A 57-year-old Cary woman was charged Friday with vandalizing a synagogue and spray-painting her neighbor’s cars — crimes police described as motivated by racial hatred.
Lisa Marie Burns of Old Apex Road was charged with ethnic intimidation, damage to real property and damage to personal property, all misdemeanors, police said.
On Thursday afternoon, officers responded to a citizen’s call and found orange spray paint on Mohammed Khan’s Porsche and a broken headlight on his Mercedes, Cary police said in a news release Friday.
At about 6 p.m. Thursday, officers received a second vandalism call from Congregation Sha’arei Shalom at 700 Old Apex Road. Officers discovered two broken windows and more orange paint on the sidewalks, police said.
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Rabbi Seth Klayman, who was out of town when the vandalism happened, said he was relieved that police had apprehended a suspect.
“Certainly, we are happy they were able to arrest the person who was responsible,” Klayman said. “I understand there is an ethnic intimidation dimension with the arrest. We’re saddened for the second time we’ve come face to face with anti-Semitism, but we’re going to continue spreading goodness.”
Klayman said he has been keeping the congregation informed about both incidents.
Video footage from a doorbell camera showed Burns throwing bricks through the window of the temple, the release said.
Officers soon discovered the incidents were linked, police said, and Khan identified Burns as his neighbor.
Congregation Sha’arei Shalom is the same synagogue that police say was threatened last month by William Josephus Warden of Cary. In that incident, police say Warden rang the doorbell and threatened to damage the synagogue. He was charged with one count of ethnic intimidation, a misdemeanor.
Warden is the son of N.C. Court of Appeals Judge Lucy Inman, who said her son has a long-standing mental illness for which he has sought treatment.
Cary police on Friday said Burns “admitted to both acts of vandalism and indicated her disdain for people of other religions and ethnic backgrounds.”
“While the vandalism Mrs. Burns committed did not immediately suggest a racial motive or ethnic intimidation, through our investigation it became clear that her actions were fueled by hate,” police Capt. John Szymeczek said in the release.
Burns was being held in the Wake County jail with bail set at $2,000.