A man collecting money door to door who was dressed as an Orthodox Jew was arrested Sunday for attempting to assault a Boro Park homeowner after asking if he could use the bathroom. He only fled when she screamed, Shomrim said.
The incident Friday underscores what police and Shomrim have been warning for years: women should only open the door if their husband is home, and they should not let in anyone they are unfamiliar with.
“Do not open the door for people you do not know,” advises Mutty Katz, a Shomrim official, in a conversation with Hamodia on Sunday. “And if you do open a door to give tzedakah, do not let them in your house. Walk over to the door with money in your hand, hand it over to the guy, and then shut the door.”
Police are still unsure who the collector is. He is an Israeli who claims not to speak English or Yiddish, and it is unclear if he is in the country legally. Although he was dressed as an Orthodox Jew, Shomrim said that they are not ready yet to say that he is Jewish.
The man was knocking on doors along 13th Avenue on Friday afternoon, when he stopped at a private house in the 50s. He first asked the woman if her husband was home. When she said no, he asked if he could use the restroom. She allowed him in; he then attempted to assault her. When she screamed, he fled the house.
Following an intense manhunt, Shomrim tracked the man down on Sunday afternoon. He was identified by the victim and then police took him into custody.
He is currently in police detention and investigators are trying to find out who he is.
“He said that he doesn’t speak English, he said that he doesn’t speak Yiddish,” Katz told Hamodia on Sunday. “He speaks Hebrew but we don’t know if he is fully Jewish or if he is Israeli or if he is a Jew at all. He didn’t give us any sign of anything.”
Katz said that this was the first time this person has a record of committing a crime. They are looking into his history if any complaints showed up about him, and are hoping that if anyone else was hurt they will call Shomrim.
“We urge everybody,” he said, “whenever there is a crime or whatever it is, notify us. I always tell everybody, it is better to be safe than sorry. We will tell you if it’s something or if it’s nothing. But it doesn’t hurt to put in that phone call.”