Anti-Semitic vandalism reported at IU-Bloomington

Chabad House on the IU campus has been hit by vandals.
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Richard Essex/Eyewitness News

Bloomington - A series of possible hate crimes on Indiana University's main campus has the FBI taking notice.

Chabad House, a Jewish organization was hit for a second time this week.

"Chabad is a warm place. A warm place that people feel they belong," said Rabbi Yehoshua Chincholker at Chabad House.

A giant rock smashed a window, skipped across the floor and took with it a sense of security and peace. Rabbi Yehoshua can hardly believe what has happened.

"I'm trying to find some kind of understanding in my life, why would anyone raise a hand on some fellow human being that has done no harm to him, no nothing," he said.

Tuesday morning, another rock hit another window. This one came in with such force, it left a hole in the plaster on the other side of the room.

The suspect then came to the graduate side of the library, took more than a handful of books of significance to the Jewish religion. The suspect took one book to every floor of the library and deposited one in every men's bathroom.

The attacks have prompted University Provost Karen Henson to send out an all-campus alert.

"We vigorously condemn any acts of intolerance of any sort on this campus," she said.

Rabbi Sue Silberberg also had her building struck, a rock taking out a kitchen window.

"These are not random acts. We know, for example, the rock that was thrown here was not something...it didn't look like the rocks from around here," the rabbi said.

However, acts like this, Silberberg says, are becoming more and more common.

"Anti-Semitism is up on college campus across the world and across the country," she said.

Police believe it's the action of one person whose last attack was a rock through glass at the faculty directory for Jewish studies. The glass has been replaced, but the names on the directory are still scrambled.

The suspect is described as a white man, 40-50 years old with grayish-blonde hair and beard. He was wearing a yellow hooded jacket.

Anyone with information should contact the Bloomington Police Department.

Previous version

Indiana University Police want to know who's responsible for several incidents of anti-Semitic vandalism on and near the Bloomington campus over the past week.

Police are looking for a white male, 5'8", with grayish blond hair and a gray beard, between ages 40 - 50." He was wearing a yellow jacket over a hooded sweatshirt, and off-white pants and was last seen near Ballantine Hall about 8:00 am Tuesday.

Police say moments before the man was seen, someone used a rock to break the glass of an information board in the lobby of Goodbody Hall, which houses the Jewish Studies program. Also Tuesday about 7:15 a.m., a rock was thrown threw an upstairs window of the Chabad House, 518 E. 7th Street, a Jewish student center. A woman was in the room at the time but was uninjured.

In all five incidents of suspected anti-Semitic vandalism were reported in the past week. On Saturday, staff at the Wells Library reported vandalism to a number of Hebrew books which had been removed from shelves and taken to rest rooms on several different floors. Also Saturday, IU police received a report of a rock thrown through a window of the Hillel House near the IU-Bloomington campus and the Bloomington Police Department received a report of a rock being thrown through a window of the Chabad House at about the same time.

IU and Bloomington Police say they're aggressively investigating these incidents, and they've increased police presence in these areas.

Because the acts appear to be motivated by animosity towards a particular religion, the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice have also been notified.

Contact the IU Police at 812-855-4111 with information related to these cases.