NYPD Identifies Man Wanted For Stealing Torah Scrolls From Brooklyn Synagogue

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Three weeks after four Torah Scrolls were stolen from a Brooklyn synagogue, detectives from the NYPD Major Case Bureau are asking the public to help them locate the suspect.

Emil Benjamin, 35, is wanted in connection with the burglary that occurred on Simchas Torah at the Avenue O Synagogue located at 808 Ave. O in Midwood, police said. The four Torahs are valued about $240,000.

Police were able to positively idnetfy Benjamin after one of the leaders at the synagogue received a tip from someone who recognized the man that stole the Torahs. This information was then passed on to detectives.

As previously reported, when members of the synagogue arrived later in the morning, they didn’t realize that the Aron Kodesh had been broken into because the suspect did “a very clean job,” a source familiar with the matter said.

When the hakofos took place, they opened up the Aron Kodesh and were surprised that four Torahs were missing. The leaders thought they were moved to another floor and started searching all three floors. However, they realized the Aron Kodesh seemed to be tampered with and called the police. The police reviewed the video and saw that there was a burglary, an insider from the synagogue told JP.

“Thankfully, the man didn’t steal the three other Torahs that were there,” the insider said.

Benjamin is described as a white male, 5’4, 140 pounds, brown hair and  brown eyes. Benjamin is a known criminal with 10 prior arrests and hangs out in the Borough Park neighborhood.

Detectives have been searching for him everywhere, but it seemed like he knew they were looking for him, a NYPD official told JP.

Anyone with infromation about where Benjamin may be is asked to call crime stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.

11/17/2016 3:00 PM by Mark Hirshberg

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