A 19-year-old Camden County man who is facing prison for organizing attacks against synagogues told federal investigators that he also came close to slaughtering Black shoppers at a mall in Edison, where he waited in a parked car with a machete.

Richard Tobin, of Brooklawn, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy last week in U.S. District Court, talked about having the urge to “let loose” after being “enraged” by the number of Black shoppers, according to a recorded interview cited by federal agents in an affidavit in 2019.

Tobin never carried out that violence but he did communicate online with other members of the white supremacist group The Base in September 2019, directing them to destroy and vandalize properties affiliated with Black and Jewish people.  Synagogues were then attacked in Wisconsin and Michigan, according to federal prosecutors.

During the planning, Tobin referred to the notorious Nazi-led  “Kristallnacht,” or “Night of Broken Glass" — violent, anti-Jewish demonstrations in 1938 in Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia that involved killings and destruction of homes, synagogues, stores and schools.

Tobin’s computer, seized during a 2019 raid at his home, held “numerous photos, videos and Internet activity which reflects an obsession with neo-Nazi propaganda, terrorism and acts of brutal and mass violence,” according to a criminal complaint.

He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greater. He is scheduled to be sentenced in June 28.

“Americans should never have to fear racist, anti-Semitic or any other form of bias-motivated violence,” Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig said in a written statement last week. “This defendant encouraged hateful acts of violence against individuals and their houses of worship, based solely on their religion or the color of their skin."

The state's hate crime statistics reported to the FBI show about 500 incidents in 2019 and roughly another 500 incidents in 2018, based on either race/ethnicity/ancestry or religion.

Another 65 reported hate crime incidents for 2019 were based on sexual orientation, 1 based on disability, 5 reported incidents based on gender and 8 reported incidents based on gender identity.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there also has been a rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans.

There were 44 race-based incidents against Asian Americans in New Jersey from March 19 through early August, as reported by the advocacy group Stop AAPI Hate.

Most of the incidents reported against Asian Americans were verbal attacks; some were physical assaults.

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