Suspect in Beverly Hills synagogue vandalism is arrested in Hawaii

The vandalism at the Nessah Synagogue involved overturned tables and damage to Jewish relics, authorities have said.

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By Phil Helsel

A Pennsylvania man accused in the recent vandalism of a Beverly Hills synagogue was arrested in Hawaii and is being charged being charged under a hate crime enhancement, police said Wednesday.

Anton Nathaniel Redding, 24, of Millersville, Pennsylvania, was arrested in Kona and is being held without bail pending an extradition hearing to send him to Southern California, Beverly Hills police said in a statement.

He was identified Tuesday as a suspect after a review of video and other evidence in the vandalism at the Nessah Synagogue, which happened Saturday.

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Furniture was overturned and several Jewish relics were damaged, but the synagogue's main scrolls were unharmed, police have said.

Redding is charged with vandalism of religious property and commercial burglary, and the counts include a penalty enhancement for a hate crime, Beverly Hills police said.

It was not immediately clear if he had an attorney late Wednesday.

“The Beverly Hills community is strong and will not be intimidated by despicable acts," Mayor John Mirisch said in a statement.

"Our thoughts remain with the Nessah community as they work to move forward from this terrible crime," Mirisch said.

Beverly Hills Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli announced the arrest at a community town hall Wednesday night and received a standing ovation, the Los Angeles Times reported.

She said it was "one of the worst incidents that can happen to a community," and that Redding took a cab to Los Angeles International Airport after the vandalism and flew to Hawaii, according to the newspaper.

The Beverly Hills synagogue says it was established in shared space in 1980 to serve Iranian Jews, many of whom fled religious persecution following Iran's Islamic Revolution in 1979. The city of Beverly Hills calls Nessah the largest Persian-Jewish congregation in the United States.