DeKalb synagogue targeted for eggs, car break-ins

DeKalb County police are watching for a pickup truck whose occupants allegedly have been targeting worshipers at a synagogue in the Toco Hill area, Channel 2 Action News reports.

The incidents of the last three weeks involving members of Congregation Beth Jacob in the 1800 block of Lavista Road have ranged from mischievous – leaving bagels on people’s lawns and tied to trees – to malicious.

“The latest incident happened last night in this parking lot. A man walked out of this building and someone threw an egg at him,” Rabbi Ilan Feldman told Channel 2.

Authorities also are investigating reports of car burglaries, and Atlanta police recovered a vehicle stolen from that location.

“Well, certainly it is upsetting. We have families living in the neighborhood and people are vulnerable,” Feldman said. “You don’t know if these are pranksters or worse. You don’t know if this will escalate, so it certainly is of concern.”

Almost all of the incidents occurred on Friday nights. The Jewish Sabbath runs from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, and people often leave cars parked at the synagogue overnight, Feldman said.

“We’ve met with the police. The police have been extremely cooperative,” the rabbi said. “We've asked them to increase patrols, and they have.”

In a statement emailed to Channel 2, DeKalb police spokesman Lt. Antonio B. Catlin said the department is investigating the incidents but has not yet identified any suspects.

“Precinct command staff along with our Criminal Investigation Division has met with local rabbis to discuss security concerns and ways to improve their security,” Catlin said.

Police at this time are not treating the incidents as a hate crime.