A metal menorah was stolen off the lawn of Congregation Beth Solomon and police released a video showing the theft.
The surveillance video – some of it in black and white, some in color – shows a young man on the move.
Dressed in a graphic black T-shirt, gray and black knee-length shorts, white sneakers and a backwards baseball cap, the man, who appears to be in his late teens or early 20s, runs across Tomlinson Road, grabs a large metal menorah off of the front lawn of Congregation Beth Solomon, and runs off with it. Throughout, he’s carrying a flagpole under his arm.
The video was made at 3 a.m. on Aug. 20, and shows a group of people walking in the background as the man perpetrates the theft. The man was apparently part of that group. Northeast Detectives released the video to the public in the hopes that the menorah would be returned.
“It got a lot of media coverage in the last night. I was hoping somebody would come forward,” said the 7th District’s Lt. Dennis Rosenbaum, who speculates that taking the religious symbol was just a drunken prank. “They were stealing stuff all up and down the street,” he said of the group in the video, which also took a bike in addition to the flagpole.
Rosenbaum thought maybe the menorah would be back at the synagogue after a regretful prankster returned it, but it’s still missing.
“I was hoping for tips,” he said, but as of press time, the mystery remained unsolved.
Rabbi Solomon Isaacson, who founded Congregation Beth Solomon, was also hoping that the menorah, which has been a feature of the shul for three years, would be returned by now.
“It’s a very emotional thing because it was donated by someone in memory of his mother,” the rabbi said, adding that the menorah is an important symbol of Judaism in the neighborhood.
He doesn’t believe the theft was an anti-Semitic incident, however.
“There was no malicious intent. It was just kids having a good time,” he said. “Maybe they were high on dope, on marijuana. If it had been too heavy to lift, he wouldn’t have taken it.”
The rabbi hadn’t yet seen the video online, but was hoping its circulation would bring in information — or better yet, the menorah’s return.
“We just want it back, that’s all,” he said.
Anyone with information about the theft is asked to call Northeast Detectives at 215-686-3153/3154, call the tipline at 215-686-TIPS or text a tip to PPDTIP.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 215-832-0747