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Press Release

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

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey

NEWARK, N.J. – A Somerset County, 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, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger for the District of New Jersey, Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and New Jersey State Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin announced.

Jacob Beacher, 24, was arrested this morning and is charged by complaint with one count of intentional or attempted obstruction of religious practice and one count of making false statements to federal authorities. Beacher is scheduled to have his initial appearance this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge André M. Espinosa in Newark federal court. 

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 also stole a Palestinian flag and a charity box belonging to the CILRU.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger and Attorney General Platkin credited the many agencies that collaborated on this joint investigation: special agents of the FBI, Branchburg Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark; prosecutors and detectives from the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, under the direction of Director J. Stephen Ferketic; detectives from the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone; the Rutgers University Police Department-New Brunswick Division, under the leadership of Chief of University Police Kenneth Cop; the New Brunswick Police Department, under the leadership of Chief Vincent Sabo; the New Jersey State Police, under the leadership of Colonel Patrick J. Callahan and the New Jersey Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory.

The government is represented by 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.

The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Updated April 22, 2024

Civil Rights
Hate Crimes
Press Release Number: 24-144