Numerous counts of bias intimidation and criminal mischief stemming from a window-smashing spree at Jewish businesses and institutions in Highland Park and New Brunswick have been lodged against a 52-year-old New Brunswick man.
The announcement was made in a Dec. 1 press release by Middlesex County prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan against Richard Green of Bayard Street after it was determined by authorities that he targeted specific businesses and religious institutions of Jewish merchants, owners, and students.
Green, who was arrested on George Street in New Brunswick at 3 p.m. on Nov. 30, has been charged with three counts of third-degree bias intimidation, said Kaplan.
Green is also being charged with five counts of criminal mischief in Highland Park and another five from incidents in New Brunswick and on the Rutgers campus, which are considered fourth-degree crimes. A related bias intimidation count was filed in New Brunswick, said that city’s police director, Anthony Caputo, and by Rutgers University Police.
Highland Park Police Chief Stephen J. Rizco additionally announced that his department had also filed one count of bias intimidation against Green.
The authorities were hesitant to give information on Nov. 30 in the hours after most of the attacks because they were following a lead. NJJN has learned that the lead came from staff at Rutgers Chabad House, located on the New Brunswick campus, one of the institutions targeted.
“We’ve met this individual,” Chabad executive director Rabbi Yosef Carlebach told NJJN. “We’ve had some recent experience with him. It’s really a very sad story of someone who appears to be mentally deranged. We communicated that to law enforcement. We left it to the police to do their work. We told anyone who called that we contacted law enforcement and have a handle on it.”
Carlebach said that the window broken on the Chabad building was fixed immediately and now that Green has been apprehended, the rabbi said, “Let’s get on with it and get back to work. It’s over.”
The first incident occurred at Rutgers Hillel in New Brunswick sometime over the Thanksgiving weekend and was discovered Sunday night, Nov. 27, by staff. Rutgers Police Lt. Paul Fischer said an object thrown through the window also damaged a computer screen.
Also in the early morning of Nov. 30 in New Brunswick, windows were smashed at the George Street Co-Op on Morris Avenue, which sells kosher food; and at an office building on Bayard Street, where the prosecutor’s office is a tenant. On the mornings of Nov. 29 and 30, windows were broken at Maoz, a kosher restaurant on George Street.
Businesses along Raritan Avenue in downtown Highland Park that had their windows smashed in the early morning of Nov. 30 were the Jewish-owned Jack’s Hardware; two kosher restaurants, Jerusalem Pizza and Park Place; and two Judaica stores, Trio Gifts and Judaica Gallery.
Additionally, at about 2 a.m. on Nov. 30, in the Dunkin Donuts on Raritan Avenue, a Rutgers student who was wearing a kipa was confronted by an individual who verbally accosted him with an anti-Semitic rant. Green has not been charged in that incident.
The damage was first noticed by an officer on patrol on Raritan Avenue. Other business owners found the damage when they arrived to open up their stores.