New Jersey Man Arrested for Vandalizing Rutgers Islamic Center During Eid al-Fitr

Investigators believe the man broke into the Rutgers Islamic Center and vandalized property during Eid al-Fitr two weeks ago.

New Jersey Man Arrested for Vandalizing Rutgers Islamic Center During Eid al-Fitr

Image via Adobe, by Alexey Novikov

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – A suspect has been arrested and charged with the April 10 break in and destruction of property at Rutgers University’s Islamic Center.

Jacob Beacher, 24, was arrested Monday and charged with hate crimes. He is not affiliated with the university, reports NBCNewYork.

Investigators believe Beacher broke into the center during Eid al-Fitr two weeks ago. They say he damaged several items, including Turbah prayer stones and art with Quranic verses. Other property, including two televisions and office equipment were also vandalized. Additionally, he is suspected of stealing a Palestinian flag and a charity box belonging to the Islamic center, reports Patch.com. The total damage from the incident is approximately $40,000, reports CNN.

Campus Video Surveillance Helps Police Identify Rutgers Suspect

Rutgers University security camera footage shows Beacher approaching the center just after 2:30 a.m. on April 10. Only a couple minutes later, authorities believe he forcibly entered the center.

Beacher was caught on video surveillance again after he left, pacing very closely to the center. Although he admitted to being the person on the video, Beacher denied breaking into the Islamic center.

Cell phone data was also used by law enforcement to identify the suspect.

So far, Beacher has been charged with intentional or attempted obstruction of religious practice and making false statements to authorities. The FBI and other law enforcement are still investigating the matter, and state charges are pending.

The vandalism incident at Rutgers follows a report from the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), which found that it had receive 56% more reports of anti-Muslim bias in 2023 than in 2022. The spike in reports was primarily prompted by the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

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About the Author

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Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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