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Sarasota Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021 5 months ago

Sarasota man gets five months in jail for anti-Semitic graffiti

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Arrest dates back to incidents from April and July 2020.
by: Mark Gordon Managing Editor

Vincent Alexander Martinez, 22, was sentenced to five months in Sarasota County jail, followed by five years of probation, following a guilty plea in connection with the vandalism at two synagogues in Sarasota.

Martinez plead guilty Dec. 13 to three counts of felony criminal mischief motivated by hate/prejudice in connection with incidents in the spring and summer of 2020, one around the Jewish holiday of Passover.

As part of the guilty plea, Martinez paid restitution to the synagogues for those organization’s out-of-pocket costs in removing the spray paint or repainting the parts where the vandalism couldn’t be removed. He also repaid the insurance company for settlement of one claim.

Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office detectives launched an investigation April 2, 2020, when security cameras captured an unidentified man spray-painting swastikas on exterior walls of Temple Emanu-El, at 151 McIntosh Road. In similar incidents in the early morning hours on July 15, a man was again seen in video surveillance spray-painting swastikas and other anti-Semitic graffiti at Temple Emanu-El, as well as Temple Sinai at 4631 South Lockwood Ridge Road.

Authorities identified Martinez following the release of images and video from each incident through the sheriff’s office social media accounts, according to a statement. He was arrested and charged July 24, 2020. The investigation revealed Martinez used a nearby ATM shortly after the first incident wearing the same clothing seen in security footage. Detectives also linked him to the second two incidents through cell phone records, the release states.

Assistant State Attorney Kennedy Legler prosecuted the case in Sarasota County 12th Judicial Circuit Court.

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