On December 2, 2018 State College Police received a theft report of a Hanukkah Menorah from a yard of a Penn State fraternity. State College Police have since filed three criminal complaints at district court 49-1-01 against persons responsible. David Kovacs (20 years old), Thomas Callahan (19 years old) and John Hamlin (19 years old) have been charged with misdemeanor theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property, and criminal mischief for their roles in the incident. Charges are pending against a fourth 20-year-old suspect.
This theft was witnessed by a member of the victim fraternity who attempted to intervene in the theft. This victim was punched in the face during the intervention. The suspects took the menorah into their own fraternity house. The president of the fraternity where the menorah was taken, arranged for the the return of the menorah to the original owners, prior to police involvement in the matter. The victim that witnessed the theft and was punched declined to press charges for the assault.
The individuals charged in this case cooperated with the police investigation. The fraternity the suspects are members of, has taken internal actions against their members as well.
Charges involving a prior incident involving the same menorah (SCP201808240) on 11/29/18 are still pending. This incident involved the removal of the menorah by members of a third fraternity. In this case the menorah was returned prior to the victims knowing it had been taken but did result in damage to the menorah.
All the involved defendants or suspects are Penn State students except John Hamlin.
At this time ethnic intimidation is not believed to be involved in the cases.