Police: Several Sacred Items Stolen From Forest Hills Synagogue
Two Torah plates, a pointer and a wine cup were discovered missing from the Congregation Ahavath Shalom Synagogue in Forest Hills last Monday, police said.
The silver items are worth nearly $6,000. Police said there were no signs of forced entry.
Bernard Gelman is the president at the synagogue. When he discovered someone had stolen religious items used for worship, he was more than upset.
“I feel miserable, who goes into a sanctuary and steals?” Gelman said. “It’s sacrilegious.”
Stolen were eight silver breast plates that cover Torah scrolls, which are considered holy. Also taken were the silver pointers that are used to read the Torah and a silver-coated plate and a ritual wine cup.
“Anytime there’s a theft, you’re violated. I was always taught don’t touch what don’t belong to you, but people just don’t care anymore, respect is out the window, manners are out the window,” said officer manager David Rodgers.
The synagogue has improved security.
“We have the alarm system working, but there is no such thing as security if someone wants to break in. My father was a locksmith, there is no foolproof lock,” said Rodgers.
In February, there was a similar robbery at a synagogue in Kew Gardens. In that case a man was arrested for stealing the items and trying to sell them at a pawn shop.
Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS.