MAHWAH, N.J. -- New Jersey Attorney General Christopher Porrino posted a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever vandalized a recently-erected eruv in Mahwah.
The mission of the Bias Crime Unit, within the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, is "the statewide coordination of efforts to eliminate crimes motivated by prejudice against others based on race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender, disability or ethnicity," Porrino wrote.
Porrino's announcement came after Mahwah Mayor Bill Laforet offered a $1,000 reward that was matched by Teaneck Councilman Mark Schwartz and a fellow Teaneck resident (The total: $27,000).
A couple was caught on surveillance camera damaging an eruv, Mahwah police said.
"This sends a very strong message to anyone involved in this crime: We are not a community of hate, and hate has no home in Mahwah," Laforet told Daily Voice Saturday morning.
Last week, township Police Chief James Batelli announced that anyone caught vandalizing the PVC piping along utility poles would be prosecuted under state bias crime statutes.
The piping creates a religious enclosure, known as an eruv, for Hassidics attending temple services across the state line in Rockland County.
Damage was found earlier this month and last month, amid a backlash from residents.
A Monsey-based group has sued the township in federal court, contending that its members' civil rights were being violated by officials and residents who are trying to have the eruv removed.
Rockland Utilities said the work was done legally after the proper documentation was filed and approved.
ANY TIPS on the Mahwah eruv vandalism should be reported either by phone at 1-800-277-BIAS or online at www.nj.gov/oag/bias .
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