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March 02, 2017

Wolf asks Sessions for federal probe into vandalism at Jewish cemetery in Philly

Gov. Tom Wolf requested the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate a string of threats and vandalism in Pennsylvania against Jewish institutions as hate crimes.

In a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday, Wolf described the recent vandalism at the Mount Carmel cemetery in Philadelphia's Wissinoming section and bomb threats at a Jewish day school in Montgomery County and two Jewish Community Centers in York and Harrisburg as a "rash of terror."

On Sunday, the Philadelphia Police Department responded to the Jewish cemetery and discovered hundreds of headstones were toppled and damaged. A $69,000 reward is available for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the crime.

"The destruction of the more than 500 headstones at the Mt. Carmel Cemetery in Philadelphia is unbelievably disturbing to those whose loved ones are buried there and all Jewish people throughout Pennsylvania," Wolf wrote.

While local law enforcement performs an investigation, Wolf urged Sessions to designate the actions as hate crimes to "allow for more resources and ensure that the concerns of all Jewish Pennsylvanians, and those of all faiths standing in solidarity with them, are met."

Wolf's message concluded, "We must reassure people of the Jewish faith that those who seek to make them live in fear will be stopped and brought to justice."

The full letter can be read here:

Letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions by Governor Tom Wolf on Scribd