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Yeshiva student arrested in Cedarhurst LIRR graffiti case

The Cedarhurst Long Island Rail Road station is

The Cedarhurst Long Island Rail Road station is located between Cedarhurst Avenue and Chestnut Street, two blocks west of Broadway. (April 17, 2012) Credit: Brittany Wait

A student at a Cedarhurst yeshiva was charged Thursday with scrawling anti-Semitic graffiti at the Cedarhurst Long Island Rail Road station, located in a neighborhood with a large Orthodox Jewish population.

Jonathan Schuster, 18, of Channing Road, Far Rockaway, was arrested by Metropolitan Transportation Authority police after tips from area residents, MTA and Nassau police said.

Schuster, a senior at Priority-1: Torah Academy of Lawrence-Cedarhurst, admitted using a black marker to post anti-Semitic statements -- often utilizing expletives -- on eight occasions dating to December 2012, MTA police said.

Schuster, who does not have a criminal record, faces eight counts each of making graffiti; third-degree criminal mischief as a hate crime and fourth-degree criminal mischief.

Schuster couldn't be reached Thursday night, and family members declined to comment.

MTA police continue to investigate three other instances of anti-Semitic graffiti at the Lawrence and Hewlett LIRR stations.

The vandalism generally occurred in the overnight hours, with the graffiti consisting of obscenities directed at Orthodox Jews scrawled on train platform billboards or station signs.

In one instance, a swastika was etched into the wall of a platform shelter.

Nassau police responded by installing video surveillance cameras on station platforms and by increasing the number of marked cars, uniformed officers and plainclothes detectives around the LIRR stations. "I'm proud of the successful joint efforts between the Nassau County Police Department and MTA to apprehend the person responsible for the many anti-Semitic crimes that occurred in the Five Towns," said Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano.

With Candice Ruud


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