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FBI Assists Fresno Police in Synagogue Vandalism

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While Fresno police say they have no suspects in the vandalism at Temple Beth Israel, the FBI is assisting in analyzing surveillance video.

Rabbi Rick Winer reported that someone removed the word “Israel” from the temple’s sign leading into the parking lot at its 6622 N. Maroa Ave. location in Fresno. It happened hours after an Oct. 30 community vigil at the temple to remember the victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue attack.

“People have been really amazing. The outpouring of love and support from the general community has so outweighed the ugliness of the incident. The beauty of the community is more than evident.” — Rabbi Rick Winer

As of Wednesday (Nov. 14), the sign has not been fixed.

“We’re figuring out how to best to affix the letters. We want to do it right,” Winer said.

Chief Jerry Dyer said the vandal left the metal letters attached to a brick wall in the bushes nearby. They found fingerprint evidence and obtained surveillance video.

FBI Helping with Video

Federal agents are helping Fresno police enhance surveillance video.

“We had a local FBI agent actually drive a video recorder all the way to Sacramento,” Capt. Burke Farrah said. That video will also be sent to FBI headquarters in Quantico, Va. “We appreciate the support of our federal partners.”

He added that police and the FBI are looking into cellphone calls in the area.

Farrah said they don’t have any video of evidentiary value to release. They continue to recover usable video.

“The only thing that indicates a motive is the fact that the word ‘Israel’ was taken down. Based upon that and the events that transpired in Pittsburgh earlier (that) week, we believe this is a bias motivator and a hate crime,” Farrah added.

Rabbi Thankful

Two weeks after the incident, Winer appreciates the backing of the community.

“People have been really amazing. The outpouring of love and support from the general community has so outweighed the ugliness of the incident. The beauty of the community is more than evident,” Winer said.

 

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email