A man was charged Friday with a hate crime after allegedly leaving intimidating messages at the home of a Jewish family in West L.A., the Los Angeles city attorney’s office said.
Eric Sanchez, 37, is accused of trying to break into the home and leaving the messages when he couldn’t get inside, the city attorney’s office said in a news release. He has been charged with seven criminal counts, including committing a hate crime.
The news comes during a period of heightened anxiety over anti-Semitic attacks. In late November, a Seattle man was accused of shouting anti-Semitic slurs toward worshipers exiting a synagogue in Hancock Park and then trying to run over two Jewish men. Earlier this month, an armed security guard outside a Jewish high school in the Fairfax neighborhood shot a woman in the leg after seeing her filming the building.
Sanchez tried to enter the empty home, which was under construction, last year, prosecutors said. He tested three doors, but wasn’t able to get inside, according to the news release.
Prosecutors allege he stole a staple gun and a level from the construction site before leaving two large missives on the front lawn. The canvas paintings had pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel messages written on them in Arabic and Hebrew, the news release said.
It’s unclear whether Sanchez knew the owners of the house, authorities said.
A pretrial hearing is scheduled for March. 5. Sanchez faces up to three years and three months in prison if convicted as charged. He also is expected to serve a 16-month sentence for an unrelated felony theft conviction, the city attorney’s office said.