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Sarasota Wednesday, Jul. 15, 2020 3 weeks ago

Sarasota temples vandalized with anti-Semitic messages

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office is working to identify the suspect responsible for the damage at Temple Emanu-El and Temple Sinai.
by: David Conway Deputy Managing Editor

A man vandalized Temple Emanu-El and Temple Sinai with anti-Semitic graffiti overnight, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office said in a release today.

The Sheriff's Office is working to identify one man shown in surveillance footage at both properties. The department described the suspect as “a white male in his 20s or 30s, approximately 5’10” to 6’2” tall, with dark hair and a thin build.”

The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee said in a release there is currently no known credible threat to the Jewish community. Federation CEO Howard Tevlowitz said the group has been in contact with the sheriff and the local office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the wake of the incident.

Tevlowitz also said the group has reason to believe the suspect was responsible for similar vandalism at Temple Emanu-El on April 2.

“Every effort is being made to identify this person and take active steps to ensure our community remains the safe, secure and inclusive home to the Jewish families that live and work in the Sarasota-Manatee area,” Tevlowitz said in the release.

The department said the man spray-painted multiple swastikas and other anti-Semitic messages at both locations between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. Wednesday, estimating the cost of the damage at thousands of dollars.

The Sheriff’s Office encouraged anyone with information related to the incident to call its criminal investigations section at 941-861-4900 or 941-861-4928. Surveillance video showing the suspect is available on the sheriff’s YouTube account.

This article has been updated with information from The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee​.

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