(JTA) – A man in upstate New York admitted to spray-painting swastikas and hate messages on his own home.
Andrew King pleaded guilty last week in Schenectady City Court to falsely reporting an incident, which is a misdemeanor crime, the Albany Times Union reported Tuesday. He will be sentenced to three years of probation at his sentencing hearing in October, according to the newspaper.
King reported the vandalism on his home to police on Feb. 10. He was arrested after a five-week police investigation and pleaded not guilty at his arraignment. His report followed several reports of anti-Semitic vandalism around the state.
“A falsely reported hate crime is in one sense as bad as a real crime,” Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney said in a statement. “It stigmatizes a group of people, increases fear and tensions, and could encourage real copycat crimes. Mr. King put our community on edge in perpetrating this hoax and we hope this disposition will provide him some needed supervision and assistance.”
Jewish leaders in Schenectady say that King, who was interviewed by the local media in front of his defaced home wearing a kippah, is not Jewish. He tried to convert several times but was rejected by at least two congregations, according to the local ABC affiliate, News10.