NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police are looking for a man who they say was caught on camera vandalizing an Islamic center in Brooklyn.
The suspect was caught on video smashing windows and an outdoor security camera outside of the Beit El-Maqdis Islamic Center on the corner of Sixth Avenue and 63rd Street in Sunset Park, CBS2’s Magdalena Doris reported.
It happened between the fourth and fifth prayer of the evening around 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
“He decided to break about six to seven windows on the side and it took about 4 or five minutes,” Bay Ridge resident Fahmi Jawad said. “It kind of feels personal because why would someone come to break a place of worship windows, cause damage when people just basically gather to pray.”
Worshippers said they feel welcome in the community although for some this recent incident has shattered that sentiment.
“We have a bad feeling about this, but we’re confident that the police are working good, doing a good job here,” said Ali Almontaser of Sunset Park.
Police sources say this is the first time an incident like this has occurred at the center.
The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams will visit the mosque Monday to survey the damage and speak with the community.
The suspect has been described as an Asian male. He was last seen wearing a black hooded coat, blue jeans, and white sneakers.
Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.