Detectives have released new surveillance images of the suspect caught-on-camera last month smashing a sukkah outside of an Upper East Side Jewish center, then urinating inside the religious structure, in what is now being investigated as a hate crime.
Investigators say it was around 1:15 am on Saturday, October 8th, when the suspect approached the sukkah — a hut used for dining during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot — set up by the Chabad Israel Center on East 92nd Street near the corner of Second Avenue, and began kicking the side over and over, smashing plexiglass panels.
Police say the suspect even urinated inside the structure, desecrating the holy space just before the start of Sukkot last month.
One new surveillance image shared by the NYPD, taken inside the Dawa 91 deli located at the corner of East 91st Street and Second Avenue in Yorkville — just a block away from the sukkah — gives us our first clear look at the suspect, who detectives hope the public can help them identify.
A second image released late Tuesday shows the suspect — who is dressed in a black t-shirt, light-colored khaki shorts and a backwards hat — fleeing the scene eastbound on 92nd Street towards First Avenue after being stopped by a Good Samaritan who spotted his early morning rampage and stepped in to stop him.
Surveillance video shared with Upper East Site last month shows the two men speaking in the middle of East 92nd Street. The Good Samaritan in the blue hat appears to plead with the suspect, ultimately convincing him not to continue the destruction.
“Thank God for the brave New Yorker who stopped the act of vandalism in the middle,” Rabbi Uriel Vigler told Upper East Site shortly after the attack on the sukkah.
“We need to all stand united as one against these kind of acts,” Rabbi Vigler added.
Hate crimes have surged on the Upper East Side in 2022, with bias incidents reported to police rising more than 85% compared to the same point last year, according to NYPD data.
If you recognize the suspect or have any information that can help police, you’re asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-8477.