A New Brunswick man was charged Wednesday with smashing storefront windows of five Jewish-owned businesses on Raritan Avenue in the heavily Jewish suburb of Highland Park, NJ on Tuesday night, according to the New Jersey Jewish News, citing information from the Middlesex County district attorney .
The suspect was identified as Richard M. Green, 52, of Bayard Street, New Brunswick, who faces five counts of criminal mischief, a fourth degree offense.
An investigation will decide whether hate crimes charges will be added and whether Green may be responsible for other recent criminal acts.
The motive appears to anti-Semitism since several businesses in between the vandalized stores owned by Jews were unharmed. The vandal threw bricks through the windows of a kosher pizzeria, another restaurant, a Judaica store, and a hardware store.
"We are currently gathering and reviewing information that may lead us to a suspect," the Highland Park police said in a statement reported by Fox News. "We cannot be more specific because we do not want to jeopardize the investigation … All of our officers are aware of the sensitivity of this situation and we will make every effort with patrols and surveillance to keep everyone safe," police said in the statement.”
The attacks follow an incident in nearby New Brunswick in which a brick was thrown through the window of the Rutgers University Hillel over the weekend.
“We are appalled by the targeting of Jewish stores and Jewish campus institutions at Rutgers,” said Lawrence Cooper, ADL's New Jersey Regional board chair. “These shocking crimes target the entire Jewish community, as these locations appear to have been selected because of their Jewishness. We’re confident that the police are doing everything they can to identify and apprehend the perpetrators."
Last month vandals painted swastikas at libraries and a synagogue in Queens, torched several vehicles in Flatbush and painted anti-Semitic graffiti there. A man is charged with hate crimes in the Queens incidents.
Bias incidents typically spike in the last two months of the year during the holiday season.
Anyone with information about the vandalism can call the Highland Park Police Department at 732-572-3800.