Two Arrested for Torah Theft
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Two men were arrested yesterday and face charges of stealing eight Torahs from a Queens synagogue. According to members of the synagogue, one of the men is a janitor there.
Eric Giraldo, 23, has worked in maintenance at the Jewish Center of Kew Garden Hills for the past three years, according to a woman who works for the temple, Marilyn Bagley. Mr. Giraldo and Alan Lozano, 28, both Queens residents, were arraigned yesterday and charged with criminal possession of stolen property, police said.
On August 16, eight Torahs — Hebrew scriptures containing the books of Moses — were taken from the synagogue, with no sign of forced entry, leading police and community members to suspect that an insider had taken them.
Ms. Bagley said a number of people from the temple were questioned, and that Mr. Giraldo was taken into questioning earlier this week.
“I’ve worked there for seven years, and to think that anyone that I might know did it is very disheartening,” Ms. Bagley said.
The honorary president of the synagogue, Alan Gerard, was pleased with the arrest, and said police had assured him that the Torahs will be returned before the Jewish High Holidays at the end of the month.
“The main thing is that we’re really grateful to have our items back,” Mr. Gerard said. The police valued the Torahs at more than $50,000.