only three days to take a suspect into custody.

Remnants of the Jewish artifacts were supposedly found on the same block where the suspect was seen on camera lighting a match.

Local media outlet CBS New York reported that Ubiles had an extensive criminal history, with 52 arrests on claims of assault, robbery, drugs and auto theft.

Hate crime legislation in New York states that violence, intimidation and destruction of property based on bias or prejudice are unique and separate prosecutable offenses.

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