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Suspect in burnings of Jewish scrolls charged with hate crimes

By Julie Cannold, CNN
updated 4:20 PM EDT, Thu April 11, 2013
Ruben Ubiles was charged with burglary, arson, criminal mischief and reckless endangerment, according to the New York Police Department.
Ruben Ubiles was charged with burglary, arson, criminal mischief and reckless endangerment, according to the New York Police Department.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Brooklyn man charged with hate crimes in burnings of mezuzahs
  • Eleven of the scrolls were burned in one complex, the 12th in another
  • Vandalism occurred on Holocaust Remembrance Day

New York (CNN) -- A Brooklyn man was arrested and charged on Thursday with hate crimes after 12 mezuzahs were set ablaze as they hung on door frames outside Jews' homes.

Ruben Ubiles, 34, was arrested on 17 charges, many of them hate crimes, including burglary, arson, criminal mischief and reckless endangerment, according to the New York Police Department.

Police say Ubiles set fire to 11 mezuzahs inside an apartment complex in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn on Monday, which was also Holocaust Remembrance Day. A 12th mezuzah was discovered burned inside the apartment building next door a day later, police said.

"This was a brazen act of religious desecration, and it is something that is shocking to everyone in this community," City Councilman Stephen Levin told CNN affiliate WABC.

A mezuzah is usually found attached to a door frame outside some Jews' homes. It contains specific Hebrew verses from the Torah printed on parchment, rolled up and put inside a case.

CNN's Rande Iaboni contributed to this report.

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