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Press Release

New Jersey Man Charged with Federal Hate Crime for Breaking into Center for Islamic Life at Rutgers University and Destroying Property

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

 A New Jersey man has been charged with a federal hate crime for breaking into the Center for Islamic Life at Rutgers University (CILRU) in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and destroying property.

Jacob Beacher, 24, of Somerset County, was arrested this morning and charged by complaint with one count of intentional or attempted obstruction of religious practice and one count of making false statements to federal authorities.

According to the criminal complaint, on April 10, during the Eid-al-Fitr holiday, Beacher broke into the CILRU around 2:41 a.m., where he damaged the CILRU’s property, including several religious artifacts, such as Turbah prayer stones, which are clay stones on which Muslims prostrate during prayer, and numerous other items that contained holy language from the Qur’an, Islam’s sacred scripture. The complaint also alleges that Beacher stole a Palestinian flag and a charity box belonging to the CILRU.

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger for the District of New Jersey and New Jersey State Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin made the announcement.

The FBI Newark Field Office, Branchburg Resident Agency, New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, Rutgers University Police Department-New Brunswick Division and New Jersey Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Levin and Deputy Chief R. Joseph Gribko for the District of New Jersey and Trial Attorney Daniel Grunert of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division are prosecuting the case.

A criminal complaint is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Updated April 22, 2024

Civil Rights
Press Release Number: 24-486