A 20-year-old man evoked the name of Adolf Hitler and told investigators he painted swastikas at a Indiana synagogue because the place was "full of ethnic Jews," according to a criminal complaint released as he was charged Thursday.
Nolan Brewer was charged with conspiracy to violate civil rights in the July 28 defacement of Congregation Shaarey Tefilla.
“His intention was not a prank," U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler said.
Brewer and a 17-year-old girl are accused of painting Nazi flags and iron crosses on the walls of a trash enclosure at the synagogue authorities said.
The Hamilton County prosecutor's office said the girl is accused of criminal mischief and arson. A small fire was set at the synagogue, as well. Arson, the most serious charge, is a Level 6 felony punishable by up to two and half years in prison when committed by an adult.
Further details on her alleged involvement in the vandalism weren't immediately available.
Minkler said there was no evidence that Brewer was involved with a larger or more organized group. Brewer faces up to 10 years in prison if found guilty.
Authorities said Brewer wanted to intimidate the congregation. Jews are too influential, he told investigators, according to the documents. He wanted them to "back down."
"They utterly failed," Benjamin Sendrow, rabbi at Shaarey Tefilla, told IndyStar on Thursday.
"They tried to evoke hatred and fear," he said. "And what they produced was an outpouring of love and support and solidarity."
Authorities say surveillance video showed Brewer and the accomplice buying spray paint and materials for an improvised bomb from a Greencastle Walmart on July 27, the day before the synagogue was defaced.
He was arrested Wednesday morning in a traffic stop after he left the Cloverdale home he shares with his mother, according to the documents.
A search of the home and a Chevrolet Impala found found red and black spray paint and other items believed to have been linked to the vandalism.
Investigators found pictures on his phone taken just after he and the accomplice painted the red-and-black symbols, documents said.
The nighttime photos were illuminated, Brewer said, because his partner lit a fire on the ground using a mix of Styrofoam and gasoline he called homemade napalm, documents said.
"We made CNN, Fox, IndyStar, WTHR, etc.," someone said in a July 30 text message found on Brewer's phone, according to the documents. "Mike Pence even tweeted about us."
Brewer said he committed the crime because the synagogue was "full of ethnic Jews," documents said.
The graffiti drew widespread outrage from many beyond the Jewish community.
More than 1,000 community leaders, faith leaders and residents showed up to support the synagogue on the Monday after the vandalism.
Contributing: Holly Hays, Indianapolis Star
Follow Vic Ryckaert and Justin L. Mack on Twitter: @VicRyc and @justinlmack