2017-02-16 / Front Page

More anti-Semitic hate in Oak Park

By Sylvie Belmond

One of the notes distributed in Oak Park.
Courtesy of Ventura County Sheriff's OfficeOne of the notes distributed in Oak Park. Courtesy of Ventura County Sheriff's OfficeDetectives from the Ventura County Sheriff's Office are looking for the public’s help in identifying four individuals who allegedly posted anti-Semitic notes on the doors and mailboxes of eight homes in the 5900 block of Conifer Street in Oak Park.

One of the homes belongs to Chabad of Oak Park, a Jewish outreach organization.

On Sat., Feb. 11, authorities responded to several calls from residents who found 4-inch by 6-inch notes containing handwritten anti-Semitic symbols, including swastikas and derogatory messages, taped on their doors and mailboxes. With the exception of the Chabad, it appears the messages were randomly placed and did not  target specific residents, authorities said.

Detectives created a taskforce and are collaborating with federal law enforcement officials to identify the culprits.

Surveillance footage shows four young men attaching the notes to the front door of a home and a vehicle. The men appear to be between 16 and 20 years old and authorities suspect they are from the local area.

Although police are looking at all motives, they don’t believe the culprits are part of an organized hate group. While likely a prank, ”This is a behavior we take very seriously and we’re aggressively trying to get to the bottom of this,” sheriff's Capt. Garo Kuredjian told The Acorn.

The department is treating the incident as criminal felony case. “This is considered a hate crime,” Detective Tim Lohman said. 

It is not the first time the Oak Park Chabad has been targeted and hate messages disseminated.

In 2010, vandals spray painted the message: “Get out of Oak Park” on the front wall of the small community synagogue when the organization sought to expand its operations. 

In 2014, several Oak Park High School students, including athletes and at least one cheerleader, celebrated Adolf Hitler’s April 20 birthday with a flurry of anti-Semitic and racist tweets that incited fear in the community. The students were reprimanded and no criminal charges were filed.

Alon Glickstein, chair of the Oak Park Municipal Advisory Council, was saddened to learn about the most recent incident. 

“That’s awful. If kids were involved, I hope that they are caught and spoken to so they can understand the severity of what they’re doing and how inappropriate it is,” Glickstein said. “We should just grow past all this prejudice between ourselves and accept our neighbors,” he said.

Anyone with information about the crime and who can help to identify the culprits in this video:
goo.gl/EVUX2S is asked to contact Detective Marta Bugarin at (805) 371-8342 or at Marta.Bugarin@ventura.org. 

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