Man charged with hate crime for threatening Highland Park synagogue

HIGHLAND PARK (Sun-Times Media Wire) - A man has been charged with a felony hate crime for making threatening phone calls to a synagogue in north suburban Highland Park.

Authorities were called at 5:30 p.m. on Monday for reports of “a phone call containing threatening statements” received by staff at the North Suburban Lubavitch Chabad – Central Avenue Synagogue, 874 Central Ave. in Highland Park, according to a statement from Highland Park police.

Investigators identified the caller as 39-year-old Dean R. West of Winthrop Harbor, police said. He was arrested Thursday and charged with a Class 3 felony hate crime.

West remains held at the Lake County Jail on $250,000 bail, according to the Lake County sheriff’s office. His next court date was scheduled for Nov. 8.

Police in Highland Park were operating with increased patrols focusing on religious institutions in the wake of the shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, but officials said there was “no current credible threat to any local religious institution or other establishments in Highland Park.”