Charges in Md. temple vandalization
Montgomery County police charged an Olney man with five crimes related to the July 26 desecration of the nearby B'nai Shalom Synagogue, authorities said Wednesday.
The man was identified as Ian Jacob Baron, of the 18600 block of Rolling Acres Way. Court documents listed Baron as 22 years old.
Baron was charged with malicious destruction of property over $500, two counts of malicious destruction of property under $500, one count of race/religious property damage and one count of defacing religious property, said Cpl. Dan Friz, a Montgomery County police spokesman.
Police apparently knew of Baron before the incident. In the past, Baron had told officers that “he identifies himself as a Neo-Nazi and that he is active in the movement,” according to an affidavit that sets out the police’s version of the case so far.
“Baron has a tattoo of a German Cross with a skull in the middle of his arm and has SS bars tattooed on his chest,” Montgomery Detective J.A. Bates wrote in the affidavit, filed this week.
Baron appears to have gotten himself into the middle of the case by speaking to am officer who spotted him three days ago at a McDonald’s in Olney. It was not immediately clear whether the officer found Baron in the restaurant by chance.
In his affidavit, Bates wrote of the McDonald’s meeting:
Officer Bachofsky approached Baron and stated that he wanted to speak with him. Baron stated to Ofc. Bachofsky, “is it about the synagogue.” Ofc. Bachofsky asked Baron what he knew about the incident. Baron stated he did not do it, but he ‘could see why people thought he did.’ Baron stated that he was visiting his parents the night the vandalism happened [in] the neighborhood behind B’Nai Shalom.
Baron stated he was at B’Nai Shalom after the incident. Baron stated he walked through the area on his way to get something to eat. Baron stated that his fingerprints would be on the cans used to spray-paint B’Nai Shalom. Baron stated he picked up some of the cans but that he threw the cans down when he realized what they were used for.
Baron has a prior arrest for second-degree assault and has been charged with malicious destruction of property, and is on probation, according to the affidavit. He told police he grew up in Olney, but is now homeless and living in a friend’s vehicle.
Baron also is charged with defacing two mailboxes in Olney. One of the homeowners affected said she isn’t Jewish, but the majority of her neighbors are. One of those neighbors had his mailbox spray-painted, and “on his driveway there was the beginnings of a small swastika that was left unfinished,” Bates wrote.
Bates stated that the synagogue will have to be repainted, and said the damage was estimated at $15,000 to $20,000.
At the synagogue, Baron is accused of painting swastikas and slogans such as “Das Reich!” and “Death2Zionists.” He also scattered coins near the entrance of the synagogue, which police described as a possible anti-Semitic act.
Baron told Bachofsky that while at the synagogue, “some change may have spilled out of his pickets while he retrieved a knife from his pockets. Baron stated that he took the knife out when he saw some unknown suspects running from the area. Ofc. Bachofsky asked Baron if he could describe the suspects. Baron said he could not,” according to the affidavit.
This item has been updated since it was first posted.
-- Dan Morse