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Security Guard Accused of Vandalizing Jewish Artifacts

By news@wbbjtv.com

JACKSON, Tenn. – A Jackson man was arrested after he allegedly defaced religious items at a local hotel.

According to a news release from the Jackson Police Department, they were called to the DoubleTree Hotel around 8:20 a.m. about a vandalism that happened in one of their meeting rooms overnight.

Items belonging to the Margolin Hebrew Academy were reported as being vandalized.

Officers found that several books, musical instruments, electronics and a Torah scroll as well as several religious venerated items to be used in religious ceremonies were marked on, torn or otherwise damaged and defiled.

Police said the exact values of property are still being determined, but the preliminary estimate put the value of the damaged property over $60,000.

Local police, officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation Jackson Resident Agency and Tennessee Department of Homeland Security began investigating the crime and the overnight security guard was developed as the suspect.

The guard, who was identified as Justin Shawn Baker, was an employee of Maxx Guard. Maxx Guard officials responded to the scene and are working with the investigators on this case. Baker was suspended from his position with Maxx Guard.

Baker, 24, has been arrested and charged with vandalism between $60,000 and $250,000 which is a Class B felony. Police believe the crime was specifically directed at the objects representing the Jewish faith. The motive is still under investigation. The Jackson Police Department is working closely with the District Attorney’s Office and federal officials as the investigation continues.

Justin Shawn Baker appeared in Jackson City Court Monday morning for arraignment. Judge Blake Anderson set his bond at $100,000.
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