University Heights police say there is no imminent threat to the local Jewish community after an attendee at a bat mitzvah at Heights Jewish Center Synagogue reported two people she thought were videotaping and photographing the back of the synagogue from an adjacent apartment building’s parking lot.
The attendee posted a message including a warning on Facebook after Shabbat Jan. 11 in which she referred to the situation as “scary” and said police were called.
“What we do want to get out there immediately is that there’s no imminent threat, no known threat, no active threat,” University Heights Lt. Dale Orians told the Cleveland Jewish News Jan. 13. “We’re satisfied that it’s been resolved.”
Orians emailed a statement to the Cleveland Jewish News Jan. 14 regarding the report of “suspicious males of ‘Middle Eastern’ descent.’"
“A preliminary investigation by field officers determined that the males were Salvodorian (from El Salvador), not Middle Eastern and are believed to live at the location they were parked.
“Preliminary investigation also indicated that these males were not recording anyone/anything until after they noticed members of the Jewish center recording and approaching them first,” Orians wrote. “After additional follow-up with law enforcement resources and based on the circumstances known, we currently do not have reason to believe a credible threat exists at this time, and further related investigation will not occur at this time.”
The executive board and safety and security committee of the synagogue at 14270 Cedar Road in University Heights emailed congregants Jan. 13.
“This correspondence is to inform you that the shul is aware of a situation that happened Shabbos afternoon at approximately 2:52 p.m. involving two people allegedly carrying out video surveillance of our building. The executive board and safety and security committee became aware of the incident on Motzei Shabbos, and since then have been coordinating with the University Heights Police Department and Jewish Federation Security, LLC. As of the writing of this email (Monday afternoon), JFC Security has informed the shul that there is no active or known threat emanating from this incident.
“We appreciate the HJC community’s dedication to the safety and security of our synagogue and the Jewish community at large, and applaud the efforts of those that quickly reported the incident to UHPD. Please continue to diligently follow the oft-mentioned ‘See Something, Say Something’ advice and report all incidents and issues of concern to UHPD, Federation Security LLC, and the Safety and Security Committee at Heights Jewish Center.
“More information will be made available as necessary, and again, please know that despite the investigation still being open, there is no active or known threat emanating from this incident.”