Opponents of the eruv in Mahwah struck again on Sunday evening.
But this time, they were captured in blurry surveillance photos released by the Mahwah Police Department.
The picture showed a man removing one of the plastic tubes attached to a utility pole that demarcates the eruv. A woman stands nearby.
This was the third incident of vandalism aimed at the controversial southern extension of the Monsey eruv into Mahwah.
Last month, the town allocated $50,000 to pay the law firm of Howell Shuster & Goldberg to defend it against a suit filed by the Bergen Rockland Eruv Association, which is responsible for the eruv. The Eruv Association filed suit after Mahwah’s township council voted to begin citing the eruv for violating an ordinance against placing signs on utility poles.
The removal of the eruv marker is being investigated as a hate crime. $27,000 in reward money has been made available — $25,000 for hate crime investigations by the state of New Jersey, $1,000 from the mayor of Mahwah, and $1,000 from two Teaneck residents.
“Hate crimes send a corrupt message that some Americans deserve to be victimized solely because of who they are,” according to the press release issued by the Mahwah Police Department.
The release said that the vehicle in the picture appears to be “a black 2017 Audi Q5 or Q7” and that the first characters of its New Jersey license plate may be W26.
Police urged anyone who could identify either of the two people or the vehicle to get in touch with Detective Sergeant Keven Hebert at (201) 529-1000, ext. 220, or to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile, the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations has weighed in in defense of the eruv.
“In an era of legitimized racial and religious bigotry, the bigots have been emboldened,” CAIR’s New Jersey executive director, James Sues, said. “This is clearly a case of religious intolerance hiding behind a thin veil of barely applicable local ordinances.”