Suspect Charged With Hate Crime in Vandalism of Chicago Synagogue with Swastikas

A suspect has been arrested and charged in connection with the vandalism of a synagogue in downtown Chicago over the weekend, according to police. 

Stuart Wright, 31, was taken into custody on Tuesday around 11:45 a.m. when officers saw him exiting a residence in the 2100 block of S. Loomis St. in the city's Pilsen neighborhood, police said in a release. 

Wright, whose address was not disclosed, was identified based on surveillance video of the incident and information from an anonymous tip, authorities said. 

He was charged with one count of committing a hate crime at a church or synagogue, and one count of criminal damage between $300 and $1000 - both felonies, according to police. 

Around 12:20 a.m. Saturday, officers responded to a call at 16 S. Clark St. in the city's Loop, police said. There they found that the front window of the Chicago Loop Synagogue had been broken and two swastika stickers were posted on the front door. [[412834213, C]] [[412774313, C]]

On Saturday afternoon, officials released video showing the suspect pulling up to the scene in a dark SUV and exiting the vehicle from the driver's side.

The offender can be seen placing the stickers on the entrance, then using a metal object to strike the adjacent window twice, shattering the glass. [[412833013, C]]

The American Jewish Committee, a national advocacy group, condemned the attack, saying it came amid a rise in incidents of anti-Semitism across the country.

"The Chicago Jewish community will not be intimidated by anti-Semitic attacks on a house of worship," AJC Chicago director Amy Stoken said in a statement.

"The right of all religious groups to practice their faith without fear is a fundamental American value. Chicagoans must speak together clearly that the hatred behind this destructive behavior will never be accepted," she added. 

Archbishop of Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich weighed in on the incident as well, tweeting "Hate will not prevail." [[412784883, C]]

The Council on American-Islamic-Relations of Chicago also denounced the vandalism, calling it "a shameful act of cowardice and hate" and offering the support and solidarity of Chicago's Muslim community. 

"No American should have to feel vulnerable and at risk simply due to their religious affiliation," CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab said in a statement.

"Unfortunately, we know the feeling all too well as mosque vandalism and burning has spiked recently in the US. We recognize the source of hate as one, and regardless of religious affiliation, we stand together in solidarity against it as one. An attack on any is an attack on us all," he added.

Wright is scheduled to appear in bond court on Feb. 9 at 9 a.m. 

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