Vandalism of USC Chabad house not hate crime, early evidence suggests

The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating the crime on Rabbi Dov and Runya Wagner’s house, which has served as USC’s Chabad House for the past five years.

By NATHAN ELIAS

UPDATE: The vandalism of Chabad at USC co-directors Rabbi Dov and Runya Wagner’s home does not rise to the level of a hate crime based on preliminary evidence, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department told the Daily Trojan Wednesday afternoon.

The spokesperson said that the four individuals who approached the house were juveniles. The Department of Public Safety is increasing its patrol around the house in response to the vandalism. The LAPD’s investigation is ongoing.

Previous reporting continues below:

Two unidentified perpetrators damaged the front door of Rabbi Dov and Runya Wagner, co-directors of Chabad at USC, late Tuesday evening. The motive for the vandalism is unclear. 

In videos posted to USC Chabad’s Instagram account, four people appear to approach the house on bikes before the two walk toward the door. The two perpetrators then kick the front door, breaking the glass, before fleeing with the other two via bicycle. The Daily Trojan has reached out to the Department of Public Safety for comment.

The Wagners’ house has also served as USC’s Chabad House for the past five years while a more permanent center is under construction. On its fence is a sign that reads “Welcome to Chabad @ USC — Shabbat Shalom.”

“I don’t know if this was ‘regular’ vandalism or intentionally targeted, but either way it is so upsetting that a place that has served as a home away from home for thousands of students at USC … was attacked in this way,” Dov Wagner wrote in an Instagram DM to the Daily Trojan.

This is a developing story.


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