Deputies arrest 21-year-old man on hate crime charges in connection to involvement with anti-Semitic graffiti on temple walls

Deputies arrest 21-year-old man on hate crime charges in connection to involvement with anti-Semitic graffiti on temple walls
Deputies arrest 21-year-old man on hate crime charges in connection to involvement with anti-Semitic graffiti on temple walls (Source: Sarasota County Sheriff's Office)

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office has arrested Vincent Martinez, 21, on hate crime charges in connection to be allegedly involved with the anti-Semitic graffiti that was sprayed on two temples in Sarasota.

Multiple felony counts of Criminal Mischief by Defacing and Damaging a Synagogue were filed against Martinez last Friday, but deputies say he was in a secure medical facility and could not be released during that time.

Martinez allegedly spray painted swastikas and other anti-Semitic graffiti on the outside walls of Temple Emanu-El and Temple Sinai.

This vandalism happened back in April and also this month. The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office says between the help of the community and security camera images, they were able to track down Martinez.

“What happened to these two temples is personal, these are our homes, this is part of us,” Howard Tevlowitz with the Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee said while reacting to the charges that were filed against Martinez last Friday.

“What happened to these two temples is personal, these are our homes, this is part of us. Temple Emanu-El and Temple Sinai are part of me, it’s part of what I do and it hurts to watch this.”

“The volatility of our nation right now and this kind of thing, the Jewish community is rightfully concerned,” said Colonel Kurt Hoffman. They approached us, we’ve been working hand-in-hand with them, the graffiti was terrible and despicable.”

Deputies say they took Martinez into custody around 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday and he is now at the Sarasota County Correctional Facility.

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