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Over 100 Tires Slashed in Lakewood; Orthodox Jews Targeted in Apparent Hate Crime

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More than 100 car tires have been slashed in the heavily Jewish town of Lakewood, New Jersey, over the past several days. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Edited by: JV Staff

More than 100 car tires have been slashed in the heavily Jewish town of Lakewood, New Jersey, over the past several days.

All of the cars involved were reported to belong to or be used by Jews, ABC News reported Monday.

Security footage broadcast by ABC showed a person in a hoodie using a knife to slash tires.

Lakewood is the home to a large haredi Jewish community and one of the biggest yeshivas in the United States. Police are investigating the incidents as hate crimes.

Lakewood, which is known as a center of haredi Orthodox life in the United States, has seen its population boom in recent decades, from around 60,000 in 2000 to more than 100,000 as of 2017. Local officials have predicted that by 2030, the number would more than double, according to the Asbury Park Press.

As the city has grown, Orthodox families seeking more space have moved to neighboring towns like Toms River or Jackson. This expansion has created a backlash from some non-Orthodox neighbors, who often say their objections are about zoning, housing density and local support for public schools. But the Orthodox residents and others see some of the criticism as anti-Semitic.

Police say they’re searching for the person caught on surveillance cameras going around the blocks in Lakewood Township, quickly slashing several tires.

As of Sunday night, much of the community was still paralyzed as victims waited for mechanics. They’re also working with police, compiling videos, to construct a clearer timeline to identify the suspect.

The ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) announced that it is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individual or individuals responsible for the tire slashings in Lakewood. According to police and other reports, the cars affected were owned or operated by members of the Jewish faith, and the incident is being investigated as a potential bias crime.

“We are deeply alarmed and concerned by the possible bias motivation underlying the extensive vandalism in Lakewood over the weekend,” said Evan R. Bernstein, ADL NY/NJ Regional Director. “The entire Lakewood community must come together to stop inflammatory language, ease tensions and stop these incidents in their tracks. Ocean County is simply no place for hate, and we thank the Lakewood Police and Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office for investigating.”

Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to call Lakewood Police at 732-363-0200.

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