Two teens are being sought for knocking the fur hats off the heads of a pair of Hasidic men in Brooklyn, police said Thursday.
The teens ran up on the victims, who were standing on the corner of S. 10th St. and Wythe Ave. in Williamsburg about 9 p.m. Friday, and knocked from each of their heads a shtreimel, a fur hat worn by married Hasidic men.
The incident is being investigated by the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force.
One of the victims, 29-year-old software developer Joel Landau,was arriving home from synagogue when he was accosted.
‘It was a group of seven people," Landau told the Daily News.
"They knocked my religious hat on the ground. They looked at me like, 'What are you gonna do?’ and laughed. One pulled off my shtreimel. Then another guy pulled of my friend’s. It’s very dreadful. Everybody knows these are religious hats. They want to shame us. It’s anti-Semitic. It’s a hate crime.”
Police on Thursday released surveillance video of the suspects and asked for the public’s help identifying them and tracking them down.
Both suspects are described as Hispanic and about 15 with medium builds. One was wearing black pants, a black track suit with white stripes and a black Rolling Stones T-shirt adorned with the band’s iconic tongue and lips logo. His accomplice was wearing black pants, a black T-shirt and white sneakers.
“We love our neighbors," Landau said. “We don’t know why they hate us so much.”
The incident comes at a time of rising hate crimes in the city, with 301 reported this year through mid-September, compared to 217 during the same period last year, a 39% spike.
Nearly half of this year’s hate crimes were anti-Semitic. There have been 155 anti-Semitic crimes reported so far this year, compared to 97 during the same period last year, a 60% surge.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.