By Chad Winthrop
A 24-year-old man has been charged with vandalizing the Nessah Synagogue in Beverly Hills earlier this month damaging Jewish relics and before fleeing to Hawaii, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has announced.
Anton Nathaniel Redding (dob 12/28/94) of Millersville, Pa. faces one felony count each of vandalism of religious property and second-degree burglary.
Deputy District Attorney Rachel Hardiman said the criminal complaint includes a hate crime allegation.
The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges today and is scheduled to return on Jan. 30 in Department W31 of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Airport Branch. Case SA101904 was filed for a warrant on Dec. 18.
Redding allegedly broke into the synagogue on Dec. 14 and damaged property and holy books, the prosecutor said. Following the charged crimes, the defendant went to LAX and flew to Hawaii, the prosecutor added.
“It is not just an attack on the Jewish Community of Beverly Hills; it’s an attack on all of us,” Beverly Hills Mayor John Mirisch said in a statement. “The entire City stands in solidarity behind Nessah, its members and congregants.”
According to the Beverly Hill Police Department, the suspect damaged several Jewish relics, but fortunately, the Synagogue’s main scrolls survived unscathed. The disruption was primarily to the Synagogue’s interior contents, and there is very limited structural damage.
At this point in the investigation, it does not appear that any Synagogue property was stolen during the crime. No one was inside the Synagogue during the crime, and no one was injured,” the Department said in a press release. “Although police are investigating the crime as a hate crime, the suspect left no markings or other overt signs of anti-Semitism.”
If convicted as charged, Redding faces a possible maximum sentence of six years in state prison. Bail is set at $250,000.
The case remains under investigation by the Beverly Hills Police Department.