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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A car and a $30,000 Torah has been recovered, three days after they were was reported stolen near a synagogue in Brooklyn.
CBS 2 confirmed that sometime after 3 p.m. Monday, police recovered the 2007 Toyota Corolla and the Torah that was inside. The car was not damaged or broken into, police said.
A $3,000 reward had been offered for the return of the Torah, but it was not clear if that would be necessary. A tip led police to the stolen car, less than a mile away from the synagogue where had been parked.
The car was parked on the dead-end Avenue I, with no one around, 1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon reported.
As CBS 2’s John Slattery reported, before the Torah was recovered, the Rabbi Benyamin Tamaiev, whose job is to restore Torah scrolls, was back plying his Monday. But he was thoroughly distraught.
“I feel very bad. I can’t eat. I can’t sleep,” Tamaiev said.
Tamaiev’s small congregation rents space in a synagogue in the 3700 block of 18th Avenue, on the cusp of the Kensington and Flatbush sections of Brooklyn. After restoring the Torah for a synagogue in Queens, Tamaiev drove to the Brooklyn synagogue to observe the Sabbath in a rented car.
When he came inside, he hid his keys near the vault for the main ark. He took precautions because he had left the Torah scroll inside the gray 2007 Toyota Corolla.
“In this case it was to correct it; fix it,” said the rabbi’s daughter, Judy Tamaiev. “It was already fixed. He was going to deliver it on Sunday.”
But the car vanished sometime the next day, and was reported stolen around 6 p.m. Saturday.
The thief, who also stole money from charity boxes, may not have known that the scroll was in the trunk — along with five sets of tefillin — leather straps with a leather box containing parchment.
“He feels like somebody died; like he wants to die,” Judy Tamaiev said. “Terrible.”
New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn), who had pleaded for the safe return of the Torah earlier, expressed relief at its recovery Monday.
“The safety and sanctity of a Torah scroll means a great deal to our community,” Hikind said in a news release. “The speedy recovery of this sacred scroll is a testimony to our ability to work together and the dedication of our extraordinary Police Commander Mike Dedo. Every last one of us will sleep easier tonight.”
Police Monday evening were reviewing surveillance video and investigating the theft.
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