Police Recover Stolen 300-Pound Menorah In Boston

Authorities believe salvage thieves stole a heavy 300-pound, 6-foot-tall menorah from a Brookline, Massachusetts synagogue, but they are not ruling out a possible hate crime.

Thieves made off with the Hebrew religious symbol sometime Wednesday morning from Temple Emeth, 194 Grove St., in Brookline, part of Greater Boston, Boston.com reported.

Brookline Police discovered the menorah at about 6 a.m. nearby, discarded at the intersection of Church and Weld streets in West Roxbury, as if it had fallen out of the back of a vehicle. They said it appears the thieves may have broken it while dislodging it from its spot at the synagogue.

Police said they believe the menorah was stolen to be sold for scrap metal.

"It hasn't closed the door on an investigation of a possible hate crime, but at this time we don't have those elements," Lt. Philip Harrington of Brookline police said during a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

Police returned the menorah, dusted it for fingerprints and continue to patrol the area. They have made no arrests.

A menorah, Hebrew for "lamp," generally refers to a seven-branched golden candelabra that was lit every day in the Tabernacle and the Holy Temple in Jerusalem – or the 8-flamed lamp lit on the eight nights of Hanukkah, the Jewish holiday.

Rabbi Alan Turetz of Temple Emeth told WBZ-TV there was no other defacement of the property. CBS Local in Boston reported that Rabbi Turetz said he believes the menorah can be repaired.

"I do think it's possibly, likely a crime having to do more with theft than hate," Turetz said. "But the police are very carefully looking into every possible angle. Police said that these scrap metal thieves or these thieves that take metals, generally go in the middle of the night, that's when they steal things. There's a pattern and they're familiar with the pattern and it's current."

Following the unprecedented mass shooting of 11 congregants at Pittsburgh's Tree of Life synagogue on Oct. 27, many police are on heightened alert.

"You know this town has a very diverse population," Harrington said during the press conference. "We are very aware of what's going on in the country. In light of this particular incident, we don't want to cause any panic, but we are taking it very serious."

It would have been difficult for one person to lift the menorah off its base and load it into a getaway vehicle, police said.

"Based on the weight, more than likely more than one person was involved," added Harrington.

Harrington said his department has worked on a series of thefts of copper from construction sites about three weeks ago, but he emphasized not having enough evidence to tie those crimes to the menorah burglary.

Hanukkah, the eight-day festival of lights in the Jewish faith, begins at sundown on Sunday, December 2.

Police Recover Stolen 300-Pound Menorah In Boston | U.S.