Federal charges link New Jersey man to Hancock synagogue vandalism


CAMDEN, N.J. (AP/WJMN) — A New Jersey man faces allegations he conspired to carry out spray paint vandalism attacks two months ago against synagogues in Michigan and Wisconsin.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported 18-year-old Richard Tobin allegedly recruited people on a neo-Nazi social network.

Court records indicate Tobin told investigators he considered suicide attacks and once sat with a machete in the parking lot of a New Jersey mall, considering an attack on black shoppers.

An email message for his public defender wasn’t returned.

The paper says the synagogues that were vandalized with swastikas and other images on Sept. 21-22 were in Hancock, Michigan, and Racine, Wisconsin.

According to an affidavit of the United States District Court of New Jersey, a search warrant executed on Nov. 8 showed that “Tobin’s personal computer’s browse history included news articles of the anti-Sematic vandalism incidents of both synagogues.”

In an interview conducted by the FBI, Tobin admitted he was responsible for directing other members to vandalize minority-owned properties throughout the country in September 2019.

David Holden, president of Temple Jacob, released a statement to Local 3 on Nov. 18 in regard to the release of this information.

“I simply share that I am pleased with the work that local law enforcement and the FBI have done and look forward to their arresting the co-conspirators.”

A magistrate judge ordered Tobin to remain incarcerated Friday, pending a mental health evaluation.

The paper says authorities declined to discuss the details of their investigation.

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