Thursday, May 26, 2011
Burglars Stealing Silver Sefer Torah Crowns Busted After Investigation By Metropolitan Police & Shomrim London NW
During the last 4 months, at least 10 shuls in North West London have been targeted by burglars, who are specifically targeting the silver on Sifrei Torah.
The burglars seem to be well informed as to where the shuls are located in the area. During three of these burglaries, Sifrei Torah have been broken apart and well over £150,000 ($240,000) of silver and Jewish artifacts have been stolen. During a recent shul burglary on Thursday night two weeks ago, a Sefer Torah was left desecrated and torn apart on the floor. To quote a Local Rov “the violation of the Sifrei Torah in my shul remind me of kristallnacht in Eastern Europe”
The chief executive of Shomrim London NW, Gavriel Ost met the Borough Commander for Barnet, Chief Superintendent Neil Basu two weeks ago who exclaimed “Barnet Police are determined to catch the offenders”.
Barnet’s London Assembly member, Brian Coleman highlighted a number of burglaries of synagogues, Jewish Schools and Jewish-owned premises in Barnet at the Mayor’s Question Time last week. Mr Coleman, said: “These raids that started in December are a matter of great concern. “The crimes have hit at the very heart of the Jewish community in Barnet, and the stealing of precious religious artifacts cannot be interpreted as anything other than anti-Semitic.”
Despite another break-in in a shul in Hendon last night, Barnet Police have now arrested two suspects in connection with the recent thefts from shuls. A 42-year-old man was arrested on Saturday, May 20, and a 16-year-old was arrested on Wednesday, May 25.
Detective Sergeant Henderson of Barnet CID said a man had been caught on CCTV on two separate occasions punching a pin number into a keypad at Golders Green Synagogue. “ I believe that the same man is behind each robbery and police are analyzing video footage and footprints found at the locations”
Barnet CID have praised Shomrim London NW for their ongoing assistance and tireless efforts helping to gather evidence and CCTV to assist the Police with their enquiries.
Shomrim now have pictures of religious items from the Police which are potential stolen goods. If you or you know someone who has been victim to burglary and have had silverware stolen, please contact Shomrim on firstname.lastname@example.org or our 24hr Hotline 0300 999 1234 so that the items can be recovered and returned to their homes.
Shomrim NW London implore all gabboim to protect your Sifrei Torah by checking the following;.
1) If your Oron Hakodesh is not a secure safe, please try your best to ensure that a safe is installed immediately.
2) If anyone in your congregants are aware of silver and artifacts from Sifrei Torah being offered for sale, please call our hotline immediately on 0300 999 1234.
3) These suspects have managed to gain entry to doors locked with number locks. Therefore please ensure that the shul doors are securely fitted and locked with Chubb locks at night.
4) If your Shul has an alarm please make sure it is regularly tested, in working order and used on a nightly basis.
5) If Shul has CCTV once again ensure its well maintained, lenses are clean, recording properly and in full working order
For any further advice on how to secure your Oron Hakodesh / Shul please do not hesitate to contact Shomrim London NW.