DEAL – A Morris County man has been arrested after making threatening comments to a local synagogue in Deal last week, officials said.
Nicholas Skirvin, 44, of Denville has been charged with second-degree Bias Intimidation, third-degree Making Terroristic Threats and Harassment, a petty disorderly persons offense.
On July 15 at about 1 p.m., an incident occurred at the Ohel Yaacob Congregation, which is located at the corner of Lawrence Avenue and Ocean Avenue North. Police received a report about an unknown person recording himself with a cell phone while making obscene gestures. The report said that the man was screaming ethnic and homophobic slurs as well as threats at synagogue congregants.
Investigation identified Skirvin and the suspect and he was arrested by officers from the Deal Police Department on a beach in nearby Asbury Park later the same afternoon.
Skirvin was subsequently transported to the Monmouth County Correctional Institution (MCCI) pending a detention hearing that is now tentatively scheduled to take place on July 25.
According to officials, the State will be filing a motion to keep Skirvin detained pending the outcome of the case.
If convicted of the second-degree offense, Skirvin would face a term of up to 10 years in state prison.
“The hate-filled rhetoric heard last Friday in what is typically a peaceful neighborhood with a tight-knit Jewish community wasn’t just abhorrent and disturbing – it was criminal,” Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey said. “The charges being announced today should send a clear message that we take such conduct with the utmost seriousness. There is no place for hate in Monmouth County – especially when it is the motive behind a crime.”
The Prosecutor’s Office sincerely thanks and recognizes the members of the Deal, Asbury Park, and Denville police departments who contributed to this investigation and arrest. The incident has also been reported to the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General, which tracks bias incidents and crimes occurring statewide.
Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendants have all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.