Man arrested in possible hate crime at Fresno bakery is also a suspect in synagogue vandalism

One person was arrested Tuesday in connection with a possible anti-Jewish hate crime at a Mediterranean bakery in Fresno and city police say the suspect may have also been involved in vandalizing a synagogue.

The vandalism comes as Israel wages war against Hamas after several terror attacks killed more than 1,000 people last week.

Orlando Javier Ramirez, 30, was arrested on suspicion of felony vandalism, hate crime and criminal threats in connection with an incident at Noah’s Ark Restaurant and Bakery earlier this week.

On Tuesday morning, a bakery employee found that two store windows had been broken, Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama said in a statement. A newspaper containing handwritten threats to Jewish-owned businesses was also left at the scene.

Ramirez is also a “person of interest” in a felony vandalism incident at a Jewish temple that was also discovered Tuesday morning, authorities said.

An employee at Temple Beth Israel in Fresno found that a glass door had been smashed by a rock. A backpack containing additional rocks was found at the scene.

“We are confident that this individual was acting alone and there are no additional threats to our community stemming from these incidents,” Balderrama said in a statement posted to X on Tuesday evening. “We are also confident he has no ties to any extremist or militant groups tied to the conflict in the Middle East.”

But Ani Baghramyan, a co-owner of Noah’s Ark Baker,y told television station KFSN that the restaurant is not Jewish.

Fresno police are investigating a potential hate crime at Noah’s Ark Restaurant & Bakery the glass doors were broken Tuesday morning, Oct. 10, 2023.

(Craig Kohlruss/Fresno Bee)

“Especially because we don’t have anything to do with either of the countries, we are Armenian Christians, so we are not from Israel, we are not from Palestine, and have nothing to do with the conflict over there,” Baghramyan told KFSN.

The bakery was also vandalized in May.

Rabbi Rick Winer of Temple Beth Israel told the station that the synagogue had previously been vandalized six years ago.

“There was a been a little in the past. Yeah, we know it’s out there,” Winer said. “For the most part, the Fresno community is awesome, but there are a few hateful people who decide to make it hard for everyone.”

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