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New Vandalism At Battle Creek Synagogue Being Investigated As Hate Crime

A picture of a Battle Creek Police car.
Andy Robins

An apparent second hate crime occurred at a Battle Creek synagogue over the weekend, after another incident just six weeks ago.

In November, the concrete menorah on the front of Temple Beth El was damaged with a hammer and chisel. Sometime between Jan. 5 and Jan. 6, the same menorah was damaged again, said Battle Creek Police Lt. Jim Martens, this time with an unidentifiable symbol and the letters L-I-E-R.

“None of the agencies or the experts that we’re in contact with recognize that symbol as being a (known) hate symbol in any form or fashion,” Martens says. “The word ‘Lier,’ we aren’t sure if that’s a misspelling or if it has a meaning, because in a couple different languages it has a separate meaning, it can mean ‘to bind,’ or it can mean ‘to lie in wait.’”

The department is currently investigating any leads, says Lt. Martens.

“We take this very seriously, and it is very troublesome. We’re putting forth a lot of resources and effort, to hopefully catch this person that’s doing it, to make sure this doesn’t happen again.“

Lt. Martens says the police department has yet to receive many calls from the public.

“We’re asking that the public, if anybody sees anything, to please contact us or Silent Observer, especially in the area where the synagogue is, if they see anything that looks out of the ordinary, just take a second to give us a call. It might not mean much to them but it could be a big break,” Lt. Martens says.

The Battle Creek Police Department can be reached at (269 781-0911, and the Silent Observer line is available at (269) 964-3888.

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