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NJ white supremacist sentenced for targeting two synagogues

A New Jersey man who conspired with white supremacists to vandalize two Midwestern synagogues will spend one year and a day in prison, federal prosecutors said.

Richard Tobin, 20, of Brooklawn, was sentenced Tuesday for his admitted role in a white supremacist group called “The Base” and directed other members to destroy and vandalize properties linked to blacks and Jews in September 2019, prosecutors said.

Tobin dubbed the coordinated attack “Kristallnacht” – or “Night of Broken Glass” – after the 1938 Nazi attack against Jews in Germany, where Jewish homes, synagogues, stores and schools were burned and nearly 100 Jews were murdered.

“Tobin implored members of The Base to post propaganda flyers and to break windows and slash tires belonging to African Americans and Jewish Americans,” federal prosecutors said in a statement.

Members of the hate group then vandalized synagogues in Racine, Wisconsin, and Hancock, Michigan, by spray-painting them with hate symbols. The Michigan place of worship, Temple Jacob, was marred with a swastika, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Investigators said Tobin used online platforms to direct the “Great Lakes Cell” of the white supremacist group, according to court documents obtained by NJ.com.

Swastikas and anti-Semitic graffiti cover the front doors of the Ohav Zedek Synagogue.
Swastikas and anti-Semitic graffiti cover the front doors of the Ohav Zedek Synagogue.
AP Photo/Citizens Voice, Dave Scherbenco

Tobin told agents he was in a “more violent phase” of his life and recalled being “enraged” by the number of black people he saw at a mall in Edison.

Tobin pleaded guilty in February to conspiracy to violate civil rights. A conspirator, Yousef Omar Barasneh, previously pleaded guilty to vandalizing the synagogue in Racine, federal prosecutors said.

“Richard Tobin encouraged hateful acts of violence against individuals and their houses of worship, based on their religion or the color of their skin,” Acting US Attorney Rachael Honig said.

Richard Tobin admitted instructing two members of a neo-Nazi network,
The Base, to vandalize synagogues in Wisconsin and Michigan.
Richard Tobin admitted instructing two members of a neo-Nazi network,
The Base, to vandalize synagogues in Wisconsin and Michigan.
The New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness

FBI officials, meanwhile, blasted Tobin’s “white supremacist beliefs,” but said his admitted actions were the reason he’s going to prison.

“He actively conspired with others to commit a crime of violence, to victimize innocent people because of who they are or how they worship,” FBI Philadelphia Special Agent in Charge Jacqueline Maguire said. “That’s what crossed a line and made it the FBI’s business.”

Tobin was also sentenced to three years of supervised release, prosecutors said.

The Base — a shadowy, anti-Semitic white nationalist group founded in Washington state in 2018 — consists of “small, terroristic cells” led by Rinaldo Nazzaro, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

“Though largely organized through encrypted online networks, members of The Base meet in person to train with assault weapons and practice survivalist skills to prepare for the race war they believe is imminent,” the SPLC said.

Nazzaro, who uses pseudonyms of Norman Spear and Roman Wolf, is a former New Jersey resident from North Bergen Township and previously studied philosophy at Villanova University, the Inquirer reported.


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