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Police Investigating Possible Vandalism at Jewish Temple, Catholic Church
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By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 4 weeks ago on
May 2, 2024
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Fresno police are investigating an incident of flyers posted on the exterior windows of Temple Beth Israel. (GV Wire/Eric Martinez & Anthony Haddad)

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Fresno police are investigating an incident of flyers posted on the exterior windows of Temple Beth Israel, and also at St. Anthony of Padua church.

The flyers appear to be religious in nature, referring to several biblical passages. One flyer is titled “John Marks letter to the apostate church in Babylon.”

The flyers contain small type, with a website to a religious group QR codes.

Another posting on the window has what appears to be a hand-written message.

Police say they have suspects in custody. A van with “Repent or Perish” painted on the side was found at the church.

GV Wire initially reported that the van belonged to the church. It may actually belong to the suspects.

Lt. Marcus Gray II said the two incidents are related. Police responded around 4:15 p.m., for a report of two men “engaged in a verbal disturbance with somebody,” at the temple.

Police arrested the men a short time later at the church.

“We’re looking at all the laws that may have been violated,” Gray said.

Police have not yet released the identifies of the suspects.

Rabbi: Flyers ‘Unwelcome’

Rabbi Rick Winer called the messages “unwelcome.”

“It’s certainly upsetting,” Winer said. He said there does not appear to be any other damage.

Police on the scene are not ready to call the incident a hate crime.

“It’s still unnerving and unsettling, and so I’m not thrilled. I wish we were not doing this,” Winer said.

Unwanted religious flyers were posted at Temple Beth Israel. Police are investigating. (GV Wire/Anthony Haddad)

Incident During Heightened Tensions

The incident comes during heightened tensions with the Jewish community because of the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel. College campuses such as UCLA and Columbia erupted into pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel violence.

However, a pro-Palestinian sit-in at Fresno State went peacefully.

“We’re already on edge, not only because of the recent months, news both nationally and … college campuses and what’s going in Israel and Gaza. But you know what’s happened here on campus yesterday, which thankfully was peaceful and we’re very grateful,” Winer said.

“This is our home. This is not a public park. And to have people who do not belong here …  feeling the need to say something that they think we need to hear and posting it on the walls is a violation,” Winer said.

The temple experienced vandalism last October, days after the Hamas attacks.

Last Saturday, a man was arrested for assault, robbery and hate crime for an attack on three women at a pro-Palestine both at the Porchfest music event in the Tower District.

Some of the flyers left with Temple Beth Israel. (GV Wire/Anthony Haddad)

Leaders React

Elected leaders were quick to condemn the incidents.

“(I) am concerned for families at both the Temple and St. Anthony’s. This is unacceptable in our community,” wrote Fresno County Supervisor Steve Brandau on Facebook.

“Vandalism and harassment of any kind will never be accepted or tolerated. The Fresno police are apparently investigating this. Any perpetrators will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” said Fresno City Councilmember Garry Bredefeld.

A van believed to belong to the suspects found at St. Anthony of Padua (above). A suspect is seen in the back of a squad car (below). (GV Wire/Anthony Haddad)

Police take a suspect in custody at St. Anthony of Padua church in Fresno. (GV Wire/Anthony Haddad)

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David Taub,
Senior Reporter
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

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