Cops make arrest after threat against NJ synagogues — ‘Everyone remain vigilant’
A person believed to be responsible for making threats against synagogues in New Jersey was taken into custody by the FBI Thursday night.
Interlaken police in Monmouth County first reported the arrest via a Nixle alert that the person who made the threat was a "lone actor who is an extremist." The news came during a call with state faith based leaders.
"We are requesting everyone remain vigilant and keep in place all security measures at your facilities. We have increased patrols and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Please report any suspicious activity to the police right away," police said in a statement.
The Lakewood Scoop reported the individual was in New Jersey and taken into custody Thursday evening.
NBC 4 New York reported the suspect, a man, told investigators he had been bullied and was angry at Jewish people. He said a fear of getting into trouble kept from hurting anyone, according to the report.
The FBI issued a statement confirming the arrest late Friday morning but did not dislose the identify of the person arrested or any charges.
"We identified the source of the threat who no longer poses a danger to the community," the agency said.
Gov. Phil Murphy in a statement and thanked law enforcement for their "tireless efforts" to mitigate the threat.
"While this specific threat may be mitigated, we know this remains a tense time for our Jewish communities who are facing a wave of anti-Semitic activity. We will not be indifferent. We will remain vigilant. We will take any and every threat with the utmost seriousness and we will stand up and stand shoulder to shoulder with our Jewish congregations," Murphy said.
Attorney General Matt Platkin thanked the agencies involved in finding the source of the threat including the FBI's Newark office, State Police, the Office of the United States Attorney, District of New Jersey and the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness. He also recognized the local and county law enforcement that immediately responded to protect the Jewish community from hate.
"From direct contact to synagogue leadership, to uniformed and non-uniformed police presences at places of worship, our State Police, federal partners, county prosecutor’s officers, local police departments, sheriffs and other law enforcement moved swiftly to protect synagogues and Jewish centers," Platkin said. "This is how we standup to hate. We stand together."
'Credible' warning issued Thursday
The FBI's Newark office issued a warning via its social media Thursday afternoon about "credible information of a broad threat to synagogues in New Jersey." Synagogues were advised to take precautions to "protect your community and facility."
New Jersey law enforcement immediately stepped up their presence throughout the state on Thursday.
"Lakewood Police Department along with assistance from the Ocean County Sheriffs Department has increased patrols, in both a marked and unmarked capacity," Lakewood Police Capt. Gregory Staffordsmith said. "In addition, we have also deployed specially trained rapid response officers. Although there isn't any specific information pertaining to Lakewood, we are in communication with our local, county and federal counterparts in order to ensure the greatest protection to those we serve."
"We appreciate the diligence of law enforcement and appreciate the Governor's Office and the Attorney General for working with us to ensure that our Jewish community is protected and safe," Sen. Robert Singer (R-30th Legislative District) whose district includes both Monmouth and Ocean counties, said on his Twitter account.