A woman in North Carolina was arrested on Friday for vandalizing a Jewish synagogue and a neighbor's cars.
57-year-old Lisa Marie Burns of Cary, NC was arrested and charged with two counts of ethnic intimidation and two counts of property damage for two separate acts of vandalizing.
Burns committed the crimes on Thursday. According to local police, just before 4 p.m., they received a call from another Cary resident who said his cars had been vandalized outside his home.
The resident, Mohammed Khan, had a Porsche that had been painted with orange spray paint, and one of the headlights on his Mercedes had been shattered.
Later that same day, around 6 p.m., police received another call about vandalism. Two windows had been broken at the Congregation Sha'arei Shalom. Orange spray paint was on the nearby sidewalks as well.
Footage from a camera at the synagogue showed Burns throwing bricks through the windows.
Burns was interviewed by police, and according to reports not only admitted her guilt, but also admitted she felt contempt for people of other religions and ethnic backgrounds.
Mike Kaufman, a board member at Congregation Sha'arei Shalom, told reporters, "We're concerned for the safety of our congregants and visitors."
Local police are now collaborating with federal law enforcement to see if any federal charges are appropriate, now that Burns has admitted to what motivated her.
"While the vandalism Mrs. Burns committed did not immediately suggest a racial motive or ethnic intimidation, through our investigation it became clear that her actions were fueled by hate," said Cpt. John Szymeczek of the Cary Police Department.
Burns is currently being held at the Wake County Public Safety Center under a $2,000 secured bond. She faces up to 120 days in jail.
When the Anti Defamation League released its annual report on anti-Semitic incidents in the United States, they found a 57 percent rise of incidents in 2017 over 2016. Incidents in the report included bomb threats, assaults, vandalism, and anti-Semitic posters. I previously covered that report when I wrote about the October shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue that killed 11 people.
These kinds of pointless attacks show us what comes out of the current toxic political and social climate we are mired in. Until we can find ways to have proactive, constructive conversations, we will struggle to discover common ground and solve the problems that threaten us.