Las Vegas police recently released video of the man suspected of stealing a precious religious artifact from a convention room at The Venetian. It is a Jewish Torah scroll which includes the handwritten text of the five books of the Hebrew Bible.
Police do not know the suspect’s name. But they released his description on Friday.
He is a white man. He is between 25 and 35 years old. His height is between 5-feet, 11 inches and 6-feet, 2 inches tall.
He was last seen wearing a black hat, green shirt and dark pants, according to a statement from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD).
A surveillance video shows the suspect walking in The Venetian pulling a suitcase on wheels.
The thief already tried to sell the scroll, the owner revealed in an interview with the Jewish Week, a New York-based publication.
“The Torah had been used in the convention room since June 8 and had remained in that location until it was taken by an unknown individual on June 12,” the LVMPD said in a statement.
The Torah was stolen during the JCK Las Vegas trade show. It is North America’s largest yearly jewelry trade event.
The owner of the Torah, Jack Abraham, a New York City jeweler, said he has been going to the show for 25 years.
Used at Jewelry Shows
I organize Shabbat services there. Every year I take my Torah,” Abraham told the Jewish Week. “I left it there, it was in the room [where services were held], I was told it was secured, and somebody took it.”
The LVMPD launched an investigation into the theft. Officers have “an excellent lead,” Abraham said.
Abraham already offered a $10,000 reward for the return of the Torah, the report said. He has taken the Torah to jewelry shows that have taken place in the US and elsewhere, such as Israel and Moscow.
Last year, it was read during Sabbath services. Some 400 worshippers were present.
Meaningful for Family
In addition, it has great significance for him and his family. The Torah was read at family events. In it, his children’s names and those of their spouses are written.
It has a tremendous amount of meaning for the family and all those people that depend on it from all those years,” Abraham said. “You feel the spirit of Shabbat wherever we have the show because of this Torah.”
Abraham speculates the thief views the artifact as something he can sell. The holiness means nothing.
“Let’s hope the guy that took it brings it in before we go after him,” Abraham said.
Abraham is president of Congregation Anshei Shalom, an Afghan synagogue and community center in Jamaica Estates, Queens, N.Y. His family is originally from Afghanistan.
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