A Tale of Two Transients

LOS ANGELES | April 14, 2011

LAPD reports that a man in his late 20s broke into Temple Israel of Hollywood located on the 7300 block of Hollywood Boulevard, collected several items from within the Temple, placed them on a desk and then set them on fire with a candle. Authorities are currently investigating the small fire and burglary that occurred Wednesday night.

Sources familiar with the investigation told the Los Angeles Times that the probe is ongoing and that detectives don’t believe it was a hate crime, even though this is the second crime to take place at the second synagogue by the second transient in two weeks. Could “2-2-2” be a new evil number? Last week police said the same thing about a pipe-bomb that exploded with enough explosives to blow a 300 pound pipe into the ceiling of the home next door to Chabad House Lubavitch in Santa Monica.

The suspect fled the scene of Temple Israel of Hollywood, but the suspect’s image was captured on video. He, like his predecessor at Chabad House Lubavitch, is believed to be a transient who frequents the area. The fire did minor damage to the Temple.

Los Angeles Police Department Capt. Beatrice Girmala, who oversees the department’s Hollywood Division and was at the synagogue, said in a brief phone interview that the heavy response was made out of an abundance of caution referring to television news helicopters that broadcast images of several uniformed and plainclothes law enforcement personnel at the Temple.

“Because it is a house of worship, we’re taking every precaution to be sure we know we are not underplaying the situation,” Capt. Girmala said. She thereafter declined to provide further details of the incident, stating that police were sweeping the synagogue’s large campus which includes a school.

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