Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Oak Park, MI - Suspect Arrested For Attacks On Orthodox Jews

Oak Park, MI -- Police have arrested a 16-year-old from Southfield after he and two others allegedly hit and robbed four people — three of them Orthodox Jews —in the heavily Jewish Oak Park suburb of Detroit.

The suspect was arrested in his home on Friday after police traced telephone calls he made on a cell phone stolen from one of his victims, said John McNeillance, director of public safety in Oak Park. The 16-year-old identified the other teenagers involved, who were subsequently arrested in Detroit.

The attacks occurred within a one-hour period on August 27th, near the intersection of 10 Mile and Greenfield. The first victim in the recent attacks was not Jewish, McNeillance said. He was walking to his mailbox about 9:45 p.m., when the three juveniles happened to be walking by. The victim was pushed or knocked to the ground and his cell phone was taken.

The next three victims were Orthodox Jews. A man walking in a nearby neighborhood was punched and shoved about 10 p.m., he said, while a short time later a man and woman, both 20, were pushed and punched from behind. The 20-year-old man suffered a swollen eye and laceration to the face, and his wallet and cell phone was taken.

No ethnic comments were reported, said the director, who speculated that the assaults were random incidents, rather than hate crimes. The assailants most probably selected their victims because they were “convenient targets,” rather than because of any ethnic considerations.

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