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Police seek culprit in theft of Jewish welcome banner

Four minutes after midnight on Oct. 25, a young white man in a dark hoodie can be seen on surveillance images swiping a “Welcome Jewish Students” banner from the front porch of a building near the University of Virginia that offers a “home away from home” for Jewish students.

Charlottesville Police are seeking the public’s help in finding the suspect, who was wearing a distinctive dark hoodie celebrating Block Island, an exclusive summer enclave just off the northeastern tip of New York’s Long Island. Other clues include his white Nike athletic shoes, his sweatpants bearing the number “31,” and his getaway vehicle, a blue four-door Toyota pickup truck.

A motive for the theft was not indicated in the police press release, but local investigators have been ambitious about publicizing potential hate crimes this fall. In September, for instance, UVa Police circulated surveillance images of a man leaving a noose on a University of Virginia statue depicting the epic poet Homer. Last month, Albemarle County Police announced the arrest of a man named Shane Dennis, charged with felony intimidation, in connection with the noose incident.

The banner theft appears to have occurred at an Jewish community center known as the Rohr Chabad House, which has an outreach program to UVa students.

Police are urging anyone with information regarding this incident to contact Officer D. Nash at (434) 970-3280 or the Crime Stoppers tip line at (434) 977-4000.


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