Chief Investigative Reporter Jonathan Dienst on crime, corruption and terrorism.

Suspect Arrested on Hate Crime Charges in Brooklyn Mezuzah Burnings

View Comments ()




    Police have arrested a suspected arsonist on hate crime charges in connection with the burnings of a dozen mezuzahs over the past several days in Brooklyn. 

    Mezuzahs are Hebrew-inscribed parchments affixed to doorways of Jewish homes.

    Mezuzah Burnings Probed as Possible Hate Crime: Sources

    [NY] Mezuzah Burnings Probed as Possible Hate Crime: Sources
    Police are investigating a possible hate crime in Brooklyn where mezuzahs were burned off the doorframes of at least a dozen apartments inside a public housing building, according to law enforcement sources. Ida Siegal reports. (Published Tuesday, April 9, 2013)

    Eleven mezuzahs were found vandalized on Monday in one building on Taylor Street in Williamsburg, and another a day later in a building on Clymer Street.

    Authorities say Ruben Ubiles, 35, was seen on surveillance cameras lighting a match in one of the buildings, and investigators have video of him inside both buildings at the time of the crimes.

    A law enforcement official tells NBC 4 New York that Ubiles has also made statements implicating himself.

    The charges include 12 counts of burglary as a hate crime, 12 counts of arson as a hate crime and 12 counts of criminal mischief as a hate crime.

    Ubiles is being evaluated at a hospital and information about an attorney wasn't immediately available. Police would not say why he was taken to a hospital.

    Get the latest from NBC 4 New York anywhere, anytime