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CILRU update: Suspect arrested, charged with hate crime by FBI

The University identified the individual allegedly involved in the bias crime at the Center for Islamic Life at Rutgers University (CILRU) on April 10, which marks Eid Al-Fitr. – Photo by @thecilru /

On Monday, a suspect in the hate crime investigation on Eid Al-Fitr at the Center for Islamic Life at Rutgers University (CILRU) was identified as Jacob Beacher, a 24-year-old man, according to a University-wide email. Beacher was arrested and charged with the Title 18 U.S. Codes, Damage to Religious Property and Making Fraudulent Statements.

The investigation is an ongoing effort by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General, the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office (MCPO) and the Rutgers University Police Department (RUPD), the email read.

According to a complaint from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey, Jonathan Norbut, a special agent in the FBI, found that Beacher committed the act but falsely denied doing so under federal custody, a violation of the aforementioned Title 18 Code.

Norbut cited recovered video footage to make the claim, in which he stated that Beacher was the sole individual found to be near CILRU between 2:30 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. on the night of the crime. Shortly after the break-in, Beacher's phone was also tracked to Buccleuch Park, where a charity box that was stolen from CILRU was found.

In addition to the stolen box and Palestinian flag, Beacher reportedly made damages to religious relics inside CILRU that cost approximately $40,000.

While Beacher confirmed that he was the individual seen in video footage in a nearby business and near the College Avenue Student Center, he refuted the claim that he broke into CILRU.

Moreover, he shares a name with a self-identified Rutgers student, who is referenced in a Patch article from 2020. When asked about the same name referenced in the article, a University spokesperson denied a relation, as the CILRU suspect is not and has not been affiliated with the University.

Beacher's residence additionally appears to be unknown, as the University email read that Beacher lived in New Brunswick, but he lived, "in and around North Plainfield, New Jersey," according to the complaint.

At the time of writing, claims made in the complaint remain allegations, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office. Beacher made his first court appearance at 1 p.m. with U.S. Magistrate Judge André Espinosa, a Rutgers alum, presiding over the case in a federal court in Newark.

U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey Philip Sellinger and New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin extended their appreciation to all law enforcement groups that assisted in the case, including the RUPD.

"The Rutgers University Police Department's involvement and collaboration with federal, state and county law enforcement in the investigative process was a critical component towards the eventual charging of Jacob Beacher," the RUPD's Investigative Lt. Melvin Breton said. "We are grateful to the partnerships with these entities and the pivotal role our unit played in the investigation."

In a statement posted on Instagram, CILRU also thanked the involved law enforcement agencies and those who expressed support following the incident. It also spoke against anti-Palestinian and anti-Muslim discrimination and called for the University and surrounding communities to aid in efforts to address these forms of hate on a larger scale.

"This act of terror will not intimidate or break our community," the statement read. "We condemn those that are stoking lies and hate on our campus and those who are engaging in doublespeak that have led to this violence."

The FBI and MCPO did not respond to requests for comment in time for publishing.

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