‘Worship without fear’ - Riverdale community breathes easier as synagogue vandal suspect arrested
Members of the Jewish community in the Riverdale section of the Bronx are breathing a sigh of relief following the arrest of Jordan Burnette – the 29-year-old police say vandalized multiple synagogues in the area.
The weeklong search by police came to an end early Saturday morning when police say they saw a man riding a bike against traffic and noticed that he fit the description of the suspect in the synagogue attacks. They brought him in for questioning while other officers went back to where they originally picked him up.
When they got there, they found the shed on the grounds of the Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale had been broken into. Police say security camera footage showed Burnette as the culprit, and a caretaker says the bike police found him on was stolen from there.
At a news conference Saturday, the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force connected Burnette to the entire string of synagogue attacks.
“Hopefully life will resume back to normal and people will be able to worship without fear," said John Miller, NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism.
Burnette is now facing multiple charges including burglary, criminal mischief, aggravated harassment and criminal trespass – all as hate crimes.
In a joint statement, elected officials from the area said in part:
"We support the prosecution of this suspect under hate crime statutes, as it is clear and obvious that these vandalism attacks were motivated by a hatred for Jewish people and/or culture. There must be a clear line drawn in the sand that we have no place for anti-Semitism or any bigotry-fueled violence in the Bronx or anywhere in New York.”