Jackson, 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.