Man charged with hate crime in vandalism of Loop synagogue

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A man has been charged with hate crime in the vandalism of the Chicago Loop Synagogue. Stuart Wright, 31, was arrested Tuesday morning in the 2100-block of South Loomis when officers saw him exiting a building.

He was taken into custody without incident. Wright faces one felony count of a hate crime and one felony count of criminal damage. But the ABC 7 I-Team learned that this is not Wright's first run-in with the law.

Police said Wright was identified on surveillance video, his license plate, fingerprints and anonymous information gathered on the tip line.

The I-Team learned Wright was also arrested in west suburban Elmhurst in October 2016, at a restaurant on Highway 83, according to investigators. Elmhurst police records state that Wright was at a table and "suspected to be holding a concealed gun in his hand." After he was taken into custody police said they found a pistol grip.

In that case Wright faces aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct charges. He pleaded not guilty and is due in court in March.

Now charged with a hate crime, his act of violence has now brought people together.

"We are gathered today in this holy place of worship that just a few days ago was defaced by symbols of hate, and today we come together for an overwhelming display of unity and solidarity," said Emily Sweet, Jewish Community Relations Council.

"There is a person who's heart is so full of hate that he had to hurt us in order to feel OK about himself. That single act of hatred, though, generated hundreds of acts of love. And that is what we want to focus on today," said Lee Zoldan, president of the Chicago Loop Synagogue.

The Chicago branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations condemned the vandalism and CAIR executive director Ahmed Rehab said in a statement, "Chicago's Muslim community stands in full solidarity with our Jewish brothers and sisters as they deal with the trauma of this vile act of hate. No American should have to feel vulnerable and at risk simply due to their religious affiliation."

Wright will be in central bond court Thursday morning. Chicago police said they do not have a home address for him; when he was arrested in October he said that he lived in an Elmhurst apartment.

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Surveillance video of a man who vandalized the Chicago Loop Synagogue.

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