A 73 year old man was caught Monday trying to tag the word “Jew” on vehicles in the upmarket 16th district of Paris. The man and his wife, who is Jewish, had previously filed complaints in July and August when anti-semitic graffiti was “discovered in their building.”
On Monday around 4pm, a man was caught writing the word “Jew” on vehicles parked on Avenue du General-Clavery and Avenue Dode de la Brunerie in the 16th district. Some twenty cars were tagged. “The police handcuffed him, then arrested him. He’s completely crazy to be doing something like this. An official at the scene told me that the guy acknowledged what he was doing,” said one witness to MetroNews.
The suspect was immediately taken into custody. The man was born in April 1941 and is named ‘Pierre B.’ He was already known to police – not as a suspect but as a victim. Last summer, he twice visited the police station in the 16th district to denounce anti-Semitic remarks left near his property.
In July, Peter and his wife Suzanne B., who is Jewish, went to the police to report the presence of swastikas on their mailboxes, their doorframe, and on the door of their apartment in a building owned by the Property Management of the City of Paris (RIVP) and located Rue Abel Ferry (also in the 16th district). In August, they also lodged formal complaints to denounce the fact that it had been done to them again.
Six months later, in December, new graffiti were found in the couple’s building. “Dirty Jew”, a swastika and other tags were scrawled on the walls of the building. The same thing happened again in January. “It started happening a lot,” says a source close to the case. “Several people were interviewed and writing tests were carried out. That’s when the police realized that something really weird was going on.”
Indeed, when comparing handwriting, the investigators found that the complainant’s was eerily similar to that found on the walls and the mailbox of the building. “Another coincidence is that the ‘B.’ couple claimed that they had to temporarily leave their apartment because they felt unsafe there. During this period, no graffiti or markings were made there,” notes the source close to the case. “The police were convinced that it was him, but lacked proof. Having now caught him in the act, they could not have been better served.”
It was unclear Monday night whether the wife of Pierre B. was or was not an accomplice to her husband. “The couple wanted to change accommodation. We do not know why because they lived for two years in their apartment of 59m2. He had made two requests for a transfer to the RIVP that were denied. “It was perhaps part of their strategy to remain undetected,” says the source, before adding that both the husband and his wife have had several stays in psychiatric hospitals.
On Tuesday afternoon, Pierre B. was still in custody. All the local residents were shocked. They too had heard of the couple’s desire to change accommodation. “To go from that to attacking the Jews, moreover when we know that the wife of the suspect is Jewish, it’s surreal,” concluded a neighbor.
The suspect’s custody was extended Tuesday to 17 hours. According to our information, the individual was to be presented to a psychologist in the evening.
Despicable: At least 20 cars vandalized with the word “Juif” (Jew) in #Paris today. pic.twitter.com/Sz3OJDWX1j — Julie Lenarz (@MsIntervention) February 10, 2015