Desecration of cemetery entrance
GOSHEN – The Orange County grand jury has indicted an 18-year-old Warwick man on two counts of tampering with physical evidence and conspiracy as a hate crime, all as felonies for anti-Semitic graffiti spray-painted at the Beth Shalom Jewish Cemetery in the Town of Warwick.
State and Warwick Town Police have been investigating the damage to the cemetery that occurred in the early morning hours of October 9, 2016 when swastikas, the words “Heil Hitler” and Nazi “SS” symbols were spray-painted on the walls and headstones in the cemetery.
The indictment alleges that Eric Carbanaro participated in a conspiracy to damage property at the cemetery by spray-painting the anti-Semitic symbols and messages and acted with others to destroy evidence of the crime by deleting images and other information about the discretion that was on the cell phones belonging to two other co-conspirators.
The three-count indictment alleges that between October 9, 2016 and June 19, 2017, “one of the co-conspirators deleted a ‘meme’ that read ‘secretly spray painted Jewish cemetery and gets away with it’,” while at Carbanaro’s home.
It is also alleged that Carbanaro and a co-conspirator believed the evidence was about to be used in an official or prospective official proceeding and intended to prevent the use and “did suppress it by any act of concealment, alteration or destruction, or by employing force, intimidation or deception against any person.”
The grand jury indictment also accuses Carbanaro of conspiracy as a hate crime for agreeing “with one or more persons to engage in or cause the performance of such conduct and intentionally committed the act or acts constituting the offense in whole or in substantial part because of a belief or perception regarding the race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability, or sexual orientation of a person, regardless of whether the belief or perception was correct.”
The indictment said, “It was the object of the conspiracies to spray paint anti-Semitic graffiti and thus causes damage to the Beth Shalom Cemetery and then to further conceal certain physical evidence related to the investigation of the anti-Semitic graffiti at the Beth Shalom Cemetery by deleting digital images and other data from cellular telephones and to provide false information to the police regarding the incident.”
District Attorney David Hoovler expects Carbanaro to turn himself in to State Police today (Tuesday).
“There is no room for this type of hateful desecration of religious property here in Orange County,” Hoovler said. “These anti-Semitic symbols and messages do not reflect the values of the overwhelming majority of Orange County and Warwick residents.”
He said the investigation is continuing.
“Prejudice of any kind cannot and will not be tolerated in Orange County,” said County Executive Steven Neuhaus, “Hate crimes are offensive on every level and hurt not just the victims, but the entire community. This indictment sends the message that this type of behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”