Several unknown suspects, according to Haddonfield Police Chief John Banning, stole a five-foot menorah displayed at library point sometime between Tuesday, Dec. 20 and Wednesday, Dec. 21. The menorah was part of a display erected by Chabad Lubavitch in front of the Haddonfield holiday tree.
Banning said the theft was possibly in connection with the rash of metal thefts in Haddonfield in the past few months, but he said the police department is not ruling out a hate crime.
“What the motivation is for the theft, we don’t know. We recognize that it’s a very high possibility it was stolen for the metal. It was made of aluminum. It’s like any other metal theft, copper and brass is much more appealing,” he said. “But we’re also not limiting out any other option, we recognize the possibility that this could be a hate crime. However, there’s no evidence or documentation that it was a hate crime. The sign wasn’t damaged and the manger wasn’t damaged, I recognize that just because it wasn’t done to one display doesn’t mean it couldn’t have been a hate crime though.”
A nearby manger display – erected by Citizens for a Christian Christmas – was untouched.
The menorah was anchored down to the ground by several large screws, Banning said, but more so to keep it from blowing away in the wind than to deter a theft.
Since there was not a surveillance system nearby, Banning said the best chance the department has of recovering the menorah is if a report comes in from a metal yard or someone from the public has information regarding the theft.
A spokesperson from Chabad Lubavitch could not be reached for comment.