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Arrest Made in Vandalism To Synagogue

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Detectives from the Montgomery County Police Department and detectives from the Gaithersburg Police Department, with the assistance of the State’s Attorney’s Office, have arrested and charged Sebastian Espinoza-Carranza, age 18, of the 16700 block of Sioux Lane in Gaithersburg, with the April 7 vandalism of the Shaare Torah Synagogue in the Kentlands area of Gaithersburg.

“These kinds of cases are often difficult to solve.  I appreciate the tireless detective work by those who investigated this atrocious act," commented Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger.  "The response to this incident has been loud and clear, and has been heard from nearly every segment of our diverse community.  We don’t tolerate hate, and we will not be intimidated by ignorance."

"The City of Gaithersburg and Montgomery County is an inclusive community and one that prides itself on diversity," said Chief Sroka of the Gaithersburg Police Department.  "When such a despicable crime occurs, it impacts the entire community irrespective of religion, race or ethnicity.  As such, detectives worked tirelessly to bring this case to a successful resolution and to hold those responsible accountable for their actions."

On April 7 at approximately 7:10 a.m., a Montgomery County police officer was traveling in the area of the Shaare Torah synagogue, (located at 1409 Main Street), when the officer was flagged down by a resident who wanted to report a vandalism that had occurred to the religious building. Officers arrived to the scene and observed spray painted swastikas, "KKK", and other hate-based graffiti on the walls, windows and doors of the synagogue.

Images of two suspects were captured on the synagogue's surveillance system between the hours of 2:40 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. on April 7. Detectives located additional video surveillance of a group of males in their late teens in one of the nearby 24-hour businesses before and after the crime occurred.  One of the males in the group appeared to be one of the suspects seen on the synagogue surveillance video. Subsequently, several of the teenage males in the video were identified and interviewed, to include Sebastian David Espinosa-Carranza.

On April 14 at approximately 11:30 p.m., Sebastian David Espinosa-Carranza met detectives at the 6th District Station for an interview. He was arrested and confessed to the crimes.

Sebastian David Espinosa-Carranza was transported to the Central Processing Unit and was charged with the following crimes: property damage to a religious institution, defacement of a religious property, and malicious destruction of property over $1,000. Espinoza-Carranza has been released on bond.

Detectives have identified additional juvenile suspects in this vandalism and charges against those suspects are anticipated.

The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington Executive Director, Ron Halber said, "The Jewish community is grateful to the Gaithersburg and Montgomery County police for their prompt attention, concern and professionalism in their handling of this sensitive matter. "

Click Here to read original Gaithersburg Police Department Press Release and link to video:

Direct link:


EspinozaEspinoza (Original Image)

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Release ID: 15-109
Media Contact: mcpnews 
Categories: press-releases