$150K bail for Chicago man charged with hate crime in Loop synagogue vandalism

A Chicago accountant identified by a tipster as a "white supremacist" was charged with a felony hate crime after his fingerprints were found on swastika stickers placed outside a Loop synagogue last weekend, prosecutors said Thursday.Police executing...

$150K bail for Chicago man charged with hate crime in Loop synagogue vandalism

A Chicago accountant identified by a tipster as a "white supremacist" was charged with a felony hate crime after his fingerprints were found on swastika stickers placed outside a Loop synagogue last weekend, prosecutors said Thursday.

Police executing a search warrant later found racist literature in the Pilsen home of Stuart Wright, 31, who has a swastika tattooed on his back, prosecutors said.

"We cannot tolerate this conduct," Judge Donald Panarese Jr. said Thursday as he ordered Wright held on $150,000 bail.

Stuart Wright, 31 Chicago police

Stuart Wright, 31, is charged with a hate crime in the defacing of the Chicago Loop Synagogue, 16 S. Clark St., early on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017.

Stuart Wright, 31, is charged with a hate crime in the defacing of the Chicago Loop Synagogue, 16 S. Clark St., early on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017.

(Chicago police)

At around 12:30 a.m. on Saturday, video surveillance captured Wright placing two swastika stickers on the front door of the Chicago Loop Synagogue, an 800-person congregation at 15 S. Clark St., and then breaking a window with a U-shaped bike lock he pulled out of his pocket, Assistant State's Attorney Lorraine Scaduto said.

Wright then ran back to a dark-gray sports utility vehicle and drove away, she said. Construction workers heard the glass shatter, saw Wright flee and flagged down a police squad car, according to an arrest report.

On Sunday, the synagogue publicly released the video and announced a $3,000 reward for information leading to an arrest for the vandalism. The next day, police received a tip from someone who named Wright as a "local white supremacist" who had left swastika stickers on homes, drove a gray Toyota 4Runner and had a swastika tattooed on his back, Scaduto said.

The tipster provided a license plate number for the vehicle, according to an arrest report, and identified Wright as a "skinhead."

Police set up surveillance of Wright, whose fingerprints were soon matched to ones left on the swastika stickers, she said. He was arrested around 11:45 a.m. Tuesday outside his home in the 2000 block of South Loomis Street, police said.

Surveillance video of vandalism at Chicago Loop synagogue

Video of anti-Semitic vandalism committed at Chicago Loop synagogue on Feb. 4, 2017. 

Video of anti-Semitic vandalism committed at Chicago Loop synagogue on Feb. 4, 2017. 

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When he was arrested, Wright had three small healing cuts on his right hand, Scaduto said.

Wright's attorney said his client is a certified public accountant with a master's degree from DePaul University and asked the judge to release his client on his own recognizance.

The synagogue opened in 1959 and has a congregation of 800 people, according to the president of the synagogue, Lee Zoldan.

sschmadeke@chicagotribune.com

Twitter: @SteveSchmadeke

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