Citing facial hair and hat, Dutch police say theft suspect ‘may well be Jewish’

AMSTERDAM (JTA) – Citing the facial hair and hat of a man suspected of stealing from a goldsmith, Dutch police said the unidentified suspect “may well be Jewish.”

The statement, which the head of the country’s leading watchdog on anti-Semitism said was making her feel “uneasy,” was published Thursday on the website of the national police about a November theft of gold worth $42,000 in Utrecht.

The same statement was made also by a police officer who appeared Wednesday on a crime show on the RTV channel appealing for information about the suspect, who spoke German and presented himself to his alleged victim as “Benny.”

The suspect met with the goldsmith in a café in Utrecht following an email exchange in which the suspect, who used a false identity, presented himself as a dealer in gold interested in buying large quantities of the metal. The goldsmith brought the gold to the café, where the suspect asked to inspect it in the restroom. But he exited the café through a service door with the 2.2 pounds of gold, the police website said.

Blurry security camera footage shows a man wearing jeans, a jacket and a hat walking out confidently of the café.

Reacting to the RTV report and the statement by police, Hanna Luden, director of the Center for Information and Documentation on Israel – the Dutch Jewish community’s watchdog group on anti-Semitism – asked on Facebook: “Is ‘Benny’ Jewish?” She added: “Is it only me or do you get the same uneasy feeling about this kind of characterization?”

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