Carmel Temple Graffiti

Tarps partially cover the spray painted Nazi imagery vandals left outside Congregation

The grand jury for the U.S. District Court Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division formally filed charges Wednesday in the recent Carmel synagogue graffiti and fire incident.

The charges follow the Aug. 16 announcement of the arrest on a criminal complaint of Nolan Brewer, 20, Cloverdale, on conspiracy to violate civil rights. An un-named co-conspirator was also arrested at that time.

No information was initially given on the second individual. The indictment now reveals the other suspect to be Brewer's wife, listed only as Person A. She is a minor and has not been charged in the indictment.

According to Thursday statement by Timothy M. Horty, law enforcement coordinator and public information officer for the Southern District of Indiana, no new charges have been filed and Brewer is on home detention with court monitoring.

In the early morning hours of July 28, anti-Semitic symbols—namely two Nazi flags and two Iron Crosses—were spray-painted on a brick structure of the Congregation Shaarey Tefilla, a synagogue in Carmel.

“At various times, Nolan Brewer discussed his beliefs in Nazism and white supremacy with other persons, including his co-workers and Person A,” stated the indictment. “Among other things, Nolan Brewer told co-workers about his admiration for Adolf Hitler and purported justifications for the Nazis' treatment of the Jewish people. He also attempted unsuccessfully to recruit a co-worker to his beliefs.”

At 2:37 a.m. July 28, surveillance camera footage provided to law enforcement officials by Congregation Shaarey Tefilla showed two people near the site of the graffiti and a fire burning on the south side of the wall.

July 30, Carmel Police received a tip linking Brewer to the graffiti. Officers and agents then began canvassing nearby stores where they believed Brewer may have purchased supplies.

Aug. 9, an FBI Task Force officer met with employees of the Walmart in Greencastle. Surveillance footage taken July 27 at the store showed two people who appeared to be Brewer and his un-named co-conspirator purchasing: two cans of “satin apple” spray paint, two cans of “dark walnut satin” spray paint, one roll of aluminum foil, a package of 12 disposable nitrile gloves, a package of 200 foam plates, two 80-ounce containers of Drano, eight bottles of Gatorade and bandannas. The footage also showed the two individuals entering a maroon Chevrolet Impala registered to Brewer's mother. Bradley A. Bookwalter, FBI special agent, stated in the probable cause affidavit that the individual believed to be Brewer was “wearing a German military-style camouflage jacket while making the purchases at Walmart.”

Also on July 27, Brewer and Person A purchased gasoline, which they mixed with pieces of Styrofoam plates to create a viscous, flammable substance they called “napalm,” according to the indictment.

“[They] prepared overpressure explosive devices by tearing off strips of aluminum foil and placing them in all eight emptied Gatorade bottles, and screwing the caps back on the bottles, for their planned later use with the Drano cleaner to create an overpressure explosion,” stated the indictment. “[They] obtained ceramic pieces of spark plugs, which they believed would assist in breaking glass windows.”

The indictment further stated that before the incident, the pair took screenshots of aerial photos of the area around the synagogue, on which they made drawings indicating where they would park and the route they would take.

Aug. 10, Bookwalter applied for and received a federal search warrant for Brewer's residence, cellphone and the Impala. Aug. 15, FBI agents, along with state and local law enforcement agents, executed the search warrants. Brewer was stopped by a marked Indiana State Police vehicle driving away from his residence wearing a military-style camouflage jacket with a German flag on the shoulder which matched the Walmart footage.

In the trunk of the Impala, agents found the bottles of Drano and at least one bandanna matching the Walmart purchases. Also found was a tan, military-style backpack, which contained six empty Gatorade bottles, each secured with a cap and containing a rolled up piece of aluminum foil, along with four cans of spray paint matching the colors purchased at Walmart.

When agents searched Brewer's cellphone, they found photographs appearing to depict the site of the graffiti on the night in question. Text messages which were also found on Brewer's phone provided more evidence.

Following the ISP stop, Brewer was read his rights and agreed to be interviewed. During the interview, he admitted plotting with Person A.

Brewer then showed agents several photos from his phone depicting the scene of the crime. Brewer told agents his motivation for attacking the synagogue was that it was “full of ethnic Jews.”

 

Rob Burgess, News Editor at NUVO Newsweekly, can be reached by email at rburgess@nuvo.net, by phone at 317-808-4614 or on Twitter @robaburg.

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