The suspect was arrested at a home in Encino based on a tip investigators received after releasing video and images of the perpetrator earlier in the day Wednesday, Los Angeles police officials said.
Police believe the man, whose name was not immediately released, targeted the women because of their faith and are investigating it as a hate crime. He was seen being taken into the Police department’s North Hollywood station in handcuffs Wednesday night.
Two of the incidents took place in September and one earlier this month, the Los Angeles Times reported.
One of the incidents took place on Yom Kippur. The man grabbed a big off the head of an 80-year-old woman, smiled and handed it back to her, police told the newspaper. Later that same day he ripped the wig off the head of a 36-year-old woman.
On Tuesday the suspect pulled the wig off of a 58-year-old woman, apologized in what police called a “sarcastic manner,” and threw the wig on the ground, according to the newspaper.
The rabbi for the Chabad of North Hollywood says that the entire community is on edge and says that this type of hate must stop.
“This is something for a Jewish woman which is so personal. This wig or this hair covering is something to them which is so important,” Rabbi Nachman Abend told CBS news. “To rip that off somebody’s head is crossing all lines and I’m really glad the LAPD considered this a hate crime.”
Police believe there may have been other unreported incidents.
“The suspect appears to have battered the women and targeted their wigs because of their religious beliefs. Orthodox Jewish women often wear wigs, scarfs or hats to cover their hair as a symbol of modesty,” the Los Angeles Police Department said in a statement.
One of the incidents was caught by a surveillance camera.