Jackson, TN – Hotel Security Guard Under Arrest For Vandalizing Torah, Other Jewish Objects


    Justin Shawn BakerJackson, TN – A hotel security guard was arrested on vandalism charges after a number of sacred Jewish items belonging to The Margolin Hebrew Academy of Memphis were destroyed, according to a report in the Jackson Sun (http://bit.ly/WH2U7L).

    Justin Shawn Baker, 24, of Jackson, Tennessee was charged with a class B felony after it was discovered that he willfully slashed, defaced and damaged a Torah scroll; a number of seforim; Judaica items; musical instruments; and electronics which were stored overnight in one of the Double Tree Hotel meeting rooms. Baker caused an estimated $60,000 worth of damage. It is unclear why the yeshiva had been storing these items at the hotel.

    The FBI and the Tennessee Department of Homeland Security are working with Jackson police and other law enforcement officials to investigate this incident. Baker was employed by the company Maxx Guard. Maxx Guard officials are said to be cooperating with the investigation.

    No motive has been released, but officials have indicated that this attack was likely an apparent hate crime. Baker was arraigned this morning in Jackson City Court and his bond was set at $100,000.

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      • Was there any indication in the article that the prosecutor was not taking this matter seriously?

        Or is there a mitzvah hidden somewhere in the bible codes to make pains in the posterior of ourselves every time anyone in any position of power or authority comes into contact with the frum world?

    1. May I take issue with the word “inappropriately.” The guard vandalized a hotel room. That is a criminal action, made worse, of course, by the fact that he was guarding the contents. And then his destruction of religious items (forgive me G-d for referring to the Torah as an item) is a hate crime. My brother and I graduated from what was then Lambuth U. in Jackson. I don’t think this man’s actions represent the Jackson community, but I think some community involvement (not just police officers) is necessary. Perhaps a donation to pay for replacing the Torah. Here in NE Florida, there are inter-faith meetings once or twice a year. A service is conducted by several Christian ministers, a rabbi, and iman. The service is open to the public. Hate and lack of understanding go hand in hand. Peace.


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