A Burlington, Ont., resident has been arrested in connection with a recent spate of hate crimes in the city.
Halton police announced the arrest on June 25, saying it resulted from “numerous tips provided by the public.”
“The Halton Regional Police Service would like to thank the public for their assistance in regards to recent hate crime incidents in Burlington. Police have received numerous tips that have led to the positive identification of a Burlington resident as person of interest #1. He has since been arrested and released at this time,” the service wrote in a news release.
The man arrested will not be identified until formal charges are laid.
Police said the hunt continues for a second individual who was caught on video during the spate of six separate incidents. Public assistance is also being sought to identify the second suspect.
Formal charges are pending further investigation, which is active and ongoing.
In a media release dated June 5, Halton police said the first known incident occurred on May 21 in the Dundas Street and Guelph Line area, and involved a “hate-motivated and racist message” left on a private vehicle. On May 23, an anti-Semitic poster was placed on a traffic post. The next incident occurred on May 26, when hate propaganda was placed on a number of vehicles in the parking lot of a church near Mainway and Walkers Line.
On May 30, a complainant reported an anti-Semitic message written on a vehicle in marker. Likewise, sometime between June 1 and 2, anti-Semitic imagery was found posted on the front doors of the Burlington Art Gallery, and later on the front doors of Burlington City Hall on the morning of June 2.
The rash of incidents sparked a new wave of security concerns among Burlington’s small Jewish population.
Rabbi Stephen Wise, whose Shaarei-Beth El Congregation in Oakville is Halton region’s only permanent Jewish institution, said the incidents triggered alarm among the region’s 2,500-member Jewish community, because they appeared to be more organized than simple pranks.
“This is more than just some kids looking to get a reaction,” he said. “Most of the incidents we get seem more like mischief, but there was a plan here. They wore face masks knowing they would be captured by a camera, their signs were pre-made and they had the tape ready.
“This wasn’t just some kids doing it as a joke. These were posted in very public areas where they knew they would get a reaction. It’s a little more upsetting because of that.”
Anyone with information about the second suspect is asked to contact Det. Const. Scott Feddema at 905-825-4777 ext. 2316, or the on-duty 3 District staff sergeant at 905-825-4777 ext. 2310. Tips can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, or through the web at haltoncrimestoppers.ca.