NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Brooklyn man has been charged with hate crimes for allegedly torching a dozen mezuzahs over two days at two different apartment buildings in Williamsburg, police said.
Rubin Ubiles, 34, faces burglary, arson, criminal mischief and reckless endangerment charges.
Police said Ubiles was the person seen on surveillance video Tuesday, lighting a match inside a building on Clymer Street in Williamsburg where a mezuzah was later found burned.
On Monday, 11 mezuzahs were found torched about a block away in the same housing development in a building on Taylor Street. Mezuzahs are parchments inscribed with religious texts and attached to door frames of Jewish homes.
Police identified Ubiles as the suspect by using facial recognition computer software and took him into custody Wednesday.
But on his Facebook page, Ubiles denied having any involvement and left a typo-riddled post proclaiming his innocence.
“I’m going to get my name cleared. I don’t even like fires; been threw (sic) too many of those to attempt to threaten a community thats (sic) has not violated me. Give me the benefit of the doubt,” he wrote.
Ubiles often stays with his grandmother, Petra Velazquez, who lives five doors down from a synagogue. On Wednesday, she said her grandson wasn’t responsible for the burnings.
“He say that he don’t do that,” she said.
But this is not Ubiles’ first time encountering trouble with the law, CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis reported.
Ubiles’ criminal history includes 52 arrests on charges, including robbery, drugs, auto theft and assault. His most recent arrest was on Feb. 3.
Ubiles was also headed for arraignment on charges of criminal contempt of court, menacing, harassment and criminal possession of a weapon. All those charges stem from an alleged violation of an order of protection from his ex-girlfriend, CBS 2 learned.
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