Shtreimel gangs tar­get Charedim

The Jewish Chronicle - - News - BY DANA GLOGER

CHAREDI MEN have been tar­geted by mug­gers who have stolen their fur shtreimels in a wave of at­tacks across North-East Lon­don.

The in­ci­dents have all taken place in Stam­ford Hill, which is home to the largest Charedi com­mu­nity in Europe.

Two of the at­tacks hap­pened last Fri­day evening and in the early hours of Satur­day.

In one, a 45-year-old He­brew teacher was kicked and punched by two men who ripped off his shtreimel, the furry hat tra­di­tion­ally worn by mar­ried Chas­sidic men on Shab­bat, caus­ing it ir­repara­ble dam­age. The hat is es­ti­mated to be worth around £3,000.

The vic­tim had been walk­ing down the street at 11.30pm on Fri­day when he be­came aware of two men fol­low­ing him.

The pair at­tacked him in the front gar­den of a house and he re­ceived sev­eral blows to his right arm, but he suf­fered only bruises.

They did not search him, or de­mand any­thing from him, and ran off fol­low­ing the at­tack.

Just over half an hour later, an­other He­brew teacher had his hat stolen in an ap­par­ent prank.

The 50-year-old was walk­ing home shortly af­ter mid­night when 19-yearold Peter Mor­ris walked to­wards him and grabbed his shtreimel be­fore run­ning off. A spokes­woman for Hack­ney Po­lice said: “A num­ber of peo­ple were in the street at the time, and saw a man run­ning off with the hat.

“They pounced on him and de­tained him prior to po­lice ar­rival. The hat was re­cov­ered by some mem­bers of the Jewish com­mu­nity and was re­turned to the vic­tim.”

Mr Mor­ris was ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of theft and was is­sued with an £80 fixed-penalty no­tice af­ter telling po­lice of­fi­cers that he took the shtreimel when drunk as a dare and had not known it was of re­li­gious sig­nif­i­cance. He also told po­lice that he had not in­tended to steal the hat, and said he placed it on the ground af­ter tak­ing it.

The vic­tim, who did not wish to be named, said: “It was quite fright­en­ing. I still have the feel­ing from what hap­pened in me.”

He added that there had been two other sim­i­lar in­ci­dents the week be­fore, and so he was the fourth vic­tim.

“It’s not just one in­ci­dent, it’s been a spate of in­ci­dents,” he said. “That’s why I feel it is some­thing that is re­li­giously mo­ti­vated.”

Hack­ney Po­lice had not orig­i­nally clas­si­fied the in­ci­dents as racially mo­ti­vated.

But this week af­ter the JC no­ti­fied them of the two pre­vi­ous in­ci­dents, of­fi­cers said that they would now be treated as racist crimes.

Po­lice are con­tin­u­ing to in­ves­ti­gate and any­one who knows of fur­ther sim­i­lar in­ci­dents has been asked to call Det Supt Henderson Pierre on 0207 275 4078.

Two strictly Ortho­dox men wear­ing the ex­pen­sive shtreimels

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