Pilsen pastor says man charged with synagogue vandalism had visited her church

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Stuart Wright, who is charged with a hate crime for allegedly vandalizing a Loop synagogue, appeared in court Thursday. (WLS)

Stuart Wright, who is charged with a hate crime for allegedly vandalizing a Loop synagogue, appeared in court Thursday. His bond was set at $150,000.

Prosecutors said they were led to Wright by a tipster who described him as a white supremacist. Now ABC 7 Eyewitness News has learned he allegedly made visits to a church in Pilsen weeks before the incident at the synagogue.

Police said Wright has a tattoo on his back of a swastika, which prosecutors said matches the stickers he used to deface the downtown synagogue early Saturday morning.

Months before police arrested and charged Wright with the hate crime, the pastor at a Pilsen church said he showed up there and his visit was odd.

"Stuart Wright came here about two months ago. Because of him we translated the whole bible study to English. Anytime anybody spoke Spanish he got extremely angry and annoyed, and was making gestures. We felt like we were in extreme danger," said Emma Lozano, pastor of Lincoln United Methodist Church.

It was so strange a church member took a photo of who they believe is Wright sitting in on the bible study. That was his first visit.

"And he came again when we were having a press conference for Miguel Perez, who is a green card veteran, and he came and he pretended he was the press. And he was asking hostile questions and racist questions," Lozano said.

In October, police arrested Robert Samar for vandalizing the same Pilsen church, spray painting "Kill Mexicans" on the side. Now, Lozano said she wants police to take a deeper look into Stuart Wright's past.

"He has been here three times. I had to put armed guards on Sundays in front of my door in our service so we could feel safe in our own community," she said.

Lozano also said the address where Wright was arrested is the same address he gave to the church when they asked for information.

Related Topics:
synagoguevandalismhate crimechurchwhite supremacistsChicagoLoopPilsen
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