"The fact that people do not file complaints about the theft
of tefillin is the main reason police cannot open a
comprehensive investigation which could curb the trend,"
according to Rabbi Yisroel Yod of the Pe'er Institute. His
remarks were based on a letter to him by the head of the Dan
Region Police Investigation Department, Moshe Goldstein, in
response to an earlier letter of Rabbi Yod.
Goldstein said that in the Dan region between the years 1998-
99, there were only twenty-four reported incidents of theft
of tefillin. He claims that considering the number of
complaints filed over the past two years -- an average of
only one a month -- it is impossible to view the phenomenon
of tefillin theft as a serious crime wave. Goldstein
wrote that information about more frequent thefts of
tefillin has not reached police since additional
victims, if there are more, do not complain to the police. As
a result, the police lack information about the full extent
of the thefts. They can only act based on the information
Goldstein also notes that the police in general need civilian
cooperation in order to effectively carry out their functions
according to the law. This includes filing complaints by
victims of crime, he noted. As long as there is no awareness
on the part of victims of the importance of filing complaints
it will be difficult for the police to do their job, which is
not only to help those directly harmed, but also to protect
the entire community.
According to our information a serious wave of tefillin
thefts has recently struck synagogues and yeshivos in
Bnei Brak. In one yeshiva, 20 pairs of tefillin were
stolen. A similar number were stolen from a shul in
Shikun Hei. As a result, many synagogues have installed
special safes in order to prevent thefts. Since a pair of
tefillin can easily be worth several hundred dollars,
this is a very serious amount.
The community is asked to be on the alert and to try to
identify the thieves who come to the shuls at prayer
times, disguised as chareidim, and manage to steal tefillin.
People are also asked to file a complaint with the police in
every case of tefillin theft.