Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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22 Adar II 5760 - March 29, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Police: "Report Tefillin Thefts"

by A. Cohen

"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 they have.

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.

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