Suspect arrested in swastika incident at B’nai Shalom in West Orange

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

WEST ORANGE, NJ — This past Dec. 18, a jogger discovered three swastikas drawn on the sidewalk at the B’nai Shalom synagogue on Pleasant Valley Way. Immediately following the incident, the West Orange police launched an investigation. 

Although there was little to go on initially, a lengthy and persistent investigation has now resulted in an arrest, according to West Orange public information officer Joseph Fagan. Police were able to break the case by identifying a 2019 Honda CBR300R motorcycle, which was captured, along with the vandal, by surveillance footage. Police were subsequently able to piece together and trace the path the suspect took when fleeing the scene of the crime back to his home.

A search warrant was issued and Richard Blasko, of Montclair, was taken into custody on Feb. 16 and charged with the crime of bias intimidation and harassment. Both the motorcycle and helmet seen in surveillance video were discovered at the home. Police report that Blasko has no prior arrests related to this specific type of crime. This is believed to be a random isolated incident, and there is no ongoing threat to public safety.

These are accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until he enters a guilty plea or is found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

“The West Orange police would like to thank the public for its cooperation in providing information that helped move the investigation forward that led to Blasko’s apprehension,” Fagan said.

Photos Courtesy of West Orange Police Department